Tuna bite is materializing. Big stripers banding together in areas all over. Head east for high potential. Bottom fishing looking great: Fluking has improved. Black sea bass opens with great results, especially along the north shore. Surprisingly high productivity on the weakfish and porgy grounds in the peconics. Phenomenal tilefish fishing last week. Summer species moving into local waters: kingfish, blowfish, dogfish, sea robins, rays, etc.
Long Island Fishing Report
Frank from Bernie’s Bait and Tackle in Brooklyn says the overall fishing scene is full blast. Stripers are biting at night for the surf guys, the bluefish scene are spotty but everywhere, and fluking is still pretty dismal. Kingfish are in the surf, but everybody has begun focusing on the porgies. There are a tremendous amount of scup that moved in this past week and established themselves. Guys are trolling the deeper channels for the bigger stripers. Bluefish are coming up every once in a while to tear apart that gear. There are lots of short fluke, and it is serious work picking through them to attain a keeper. There are reports of really big sand sharks that moved in pretty much everywhere inside and outside, day and night. Cow nose rays are also becoming pretty common. The offshore tuna fishing has been very good. Location-wise, the info is very vague, but it’s all offshore stuff. Lots of guys are going and getting on the meat. There’s a quality summer mix around, of the aforementioned species plus sea robins and blowfish. It’ll make for consistent fishing on the weekend and July 4.
The Capt Lou Fleet in Freeport reports:
Whale watching has been great; Tom Preston took some awesome photos last Thursday. There’s another trip coming up tomorrow, on Friday. Capt. Willie said yesterday’s fishing was excellent. The boat limited out on sea bass for opening day, up to 4 pounds. Some nice fluking was a pleasant surprise, with the pool going to a 5.5-pound fish. They’re running two half-day fluke trips daily. This coming Monday there’s an offshore cod trip. Black seabass will be the primary target on this Saturday and Sunday.
Point Lookout’s Super Hawk also had a great opening day for sea bass yesterday. Perfect weather and perfect fishing were a perfect combo. The catch consisted mainly of sea bass, porgies, fluke, ling, cod and more. Call Capt. Steve to make a reservation: 516-607-3004.
Captree’s Laura Lee hammered the sea bass on opening day, catching a whopping 689 biggins, keeping a full boat limit. Big ling, porgies and flounder rounded out the catch. The 8am trip caught 61 fluke, a bunch of sea robins and dogfish, and one stargazer. Another full boat limit of seabass was taken on the 1pm trip, along with ling, cod and scup. A third boat limit of seabass was taken on the evening trip yesterday. Some bluefish, a weakfish, and a couple striped bass were caught since the weekend began. Besides that, nothing too out of the ordinary occurred this past week, just some quality fishing.
Bill at Chasing Tails Bait and Tackle in Oakdale reports:
Sea bass season is officially open and the fishing is incredible! The local wrecks and reefs are loaded up with beautiful fish, in good size and numbers. Jig them up, or use clam or Gulp! on a rig and send it down. Fluke season is going strong now that a solid body of fish finally moved into the bay. Keepers are common, and plentiful. Fish the shallows, flats, and channels with a bucktail or Gulp! on a jig head for consistent action. Bluefish are still all over the place, destroying schools of bait and plenty of tackle. They’re on popping plugs, shallow swimmers, tins, bucktails, and whatever else you can throw at them. Fish over 10 pounds are still pretty common. Bass action is pretty good inside, with some good slot-sized fish showing up in their usual spots. The ocean has some larger fish taking diamond jigs, popping plugs, and trolling lures. Fish up to 30 pounds have been reported. Weakfish action is consistent on the early morning tides. Finesse tackle in bright colors will pull ’em all tide long. In freshwater, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, pickerel, carp, crappie, and sunfish are all active and hungry for a meal or lure. Swimbaits, lipless cranks, jigs, soft plastics, and topwater lures are all great choices for summer bass and pickerel fishing. Topwater for the morning and evenings, everything else for mid-day. For the sunfish and perch, all you need is some worms and bobbers and you’re set to fish all day.
Mark at Cow Harbor Bait & Tackle in Northport says this Saturday’s fishing trip with the guys from Operation Real Heroes out of Huntington was an outstanding one. Lots of quality fluke, slot stripers (and over-slots), keeper weakfish, and big sea bass hit the decks. Even the sea robins were entertaining the heck out of the crews involved. Mark said the vibes couldn’t have been better. The shop is fully stocked and beautifully organized, so pop in for whatever you may need. The fishing is excellent right now!
