Long Island Fishing Report – September 23, 2021

Giant bluefin tuna bite near shore on western Long Island and great multi-species bottom fishing.

West Marine

Giant bluefin tuna bite proceeds near shore on western Long Island. Mullet run along the south shore beaches. Great multi-species bottom fishing on north and south forks. Hot freshwater fishing. Over 1,000 sea bass caught on one trip aboard the Laura Lee.

Long Island Fishing Report

Rockfish Charters in Brooklyn had a tough last few days of tuna fishing but managed to pull up a nearly thirty-pound cobia. Boat traffic has been crazy out there and was the primary issue making the fishing difficult. After a couple of unproductive tuna trips, they finally bagged a giant at 107 inches after releasing another, smaller giant earlier in the day. Both fish swam alongside the boat and kicked off strong on the release.

Josh at Gypsea Charters in the Rockaways reports:

Striper fishing continued to produce this past week. Some days were better than others. On the better days, we saw limit catches of slot-sized bass and some fish that were too big to keep. Other days we only caught a few fish. Boat traffic and conditions play a huge part in this type of fishing; those who were sticking it out at the rail were the ones being rewarded. We have openings this weekend. The trips are from 5 am until 1 pm, and we’ll be fishing live bait. Text or call 516-659-3814 to book your spot.

Paul at River Bay Outfitters in Baldwin ran some freshwater trips to the Connetquot this week, and found some very hungry fish there. One charter was a family of three, and they had thirty fish between them. The Nissequogue has reportedly been equally productive. The Carmans has been a bit slower, as the water is still a bit warm this time of year. Paul says to try your luck in the early morning. The LI Flyrodders had a successful morning at the Connetquot on Monday. Paul also ran a saltwater trip this week to the Jones area. He caught nothing, as he was mostly preoccupied with helping people release fish. A bunch of bluefish were taken, and Paul saw one large fluke get caught. There were a tremendous amount of bluefish in the area. Don’t forget about the fly fishing even “Castoberfest,” coming up in two Sundays, on October 3 at Montauk Lake Club.

Bay Park Fishing Station in Oceanside has been receiving a bunch of pictures from anglers targeting large bluefin tuna this week. A couple of the tunas were reported to be 72 inches, which is that magic number just under “giant” length that is still legal to harvest.

Kathy from Freeport Bait & Tackle reports:

The tuna bite is still going really strong by the Rockaway reef. Guys are getting some huge bluefin lately on live bunker, close enough that you can see the beach. Lou of the “Bori Bite” has been getting in on it, taking multiple trips and catching big bluefin. We’re in fall run mode, evidenced by the large amounts of anglers buying gear at the shop. Night-time striper hunters are buying eels and lures; boat guys are buying trolling spoons and wire; tins and poppers are flying off the shelves for bluefish. The waters are fishy, and life is good. One of Kathy’s customers has a house in Montauk, and he says the commercial guys out there are starting to catch some nice blackfish. So there’s some local guys who are beginning to even gear up for tog season.

Captain Anthony of The Capt. Lou Fleet in Freeport reports:

The fluke bite on the last couple fluke trips has been slow and sluggish. He reckons they’re still around, but the big tides surrounding the full moon this week may have been what slowed the bite down. He’s got high hopes for next Thursday when we’re out of this moon cycle, and has some good prospects for where the flatties might reappear. After Sunday’s sea bass trip, we will begin our medium-range offshore trips for seabass, porgies and red hake. These are twelve-hour trips and reservations are mandatory. Once October 15 hits, it’s on to blackfish. The pictures that came from the whale watching cruise this week are absolutely outstanding. They observed humpback whales breaching, and dolphins tossing a fluke around in the air before eating it. Check out the photos on their Facebook, or at the photographer’s Instagram LIBeachesRock. Book your trip with The Capt. Lou Fleet.

Point Lookout’s Super Hawk has been finding some better fishing a bit farther from the dock recently. Quality fluke, triggerfish, and porgies have been coming over the rail. Some huge sea bass hit the deck this week. And last but not least, false albacore and mackerel have been hitting in good numbers. Call Capt. Steve to make a reservation: 516-607-3004.

Rockfish Charters Cobia
30 pound cobia taken on Rockfish Charters.

