Long Island – New York Fishing Report – September 3, 2020


Albie season kicks off with blitzes and a number of catches. A few bonito have been taken recently also.

Big fluke in Montauk.

Consistent sea bass, fluke, and porgy bites island-wide.

A quick crevalle jack bite occurred this week out east.

Weakfish to 26 inches.

Big stripers at Block and Montauk, slot stripers up in the Gut. Big blues at the Gut also.

Shore-bound stingrays along the north shore.

Spanish mackerel are all over the island.

Paul at River Bay Outfitters in Baldwin took the boat out this week for a beautiful day on the water with his wife. A chill day turned into some hot snapper fishing and a bit of fluking. The snappers were plentiful, and they were puking up a ton of tiny spearing. The local bays are inundated with small bait right now.

Most of the island is holding a good amount of Spanish mackerel. The inlets are hot spots all along the south shore, and they’re even making landfall as far as the central north shore. There are more Spanish mackerel than Paul’s ever seen right now. Get after them!

Paul hit the Housatonic on Tuesday for one last hurrah with the smallmouth. Now that we’re starting to experience some cooler nights, the river’s water temp is dropping. The smallie bite should start to taper off as a result. He did well, catching about 15 fish. His friend had one that was 17-18 inches.

Weakfish have been a regular catch in Long Island Sound. This one was caught aboard the Celtic Quest.

Capt Lou Fleet in Freeport started out the week with some excellent ocean fluking. Limits were caught all over the boat. As the week progressed, the porgy and Black Sea bass bites picked up substantially. Clams on hi-lo rigs appear to have done the most damage. The fleet continued to hammer the fluke throughout the week, obtaining the most keepers they’ve seen this year. Tuesday was a banner day for keeper fluke.

Bill at Chasing Tails Bait and Tackle in Oakdale says the 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 your best bet for catching these pelagics. Spanish Mackerel are still being caught all day as well. 

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 work well; you can’t go wrong with the classic squid-spearing combo either. The ocean is holding some bigger fish at the wrecks and reefs. Drop a big bucktail, or fluke ball down for a shot at a doormat. 

The big sea bass are hitting 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 still on fire; you shouldn’t even have to run too far out to get some tuna. Jigs, poppers, squid, and spreader bars are all bringing fish to the boat. 

The docks are boiling with snappers, which are growing larger by the day. Blue claw crabbing is still going strong as well. These two targets can provide tons of fun for the whole family.

Night temps are already on the drop, and a few schoolies have been caught already. A great sign for the upcoming fall run!

Jumbo scup caught aboard the Viking Fleet.

Captree’s Laura Lee caught a ton of Black Sea bass this week. Almost every trip saw numbers in the hundreds. Other species produced very well also, with lots of decent fluke coming over the rails. Some big triggerfish were taken, and weakfish also helped diversify the catch. A very healthy number of mackerel were caught, and bluefish also enhanced the mixed bag.

Yesterday’s trips produced a nice bag as well. The AM trip saw 123 fluke, 23 sea bass, 37 sea robins, 2 blowfish and 1 sundial. The PM trip had 14 fishermen who caught 175 big sea bass, 19 fluke, 6 red hake and 5 sea robins.

Surfcasting guide Bernie Bass had a productive week in the suds, catching a good number of short stripers. They were taking super strike darters, soft plastics and minnow plugs. The bluefish showed up to the party this week as well, shredding those soft plastics of his. 

Bernie’s seen plenty of bait all over the island, and is hopeful that some cooler temperatures this week will improve the local fishery even more.

False albacore were even caught aboard headboats, like the Laura Lee, this week.

Phil at Cow Harbor Bait & Tackle in Northport said big bluefish are showing up here and there, mostly inside the harbors. They’re eating peanut bunker, and mostly range from 8-12 pounds. The recent rainy days were the best days for them.

There’s a ton of small striped bass around still. They’re hard to miss, as they’re feeding on bait just about everywhere.

Porgies are also still all over the place. They’re about medium-size nowadays. 

There’s been a lot of reports from the Smithtown area of Spanish mackerel. Everybody is out looking for albies, but the mackerel are mostly what they’re finding.

Bait-wise, there’s a ton of spearing, peanuts, adult bunker and snappers.

Fluke-wise, there’s a lot of shorts. They’re mostly coming as a surprise bycatch for porgy fishermen.

Weakfish showed up a bit in the back bay harbors. Guys are catching them at night. That’s another bycatch for porgy fishermen.

A lot of sting rays have been getting caught on the north shore this week, a very unusual occurrence. Guys who are fishing bunker chunks or porgy rigs are getting surprise stingrays to bite.