Captain Stu Paterson of “Northport Charters” reports:
We are having an outstanding week with stripers to 35 pounds and 44 inches. Father’s Day saw some excellent action, with bluefish in the mix. They took almost ten minutes to revive and release that big mama, who ended up swimming away with a powerful tail kick to live and breed for another season. Summer day camp started on Monday, and the fishing has been very consistent. Weakfish to 22 inches, and porgies to three pounds have been the main quarry. There have been lots of fluke in the mix as well, keeping the rods bent. The bite is on in the Sound! Call or text to make reservations: 631-707-3266. Or check out the website at northportcharters.com
The porgy mania continued this week on the Celtic Quest Fishing Fleet of Port Jefferson. Regular catches of scup graced anglers, as did some solid sea bass. They were happy to finally be able to keep some of those catches! They’ll be sailing regularly, weather permitting. Go to celticquestfishing.com to buy a ticket.
Robert at Wego Fishing Bait & Tackle in Southold says the seabass opener was solid, and guys are heading east for them in the Sound and around rocky areas. The striper bite has been really good in the Gut lately. Slot and over-slot fish are the main catch. Head to the Race in the evening to keep the bite going. Smaller stripers can be found in the bay and the back creeks. Fluking is still a bit slow, but seems to be picking up slightly. Weakfish are still around in the bay by Greenlawn and buoy 16. The fishing has slowed down a bit, but one guy came in earlier today with a couple five pounders. Bluefish can be found by Buoy 17. They’re also in the Sound for the surf guys. Kingfish and blowfish have begun to show up this week. Offshore, you can target threshers with a good chance of success near the bunker pods around Montauk. Head to the Coimbra or other wrecks for bluefin tuna.
Ethan at Whitewater Outfitters in Hampton Bays says the inlet has been productive. There’s plenty of bass there, in the slot range and above the slot. Ethan’s heard of fish to about 25 pounds. The bridge is another good bet. You could find some bluefish in the inlet as well, but they’re on the non-gator end of the spectrum now. 5-8 pounders are common, with larger specimens less prevalent. The fluke bite is getting really good now. Once again, the jetty and inlet are highly productive. There are decent fish to about five pounds. The odd weakfish shows up every once in a while, but they’ve moved on for the most part. The sand beaches have produced a couple fish hanging out near bunker pods, but it’s been slim pickings. The bluefin bite, as compared to last year, is totally off. Nobody has really been on them inshore. We’ve got all the life showing up, like dolphins, whales, birds, and bait, but the bluefin are lacking. Jeff from the shop got out this morning to take advantage of the glassy conditions and target some sea bass. He sent Ethan a couple of pictures of some decent-sized sea bass. Sharks and tiles have been receiving some attention, especially given the lack of tuna, so Ethan said those could be a good target if the bluefin bite doesn’t turn on soon.
Kenny at Tight Lines Tackle in Sag Harbor says the better fishing is out east right now. Montauk has colder water. One angler was fishing in the bay and read 71 degrees. He moved out to the Gut where the water temps were closer to 60. As the summer sets in, the water temps in the bays are only going to rise, so the fishing potential will likely drop. Despite the increasing temps, there were some excellent reports of porgies and weakfish in the bay. One boat got into some of the biggest porgies they’ve ever seen. Another captain dropped down targeting weakfish, and caught eighteen in ten minutes. The Race was producing some big bass recently. Guys who were live-lining and buck tailing were catching fish to 48 inches. Out in Montauk, when most boats were sticking near the elbow, a few guys strayed from the pack when they saw some birds working low to the surface. They saw boils on the water, and ended up catching a bunch of fish from 30-45 pounds on the surface. Bluefish are at Jessups still, and although they’re a bit smaller now, they’re no less plentiful. The tuna bite was great last week in close. Since then, the fish seemed to have moved off a bit.
Montauk’s Viking Fleet opened sea bass season with a great trip yesterday. Porgies and sea bass cooperated, but the fluking was slow. James Silk from Freehold took the pool with a 3.5-pound seabass. Capt. Dave took a crew offshore earlier, putting everyone on a limit of seabass. Porgy fishing was tough due to the full moon tide, but everybody took home one or two. Rafael Vargas from Queens took the first place pool with a 4-pound seabass. The second-place pool went to Embley Mcpherson from Brooklyn with a 2.25-pound porgy. Some nice fluke came up over the weekend, like Phoenix Forbes’ 5.1 pounders and Brian Campanelli’s 4.9. Those two fish took Sunday’s half-day pools. The am trip pools went to Carter Black from Montauk with a 5.5-pound fluke, and Mata McAskill from East Hampton with a 4.75-pound fluke. This was the best fluke action they’ve seen this year. Last Thursday their “slob tilefish trip” returned after their departure on Monday. It went about as well as it could, with thirty fish over 25 pounds. A few wreckfish, barrelfish and a bluefin tuna also came over the rail. The coolers were all filled with fillets by the second day. Mike took the first place tile pool with a 47 pounder.
