• Bunker as far as the eye can see, with giant predators on them, spread all across the south shore. Whales, sharks, huge tuna, and dolphins are surface feeding as close as 50 feet from shore, to about 200 yards off.
• Hot surf striper bite when the water’s clear.
• Slow start to albies, but they’re here. So are other mackerel species, like bonito, spanish and frigates.
• Tuna fishing for both yellowfin and bluefin is as good as it gets.
• Giant threshers coming to weigh-in stations, as big as 500 pounds.
• Giant mako season is just about upon us.
• Great schoolie bass bite all throughout the island.
• Black sea bass is the hot ticket on the east end. Scup and fluke abound as well.
• Good fluke fishing in the bays, bigger fish in the ocean.
Long Island Fishing Report
Paul at River Bay Outfitters in Baldwin says “to hell with work, let’s fish!”
It’s the time of year that’ll make you say that. Perfect weather and almost perfect fishing. Everything is biting, so Paul had a few great days this week on all waters.
He went to Connetquot for a family fishing day on Monday. They were doing well fishing ant patterns, but switched to nymphs to try and target some larger fish. The biggest one they had was about 19 inches.
On Tuesday, he hit the saltwater with his kayak to target some fluke. He had a few fluke before focusing his attention on the snappers. There were plenty of them, and a truck load of other bait in the bay. By 1pm, he’d had enough and hopped in his car to drive to westchester. He fished a small stream up there, again throwing ant patterns successfully. It was a good day, and a good week.
Paul intends to rise every AM to fish for a couple hours before work, as reports of albies have begun to pour in from Jones Beach. They’re running as deep into the bay as Meadowbrook bridge. The Spanish mackerel fishing has tapered off a tiny bit; guys are seeing more little fish now.
We’re both excited for the fall, as the potential seems very high right now.
Bay Park Fishing Station in Oceanside had a nice report of a caught-and-released doormat fluke on Monday. Mike Librizzi of “Blue Breeze” was fishing a Tsunami glass minnow silicon skirt teaser, tipped with a 5-inch salmon Gulp grub when the fluke hit at the AB Reef. The fish was 30 inches long, and weighed 9.2 pounds. Good work Mike!
Kathy from Freeport Bait & Tackle got word from Captain Ray of “Carolann P Charters” that the fluking is still going strong. Many keepers can be caught within 9 miles of Jones Beach. The best fishing he found was at the tankers this past Sunday and Monday.
Ray spotted two makos over the weekend. He thinks it was a mother and juvenile, at 7.5 feet and 5.5 feet respectively. He called this a week or two ago: when the bonito show, it’s big mako season. He’s going to start running sharking charters soon.
Other guys are still catching some good fluke as well. Depending on who you talk to, it’s great or it’s dead. The cholera has been a good bet, especially for sea bass. It really depends on which days you go, and how lucky you are.
Anglers are targeting stripers, but the only word Kathy’s received on their whereabouts regards the local bridges. Meadowbrook ain’t a bad bet.
Tuna anglers are still getting out, and into the bluefin.
Bluefish are around in the same areas. Nothing heavy has showed yet, it’s mostly just the same stock we’ve had.
Capt Lou Fleet in Freeport experienced some good fluke fishing this week. Captain Willie of the Starstream VIII has been putting anglers on some lively fluke, with a good amount of sea bass in the mix. Some trips are more productive than others, but overall it’s a good scene. Pink shine Gulp has been the top performer. Anglers also got some tasty bonito this week.
The porgy grounds gave up a lot of good meat for the table, and some sea bass to boot.
Capt. Lou’s “Atlantic Pearl” had a couple successful whale watching trips this week, and have plenty more to offer through September.
Captree’s Laura Lee started seeing some squid this past week. Fluke fishing has been good in both quantity and quality, with anglers taking home a number of 5+ pounders. The best catches typically came in the mornings and evenings, with good numbers of sea bass, porgies, fluke and sea robins. Midday did produce, but it seemed to be a slower pick for the first half of the week. Tuesday and Wednesday the midday bite began to pick up, and the false albacore started coming over the rails.
Here are some other catches from the past week: lots of mackerel, red hake and squirrel hake; silver eels, cunner, codfish and triggerfish; a bonito, a blackfish, a stargazer and a monkfish.
Bill at Chasing Tails Bait and Tackle in Oakdale reports:
Albies are here! The first fish were caught this week, and it looks like a solid season is ahead of us. Epoxy/resin jigs, diamond jigs, and tins are best for these pelagics. Spanish Mackerel are still being caught all day as well.
