Long Island – New York Fishing Report – October 29, 2020

An 80 pound bluefin tuna beached itself in front of an angler, and a giant bluefin tuna was caught right outside the inlet.

Good numbers of 30,40, and 50 pound stripers are being caught near the city.

Stripers all along the south shore, on the beaches and in the back bays.

North shore was on fire this week.

Togging is top notch lately. Bottom fishing in general is excellent.

Frank from Bernie’s Bait and Tackle in Brooklyn says there’s big doings this week, as the big bass have moved in. Frank’s heard of a good number of fish to fifty pounds; there are plenty of thirties, forties and fifties. They’re all over the area since a few days ago. Weather may be holding some anglers back, but the fish are chewing. Bunker and eels are the favored bait so far, but lures are beginning to prove effective, from sandeel imitations to bunker spoons. The surf guys are scoring some good fish on lures.

Porgies are still available. The weather is a factor, as the colder water is starting to push them out. There are areas from shore, like near the Verrazano and in NY Harbor, where the water stays warmer a bit longer. Guys targeting those areas are doing well. Otherwise, the best action will be seen from a boat. There’s been a fairly reliable bite in deeper water, over the reefs. There’s a mix of big and small fish grouped together. You’ll have to pick through a bunch of shorts to get some keepers, but there are definitely some really nice keepers.

Captain Dave Flanagan with a chunky albie for this week.

Blackfish, on the other hand, is mostly shorts. You’re lucky to get one keeper if you’re on a party boat. The guys who know what they’re doing tend to be the successful ones. Sharpies who have their own coordinates are doing the best, and getting some quality fish. It is a slow pick though.

You can find some seabass mixed in with the porgies in the deeper, warmer water.

The Far Rockaways are still producing, but that will be dying off with the influx of cooler water.

Bluefish have been coming in quietly, in what Frank called “raiding parties.” They’re sneaking into the creeks in the early mornings for about an hour, making some noise, attacking some bunker, in hit-and-run fashion. They’re in fast and out fast. Fish have been reported to ten pounds, and you have to be there to get in on it. It’s lightning fast fishing.

The author had a great day of fishing in the big swell on Saturday.

Frank says take advantage of this good fishing while it’s going on. The bass might not be here very long. One thing’s for certain: they’re here now.

Josh at Gypsea Charters in the Rockaways says the big bass have invaded the NY Bight, and both boats have seen stellar catches. In the past week, they’ve been trolling up fish over 50 pounds with Tony Maja spoons, and have even taken some on live bunker. They’ve seen quite a few slot-sized fish mixed in with the big girls as well, making it a perfect outing for their clients, who were able to bring some striper home for dinner.

The black fishing was not great this past week, with that huge ocean swell. As the ocean lays down, the fishing should improve.

Highlights of the week include two fifties for Johnny V’s charter, and twin 9 pound togs for Brian.

The 35 ft. Gypsea is available for private charters up to 6, and the 55 foot Star is doing open boat blackfishing by reservation.

Paul at River Bay Outfitters in Baldwin guided some fly anglers in the saltwater this Monday. There was wind and weeds to deal with, but after running around the south shore a bit, they found their quarry in the Jones Inlet. Bluefish and shad came out to play when they found some clean water here at the top of the outgoing.

Duck Dennis took Paul out into the backbays to throw some plugs to bass from his boat. It was hit after hit after hit, from stripers ranging 20-26 inches mainly. They did have one fish in the two days that was about 30 inches. The action was hot in the back waters, where they were all alone. Meanwhile, the radio was lit up with guys talking about trolling just outside the inlet.

Paul says there’s still lots of bait in the back bays.

Steve getting it done with a teaser rig in the surf.

Kathy from Freeport Bait & Tackle got a report from Adonis H. Triplett after he fished the Wantagh bridge. He was drifting some green crabs that he just got from Kathy’s shop, when a 5.5 pound, 23 inch blackfish took the bait. Several other anglers have been doing well around the bridges in the area. Blackfish jigs and rigs tipped with green crabs have been doing the trick. Some stripers are being taken from those spots as well. Head out of the inlet towards the AB Reef for some more good blackfish action.

