Big striped bass 20-40 pounds for surf and boat anglers all along the south shore, from Breezy to Montauk. 50+ pounders are in the mix in certain areas. They’re mainly hitting sandeel or bunker patterns, depending on where you fish.
Bottom fishing remains strong: porgies, sea bass, and now blackfish are providing mixed bag limits.
Blackfish started off on a high note. Lots of anglers are acquiring limits in certain areas. The rocks are hot!
Quick albie showing on the North Fork, plus some big bass.
Frank from Bernie’s Bait and Tackle in Brooklyn says the fishing is very good in general right now. This Tuesday, a body of quality striped bass moved in off Breezy Point. Eyewitnesses say they were feeding on the surface, putting on a show. Many of the fish looked to be over twenty pounds, and a variety of popping plugs confirmed that. Poppers are flying off the shelves right now. If you’re throwing bait, make it bunker. Bernie expects guys to start trolling soon, looking to cull the big girls from the mix.
Bluefish are becoming more of a presence lately. 5-10 pounders are pretty common these days, and they can be found throughout Jamaica Bay.
Porgies are still being caught, although they are starting to fade out of some areas. There are some really nice keepers in the mix. Other bottom fish have been biting well too, such as sea bass and rudder fish. Some guys are still getting the occasional blowfish. The weather has been temperate enough not to shake up the fishing.
Blackfish seems to have started out pretty good. Guys are dropping green crabs and clams for them.
Albies will get honorable mention once again, as they haven’t been much of a factor this fall. Hope is not gone though; there is still a chance they will appear with some consistency.
NY Harbor has been seeing some big shad this week.
Josh at Gypsea Charters in the Rockaways says both boats continue to grind on the bass bite. Consistent catches of slot-sized fish are coming up on live bait. The big body of stripers is moving closer by the day, and a few 40 pound class fish have been caught and released aboard the Gypsea fleet. With the new moon on the 16th, anticipation for stellar striped bass fishing is high.
Blackfising is off to a good start, and they’ll be the primary target aboard the 50 foot “Star,” by reservation only. The 6-pack Gypsea is available for private charters, sailing for stripers and blackfish.
Paul at River Bay Outfitters in Baldwin guided a group from NY Athletic Club this Tuesday at the Connetquot River. They did the same trip last year, and this year’s went just as well. 12 guys all caught trout, on a variety of flies. Nymphs worked really well, and fish were willing to sip terrestrials and caddis off the surface. Streamers also got the job done.
The Montauk guides said it was crazy out there this week. Acres of bass were blitzing on small bait.
The north shore is supposed to be a bit slower. There hasn’t been much in the way of albies, but there are some bass around.
There is tons of bait around still.
Offshore, the yellowfin bite is done. We were lucky to have it for as long as we did. John reckons one could still buy a few bites from the remaining bluefin, but he thinks time is better spent on other species at this point. Most of the bluefin are small right now.
Kathy from Freeport Bait & Tackle says guys are getting striped bass near the meadowbrook bridges. Most guys are going out at night for them. There’s a lot of schoolies around, and a good number of them are slot fish.
Green crabs are going out the door. Kathy has heard that the bite is good, and the fish are sizable. Keeper size is 16 inches, and plenty of guys are bringing food home. Guys aren’t buying a couple dozen crabs, they’re getting half bushels to target this bite.
Striper fishermen are using clams, bloodworms, live eels and bunker. All are effective. Guys targeting sea bass are dropping clams as well. Jumbo porgies prefer the bloodworms.
Bluefish are still being caught in Jones inlet.
Some guys are still going out for tuna. Flats of herring and sardines were recently purchased.
The Capt Lou Fleet in Freeport limited out on their first striped bass trip of the season. Slots came up regularly, as did oversized bass pushing past 50 pounds. They released multiple 50+ pound fish. They’ll be sailing daily for stripers from 7am-2pm.
Bottom fishing season closed out this past weekend for the Capt. Lou Fleet. They caught loads of sea bass and porgies on their final trip.