Surf Guide Bill Wetzel of the Surf Rats Ball is seeing signs that the fishing may be poised to pick up soon. It’s been a grind on the east end thus far. Krill has made its way into the beaches, and the sandeels have been following. Boats have been seeing the sandeels, and fish have been hitting sand eel imitations. Terns have also arrived and begun attacking the small baits in the surf. Bill says the fish should begin to establish themselves locally given this development. This Tuesday he got out for a night tide on the north side. Before sunset he whacked a few shorts, and then the bite died with the light. He headed west into the Peconics to find nothing but weeds. The next night he and Martin found some blues on SS needles. The blues were spitting up bunker, so they made a move to the south side to see if they could find a bite on that bait. No dice, so back to the north side they went. There, Martin landed a bass. Bill says this has been by far the worst Montauk spring he’s ever had on the striper front. Other Montauk regulars concur.
Pat Gallagher of Tippin’ Scales Charters in Montauk is gearing up for his first Montauk trips of the year. He’s sailing out of Star Island, primarily targeting bottom fish, stripers and sharks. As the tuna come inshore in the next few weeks, he’ll be targeting them on certain trips. Give Pat a call at 845-232-1240 to book a trip.
Chris Albronda gave me the goods on Montauk:
It was another fabulous week in Montauk. The fishing seemed to be getting better and better. The inshore bite has been very impressive in particular. Fish of all sizes are being caught, from the slot to well above the slot. The fluke fishing has been phenomenal, especially if you’re able to put a lot of time into it. Pink and blue have been the colors of choice. The black seabass opener was met with many boat limits across the board. The porgy fleet is also having a great amount of success. Offshore, the bluefin tuna bite has been impressive. We hit the tuna grounds and for two hours straight, it was nonstop action of fish around forty pounds on the troll. Catch a fish, reel it in, find the whales, and do it all again. Chris is doing open boat trips with Tailwrapped Sportfishing charters. Check them out on social media, and/or give Chris a call to book a light tackle trip at 631-830-3881.
Long Island Fishing Forecast
I pulled on to the beach yesterday evening to target some bass that just have not been there this year. Their absence concerns me, as I’m usually into a daily surf bite at this point. Yesterday was no different; I was chucking small stuff that should certainly catch unwary schoolies: Gulp and soft plastics, smaller plugs and jigs, sand eel and sand flea imitations, you name it. Aside from the errant early morning bluefish, there have been almost no fish to be found on the east end beaches for the entirety of June. Maybe that’s just me and the people I fish with, but we know what we’re doing. We just can’t explain the lack of fish.
Anyway, I was enjoying the beautiful sunset and inevitable skunk when I saw a huge explosion just outside casting range. I’ve seen this kind of splash before, and there was no doubt in my mind that it was a tuna. Then bait began to spray. It didn’t look like bunker, but something skinnier; I figured mullet, but the think tank of surfcasters I was with concluded it may have been half-beaks. I got my big rod ready, and tried to gauge their trajectory. Bait continued to spray, and a long, silvery fish that looked to me like a wahoo began tail walking within casting distance. Some of the other creatures I saw surfacing had a reddish tint to them. I wanted to identify them even more than I wanted to catch them, so I prepared the drone. By the time I was in the air, I had lost them. My friends showed up, and we all threw the gamut of lures. Nada.
That was the most exciting moment of my year, and rekindled my hope that good fishing is right around the corner. Things may not have materialized as they have in years past, but I’ll remain optimistic.
This morning, I saw more whales than I have all year. There was a pretty big group of them, and then a massive pod of dolphins a short while after. The water’s clear. When the fish DO bite, I’ve heard they’re chewing on sandeel imitations. The ones I’ve found in the bay seem to prefer the bigger baits.
I think stripers are going to take up residence on the backside of this moon. It’s a bold statement, as I’ve thought the same thing for the past couple moons; but I can’t imagine they’re very far off at this point, especially with all the summer fisheries coming together on the west end of the island. They’re in the inlets, so they’ll be on the beaches in no time. I’ll be doing my summer sunset guiding sessions once the fishery kicks into gear, so feel free to reach out for info. I’ll leave my number on one of these reports once I know the fish have taken up residence. Otherwise, find me on Instagram: @SouthForkSalt
One “forecast” thought: I saw a picture of a bonito somewhere online. I think the picture came from the Cape or Vineyard. Considering how much the inshore/surf pelagic fishery has picked up over the past few years, I have a feeling we are going to be seeing lots of bonito and Spanish mackerel in no time (and maybe some other species).
Also, I feel confident somebody is going to catch a surf tuna this year. I thought I was going to do it just last night. I’m all juiced up from that experience. Keep your eyes peeled, and don’t leave the big rig at home. There’s plenty of 30-40 pound bluefin in the region right now, and I think my GSB and VS200 are capable of handling one of those.