Another interesting occurrence was a 7-8 foot long shark being discovered by a commercial clammer on the mud flats. A big dorsal surprised the man when he was out working. Phil’s heard of small sharks getting caught in the bunker gill nets throughout the years, but never anything this size.

This black sea bass was caught with Captain Stu Patterson.

Dave Flanagan of “North Island Fly” had a decent week on the Spanish mackerel until the heavy winds arrived. He saw a good amount of blues and bass chewing on smaller baits. More reports of bonito intrigued Dave, but he did not come across any this week.

The weather turned the fishing around, even to the east, but Dave expects it should pick up with some stabler weather this week.

Dave is booked for most of September, but still has a few open slots. Get in touch with him ASAP to reserve a spot on his boat, especially if you want to fish the weekends.

Captain Stu Paterson of “Northport Charters” has had some nice seabass and fluke coming over the rail this week. They’re adding to the porgy and bluefish bag he’s been catching. The blues are running 2-6 pounds mainly, but there are plenty of snappers all over the bay and LI Sound. They’re getting to be about cocktail size now.

There’s a ton of action, with bait all over the place: spearing, bay anchovies, peanuts and adult bunker are all present to provide  promising potential for this fall run.

The Celtic Quest Fishing Fleet of Port Jefferson had a steady pick this week, putting their clients on nice mixed bags. Porgies and Seabass were the mainstays, with nice-sized catches of both species acquired. Weakfish became a pretty consistent bonus catch this week, and they weren’t small! A number of mid-size bluefish also came over the rails. A big pod of dolphins made an appearance the other day in the Port Jeff area during one outing.

Tyler at Wego Fishing Bait & Tackle in Southold says there’s mainly porgies in the bay, and they’re pretty small for the most part. Guys are still getting them from shore in the Sound though. Out in about 50 feet of water, anglers are finding some nice weakfish to 26 inches. One was weighed in and came to 5 pounds.

The Gut is great. A lot of good slot bass moved in with the full moon tides over the past couple days. Yesterday morning was red hot. If you were there, you likely caught your keeper, and perhaps a few over the slot as well. There are some big blues in there too. There’s a ton of adult bunker running around the Sound, and most of these bigger fish are honed in on them. Find them from Goldsmith’s east to the point. There’s birds on top of them, and fish underneath.

The albie bite is weird and inconsistent, but they’re definitely around. Tyler just saw a school yesterday. The Spanish mackerel bite has slowed down a bit, probably because of the colder weather this week.

For fluke, head to Montauk. Block is on fire, but Montauk is supposedly even better.

Jeff at Whitewater Outfitters in Hampton Bays got into some albies this morning, who were blitzing more than a long cast off the open beach. He says the Spanish mackerel have been hitting the shinnecock rocks pretty hard. They’ve been here a while, and don’t seem to be letting up. There have been some tropical fish getting caught as well, such as blue runner and crevalle jacks. Bonito made a quick appearance, and a few people caught them.

Bass fishing is pretty darn good for this time of year. There are plenty of fish in the bay. Some guys had a good night at the inlet this week, with bass to 34 inches.

The inshore bluefin tuna bite is about as good as it gets. There’s a lot of successful jigging going on, and some bigger fish are being taken on live baits near the bottom. Guys are rigging up live bluefish or bunker and dropping them down in about 30-40 fathoms.

The canyon bite has also been good for those who’ve made it out there recently. Yellowfin, bigeyes, and swordfish were all caught this week.

Fluke fishing has been good in the bay, and the ocean has been spotty. The best bet for big fluke is going to be out east. There’s some very good fish hanging off Block and Montauk. Jeff’s friend had fluke to eight pounds out east this week.

Rick from Harbor Marina of East Hampton reports: “An abundance of short Sea Bass and a smattering of short Fluke have dominated local bottom fishing. Some decent Porgy fishing is to be had if you are willing to move around a bit. That is not to say that there are not keeper Sea Bass or keeper Fluke. Be prepared to bring a lot of bait and try different spots.

Striped Bass fishing improved on the moon with keeper-sized fish along the Fishers Island Chain, and off Montauk. Block Island remains strong with the main body of fish still to our north. It is definitely time to tune up the gear for your favorite method of bass fishing. Personally, I have been tying some live eel rigs in order to be fishing with lighter weights and have a better feel on strikes. I am looking forward to catching some keeper bass on live eels rather than snapping wireline this fall.

Off shore the solid tuna bite continues with boats picking a couple of Yellowfin and occasional Bluefin on recent outings. Sharking has become a bit hit-or-miss; historically, though, some of the best Mako fishing of the year can be found into early October.

