Schoolie striped bass are all over the south shore, even blitzing in some places. The sand eel bite is on fire, and larger stripers can typically be caught around bunker. Furthermore, some bigger fish are coming into the surf pretty randomly. Low tide is still a good bet for a big fish. Porgies are still biting, but they’re on the move-out. Tautog action is top-notch! A 17-pound tog was released in Oceanside and there is consistent action all over, especially on the North Fork. Black sea bass are still biting, and there are some jumbos at Montauk and up north on the wrecks. A bunch of pinfish were caught this week, and one was massive.
Long Island Fishing Report
Frank, at Bernie’s Bait and Tackle in Brooklyn, says the bass action has slowed down a bit, although it’s still cranking. Many of the big fish have moved out, but there have been scattered reports of 20-pounders, even fish into the 30s. The Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge and harbor areas are solid bets. For larger stripers, anglers are traveling to Red Hook, Sandy Hook, Breezy Point, and The Tin Can Grounds. Staying in pattern the past couple years, the best time is around sun up. Anglers are using bunker, live eels, and sand eel imitations. The boats are trolling mojos, spoons, and shad umbrellas. On a calm morning, try a surface lure. Bluefish have made sporadic appearances. They come in schools, and are moving in and out of the bays during day and night. Porgies are still biting and the better fish are in deeper water, and around structure. Concentrate on the rough bottom to pick at the remaining fish. The outside reefs should be productive. There’s a good mix of big and small scup, with some sea bass in the mix. The demand for bloodworms is beginning to dwindle, indicating, the majority of porgies are making moves. Tautog action is excellent with bites all over, but not a ton of size. One angler in the shop says he dropped a rig down in a creek, and had three consecutive keeper tog.
Josh, at Gypsea Charters in Rockaway, says striped bass fishing is very productive, as large bodies of fish continue to move through the area. We are seeing a mix of sizes, from under-slot to over-slot size. Jigs and Mojos are pulling good numbers of stripers. The bass bite should continue for a few weeks as stripers continue to trickle into the area. Tautog fishing is action-packed. There are a ton of fish around, from shorts to 6-pound fish. When the weather cooperates, it’s game on. As the temperatures drop, the tog fishing should only improve.
Paul, at River Bay Outfitters in Baldwin, says he ran a trip to the Farmington River on Monday, but the weather sent them right back home. As soon as they got to the fishing spot, a tree nearly fell on the crew. Furthermore, a fallen tree nearly blocked them from even leaving. Paul says he has a ton of food he was planning on cooking up there, so he’s going to have a cookout at the Jones Beach Field 10 parking lot, Sunday at 3 p.m. Paul has a lot of food, so stop by and eat. There are surf reports of stripers at Jones Beach. Although there aren’t a lot of huge fish, there are some better bass mixed in. Tim O’Rourke, a Montauk guide, is finding success tautog fishing. Dave Flanagan is also finding tog on the north shore. The trout rivers and lakes have been stocked and are productive. Michael and Rick came into the shop the other day after Mike had his first ever trout.
The Capt. Lou Fleet in Freeport, says there is some very productive fishing this week. More specifically, tog, stripers, and cod. During nice weather, stripers remain close to the beach. Since the forecast is favorable, the charters will be using diamond jigs over the next few days.
Bay Park Fishing Station in Oceanside, says they went fishing out on Saturday morning for stripers. Chuck and Merri fished in 55-feet of water off the Roundhouse and caught two keeper bass on white TGT bunker spoons. They ventured a bit deeper and caught some over-slot fish. On Sunday, Capt. Matt Roth and the crew of “The Beast” went out for a striped bass and blackfish trip. They found stripers to 38-inches in 50-feet of water southeast of Jones Inlet. The stripers were caught on jigs and topwater plugs. The boat also anchored in 60-feet of water by to catch some tautog. Matt Diamond hooked and landed a giant tog. They decided to bring the blackfish back to the dock to weigh it. The fish was released at the dock, roughly 3-miles from where it was caught. The tog weighed in at 17.3-pounds.
Captree Laura Lee in Babylon, says they picked at some fish when the wind was down this week. Tuesday started with some excellent striper fishing and continues to hold steady. 8 anglers caught a total of 35 fish on Tuesday. The trip on Wednesday morning was a deepwater wreck and 25 anglers caught 8 species totaling 824 fish. Also that night, 35 bass were caught by 11 people. This morning, the Laura Lee got into some blitzing stripers.
Celtic Quest Fishing Fleet in Port Jefferson, says the scup bite was so good, they filled the buckets on the boat the other day. They also caught black sea bass, but the bite has slowed down throughout the week. 2 weakfish were also caught. On Monday, a giant pinfish was caught as well. The bottom fishing is equally as good at Mattituck. Anglers are catching large black sea bass and tautog. Some jumbos were caught on the deeper wrecks.
Surf Fishing Guide Bernie Bass, says he got into some nice stripers this week on the sand and rocks. There were good numbers of schoolie bass with a few bigger ones in the mix. Tropical Storm Zeta produced some very good action, and even got some fish blitzing along the south shore. Stripers were hitting bucktails regularly and took the popper in blitz situations.
