Long Island – New York – Fishing Report – July 30, 2020

Above: Sea bass fishing has been on fire off Montauk. 

Shark fishing is an extremely productive option around the whole South Shore.

Fluking is picking up in the ocean.

Sea bass fishing is hot as the dickens.

Big stripers have moved to Block for the most part.

Gator Blues out east.

More and more exotics being reported.

Tuna bite persists – yellowfin are in the mix. Mahi came inshore.

Paul at River Bay Outfitters in Baldwin says the hot weather is transitioning most fisheries into an early morning, evening, or night fishery. It’s been getting tougher and tougher during the daytime. He did however hear of some bass being taken in the back bays during the day.

Smallmouth bass fishing has been outstanding upstate. If you want to target trout, try one of the spring creeks on Long Island, for they have a cool flow year-round. You could also head up to the tailwaters in western Connecticut or the Delaware. Freestone streams are too warm and low this time of year.

There are lots of fluke in the bay.

Guys are doing some carp fishing on the fly. Leftfoot Kenny has been sight casting to them in the shallows, and picked two yesterday.

Kathy from Freeport Bait & Tackle said Scarlet Rose came in with another keeper fluke this weekend, caught on her pink bucktail/gulp combo. This one went 2.5 pounds, and was taken near the second Meadowbrook bridge.

There are lots of fluke being caught. It is the main game in town. There are tons of shorts, many of them around 18 inches. Harold Sheridan hit the west bar of Jones Inlet on the incoming this week and caught 2 dozen fluke. Three of them were 18 inches, and the rest were shorter. He used pink gulp and spearing. Kathy says despite the lack of keepers this year, the number of fish right on the cusp bodes well for next year’s harvest.

West of Jones Inlet, all the way to the rockaways, you’ll encounter lots of sharks. Dusky and thresher are the main species Kathy heard about.

Want to get in on the bite? Find an OTW-approved Charter Fishing Captain for New York.

The reefs are fishing very well lately, with lots of fluke coming up. Sea bassing has also been quite productive out there. Cholera, hempstead, McAllister and AB reefs are all producing keepers.

Some local guys are running up to Huntington Harbor and out east to Riverhead to target porgies.

Another customer just returned from an extended trip to Hyannis, MA where he caught 9- to 11-pound fluke all day.

No reports of blowfish or bluefish lately.

A fine pair of fluke caught with Northport Charters this week.

Capt Lou Fleet in Freeport reports:

The deepwater fishing for fluke this week has been excellent. They are hitting the ocean wrecks for plenty of fluke, a good amount of them keepers. Yesterday they had fishing biting all day, with keeper fluke up to six pounds.

Sea bass fishing has also been good this week, with some red hake in the mix.

Captree’s Laura Lee reports:

Monday was extremely productive, with hundreds of big red hake, a full boat limit of sea bass also numbering in the hundreds, and hundreds of fluke to 6.09 pounds.

Tuesday was a bit slower, but saw a wider variety including cunner, sea robins, toadfish, mackerel and bonito!

Wednesday produced one bonito as well. Big sea bass were bending rods nonstops and the fluke, ling, blues, and porgies were also biting pretty well.

The Celtic Quest Fishing Fleet sails out of Port Jefferson, and has been hammering the porgies lately. More seabass have been coming over the rails in the past few days as well, and some nice ones to boot. It looks like clams on hi-lo rigs are doing the bulk of the damage.

Dave Flanagan of “North Island Fly” is still finding some consistent action on the bigger bluefish. He had gators to 15 pounds this week, and many double-ups. Most of the blues came on super strike poppers.. Bassing has been an early morning and late afternoon game, and is more productive at the higher stages of the tide.

Dave’s seeing tons of bait both inshore and in the deeper waters of the sound. There is a ton of rain bait and spearing in close, as well as longer 5- to 6-inch baits out in the deep.

A recent crab hatch had the bass sipping, and we are in really good shape for the fall run. Dave is still predicting an early season, possibly in the next few weeks. He’s still finding a few big bass but they are being very picky.

