Summer fish are still in the bays. Porgies, blowfish, kingfish. Great striper fishing near the city. Tautog season started out with a bang. North Fork is loaded with decent fish. North Fork blitzes popped off this week, with bass, blues, and albies. Some gators were caught as well. Black sea bass fishing is outstanding. 4 & 5 pounders are the norm at the wrecks. Weakfish action is still great in the bay.
Long Island Fishing Report
Frank from Bernie’s Bait and Tackle in Brooklyn reports:
There haven’t been many changes in the fishing lately. Tuna fishing is still a good conversation piece. A lot of guys are coming out still. There are lots of latecomers to the game, but the bite is still cooking. It sounds like there are fewer hookups, but some fish are still being caught. Porgy fishing is still solid. However, it’s getting spotty on shore. In many areas that yielded fish before, the fish are thinning out and getting smaller. Some areas are producing good fish, but it’s deeper water in which they’re comfortable. The silver hole area in Jamaica Bay is holding some porgies. With warmer water temps, the fish will hang out longer. Fish the channels, bridges, and structure pieces to find them. Kingfish and sea bass are getting taken as bycatch by porgy anglers. Most sea bass getting caught are small. A couple party boats are doing nothing but porgy fishing now. They’re running deep water trips, where the boats can capitalize on them in early morning and evening. They’re even catching some good porgies after dark. Weakfish reports are inconsistent. You might find some if you target them, but they’re fading. Warm water species are starting to slowly depart. Even fluke are still hitting (some good ones too). There’s been an uptick for bluefish and stripers. Bluefish have been seen on a few occasions, roaming in schools. Sometimes they’re feeding on the topwater, sometimes they’re not. They’re typically 5-6 pound fish. They provide quick bites and then they move on. Striper surfcasting improved this week. Their presence is being felt. They’re being caught on the bayside off the jetty at sunrise. One guy had them for over an hour this morning, with fish after fish on every cast. They’re small, in the 18-20 inch range mainly, but provide good action. Water temps cooling off is what’s bringing them in. Schools of mullet and bunker are still available. Future moons should put the fall run in full bloom. Tautog starts this week. Commercial guys have been getting them good. Shore water is still warm for big tog. Keepers are being found outside, in 50-60 feet of water. Wrecks and rough bottom are the spots to check. The fish get smaller and thin out as you get close to shore. Albies make some spotty appearances early in the mornings. When they do show, they can be caught on representations of baby bunker, like a Kastmaster or popper. Lots of bass have been responding to poppers recently. Blue and white poppers seem to be doing the best. Super Strike and Gibbs Poppers are flying off the shelves.
Rockfish Charters in Brooklyn says they are catching bass hand over fist, on all sorts of methods. Live eels, live bunker, casting, trolling. You name it, it’s all working. Apparently “it’s no different from the rest of the summer, the bass are still here.” That gives me hope on the east end, as I know the water’s still warm and the run does not seem to have fully exploded. They’re booking fall/winter tautog and striper trips right now. They’ll run tuna trips as well, as long as the fish are around. Call/text Capt. Kyle or Rich to reserve a spot: 347-661-4501.
Josh at Gypsea Charters in the Rockaways reports:
Bass fishing remains red hot, with an abundance of bass in the area. The fall run looks extremely promising as the bass begin filtering in from the east. We commence the NYS tautog season this Friday, and will be focusing on tog, running open boats every weekend by reservation only. The 50 foot Star is also available for private charters, for both striped bass and tautog. Text or call 516-659-3814 for info.
Paul at River Bay Outfitters in Baldwin got out in the bays this week, and found them full of bait. Small bluefish from 1-2 pounds were all over the bait, and Paul caught a ton of them on his fly rod. He says there are bass in the back bays, hugging the sod banks. Apparently, the kingfish have stuck around, and the bottom is littered with them. Paul hit a bay spot and caught fluke and sea robins. He did a guided trip at the Connetquot with a group of five guys. They all caught, and the choice topwater flies were stimulators and ant patterns. The mop fly was picking some fish too. Paul says the river is pretty weedy this time of year, so using weighted flies like streamers and nymphs would often result in a snag.
The Capt Lou Fleet in Freeport reports:
Bottom fishing has been great, with plenty of sea bass and good numbers of nice-sized porgies. Tautog trips start tomorrow. They’ll host a few 24-hour tuna trips over the next week, limited to 25 passengers. Long-range 50-90 mile offshore wreck trips targeting jumbo sea bass, big porgies, cod, pollack, and hake begin November 11.
Point Lookout’s Super Hawk says fishing has remained very good throughout the past week. Big sea bass and porgies were the main event, with some mid-sized triggerfish and bonito coming up. A small cod made its way to the fillet table, and an albie came over the rail earlier in the week. Call Capt. Steve to make a reservation: 516-607-3004.