Snappers and cocktail blues are dominating the local inshore waters with bait being herded against docks and bulkheads. Mini blitzes are occurring on the slack tide, entertaining young anglers and their parents on the local docks.

The winds are blowing from the North today and I can feel the migration building momentum from up the Maine Coast, sending this season’s first schools of fish in a Southerly direction.”

David at Westlake Marina in Montauk says fluking has leveled off, but anglers are still pulling some in. It’s worth it to go; you are just going to have to put in some time to find some decent fish.

Porgies and sea bass are still bending rods very consistently.

Striper fishing at the ledge is excellent, but guys are only catching oversized fish; David hasn’t heard of any slot-sized fish being taken there this week. That’s a pretty awesome problem to have.

One small thresher came to the scale this week.

Some nice yellowfin and bigeyes were taken from the canyon. There’s still an inshore bite going on at the Ranger wreck, but it has become more sporadic. Many of the tuna boys are getting excited about the dragger bite that occurred around this time last year. They’ll troll and chunk behind the commercial draggers for big tuna.

There’s been a pack of whales near shore that David has been watching while walking his dog in the morning. They seem to have moved out following the inclement weather.

The only consistent fishing to be had right now seems to be sea bass, porgies and fluke.

Montauk’s Viking Fleet began the week with buckets of giant porgies and sea bass. 11 year old Phoenix Forbes from Montauk won the pool with a 4.9 pound sea bass. The lighthouse produced well that day, giving up a mix of porgies, seabass, and keeper fluke. They headed east for more large porgies and 2 codfish.

Windy conditions kept the fleet close to shore the rest of the week, but the fishing did not let up much. Good catches of sea bass and porgies (mostly shorts) were experienced. Each spot was hit-or-miss yesterday, but the anglers managed to catch a fair mixed bag, consisting of seabass, fluke and porgies. Douglas Albert from Lindenhurst took the pool with a 4.5 pound sea bass yesterday morning.

The Star sailed yesterday afternoon, staying close to shore due to the high winds. Short fluke started the trip, and lots of seabass closed out the afternoon trip. 

Chris from Double D Charters in Montauk says striped bass fishing is still the highlight of east end fishing. Fluking is a close second, with a good amount of very large fish coming to hand. Now is the time to get out for a chance at bagging a double digit doormat. Fluke season ends September 30.

Black Sea bass fishing is steady as she goes, producing plenty of jumbos. Captain Dan’s son, Jake, actually weighed in a new dock record knothead this week!

Long Island Fishing Forecast

I’m expecting lots of blitzes this week. Albies, macks, stripers, bluefish, you name it. My buddy Brendan even witnessed a sea robin blitz the other day. I know blitzes are occurring out east as I type, and around rock piles and jetties to the west. The ocean is quickly calming down, and the fishing potential is rapidly rising.

The changing of seasons is effecting some crazy weather patterns lately. Those short-lived storms we had this week were radical, and the fish responded in similar fashion. I saw my first albies blitzing right on the open beach early in the week, but I blew my opportunity. Can’t win ‘em all. Unfortunately the storms kept increasing in intensity, and so did the surf. Surf fishing slowed down for a few days there, so I spent my time catching giant eels out of my local creek. Anything to bend the rod.

Now I’m fiending for the surf again, so I’ll start to hit the inlet for some albie action when I’m able. From the sound of it, that bite on the rocks could really kick off this week. Soon enough, we’ll be shoulder-to-shoulder on the rocks with the nicest, most polite people on earth: our fellow New York surfcasters. 

Jokes aside, though, I’m looking forward to seeing some fishy friends at the jetty.

If that’s not your scene, it’d be smart to hit the open beach. This week I’m going to be putting almost all of my time into the suds. After Labor Day, my work schedule frees up a bit, and I can get to the inlet for sunrise; but this week I’m primarily looking for daytime striper blitzes, fueled by spearing, right on the sand. That’s what I experienced this week last year, anyway.

If I haven’t thrown enough options at you surf rats yet, consider the bay as well. I hear that’s where most of the obvious action is occurring, making for some pretty easy/fun/visual fishing. Nothing wrong with that!

North winds the next few days, mixed with periodic rain, will dampen the ocean waves.

That should make for some easy surf fishing as well.

The weather, the fishing, the temperature, the end of summer…. everything feels perfect to me right now. This tends to be my favorite week of the year, and I intend to seize every free moment to FISH!

Get outside and take advantage of it.

Tight lines.

2 on “Long Island – New York Fishing Report – September 3, 2020

  1. Andrew J Atlas

    I so much enjoy your articles especially the last few paragraphs which always resonate with me thank you very much

  2. peter okeefe

    as usual with your posts I can almost smell saltwater…thanx

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