Captree’s Laura Lee provided their clients with some fun mixed bags this week. The full-day trip on Monday caught 528 big sea bass, 363 big porgies, 1 bluefin tuna, 1 bullet tuna, 4 Mahi, 5 cod, 1 pollock, 10 fluke, 2 flounder, 2 silver eels, and 25 mackerel. The local trips that day/night caught fluke, sea bass, sea robins, blowfish, bluefish, weakfish, blackfish, and a toadfish. Fast forward to Wednesday morning, where 11 anglers caught 44 fluke to 5 pounds, 4 weakfish, 4 bluefish, 70 sea bass, 1 porgy, 6 blowfish, 6 dogfish, 1 triggerfish, and 9 sea robins. The 6 pm trip last night had 7 weakfish, 4 blues, 3 stripers, 1 fluke and 1 sea bass. I have to mention last Thursday’s full-day trip as well because the stats are insane. They caught 1,007 big sea bass, 480 big porgies, 5 tuna, 1 bonito, 3 ling, 2 flounder, 1 bluefish, 42 cunner, and 21 mackerel. That’s the first time I’ve seen them catch over a thousand sea bass. Insane.

Surfcasting Guide Bernie Bass found some keeper stripers this past week, as well as some shorts. The keepers were on the lower end of the slot. The surf fishing was inconsistent, and he hasn’t had any luck on the albie front yet. Bernie will be hanging out at the Montauk Surf Classic this Saturday in the lower lot of the Montauk lighthouse. Say hey if you see him!

The Celtic Quest Fishing Fleet of Mattituck found some more good fishing out east this week. Sea bass, big weakfish, bluefish and tons of porgies have been biting. They’ll be sailing seven days a week out of Mattituck, and the fishing is amazing right now. Book a trip with The Celtic Quest Fishing Fleet.

Celtic Quest weakfish
Solid weakfish on the Celtic Quest.

The Shinnecock Star in Hampton Bays says the fluke are staging up to leave, and the fishing for them has been stellar. They say it’s been better lately than it was all summer. They’ll be sailing daily for them until the season closes on 9/30. They’ve also been getting some other species; blowfish hit the deck, as did a couple of southern fish that look like they might be amberjacks and/or banded rudderfish. Call or text Capt. John for info: 631-728-4563.

Jeff at Whitewater Outfitters in Hampton Bays reports:

Bass fishing has been good lately. There are a good amount of fish around within the slot range. The offshore scene has been good also. Whenever guys can get out, they’ve found the yellowfin grounds productive. They’re getting some fish around 40-50 pounds, and even some pushing above 70 pounds. Check the 15-40 mile range for your best odds. Fluking has been really good lately, probably the best it has been in years. There are lots of fish, and good ones too. The bay bite has solid. Head off for sea bass, to about 120-150 feet of water. Hit the wrecks. There has been a decent weakfish bite lately; Jeff couldn’t say where, but he’s been seeing guys catching.

Surf guide Bill Wetzel of the Surf Rats Ball reports:

The fishery isn’t what it used to be. Folks blame the poor run on water temps, but Bill has experienced some of his best fishing years when the water is warmest. Guys will often blame cold water in the spring for a slower-than-usual run as well. Bill says that’s baloney, and he believes the Chesapeake fishery is just about shot. On a hopeful note, there are plenty of fish north, and there have been some sporadic bites around Montauk. There’s plenty of bait around in the ocean and bays. He and his charters this week found some fish, but only caught a couple of shorts on SP minnows. There was a lot of spearing in the water that night. David at Westlake Marina in Montauk says there’s not a ton going on this week, and there’s only one boat out today. There are some bass being taken at the elbow. The sea bass continue to provide a good bite. The fluke on the other hand, are not really chewing. Cod are coming in and some anglers are taking some home. There aren’t a ton of reports, but enough to make a cod trip worth it. Albies are rare, but they’ve been around. They’ve just been so sparse for the most part. As the temps cool, it should start to pick up. It’s definitely hard to target albies on their own though, and David hasn’t heard of anybody getting them from shore. There have been small pockets of bass and blues showing up for the surfcasters though.

Montauk’s Viking Fleet had some ups and downs this week. The ups were high-quality trips, and the downs could’ve been worse. They reckon the fall run has not really started just yet. Sea bass and scup provided some consistency on the moving tides. Fluke were biting pretty good as well, with fish to about 5 pounds. They also caught a bunch of triggerfish this week to about four pounds.