Mark, at Cow Harbor Bait & Tackle in Northport, says the fishing is still good. Tautog are the main target, and although the numbers of anglers has decreased, the fishing is still good. It’s been a great season so far with lots of keepers most days. Striped bass fishing has halted as the baitfish are moving out of the harbors and into Long Island Sound. However, predators are shadowing their movements. Not much in the way of albies, once again. This year has been a dud for them. Fortunately, so many other fisheries were outstanding.
Tyler, at Wego Fishing Bait & Tackle in Southold, says tautog fishing is still your best bet. It has been very good east near Fishers Island. The past two days produced some very big fish and some consistent action. Anglers are still catching them off the beach too, but that will begin to change. Tyler says you’re going to have to cast further, since the water is cooling down. It’s unlikely you’ll catch a porgy or a sea bass. There is a ton of bunker in the bay and Long Island Sound. The bay is pretty much halfway covered with bunker. There aren’t any reports of fish on the bunker. However, you can probably find bass on peanut bunker or rain bait, rather than the adult bunker. They’re definitely still there. Albies are still making sporadic showings, but they’re sparse.
Kenny, at Tight Lines Tackle in Sag Harbor, says the bite was on this week when the weather wasn’t too bad. Wind made the fishing tough, but there have been lots of bass running the beach, so most days produced good bites. Most of the action was provided by short bass; one of the cuts was open, though, and a few anglers who were there at the right time lucked into some bigger bass. The full moon tides this week made tautog fishing conditions less than ideal. Kenny knew a few guys who hit the few open windows for some tog. The best fishing was done around slack tide, but word is it was mostly shorts. One customer hit the northeast side of Plum Island and nailed 3 keepers on 3 drops. There’s a ton of bunker up there. Kenny anticipates that the tautog fishing will improve on the backside of the full moon. There is a lot of bunker and sand eels along the coast. Tons of peanuts were seen cruising close to the east end beaches.
Rick, at Harbor Marina in East Hampton, says it’s not 1995 when catching 40-pound bass in November on live herring was fairly common. However, the bass fishing in Montauk is clearly the best we’ve seen in several years. Mostly schoolie fish, but enough slots and over-slots to make things interesting. We’ll see if another slug of big fish is in the cards during this next shot of nice fall weather. As good as the bass fishing is, the tautog fishing might be better and is getting a lot of attention from some pretty good Captains. We should start to see the fish moving out from some of the more sheltered, nearshore locations, so don’t be afraid to try some deeper structure when the weather is right. The black sea bass fishing is still productive in deeper areas of the Eastern Long Island Sound and off of Block Island, but in the next couple of weeks, most of this fishing will be found on the deeper wrecks and ledges. There hasn’t been much of a report on the bluefish or albie front, but that doesn’t mean that an occasional school is out of the question at Montauk. The next few days may be the nicest of the late fall season and migration, so get out if you can and enjoy some great fishing on the East End.
Chris, at Double D Charters in Montauk, says the striped bass fishing is winding down gradually. It’s become tough work to pick through short fish to find a keeper. Blitzes are still occurring regularly, but they’re losing steam. Bottom fishing, on the other hand, is still on fire. Chris has seen quite a few double-digit tautog, and black sea bass up to 5-pounds. There are still porgies around, interfering with tautog. They’ll disappear any day now, and the tog will take over.
David, at Westlake Marina in Montauk, says there’s plenty of good fishing going on. One angler had just come in from a morning session, and said there were birds working and bass rolling as far as the eye could see. There are all different kinds of baits out there. There are tons of bass, but most of them are small. You can find the stripers from right outside the inlet, all the way to Shagwong. You won’t need to go any further to get your fill of action. In the sand beach surf, small diamond jigs are the ticket to good action. Fish are hitting right on the beach lip, and even coming right over the lip to feed. The tautog and black sea bass bites are still going extremely well. David says it’s phenomenal how this year is holding up. There aren’t many very big tog coming in this week though. Most keepers are about 3-to-4 pounds, and the bigger fish from last week seem to have departed.
Long Island Forecast
The action just did not stop this week. I think I had stripers every time I got on the beach. Hard winds and currents only accentuated the action, in my experience. The fish are hitting so close, and so ferociously, that fly fishing in the surf is possible on the less windy days. There have been strong sweeps that constantly change direction, but regardless of the current direction, the bass are reacting the same way. Bucktails, diamond jigs, soft plastics, rubber shads, and bunker patterns are all you need. Bring them in really slowly, keep your jigs on the bottom. Hit the low light and night tides. My friend Jimmy nailed a 30-pounder the other night on a Super Strike Darter. His friends around him had fish in the 20s on super strikes and mag darters, all throughout the night. Then just this morning, my friend Stephen was bailing some fish to about 20-pounds in the suds. Nice weather makes it easy to be on the water a ton. As I type away, another wave of decent fish has passed right under my nose. I think I’ll go try my luck now.