Captree’s Laura Lee says the summer species were still biting as of yesterday. Weakfish, porgies, blowfish, fluke, and sea robins were biting well. Even a lizardfish was caught this week, alongside many triggerfish and a few pinfish. The full-day trip yesterday was productive, boating 355 big sea bass, 872 big porgies, 5 tuna, 1 bullet tuna, 3 cod, 4 bluefish, 1 flounder, 9 pout, 20 cunner, and 1 dogfish. 4 stripers were taken at night, and one tautog was caught and released earlier in the day. Cod and pollock came up on Friday’s full-day trip. Friday also saw a couple of sea ravens, a couple bonito, an amberjack, and a barrelfish come over the rail.
Bill at Chasing Tails Bait and Tackle in Oakdale reports:
The fall run of striped bass has officially begun, and it’s off with a bang! Surf guys are crushing mondo fish, especially at night time. Lure choice is key this time of year. On the boats, guys are doing well with stripers on the flats, and while working pockets and small trenches. Popping plugs and swim shads have been pulling the majority of the fish. Weakfish action is still red hot all over the bay. The early morning tides are best, and 6-pound tiderunners are not uncommon. Fish light tackle with bright colored soft plastics and bucktails for the best results. Sea bass fishing on the wrecks has been incredible. Full coolers full of 6 pound knuckleheads are being caught. They love clams on our shop chicken rigs, bucktails, and diamond jigs too. Bluefish are also running around inside, roaming the flats and smashing bait apart. Tuna action is non-stop with tons of yellowfin roaming around and eagerly eating jigs, poppers, and chunks like crazy. The giants are out too, a bit farther offshore. In the freshwater, start off fishing shallow if you’re going for bass, then head to the deeper water as the day progresses. The bass are in full fall mode. Work the flats and the channel structure. Timber, overhangs, stumps, and channel drops are great spots for big bass to hide out in this time of year. Lure wise, finesse worms, jigs, crankbaits, and some topwater lures are solid choices. The topwater lures will be effective all morning and even later into the day than during the warmer months. Pickerel will go for all of the same lures the bass eat, as well as swimbaits and inline spinners. Anything flashy and moving will get their attention. 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 have you smiling all day long.
Surfcasting Guide Bernie Bass had a great week in the suds. He found good numbers of fish throughout the week, with some very nice fish mixed in. Bernie caught some slot fish, and what appear to be some over-slots. The bait is very plentiful, and the fish are finding them. Fall run is finally kicking into gear, and there’s no better time to get out there. He’s still striking out on the albies, but no complaints as the fishing is good overall, with potential to get better.
Mark at Cow Harbor Bait & Tackle in Northport reports:
The fishing around the new moon was outstanding, and it should only heat up more and more as the weeks pass. Beach and boat anglers alike have been getting into black Sea bass, tautog, and stripers. The tog are hanging shallow, but it’s mostly small fish. The shop is loaded with green crabs to feed to the tog. Surf anglers are picking some keeper-sized bass day and night, from the rocks and sand. The jigging bite is still going strong. Bluefish and stripers are hitting strong around the changing tide. Albies are hit or miss, as they’re extra finicky this year. Snappers are still around. Bass have moved into the back of the harbors. The big winds and tides of the past week flushed a lot of the bait using the grass for shelter out into open waters. Predators will therefore be keying in on those area. This should be great for surfcasting, and for boat guys too. Call the shop or stop in for gear or advice on catching the local fish.
Captain Stu Paterson of “Northport Charters” reports:
The local fishing is good. We’re still catching big pork chop porgies to about three pounds, and there are more keeper sea bass. Call or text today to make reservations: 631-707-3266.
Dave Flanagan of “North Island Fly” found some albies just before the weekend’s big blow. The fish were super finicky, but Art was able to get some on spin and fly gear. He also caught bass and blues. As the week progressed, the albie front quieted down, but there were other species to be caught. Dan booked Dave for a togging trip, and they culled some tautog to six pounds. A nice-sized sea bass came home as well. They were even able to pop a few stripers to the surface in the morning.
The Celtic Quest Fishing Fleet of Mattituck caught many a sea bass and porgy this week. A bunch of kids from Gelinas School came aboard to partake in the catch-fest yesterday. Other trips during the week produced lots of scup and sea bass, plus some tog. Opening day of tautog season was hard work, but a productive outing. Plenty of keepers were taken home by anglers.