Bill at Chasing Tails Bait and Tackle in Oakdale reports:

Weakfish are in the bay in huge numbers for a solid fall run. There have been some really big tide runners in the 6-8 pound range, and plenty of little guys which is great to see. Finesse gear is the best way to hit them, with bright-colored soft plastics on the end set up for jigging. Albies, Spanish mackerel, and frigate mackerel are all harassing all sorts of small baitfish still, mostly out in the open ocean and mouth of the inlets. Toss diamond jigs or epoxy jigs at them for crazy topwater action. They also love small baitfish flies like Surf Candy and Albie Snax. Fluke action is still hot on the inside, with plenty of solid keeper flatties around. These big fish are slurping up Gulp! and smashing jigs. The classic squid and spearing combo will always do the trick as well. The ocean bite is going strong on the local wrecks. Size up your bucktails or sinkers to get down to the action. Sea Bass are on fire at the local wrecks too, with lots of big fish coming up over the rails. Four-pound fish are coming up often. 6+ pound fish are out there too! Clams on the shop chicken rigs always do the trick. They also like diamond jigs, epoxy jigs, and bucktails. The fall run is coming fast and so are the stripers! A few anglers have gotten lucky already with fish up to slot size on the beach and on the boat. Mullet and peanut bunker have been getting smashed up, so match the hatch with your lures. Sand eel madness should be here any day now. In the freshwater, the fall transition has begun. For bass, start fishing shallow then head to the deeper water. Work the flats and channel structure. Timber, overhangs, stumps, and channel drops are great spots to check too. As for lures, you’re going to need some finesse worms, jigs, crankbaits, and some topwater lures. The topwater lures will be effective even later into the day. Pickerel will go for the same things, as well as swimbaits and inline spinners. Yellow perch and sunfish will be schooled up and plentiful, and they are a blast on ultralight tackle. Trout magnets, inline spinners, and the classic worm and bobber technique will pull ’em all day.

Long Island Fishing Forecast

Y all should check out the pictures I saw on the Capt. Lou Fleet’s reports this morning. The photographer’s Instagram is LIBeachesRock. There are these incredible photos of some dolphins tossing around a big fluke, and a bunch of awesome photos of whales doing whale things. I highly recommend checking it out.

Dan Del Rosario, who turns plugs for Swagg Custom Tackle, received pics from a customer who was working one of Dan’s pencil poppers at Smith Point beach. The angler had heard of some blitzes occurring and began working the surface expecting a blue or bass to strike. After landing a few blues, he took one more cast and hooked into a beast. A short while later, he was working that Swagg plug out of a big spinner shark’s mouth. Good to hear there are still some around. They’ve been a wild addition to our surf fishery this year.

I’ve been hearing of spinner shark sightings elsewhere on the island this week too. One of my friends saw them jumping and spinning in the air; I believe I was lucky enough to spot one while fishing some newly formed structure out east. Mine was definitely feeding, as it violently thrashed about 500 yards from the beach.

Besides that, I haven’t had a ton of luck on my beaches lately. I could see huge amounts of mullet cruising right along the beach lip this whole week, but I had a tough time finding anything chewing on them. There were lots of hickory shad, of course, but the stripers were seldom present. I get the impression that the farther east you go, the better chance you had of catching. I did manage two bass on two days though, tossing a rubber shad. Hard work. I saw some guys bucktailing from jetty rocks for some short bass, and there was no short supply of bluefish. I caught a bunch of blues on the fly while blind casting for albies. There have been some reports of albies coming in here and there, but those reports are few and far between; I rarely find myself intercepting them. Hopefully one of these days I’ll get lucky.

The weather’s been kind of annoying lately. I think the actual annoying part is that the fish weren’t cooperating either. It certainly feels like fall, and the mullet run reinforces that; it just feels slow to me, also. It might just be that the summer was so action-packed and radical, that this minor lull, where I can’t catch what I want with ease, seems to be dragging.

I do have high hopes for the upcoming week though. I’m also looking forward to Castoberfest next weekend. I had a fun time there two years ago, and met some really cool people. Not to mention the delicious Montauk beers and even more delicious grub. Yup, can’t wait. I shall pass the time in between with some good fishing, I think. I hope you will too. Tight lines.

West Marine store finder

3 on “Long Island Fishing Report – September 23, 2021

  1. peter okeefe

    The FISH GODS are angry..cant imagine why. Came home with big bag fillets from superhawk this week .The captain is putting in extra time and gas to keep his customers happy

  2. Nick

    We still have acres and acres of big bass up around The North Shore of Mass, Cape Ann, Boston and all around Cape Cod…they are coming your way in a few weeks…every year is different, theyll make their pass by

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