Captain Stu Paterson of “Northport Charters” had a good bite this week with charters and fishing camp. Fluke to five pounds hit the deck, and plenty of porgies to two pounds kept the rod bent. A mixed bag of weakfish, blues and shad also took line.

There is lots of bait in Stu’s area. In the Sound, he’s seeing lots of adult bunker, bay anchovies and spearing.

Snappers showed up last week too.

Phil at Cow Harbor Bait & Tackle in Northport says there’s still some stripers around, but no huge ones now. A lot of schoolies are hugging the shoreline, kept complacent by the plentiful small bait around. Spearing are especially prevalent.

Snappers also moved in, which is another species likely keeping the stripers stationary.

Short fluke can be caught from shore, sticking close by the small bait. It has been tough out in the Sound, and you will probably have better numbers in shallower water.

Porgies are still in good. Guys are getting them from the beach around the higher stages of the tide. Sand worms do the trick.

Cocktail blues are around, mostly for the boat crowd. You’ll find them east of Eaton’s neck.

Mackerel are out deep in the shipping lanes with the butterfish.

For sea bass, stay deep. Chum them up good, and you’ll end up picking through a bunch of them. There are some nice keepers out there, making the effort well worth it.

Craig at Wego Fishing Bait & Tackle in Southold says the bays are holding porgies, small weakfish, blowfish, kingfish and cocktail blues.

The Gut and Race are producing large bluefish and small striped bass. There are some keeper sized bass in the mix.

Black Sea bass fishing has gotten much better in the Sound. East side of Gardiners, and down the Fishers Island is a productive region.

Fluke fishing picked up off of Montauk this past week. Most boats were able to get a couple keepers per head.

Shark fising is very good still, on the bunker schools close to the beach.

There’s a decent pick of tuna between the dump and Coimbra. They’re popping up randomly in different places every day.

Some mahi and yellowfins are creeping in from the canyons toward inshore waters.

Jeff at Whitewater Outfitters in Hampton Bays says bass fishing is a little slow locally, but Montauk has been pretty good to some guys. There are some schoolies here in the bay; the water is just starting to get a little warm.

Bonito are starting to show up. Jeff heard of a few coming from the inlet. Spanish Mackerel have also been reported.

The tuna bite is still red hot. There’s a nice mix of yellowfin and bluefin tuna on the regular.

Fluke fishing in the bay has been pretty darn good lately. Like most places, you have to pick through shorts to get your keepers. Jeff had some family members out the other day though and had fish to five pounds.

Seabass are out on the wreck. Porgies are inside, and some guys are still scratching away in the peconics for them.

Triggerfish are also around.

Rick from Harbor Marina of East Hampton reports:

After a great spring start, the dog days of summer have tempered the east end bass bite. Definitely focus on low light times of day and productive tide cycles. Block Island is probably the best bet for a hardcore bass trip, however, be careful to stay within the 3 mile line. Good friends have gone through a very painful process disposing of tickets received outside the line. That said, some of my personal bests have come on the July and August Moons.

Porgy and Sea Bass fishing is solid, with sea bass favoring deeper spots and structure. The Fluke bite is a little fickle but the guys that are putting in their time are being rewarded with some quality fish. The south side of Montauk or the east side of B.I. would be my choice for a trophy Fluke trip.

Bluefish are blitzing small bait across Gardiners Bay providing fun light tackle action. Some schoolie bass are in the mix. Snapper season should be starting in the upcoming weeks. I have seen a lot of bait in Three Mile Harbor of late.

Offshore remains a viable option with positive radio chatter coming from the Butterfish Hole and south of B.I. and great reports coming in from the edge.

David at Westlake Marina in Montauk says it’s shark season in Montauk. Plenty of sharks, of all shapes and sizes were caught this week. While out there, boats have reported amazing shows put on by dolphins, whales, mola mola, and the works.