Steve at Wego Fishing Bait & Tackle in Southold reports:
The beaches are doing pretty darn good up there. There are fish all over, in the coves, on the rocky points, all the way out to the light. Bass and blues and albies have fully inundated the shoreline. Everything is working too, so try throwing Yo-uri lures, Super Strike Poppers, JoeBaggs Resin Jigs and Swarters. The tautog also started out with a bang this week. Guys are catching some decent fish, and they’re hanging in close, in about ten feet of water. Hit any one of the points on the North Fork, and you should be able to find some tog hanging on the structure. The Gut and Race have been filled with bass and blues, and it seems like wave after wave of fish are coming in to fill the passing schools’ void. Steve says there are even some gators around. The Bay Area opens for tautog tomorrow, so some guys will transition to those spots. The fishing in the bay is overall pretty stellar as well. It’s still summery in that water, with blowfish, kingfish, and big porgies holding fast. The offshore bite is still going strong as well. Guys are running off today and tomorrow to target the dragger followers.
Rich at Whitewater Outfitters in Hampton Bays reports:
The striped bass moved into Montauk yesterday and day before, but that front’s been quite quiet lately. Jeff found some albies on the ocean in 80-90 feet. First time he saw them in a week. Saw them in the back of the inlet this morning too. There’s a bunch of little bluefish and shad around. If you wanted to catch snappers, it’s likely a shad would steal your lure first. The tuna guys went out yesterday, and said it was better before the weekend. More guys went today, so we should know tomorrow if the bite picked back up. Rich reckons they’re on the move though, since the draggers took off for a few days while the weather was ugly. Some decent tautog catches are coming up. Guys up on the North Fork are catching and keeping, whereas any caught down here must be released until the season opens tomorrow. There was a fair amount of decent stripers in the bay, to keeper size. Guys were drifting spots and other bait in the inlet, picking some decent fish. It went quiet when the weather got ugly. Sea bassing is really good. Guys are going offshore to the wrecks in about 150 feet of water. They’re deep already, which is odd. There are some real knuckleheads down there, and they’re all coming on jigs. One customer got out yesterday, and came back with a box full; not a single fish was under 3 pounds. 4 and 5 pounders are the norm out there.
The Shinnecock Star in Hampton Bays says the tog are chewing, and they are excited for the season to kick off tomorrow. They’ll be sailing at 7 am until 2 pm, with reservations necessary. Call or text Capt. John for info: 631-728-4563.
Montauk’s Viking Fleet had a tougher time finding the big bottom fish as this week progressed. Smaller sea bass and porgies were a mainstay, but the bigger ones took some work to find. Eric Soto from Brooklyn took yesterday’s pool with a 3.5-pound scup, and the edible pool went to Steven Schwartz from Brooklyn, who caught a 4.5-pound sea bass. A few cod were to be found in the mix, and Alan Matica from Maryland won the edible pool with an 8.1 pound cod on Saturday. Friday’s trip was productive in terms of quality, with 10 keeper cod, a 3-pound scup, and a 4.4-pound knothead sea bass. All the fish caught were large.
Surf Guide Bill Wetzel of the Surf Rats Ball reports:
SRB member Jim fished the Jones area this Monday morning at the end of the outgoing. As snappers tore up the surface, Jim was able to pick a 32-inch bass on a yellow SS darter. Another fish hit a tin later on.
Long Island Forecast
I can’t say much about the fishing this week, because I didn’t do a ton of catching. I know some people were in the right spot at the right time, and Montauk produced a few bites, but it was pretty darn quiet by me. The sand beaches have seemed like a desert, especially after that wind picked up over the weekend. I get the impression that the fishing has been tough if you’re targeting anywhere but the fall hotspots. I also get the impression that the fish are beginning to file into these vacant areas as I type. I think this coming week is going to be very productive.
I’m hearing word of albies, here and there, on and off. It’s hard to gauge where they’ll show up next, and if they’ll eat. Odds are, if you’re targeting albies, you’ve been burning a lot of gas with nothing to show for it. That should end this week, if it hasn’t already.
It’s exciting to hear that the tautog are biting from shore again. My sessions in the rocks were some of the most memorable fishing I did last year. I experienced one break-off that will haunt me for a long time. Fun stuff. Can’t wait to lose some more big tog.
Whales and dolphins are feeding upon the bunker, which reappeared in numbers. I also spotted a few big bass hanging out on the bunker schools. They’re nowhere near shore, nor are they consolidated. There are little schools strewn all over the ocean, but there’s fish on a lot of them. Hopefully, they’ll make it into shore.
I think the fact that all these summer species are still around indicates that the fall run has not yet really begun. The bulk of the migration has yet to take place. More big fish will arrive in the next week, and greater numbers of fish should show up to put on the greatest show. Ain’t nothing to it but to do it. Get out there, and enjoy yourself. Tight lines.