Captree’s Laura Lee seized opportunities to get out on the water this week when the weather remained calm. As usual, the bags were heavy and contained a variety of fish. The story of the week was the striped bass blitz, which produced a boat limit of fish to 22 pounds, and then some. There was an excellent pick of porgies, and bluefish were numerous. A handful of weakfish were taken regularly, and lots of sea bass too. 1 pinfish was caught, which is something that always catches my eye.
Striper fishing will be taking place regularly from now on, on all half-day and night trips.
Surfcasting guide Bernie Bass saw a lot of consistency this week in both the small bass bite and the slot fish bite. The fish were biting day and night on the sand beaches, on all sorts of bait. A variety of lures produced, as a result. Bernie saw bunker, peanut bunker, shad, spearing, and more. Blurple lures were very effective on the night tides, especially his Poombah needle. Bucktails ruled the day bite, so Bernie threw S&S jigs with Green Head twerk tailz. Bernie says “if you get the chance, get out as much as you can for there’s no better time than now.”
Celtic Quest Fishing Fleet of Port Jefferson bounced back and forth between Mattituck and Port Jeff this week. The scup and sea bass bites were on fire by Port Jeff during the afternoon. Quick bites allowed for a healthy harvest. Mattituck was also bountiful, where the fleet put its clients on some big fish of the same species, plus blackfish.
Tyler at Wego Fishing Bait & Tackle in Southold says some serious blitzes erupted in the Sound this past week. It lasted for three days, and contained stripers and albies. There weren’t a lot of albies, but enough to please a few shore guys. The boat anglers had a much better shot at these fish.
Blackfish season has been very good so far. The Sound has been open for a few days, so guys have been picking up their limits in pretty shallow water. Tyler headed over to Fishers Island this morning for a good bite in about 25 feet of water. Check that depth anywhere in the Sound by Plum Island and you should do okay. Since the Bight harvest opened today, a few guys ran to check out the brick yards this morning.
You can probably find some porgies kicking around still. Snappers are in the creeks. Speaking of creeks, one angler pulled a 36 inch bass up the other day deep in the back.
About a week ago, some guys got into a body of bigger striped bass. It remained quiet, but those fish were pushing upwards of 30 pounds.
Jeff at Whitewater Outfitters in Hampton Bays says blackfish season opened up with a bang. Plenty of keepers have been taken along the jetties already.
Bass fishing has been good along the beach, but the dirty ocean slowed down the action a bit. The bite is spread out along the beaches; there’s not one hot spot, but the fish are around. Guys have begun diamond jigging from the boats for some bigger bass. Surfcasters have also had the opportunity to encounter some quality stripers as well. The fish are on sandeels.
Kenny at Tight Lines Tackle in Sag Harbor hasn’t heard many reports since the blow on Tuesday, but the weekend fishing prior was phenomenal. The north side of Montauk was lit up with acres of blitzing fish. Once Tuesday’s wind hit, the waves grew, the water dirtied, and the fishing was straight up hard. Reports indicate that there were still some fish to the east since then.
Blackfishing was very good this past week. The north side of plum was particularly productive. Kenny kept receiving the same report from each boat: hit the bottom and you got ‘em. There wasn’t any big fish, but most boats were able to cull a legal limit, and the fish were pretty much all between 3 and 5 pounds. There were some big triggerfish in the mix, as well as big porgies and sea bass. Bottom fishing remains strong.
Captain Tom Federico in Sag Harbor was able to eel up a nice keeper bass in the ferry slip. At one point during a drift, he reeled his eel up quickly to check on it, and a huge bass followed it right to the boat.
Long Island is completely open for blackfish harvest as of today, so we’re looking forward to some good reports in the near future.
On the local beaches, most surfcasters have only been able to find smaller schoolie bass since the blow. However, a few big girls did come out to play for those grinding through the imperfect conditions.
Rick from Harbor Marina of East Hampton reports:
It is great to see schools of Striped Bass feeding in the near shore waters of Montauk. Light tackle enthusiasts and traditional rod and reel fishermen have all been kept busy on the surface and on the bottom catching unders, slot-fish and overs.