Striper fishing has been good in Jones Inlet, and up into the bays. Luis Aldizurez was fishing Sore Thumb this week, and he caught plenty of stripers there. The night bite was especially good on blurple needlefish lures. Other sandeel imitations are working great, like soft plastics, the Shimano colt sniper, and diamond jigs. Poppers are also producing. Kathy mentioned Runoff sandeel jigs as an extremely good representation of the bait.

Bait is also a good bet, as reports are positive from anglers soaking bunker chunks and fresh clams.

Captains are coming in to buy mojos again. It’s that time of year. John from the shop has been rigging up lots of wire trolling combos for bunker spoons.

Surfcasters are throwing big bucktails in the inlet, and diamond jigs to the stripers on the beach.

The Capt Lou Fleet in Freeport had a nice mixed bag this week. They did some awesome whale watching, first of all. There are some pretty cool pictures on their Facebook page that make me want to go on one of these trips. They’re running them through November.

They had bluefish, bonito, sea bass and a ton of mackerel to start the week.

The tog and cod kept anglers occupied throughout the rest of the week. They’re keeping their eyes open for stripers too.

Bay Park Fishing Station in Oceanside got a couple big bass reports this week. Lloyd Malsin of “Nansea II” had gotten out to troll in some dense fog last week, picking up a couple bass to about 50 pounds. Afterwards he took to togging and had about 100 blackfish, only one of which was a keeper. He was fishing on the west reef.

Ken and Jordana Barish ran south of Debs to about 82 feet of water on Sunday. They were trolling a TGT green/white bunker spoon, and a 39 inch bass took the lure, caught and released.

Captree’s Laura Lee has been putting up good numbers of big sea bass and porgies this week. Striper fishing was generally pretty slow, but on Monday they caught 25 fish to 40 inches. A few weakfish came up on a few trips, and bluefish did the same. Cunner were quite a common catch. A few bonito were caught, and blackfish were targeted successfully.

They did have a couple trips this week that caught nothing, which is the first I’ve seen from this fleet.

It’s pouring rain today, and the wind is picking up steadily, so their trips today are cancelled. Tomorrow shows a similar forecast, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see more cancellations. Give them a call before heading to the dock.

A big blackfish caught aboard Gypsea Charters.

Bill at Chasing Tails Bait and Tackle in Oakdale reports:

The fall run continues to have solid action for both boat and surf fishermen. The boat guys are doing very well in the ocean while jigging and trolling. Plenty of slot fish and some really solid ones in the 40 pound range are coming up consistently. Off the beach, they’re keyed in on sand eels and bunker. Diamond jigs will work all day, then switch to a darter, swimmer, bucktail, or shad for the evening to stay on the bite.

Local Blackfish action is incredible, plenty of keepers and some really big fish hanging out on the structure. The jig bite is hot in the shallows, and the rigs put in work out deep.

Sea Bass are hungry and on the feed, and plenty of big ones too. 3-4 pound fish are common, and there are monster 6+ pound fish lurking as well.

Mark at Cow Harbor Bait & Tackle in Northport says black fishing is going real well this year. There are a lot of keepers, and tons of action. Mark says this year is very different from years past.

The albies are here and there, and they have been biting pretty well when they’re here. They are like ghosts this year though; you can’t really count on them being anywhere.

Bluefish are still around, to about eight pounds. Most of them are about 3-4 pounds.

There’s a lot of activity on the bass front. There’s a large quantity of smaller fish, with some quality fish mixed in. The upper echelon is in the high teen range. Whether you’re on the beach or in a boat, your odds are good.

The bait situation is awesome right now. It seems like the menhaden must’ve had multiple spawns this year, because there are different size classes schooling together. The “walnuts” (about 6 inches) moved out a couple weeks ago. There were lots of tiny peanuts around as well. Most recently, there were lots of adult bunker schooling together. They moved out into the Sound, but they have not left the area. This fact got me inquiring about the possibility of gator blues intercepting those bunker schools. Mark and I couldn’t help but go on a tangent with our 15-20 pounder glory stories, reminiscing about the best bluefish days we’ve seen. Our fingers are crossed for a late resurgence of monster blues.

