It is slim pickings on the fishing front. There are a handful of boats heading offshore to productive cod grounds. The seas have been volatile this past month though, so most of those party boats are often forced to cancel their plans to sail. There were some solid boat reports when the weather did permit an outing.
Back on land, most water bodies have been frozen for the past few weeks. A number of anglers have been getting out onto the ice and hammering away at an array of sweet water species.
Captree’s Laura Lee “Express” is sailing on weekends and holidays, weather permitting. They regularly post about upcoming trips on the “reports” section of their website, so have a look if you’re itching to get out. Their next scheduled trip is this Sunday 2/21.
Their most recent outing (2/13) had 25 anglers, who caught 2 cod, 117 big red hake, 54 dogfish, 18 sea bass, 29 ocean pout, 1 blackfish and 7 cunner.
Point Lookout’s Superhawk is running out to the wrecks targeting cod, ling, pollock and more. This coming weekend and next weekend, they intend to sail on both Saturday and Sunday. Make your reservation with Steve at 516-607-3004.
Montauk’s Viking Fleet last reported on January 31, having found a quality bite at sunrise. A 20-pound cod took the pool, and a number of big ling and pollock came over the rail.
Back on land, some of the bigger, landlocked water bodies have developed a pretty thick sheet of ice. I heard about 4 to 6 inches of ice on five different lakes. I followed some footprints out onto a smaller lake one day, with maybe 3-4 inches of ice on it. I did not feel very comfortable. The folks who have been hitting it hard, though, are having some very productive days.
Jimmy O’Brien found some thick ice on the East End, and under it he found hungry fish. Largemouth bass to 4.5 pounds have been chewing, as have some quality carp and white perch. Small jigs and minnows kept the fish chewing, providing a bunch of great days of fishing. Jimmy doesn’t feel too good about the ice after that random 50 degree day we just had, but is hoping that this cold spell we’re now experiencing might harden the surface back up.
Matt “Perch” Gregory and his girlfriend Kate Pizzarelli also got out on the ice, a bit farther west on the island. They caught some bass, quality yellow perch, black crappie, meaty chain pickerel and even some catfish! Matt jigged up the 3-pound brown bullhead one day, along with a golden shiner about the size of an adult bunker.
The Bassholes guys and gals were hitting another large lake on the island, getting into most of the aforementioned species, plus bluegill. Steve even caught his personal best largemouth through the ice the other day… the fish barely fit through the hole in the ice!
Long Island Fishing Forecast
It sure sounds like ice fishing is the right play. A bunch of the water bodies I frequent did not fully freeze, so I’ve been hesitant to get out on the hard water. I’m just worried it’s not that hard.
If you’re itching to try it, you need to make sure the ice is safe. Footprints from someone who went before you are a good sign, but that doesn’t definitely make it “safe.” A good tool you should have with you is a spud bar, which is a long bar with a point; it’s used to puncture the ice to gauge its thickness. Look it up. Play it safe.
Before the freeze, I experienced some very tough fishing on the “soft” water. All I could manage was a handful of pickerel; I had been targeting white perch, yellow perch, carp, holdover stripers, largemouth, bluegill and crappie. I failed on all those other species. Then the water froze. I took about five days off from fishing and opted to carry my tripod and DSLR. The wildlife has been crazy lately, with more raptors than I’ve ever seen, and their recent willingness to let me encroach upon them for a photo is uncharacteristic (and awesome!).
I tossed a squirmy wormy fly to some carp the other day to break my dry spell. Luckily, carp will usually be open for business all year long. I managed a pretty big one, at about 15 pounds, on my 3 weight… then another four, all 2 to 6 pounds. That felt real good. I don’t anticipate having many opportunities at other species in the next week unless I run to one of the rivers for some trout fishing. If you can find some running water, there could be some fish willing to bite. It’s definitely doldrums time, though, and the fishing is probably going to be as slow as it gets for a while.
Stay busy by learning! Jerry Audet’s Surf Seminar series has been outstanding so far. I’ve taken away important lessons and ideas from each zoom meeting. The live conversations/interviews he leads have been especially insightful and enlightening. What he’s doing, essentially, is teaching a crash course on how to approach the various types of surf fishing in the most productive ways possible. I can’t overstate how incredibly informational this series has been. Great work Jerry!
Tight lines my friends. Stay warm, and stay safe!