Long Island – New York Fishing Report – July 23, 2020


Foggy days and foggy brains – careless boaters are getting into high speed crashes, killing numerous whales and nearly killing other fishermen. Be safe.

Hot offshore fishing – Bluefin, Yellowfin and bigeye bites are awesome right now.

Tiles and mahi are numerous as well. Swordfish and albacore are around.

Lots of makos around, mostly shorts.

Cobia are being caught here and there.

Bigger fluke being caught in the ocean.

Snapper blues moved in THICK.

Some big bass remain in Montauk and the Long Island Sound.

First bonito arrive early with mackerel.

Paul at River Bay Outfitters in Baldwin went out boat fishing for the first time this year. He encountered a ton of bait in the back bays. The terns were diving on the small prey, but there were no signs of bluefish, which one would expect to see in such circumstances. He reckons there are probably lots of snapper blues, though, getting bigger working the bait every day. He’s looking forward to putting some snappers on the light fly rods in the coming weeks.

He did some fluking  with a spin rod and gulp while in the back bays too. They had a few shorts, and one that was close to keeper-size, about 16 to 17 inches. There seem to be plenty of shorts in the back.

Dennis and Big Tom hit the Housatonic this week after Paul did so well there recently. They had a great time with the smallmouth, which is still a very productive fishery right now.

Leftfoot Kenny caught a “calico carp,” which sounds like a type of koi fish.

Paul says if you’re just looking to bend the rod, the possibilities are endless.

Kathy from Freeport Bait & Tackle got some INSANE reports this week. A nice family came into her shop looking for bunker. John from the shop gave them an extra one to chunk. So Anil Sookdeo, his wife Rianna and their son Arion headed to Jones inlet on their boat to target stripers on the west bar. They were surprised when a 42-inch long, 14.72-pound cobia came to hand! Earlier in the week, fishing the same area, they pulled up a 48-inch thresher shark. Those folks have some lucky hands!

Mike Santana headed out to Montauk with Captain Glen and Jim. While most shark anglers were targeting smaller makos a good bit offshore, these guys fished right off the point near the lighthouse. They boated an 8-foot, 300-pound mako.

A young girl named Scarlet Rose Baumann received a neon combo (a kid’s rod) from the shop this week. She brought it out to the fluke grounds and caught 4 fluke on it, 2 of them keepers. A pink bucktail tipped with pink Gulp did the trick under the second Meadowbrook Bridge during the incoming tide.

Rafy Ortiz of “Fishbonz” found his limit of sea bass out in 80 feet of water. He used clams and Otter Tails around the turn of the low tide, until 2 hours into the incoming.

Billy Webster fished the west side of the cholera banks, and found his limits of seabass and fluke on a squid rig.

Andrew Ortiz was fishing for fluke with Captain Al. The duo caught two nice fluke on a 3 ounce white bucktail tipped with 6 inch white gulp.

Bay Park Fishing Station in Oceanside had some awesome inshore and offshore reports this week. On Sunday, Mark of BP got reports from anglers fishing the AB Reef for fluke. There were plenty of keepers had among a number of boats, and some limited out. Spearing, squid and KO rigs did the trick.

Team Owens of “Fighting Irish” hit the east elbow at the Hudson Canyon this Sunday. They trolled a white/crystal Joe Shute with a rigged ballyhoo at first, which bagged them a 220-pound bigeye tuna. They finished up the day with 30 mahi to 15 pounds, and 34 tiles to twenty pounds. 

Captain Herman, Ray, Meryl, and Carlos took the “Reel Limshady” to the AB Reef and had a mixed bag. Keeper seabass, porgies and fluke to 22 inches hit the decks. Salted clams, spearing and squid did the trick. Gulp in salmon and chartreuse also did work.

Jimmy Hughes of “Betsie” fished by the Lindell School in 17 feet of water this Tuesday. There, an 8.25-pound fluke took his spearing rig. On the same day, Brendan Marshall of the “Michael J” fished in 50 feet at the Mcallister Reef. He bagged a nearly identical fluke to Jimmy’s, coming in at 8.2 pounds!

Good fishing fellas.