Weakfish have taken over the bay, and they are hungry! They’re smashing up pink and white soft plastics. Fluke action remains steady with a lot of shorts and some solid keeper fish in the mix. The bay is holding fish on the flats, and the usual bay spots like the bridge, lighthouse, and coast guard station. Bucktails tipped with a Gulp! or Fat Cow strip put in work, and the classic squid and spearing combo will always put fish in the boat. The ocean is holding some bigger fish at the wrecks and reefs. Drop a big bucktail, or fluke ball down for solid flatty action.
The big sea bass are hitting the bucktails too, as well as jigs. Lots of anglers are having luck with their heavy tuna and striper jigs for massive sea bass.
The offshore bite is on fire still, with lots of tuna and shark hanging out close by. Jigs, poppers, squid, and spreader bars are all doing work for the tuna. Sharking action is best with bait, like bunker or mackerel. This week we had a truly epic catch from a close friend of ours, whose team caught a 500 pound thresher shark. Team Black Hawk, consisting of Bobby Lee Jr., Carl DeVito, Mike Adamo, and Collin Muellers, battled this beast of the deep for 12 hours, and came out victorious! With some assistance from their friend Steve Gifford, who rode out to their aid at 3am, they managed to haul the behemoth onboard and take it home for the neighborhood to see and enjoy. This massive shark had an impressive 89 inch tail!
The docks are on fire with snappers which are getting bigger by the day. Tons of fun for the whole family! Kingfish and blowfish are still around in numbers as well. Blue claw crab season is still going strong as well.
Night temps are already on the drop, and a few schoolies and some keepers have been caught already. A great sign for the upcoming fall run!
The Celtic Quest Fishing Fleet of Port Jefferson has been catching lots of scup and sea bass this week. Some big weakfish were caught on the afternoon trips. Porgies highlighted the morning trips, but some jumbos were attained in the afternoons as well. Bonus blues and fluke served to round out out the mixed bag.
Phil at Cow Harbor Bait & Tackle in Northport said Spanish mackerel are still getting caught. That’s a weird, fun occurrence for the area. Another random catch that’s still happening is the cow nose rays. There have been plenty of them along the north shore this year. Phil’s friend landed a 50 pound ray last night in the surf.
Some albie sightings have been made, but not a lot. It’s sporadic, with a few mixed into the Spanish mackerel blitzes.
Porgies are still everywhere.
Striped bass are also everywhere. They’ve been blitzing upon peanut bunker for a while now. Find them in the early morning or afternoon on light tackle for some fun. It’s pretty much all schoolies.
Bluefish are still around. The ones in the bay are mostly cocktails, up to about 3 pounds. In the Sound, you’ll find some larger ones if you drop a diamond jig down deep into 60-100 feet of water. 3-8 pounders are out there chowing on rain bait.
Fluke fishing is pretty slow. There’s a lot of shorts everywhere, but not so many keepers.
Surf guys are getting into some solid weak fishing after dark. There are fish to about 6 pounds, tops.
The bay is loaded with peanuts, and primed for some good surf fishing. On the incoming tide, you’ll see big clouds of peanuts plopping right near shore.
Captain Stu Paterson of Northport Charters has been seeing peanut bunker all over the back bay and harbors. Adult bunker are there too! Blues 2-6 pounds are blasting the peanuts and blitzing alongside schoolie bass.
The porgy bite is still hot, with fish to 2.5 pounds. Seabass is picking up now, with bigger fish taking baits.
Stu’s been picking away at keeper fluke here and there, trying to get it in before the season ends.
The bite is on!
Bryce at Whitewater Outfitters in Hampton Bays says the albies are here, mixed in with the Spanish mackerel. Bonito and frigates have also made appearances.
Bass and blues are blitzing in the daytime along the rocks, and in the surf.
There’s tons of bunker along the south shore, and it’s being harassed by whales, sharks, tuna, and even bluefish. The schools aren’t holding any sizable bass to speak of yet. That should change soon enough.
Fluking in the bay is excellent right now. You have to be int he right place at the right time, but there’s plenty of places and plenty of times that’ll work. Pick a moving tide, either outgoing or incoming. There’s plenty of keepers. It’s not uncommon for a good fisherman to catch 60 fish, 12 of them keepers. Head to the ocean and you’ll find fewer flatties, but good ones. Deeper spots in the ocean are the best places to look.
Sea bass are inshore, but they seem to be making moves outward. 100-120 feet is where you want to be, on the wrecks and reefs.
There are resident bass in the bay, but they’ve thinned out since the appearance of the mackerel species.
Offshore, the tuna bite remains as good as it gets. Bluefin and yellowfin abound in different areas. Head southwest of the inlet towards deep water for yellowfin. Bluefin will be closer to shore to the southeast. There are sizable bluefin to about 200 pounds out there. It’s excellent fishing.
David at Westlake Marina in Montauk just finished weighing in a 216 pound thresher when I called. It was the second one this week of this caliber.
He’s still been seeing great catches of Black Sea bass and porgies. Some big fluke are coming in, but that fishery is hit-or-miss. Some guys sit on them all day, others spend the whole day fishing to catch two keepers.