Celtic Quest Fishing Fleet of Port Jefferson sailed from both Port Jeff and Mattituck this week. Out in Mattituck, the blackfish were biting really well just yesterday. When the tog didn’t cooperate, they could always count on the seabass, which were stacked underneath the boat. When the tog DID cooperate, there were some big white chins coming over the rails, up to about 7 pounds. They got into some bluefish/bass blitzes, and pulled a ling from inside the LI Sound.

It appears that most of the rods on the boats were bent the entire week.

Back in Port Jeff, the weakfish kept anglers occupied, as the CQ Fleet put their clients on a lot of keepers. Porgies and bluefish accompanied the weaks.

Dave Flanagan of “North Island Fly” says the heat really turned up on the North Fork. The false albacore are present, abundant and large. He unfortunately had to miss a few days, but got out when the wind was down. There have been bass blitzes just about every day, with birds making the action obvious. The stripers are primarily schoolies and slot-sized. Bluefish have been working bunker schools, and blackfish are biting. Blackfish jigging is pretty much the only type of bait fishing Dave’s doing these days; the opportunity along the north shore is just too good to ignore. He jigged up his personal best this week, a 9.36 pounder that took a 3/4 ounce jig.

Kenny at Tight Lines Tackle in Sag Harbor had some awesome reports, but one stood the heck out. Robin M had been catching schoolie stripers on a Hamptons beach this Tuesday when he heard a funny slapping sound nearby. He walked over to investigate, and discovered an 80 pound bluefin tuna flopping around on the sand. The fish had just beached itself.

In regards to less abnormal reports, Craig C. clued Kenny into some decent stripers out east. The fish weighed up to about twenty pounds, and were chewing on large sandeels.

A couple of the cuts were opened recently, and they hardly produced. Kenny heard a few people blaming the lack of chewing fish on poor water quality. I think the gill nets played an important part though. See my forecast for further discussion on that.

The activity has been good since then. Kenny got a call from a friend fishing the Montauk light this morning, and he was getting into a bunch of bass. There’s not much size to them, but they’re plentiful. Some albies showed in Montauk earlier this week too.

Black fishing is good by Plum Island, when the weather isn’t terrible. Along the NoFo, Petty Bight, and Fishers Island, tautog anglers are doing very well. All the reports are affirmative when the weather cooperates.

Rick from Harbor Marina of East Hampton reports:

Truly epic fishing has been prevalent across the east end over the past couple of weeks. It does not get much better than this.

Last Saturday we started in Montauk and found big ocean swells crashing on Great Eastern and massive schools of bait, bass, blues and albies. There were fish scattered from Shagwong to Great Eastern. The action was lock-and-load, with mostly schoolie bass, an occasional slot bass, bluefish, and pop-up schools of false albacore. Throwing small tins, plastics, and diamond jigs was the ticket. Fly guys were on fire with their small bait presentations.

My only complaint was not with the fishing, but with the irresponsible operation of boats by several captains/operators. There is no need to run and gun into a fleet of boats when there are fish spread thick over 5 square miles. I am surprised that all the boat traffic didn’t knock down the fishing (although maybe it did), and that there were no collisions. A safe, productive approach when fishing a busy Montauk is to run uptide of some good structure and make drifts. You will get plenty of opportunities, keep your crew safe, and not endanger other boaters.

Blackfishing remains strong along the Fishers Island chain and there are still some nice sea bass to be found in deeper waters.

There are fish running the beach and it is time to transition to the surf zone as we experience the later stages of the migration and prevailing east winds.

Be safe and enjoy this great stretch of fall fishing.

David at Westlake Marina in Montauk says the reports haven’t changed much from last week. Strong blackfishing, strong seabassing, and slot-sized stripers are the talk of the town. Rain, ground swells, and strong winds are keeping guys off the water. You need to take advantage of those weather windows. One angler did, and he lucked into a solid porgy bite. He said the real big ones have reappeared.

Chris from Double D Charters in Montauk says the local striped bass fishery is still producing slots, among the much more numerous shorts. There is still a ton of surface action to be seen on both the north and south sides of the point.

Albies still haven’t made a very big showing, and Chris has his fingers crossed that the run isn’t over yet.

Black Sea bass and porgies are still biting, and some jumbos are coming up. Jigging has been a productive method.