Inshore, sea bass is king. If you’re staying close, target the biscuits.

Fluke had a slight uptick, changing from plain bad to just maybe fair. An uptick though.

For stripers, most guys are heading to Block. And man, they are being rewarded for it. Southwest Ledge is lit up with bass, and other spots along the south shore are equally productive.

Bluefish have been keeping rods bent back home. There aren’t a ton of them, but there are still some big ones around.

Guys are still snap jigging big, dinner-plate sized porgies in close.

There is plenty of mackerel out there. Tons of them! David hasn’t seen many bonito yet, but 1-3 are coming in per week.

Triggerfish showed up, and guys are targeting them. It’s a pretty darn productive fishery these days.

Montauk’s Viking Fleet reports:

Porgies and sea bass hit the decks in good numbers this week. A near 5 pound seabass started the week, and some 3+ pound porgies were taken by the light. Jennifer Smith from Lindenhurst had a 5.5 pound fluke take her bait on Tuesday morning.

Tuesday produced a bunch more porgies by the light, and then some big sea bass over by Block Island. Alberto Rivera won the pool with a 3.4 pound porgy.

Yesterday was productive on the sea bass grounds. The strong currents pushed the Star a bit farther offshore, where they caught sea bass, scup and some fluke to 4 pounds.

Keeper fluke continue to increase in size and numbers as the week goes on. Noah Felice took a 5 pounder later that day, and Scott Uyban took second with a 3 pounder.

The Viking Fleet is also running whalewatching trips. This week they came across 3 humpbacks, 1 minke whale, 3 mola mola, 1 white marlin, and a bunch of notable birds.

Long Island Fishing Forecast

It’s getting crazier by the day on the oceanfront. The frequency at which bunker schools are producing jaw-dropping action has slowed, but the intensity of the action has increased. The schools have come right into shore on multiple occasions, and a variety of predators have been tormenting them.

Matt Heckman had a 15-pound blue in the surf the other day. We’ve been getting stripers in the mornings, and shad in the evenings. Once every day or two, I’ll see something foreign explode on the rain bait. I’m pretty sure I was watching spanish mackerel on the open beach shred these small baitfish the other night. It lasted seconds, and then turned back into a slow shad blitz.

Dolphins are coming by regularly, putting on a hell of a show when they find the bunker. Check out this video of an epic feeding frenzy I saw from shore (view in HD):

Whales can be seen lunge feeding along the coast, breaching as close as 100 yards from dry sand. Sharks are seemingly omnipresent.

LI Flies Mike decided to capitalize on this undeniably huge shark population around the island these past few weeks. He’s been taking stout fly tackle out to the shark grounds and chumming for whatever’s around. He goes offshore, drops some chum in, which raises the mackerel. They catch mackerel on sabikis or flies, and then throw a mackerel fillet out on a line to tease up the sharks. When you pull the meat out of the shark’s mouth, it gets angry and willing to chase a stripped fly that you drop in the fillet’s place.

They brought a few bycaught brown sharks boatside, and encountered makos, duskies, hammerheads and a juvenile Great White (which boldly bit at his motor and boat).

One out of five sharks will go after his flies, and he’ll see upwards of 20 sharks within a 4 hour drift.

His 11 weight has been ample tackle, and he’s had a lot of fun with it.

Sharking has become a productive option for anglers seeking a heavy summertime bend.

Be advised, though, that targeting brown sharks, dusky sharks, and sand tiger sharks is prohibited. They are all federally protected species. If you DO catch one of these species, you are supposed to leave it in the water, which Mike and his crew did a great job of, and minimize handling.

I expect this week to pop off with exotic reports, particularly the bonito. I think the inlet and Montauk will start producing lots of them very soon. The ocean has remained very clear despite the recent spike in swells. This is indicative of an eddie from the gulf stream making its way inshore. There are always tropical and offshore species coming in close when the water looks like this. Throw metal to hook them.

That’s what I’m banking on this week.

Best of luck on your quarry.


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