David hasn’t seen any snappers in the harbor lately, but he’s heard some stories about them in 3 mile harbor and elsewhere. It’s strange that they’re not in yet.
There have been whispers of false albacore and bonito, but the claims are very few and unsubstantiated. Anglers in Rhode Island are surprised to hear of the slow start, as they’ve been having a banner year with the Pelagics.
It’s been like Nat Geo in Montauk this week though, with lots of whales and dolphins blitzing on bunker just 200 yards off the beach. It’s a heck of a sight to observe. David told John Paduano to check it out. He did, and came back with word of giant bluefin tuna being in the mix.
On the topic of striped bass, there isn’t as much to be said. David saw a couple keepers come to the dock this week, but most guys are opting for the stellar Black Sea bass fishing rather than running to Block for big girls.
Montauk’s Viking Fleet experienced some excellent porgy fishing off the lighthouse this weekend. Mackerel, sea bass and fluke rounded out the bag, with bonus catches of some big triggerfish. William Gati from Queens had a 5.5 pound triggerfish that won the pool on Saturday. Jonathan Bonilla from Long Beach won the edible pool the next day with a 5 pound trigger. Raven Dowling from Queens took the overall pool with a 6.2 pound fluke.
The great fishing continued into this week, with healthy mixed bags and near-limits of porgies, seabass and fluke. Danielle Sepnieski from Sag Harbor cranked up a 7.5 pound fluke to win the pool on Monday, and Tuesday’s pool winner was Jacob Starcke from Northport with a 5.75 pound sea bass.
The Fivestar made it offshore for three days of excellent fishing. They had one yellowfin weighing about 100 pounds, and tilefish to 34 pounds. They had a nice mix of bottom dwellers and a fat wahoo.
This week’s whale watching tour went well, with 4 being photographed and 5 spouting nearby. About 60 bottlenose dolphins appeared for the show as well.
Yesterday, Capt. Dave took some folks out to catch porgies and sea bass. The action wasn’t stellar, but it was steady. The pool winners were a 2.7 pound porgy and a 3 pound sea bass.
Long Island Fishing Forecast
A quick thanks to all the first responders who put their lives on the line on 9/11/2001 to help others. It’s almost twenty years later, and it still feels like yesterday. God bless those who helped, those we lost, and the people whose loved ones never made it home that day. New York is the greatest place on earth, and those selfless folks who worked day in and out to save as many strangers as possible are testament to that. Never forget that selflessness and sacrifice.
The resurgence of a flourishing coastline only serves to bolster NY’s greatness.
The surf fishing this week was fantastic, but it paled in comparison to the surf observing.
I’m on the water every single day, and I see all different bodies of fish swim by. This sunday, though, I saw more bunker than I’ve ever seen in my life (and this might be the third time I’ve said that this summer). One mega-school stretched for literally as far west and east as the eye could see.
I’ve already mentioned this, but there was a staggering number of predators feeding upon the menhaden. Whales breached regularly all across the seascape, typically from sunrise until late-morning. They’d breach in groups of 2-3 at times, in perfect unison. I happened to be filming with my drone when one of these couples arrived to lunge feed. The footage I got is just ridiculous. See the video here in HD
I could smell the bunker this morning, although I could not see them since the seas picked up and the sky grayed. I’m sure they’re still here though, and their predators too.
Tuna are also in the mix. I heard multiple stories of giants arriving boatside by light tackle charters very close to shore. I even saw one enormous tuna breach clear out of the water a couple hundred yards off the beach. Who needs to catch fish, or even go boating, when you can watch a show like that with warm water and sand in between your toes.
Hopefully you got to see some of this last week, and I’m not just rubbing salt on those FOMO wounds.
If you didn’t experience this, GET DOWN TO THE BEACH! I don’t see the feed ceasing just yet. In fact I expect everything to get a little bit crazier now that we’re getting some September rain. Blitzes should start to occur. No stripers were attacking the big schools of bunker last week, for they were still in summer mode feeding along the lip. Casting big plugs at the bunker was most likely a waste of time if you tried it. I targeted the beach lip instead with little jigs, and was extremely successful.
The rainy days and cooling water will turn those summer fish into fall mode, where other fish become the main target. And soon enough, we’ll have some larger stripers moving in to feed exclusively on bigger baits.
I’m looking to catch my first big fall fish up close to the lip at night. In September, the luckiest surfmen on the south shore are those who find the first sandeel bite of the year. I’d love a bit of that luck.
^Hopefully you can pull some surfcasting cheat codes out of those paragraphs above. Even better would be if you got to experience the apex predators feeding, as I got to witness these past two weeks.
Whatever you’re looking for, I hope you find it.
Godspeed, and tight lines. Til next week.