Bill at Chasing Tails Bait and Tackle in Oakdale says summer flounder and sea bass seasons are in full swing. They’ll often be found hanging in the same spots. Fluking on the inside is going very well, with lots of shorts and a solid mix of keeper-sized fish. Outside, many anglers are catching larger fish on big jigs tipped with big soft plastics. A 6 ounce bucktail with a 6 inch Gulp grub hanging off the back will get the doormats eating. Some real solid sea bass are hanging out on the reefs and wrecks outside, crunching clams and jumping on jigs. Keepers and double headers are common, and there is great potential for bigger fish. 

Bass and blues can still be found on the flats, and near canals and inlets hitting clams, bunker, and a variety of lures like SP Minnows, popping plugs, and bucktails. 

Weakfish can still be caught in the early morning hours on smalls jigs. 

Spanish Mackerel have been reported, and they are hungry! Tins and surface jigs have been doing work. Snappers are rolling in at the local docks along with the kingfish and blue claw crabs. Tons of fun for the whole family!

Captree’s Laura Lee reports:

The fluke this week have been going to about 6.5 pounds. They’re coming up at all times of day, in decent numbers.

Big sea bass, numbering in the hundreds, are getting boated on almost every trip. The fleet is regularly taking full boat limits, around 250 fish.

Porgy fishing has remained pretty consistent, with anywhere from 40 to 100 fish coming up each trip.

Red hake just won’t stay off the line. Many trips result in 300 to 400 fish.

Mackerel have become more and more prevalent.

Not much to talk about on the striped bass and bluefish front, but they are targeting them after dark.

Mark at Cow Harbor Bait & Tackle in Northport fished Orient Point park this week. The amount of fishermen out there made it nearly impossible to fish (not that anyone was catching anyway). Porgy guys from the city are setting up 3 or 4 rods a piece, and hogging the whole shoreline. Law enforcement officers are also coming there in droves to distribute tickets to poachers and kick people from the city out. Apparently they’re enforcing a “Suffolk County residents only” type of rule.

Mark caught a big sea robin, a short fluke and a short bass while there.

Back in his neck of the woods, the fluking has picked up. Some guys started picking some pretty nice fish.

Porgy fishing is still going strong as well.

No word on sea bass locally.

Some nice striped bass are still getting caught. Boat and surf guys alike are heading out at night to target the bigger stripes. There are plenty of schoolies around too.

Tens of thousands of 4-inch snappers have inundated the waters this week. Find them by the harbors, bridges, docks, bay and creeks.

Captain Stu Paterson of “Northport Charters” has been running 7 days a week this summer around the Triangle/Eaton’s Neck area. He’s been fully booked for some time, as the number of people to recreate outdoors has increased exponentially this year.

Fortunately the number of fish up there hasn’t decreased any, and he’s been putting his camp-kids and clients on the fish regularly.

He’s been seeing lots of just-short fluke at 18.5 inches this summer.

The water is warming up in the bay, with this morning reading 76 degrees. Fish seem to be moving out little by little. Many of the bluefish have departed, and the bass bite has been tough.

The other day his crew was drifting for fluke and porgies with a hi-lo rig tipped with fresh clam and spearing. A sizable remora took the bait and hit the deck, and another remora was lost boat side.

Bryce at Whitewater Outfitters in Hampton Bays says fluking in the ocean is decent, and fluking in the bay is quite good. The bay is very tide dependent. There are way more shorts in the bay versus the ocean. The ocean has the big mamajamas, but you have to put in your time to find them. It takes work, but if you do it, you could go home with some 6-8 pounders.

We’ve fallen into the typical summer bass doldrums. Clam chumming and drifting baits in the inlet can cull out a few slot-sized fish. There are plenty of schoolies around. One fluke pinhooker had a 35 pound bass chasing around his short near the boat.

The local sea bass bite is pretty darn good. There are plenty of short fish. Bryce says if you can find virgin territory, you stand  a chance of getting into some remarkable fishing.

The tuna bite has been really good. Inshore and coastal waters are seeing plenty of bluefin, and the offshore guys are getting into good numbers of yellowfin and bigeyes.