The tog grounds are chock full of large fish.

Offshore, the tuna and swordfish bites have been on fire. If you can get a weather window, take it!

Montauk’s Viking Fleet have been finding some quality fish since Sunday. They caught a load of big seabass and some nice cod. Blackfishing was slow, but they had a steady pick of tog to 10 pounds. The Starship also sailed Sunday, and their bag consisted of nice porgies, big bluefish, triggerfish, striped bass to 12 pounds and cod. The Star had a cod and seabass pool that day. Peter Chiu of Briarwood won the sea bass with his 4.75 pounder. Brian Saunders of Queens took the cod pool with a 10.5 pounder. Later in the day, Dennis Kippel of West Islip won his boat’s blackfish pool with a 7.4 pounder.

Big porgies were the name of the game on Tuesday. Scup from 3-3.5 pounds won the pools going into Wednesday. Sea bass to 4 pounds and triggerfish mixed up the bags. Cod and sea bass made up the majority of the catches on the Viking Star this Wednesday. The sea bass pool was won by Mike Daskalakis of Brooklyn, who caught a 5.25 pounder.

Long Island Fishing Forecast

Pretty crazy about that bluefin tuna. Apparently another was caught right outside of Shinnecock inlet by a charter coming in from bottom fishing; the only difference is that one was a 100 inch giant.

Now, my theory about the bite dying… if you read my report last week, you know a bit about gill nets and how they nearly flatlined the surf fishery out east. There have been waves of fish passing through, and only the small ones are getting caught by rod and reel, because all the big ones end up in the nets.

The nets were pulled this past week just before that enormous ground swell came in and jacked up the coastal waters. The next day, Saturday, a bite materialized and I was lucky to be there to catch some quality bass. These were the first big fish I saw this season that weren’t dead in a net. Isn’t it funny how that happens? The nets get pulled and the bite turns on. Just kidding, it isn’t funny.

Anyway, those big fish came around low tide, and after that it was mostly schoolies and slot fish for a few days. The bite was ferocious. The beach wasn’t too crowded, and hundreds of fish must have been caught and released. The stripers have gradually gotten smaller throughout the week. It would seem the first wave of big bass is moving on, although I expect some great catches to be made on these full moon tides this week. There’s gotta be big fish in the bays still, staging for an exit. Good luck to everybody braving the elements looking for them. Stay smart and stay safe.

If you’re having a tough time with the bite, a teaser can be the difference between a skunk and scores of fish. I took my client Steve into the suds on Sunday to capture some of the action, and we had a tough time starting out. They weren’t eating like they had been the day prior. I tied him up a dropper rig and put a small fly on the loop. He casted it out and as soon as it hit the water, he was into fish. We caught a bunch of shorts and slots that morning.

Some days are tougher than others, but the bite persists. Sometimes it takes a very small change to get it going.

I think after this weather clears, we’re going to see the best fishing of the fall. I have no real reason to believe that; I just have extremely high hopes and an electric anticipation. I heard a few whispers of large bluefish, and I’m all about that news. My fingers are crossed.

If you find yourself shut inside because of this whack weather, kill some time by watching my video of those big surf stripers I caught the other day. If you can’t bend a rod, it can be fun to watch one bend. Enjoy! Read the comments too; some people highlighted some real good points about safety and crushed barbs.

I hope you can catch and release some of those big girls too, before they’ve moved south. Take good care of them and yourself and enjoy! The fishing is good, and so is life. Good luck this week. ‘Til next time.

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5 on “Long Island – New York Fishing Report – October 29, 2020

  1. Bill Posters

    anything left in the peconics? jessups? totally agree with you on the gill nets, lots of small sand sharks washed up on the beaches. That small great white over the summer probs got caught in a net too

    1. craig engwert

      Buddy caught a striper at jessups trolling white bucktail tuesday night…26″. only action he saw. Not sure about rest of the peconics or creeks. planning on heading out tomorrow. Maybe sound side beaches on the nofo

  2. Richard

    Unless I’m missing something, I never see any reports about fishing in Long Island Sound from the Bronx through Westchester County.

  3. peter okeefe

    sound bound charters is killing blacks! limits everyday and the big ones (I caught 11lb)are in rhode island

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