Reports of keeper-sized fish up in the bay, and schoolies along the ocean beach have also been coming in. I am hopeful we will see some bigger fish along the beach this week.
The blackfish opener was productive and a lot of guys scored just over the line North of Plum Island. With all areas south and east of the LI Sound Region opening this week, we should see some solid action on these tough bottom dwellers.
Those putting in their time on the tog should still see some nice porgies and sea bass in the mix.
Bluefish were mixed in with the schoolie bass, so keep an eye on your leaders when fishing the blitz.
The Albies have been hit-or-miss. It seems like the heavier wind days have been turning them on.
There are still some reports of bluefin tuna around offshore, but the window is closing fast on all but the outermost reaches of the canyons.
David at Westlake Marina in Montauk says the albies have been keeping the light tackle charter guys entertained. The fly guides are all busy and productive. They’re still catching small bass, too, but now some keepers are entering the mix. The small boats doing the ol’ run-and-gun have been doing well.
David was looking at a nice mess of just-legal blackfish as we spoke. Green crabs have been selling well (and they have more), and the tog bite seems to be pretty good!
A few bass that came to the docks for cleaning were emptied of their stomach contents, which was almost entirely adult bunker. The fish that were eating these huge menhaden were only three to four times the size of the bait they ate.
Sea bass and porgies have still been biting well. Bottom fishing hasn’t really showed much sign of slowing down.
Guys are starting to buy lots of eels for both daytime and night fishing from the boats. Interestingly, surfcasters have not been buying as many eels during non-moon tides.
Surf guide Bill Wetzel of the Surf Rats Ball saw some of the best blitz fishing he’s seen in years by Montauk Point this week. White bait was the primary fuel for these feeds, and stripers would not stop hitting lures. Darters were the main gig at night, and bucktails worked during the daytime blitzes. The number of fish was staggering, but the short life of the bite pales in comparison to the weeks-long blitz that would occur when the fishery was better.
Montauk’s Viking Fleet put up good numbers of porgies and sea bass at the beginning of the week. Those fish tended to have some size not hem, and cod were a regular occurrence. Young anglers killed it this week, with many pool winning fish taken by 10 and 11 year olds. Daniel Dowling from Bridgehampton had a 3.3 pound sea bass take the cake on Sunday. Kevin Kelly, 11, of Hampton Bays took a 3.5 pound knothead earlier the same day.
Yesterday (Wednesday) was a “codtastic” day on the Star. Cod took on every drop. The beginning of the week, cod were about 8-10 pounds. Bigger fish The weather has been an absolute pain. I’ve heard more stories of good fish coming from tough-weather nights, though, so I’m motivated to get out during the blows. Unfortunately my shoulder can only take so much heavy-tackle casting. Also, the big fish have been coming into the surf so inconsistently, that the nights I’ve chosen just seem to be incorrect. There’s no telling what night/morning will be best, so catching the big girls requires a consistent effort.
The two main factors that have been consistent in those big fish are moon phase and time of day. The bulk of the big bass have been coming in on the full/new moon tides, either at night, first light or sunrise. Tide may be a factor, but it seems like the light (or lack thereof) is generally more important. Right now, we’re in the middle of a new moon tide, my favorite for big bass. So, the timing is right. I have work obligations out the wazoo, though, so I’m sure I’ll miss some biggins this week because of that. I will do my best.
It’s tough to maintain hope that I’ll get a big fish at this point. I’m sure plenty of you can relate to that feeling. It’s mid-October, which isn’t that late, but it feels late. I feel like multiple waves of big fish have passed me by, and I’m never there when they pop their head in the door. My anxiety builds with each passing day.
Then I hear of awesome catches, like Derek Monfort’s 47-incher taken on an SP minnow in the suds last night, and my hope is immediately rekindled. Congrats Derek, and thanks for the swift kick in the butt!
They’re out there guys and gals: as my boss calls them, “fish no man’s ever seen.” Go get yours, and give her a good healthy release.