Rick from Harbor Marina of East Hampton reports:

True mid-summer conditions have settled in across the East End. Striped Bass fishing has tapered, after a pretty good start, as the fish are not feeding aggressively during the day (conserving energy); it’s time to work the night shift if you are looking for any of the big girls. Trolling wireline in the deeper caverns off of Montauk and The Race can work on the right tide. Block Island is another option, but you must stay inside the 3 mile boundary. 

Fog persisted across Gardiners Bay and Block Island Sound for most of the week making boat travel difficult if not down right dangerous. Having radar on your boat does not mean you can run at 30 knots with 10 yards of visibility. At least one owner/operator in the Montauk area learned that lesson the hard way on Saturday morning. My own observations were that many boat operators were playing the odds rather than playing it safe. High speed boat accidents can/will kill people and badly damage boats.

Bottom fishing has come into its own with several nice catches of both Sea Bass and Fluke reported. Some of the Fluke were true doormats. Once again deeper water, ocean water spots accounted for most of the reports. 

Off-Shore has seen some schoolie bluefin in the butterfish hole, decent sharking south of Block Island, and I received one report of a boat that ran deep to the south east and had an amazing trip, limiting out on Yellowfin and releasing a nice Mako. 

It is time to plan those trophy ocean fluke trips and off shore tuna runs as the weather permits.

Montauk’s Viking Fleet reports:

The Fivestar hit the tuna grounds on Tuesday. In the first four hours of the trip, they boated 21 yellowfins and 4 bigeyes.

The Star hit the seabass grounds the same day. Pool fish went to Anthony Roman from Warwick, NY with a 5.25 pound knucklehead.

The Starship, meanwhile, was slamming big porgies by the lighthouse. Everybody also got some nice seabass when they moved a little farther offshore. Mike Mauzoudis from NYC took the pool with a 3.7 pound porgy.

WEDNESDAY –  Capt. Chris helped fill the buckets in the morning’s half-day trip. Fluke, seabass and scup were the bounty. Mike Schmitt from Babylon took the pool with a 5.5 pound fluke.

Capt. Dave fished the lighthouse for jumbo porgies and knothead seabass. Same deal as the day before, where porgies hit hard right off the bat near the lighthouse. Then they moved offshore and hammered the seabass. Plenty of little seabass to pick through before getting some nice keepers. Donald Hide from the Bronx won the day with a 4.4 pound seabass.

And the cherry on top came today:

The Fivestar embarked on a three day journey for “captain’s choice” fishing. The trip was drastically shortened due to phenomenal fishing. In 12 hours, the crew had boated 32 yellowfin and 14 bigeye tunas.

Chris at Westlake Marina in Montauk says the sharking of late is stellar. One guy had 4 threshers in 4 days, at 209, 226, 227 and 180 pounds. Plenty of threshers around.

Makos are plentiful too, but there are more shorts than anything. Lots are being caught and released.

Bluefin tuna seem to be everywhere from CIA south to Ranger wreck. Ranger produced very well just yesterday. Guys are encountering a lot of unders, of which they can take home two. There don’t seem to be any overs though (47-72 inches). That’s all good though, because the fishing is productive and fun.

The canyon is super productive. Guys are running to east Atlantis, which is red hot with bigeyes from 100- to 200-plus pounds. There are also tons of small yellowfins with some mediums mixed in. Swordfish have been getting caught recently, as have albacore tuna.

Inshore, sea bass are keeping everyone busy. There aren’t a lot of jumbos, but they’re out there! Porgies are biting, and some decent fluking is occurring. Sharpies are putting their clients on the doormats and limits. It changes day to day.

Striper fishing is still going strong. Lots of guys are running to Rhode Island waters these days though. The water is starting to get hot here in Montauk, so the bass are more likely to be hanging near Block and in federal waters.

Long Island Fishing Forecast

Despite all the unbelievable fishing and aquatic spectacles experienced this week, the highlight of the week is the idiocy on the boat grounds. I heard of numerous boat crashes on foggy mornings. Slow down if you have zero visibility. One boat from Connecticut rammed his yacht into a Montauk trawler, sinking the commercial vessel. Also, at least three humpback whales were struck and killed last weekend. Be careful.

Now I’ll tell you a bit about what I saw on the water.

I had a feeling this was going to be an exotic week. I think I mentioned that last week.

It might’ve been Friday morning when Mike Wright hit me up inquiring about the bunker schools I’ve been filming. I hadn’t seen any that day, but I recall telling him “seems like an ‘exotics’ type of day.” He concurred.

Sure enough, the blitzing started an hour later. Junior lifeguards were training at the public beach, and I saw nervous fish moving quickly nearby. I first thought “there’s sharks behind all those swimmers,” so I launched my drone immediately. What I saw actually resembled false albacore blitzes, so I grabbed my rod. I couldn’t hook up, so I paddled a longboard out. I had one school blitz right underneath me, and I could see the skinny, striped, blue backs of frigate/bullet mackerel. Mike Wright got back to me and told me he was catching those and bonito from his boat. So cool – and it’s early for bones.

I launched the drone again a short while later when the bunker schools made themselves visible. There were a number of very large sharks on them. This was all going down from the surf zone to about ⅓-mile off the beach.

For the next few days I watched dolphins migrate along shore just a couple hundred yards out. At times they’d thrash violently on the surface. I excitedly launched my drone to film them, and what they would do is just swim playfully eastward until they encountered a bunker school. There were perhaps 100+ dolphins, and countless bunker schools. I got to watch them blitz upon the bunker, feeding in a variety of tactical ways. They’d tail spank the fish to stun them, team up and attack from all angles, or just run through and grab the slowest ones.

I posted half the footage to my Youtube Channel, and it’s pretty amazing. I only posted the worse footage so far though. I have about 8 minutes of pure carnage that I’ve yet to upload. It’s too good not to take some real time to edit. People describe cool stuff too often as “nat geo” these days, but this footage definitely qualifies. Keep an eye out for that footage at my Youtube Channel, “South Fork Salt.” In the meantime, you can check out the bonito and mackerel running into an ocean swimmer, and the first dolphin video if you’re interested. Do me a solid and subscribe if you make your way there.

Fish-wise, it’s been very productive. I’ve been doing more guiding, and we’re always catching a number of stripers and fluke in the surf. We get sea robins and dogfish as well, which are always a welcome sight. It’s all about how you approach it.

I had an epiphany in regards to this.

There is skilled bait fishing, which becomes catching if you know what to do and how/when to do it. It’s so easy and so much fun, it just takes some time and an open mind to put the pieces together. Then, there is just bait fishing, which is casting meat out and hoping you get a bite. It is also easy, but requires more luck than skill.

I find the “luck” guys tend to treat certain fish as “trash,” and I hate seeing it. No living thing is trash, besides mosquitoes maybe. Ticks probably didn’t even suck so much at one point in history. I digress.

I am targeting stripers in the surf, so I catch stripers. I do it on the fly now, because it’s the only way that never becomes easy. When there is bycatch, like doggies and robins and fluke, those fish are an extremely welcome sight because they are never what I’m expecting. On the fly, I am often hoping that I’ll catch one of those bottom feeders instead of a bass. My clients also get excited when we catch “trash fish,” because we catch much fewer of them and we are doing it in a way that actually requires skill. Last night I actually got hired for the specific purpose of catching a dogfish. My friend Alvie’s cheers could be heard far along the coast when he landed one.

I won’t give up my fish-catching secrets here, but here are some tips that can help you figure out the puzzle. Fishing, to me, is all about the journey of self-education after all. I always hated school, but the education I receive from fishing is a source of endless fascination.


Swim in the water. Feel how the current works, and let it carry you. Dive and look around. Walk barefoot, see what your toes feel. Pick things up. Inspect what you don’t recognize, and look it up online or in a book. Open things up and see what’s inside. Inspect every inch of the high tide line.

Essentially, put yourself in the mind of a fish. They’re doing all of the above (except online research). They’re doing it to eat, to survive.

Never stop asking questions and seeking answers.

Hopefully I didn’t sound like a know-it-all jerk with all that.

I am just trying to get people to be as fascinated as I am with the ocean and life in general.

Just have fun with it, and be safe. Tight lines everybody.


1 thought on “Long Island – New York Fishing Report – July 23, 2020

  1. james triail

    Great report your spot on about the so called trash fish I see people all the time leaving fish that they call trash fish on the beach to die instead of returning them to the water.

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