Big stripers getting caught from shore around this new moon. Insane yellowfin bite on the draggers. Bigger bluefish show in Peconics. Solid weakfish to be caught. Tautog showing up in good numbers. Good variety in the bag for party boat fishermen. Cod in Montauk.
Long Island Fishing Report
Frank from Bernie’s Bait and Tackle in Brooklyn reports:
Fall is nigh. Porgy fishing has remained very good. However, the problem is it’s getting spotty from shore. Cooling temps are pushing fish from shallow areas, so it has been getting spotty in Jamaica Bay. There are good size fish being caught in Far Rockaway. Inside the bay, it’s not so good anymore. Any fish around shore tend to be smaller. The bigger ones heading to deeper water. We’ve been receiving more active bluefish reports. One guy yesterday said that he had bluefish on the surface for an hour, just dancing around eating everything in sight. Fish were coming up on diamond jigs. There were no monsters, just 5-6 pounders. We’re expecting bass to follow, with cooler water inbound. It’ll basically be a night game for bass for the meantime. The tuna run has not ended. The last few days are the first Frank hasn’t heard a peep about it though. It’s not over, but it is probably dying down a bit. Last week they sold 4-5 tuna rods and reels to guys trying to get in on the action. Frank says they’re probably a bit late to the party, but it could still be cooking a bit. Summer fish are all still in play, but starting to fade. Albies have been caught sporadically, but with no consistency. It is transition time. Guys are looking towards tautog now. Commercial guys have been catching them in deep water. Shore areas have yielded a few fish, but they’ve been small tog. The shop is carrying good green crabs now because guys are traveling to catch tog. Snappers and crabs are still around. Everything is showing signs of transitioning though, as temps drop. Stuff should get real interesting this week. Go on a boat to get to some of the stuff that has left shore.
Kathy from Freeport Bait & Tackle reports:
Captain Ray of Carolann P Charters picked up a great white shark on the troll about 20 miles south of Jones Beach this Saturday. The shark was 7 feet long and released safely. Stripers and bluefish are being caught by the local bridges. Snappers are being found up in Freeport Creek near the shop. Kathy says they’re borderline cocktails. Some weakfish were caught at Guy Lombardo Pier this week, which is kind of unusual for that spot. Porgies are being caught well along the north shore. One customer ran out to Montauk and caught some monsters out there. Sunken Meadow and Bayville have been producing some decent porgies lately as well. The bluefin tuna bite has been awesome off the beach, still occurring between Rockaway and Jones inlets. Another customer had a nice yellowfin out at the canyon. The dragger fleet has been enticing some yellowfin which have been getting caught on the chunk. John from the shop is tying tuna rigs, which have been lauded as very well made by customers who are on the bite.
The Capt Lou Fleet in Freeport reports:
Black Sea bass and porgies were the primary catch this week. Some big ling came up, and some cod to boot. Whale watching has been outstanding, and they’ll be sailing their final trip on October 11 to spot cetaceans. Point Lookout’s Superhawk says the weather is looking perfect the next couple of days, and the fish are very hungry. Big sea bass and porgies have been the primary catches this week. A few bonito even came over the rail this week. Call Capt. Steve to make a reservation: 516-607-3004.
Captree’s Laura Lee is finding some cool fish in the mix this week. A bunch of triggerfish and bonito came over the rail, plus a number of pinfish. Good numbers of sea bass and porgies were caught, as usual. On Monday, they caught 15 jacks. Weakfish, bluefish, and barrelfish were caught quite consistently, and a huge number of mackerel were boated. Tautog are beginning to become a regular catch as well, providing hope for a productive season starting 10/15.
Josh at Gypsea Charters in the Rockaways reports:
Bass fishing remains excellent on most days, with boat limits being the norm. The quality of the fishing depends primarily on boat traffic and weather, but most days are a hit rather than a miss. We are available throughout the fall for private charters for striped bass. Otherwise, we are now accepting reservations for the fall tautog season, as we’re running an open boat every weekend. Text or call 516-659-3814 for info.
Bill at Chasing Tails Bait & Tackle in Oakdale reports:
Weakfish action is still hot all over the bay. The early morning tides are best, but a few anglers have gotten lucky finding them mid-day. Six-pound tiderunners are not uncommon. Fish light gear with bright colored soft plastics and bucktails for the best results. Sea Bass action on the wrecks has been incredible. Full coolers full of monster fish, up to 6 pounds being caught. They love clams on our shop chicken rigs, bucktails and diamond jigs too. Stripers are getting caught more and more often. They’re popping up in their usual fall spots and having a field day with all of the local bait. Popping plugs, swim shads, and bucktails will find where they’re hiding, and keep you on them. Bluefish have also been spotted inside roaming the flats and smashing bait apart. Tuna action is non-stop with tons of yellowfin roaming around and eagerly eating. The giants are out too, but a bit farther offshore. In the freshwater, start off fishing shallow, then head to the deeper water as the day progresses. The bass are in full fall mode. Work the flats and channel structure. Timber, overhangs, stumps, and channel drops are great spots for big bass to hide out in. Lure-wise, finesse worms, jigs, crankbaits, and some topwater lures are solid choices for the fall. The topwater lures will be effective all morning and even later into the day than usual. Pickerel will go for the same lures the bass eat, 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 have you smiling all day long.
The Celtic Quest Fishing Fleet of Mattituck caught their first tautog of the season today, and released it to be caught again on opening day next Monday. Besides that, porgies and sea bass were the main catch this week. Some bluefish, schoolie stripers, and a lizardfish were also caught.
Steve at Wego Fishing Bait & Tackle in Southold reports:
Big blues have moved into Jessups, providing some explosive fall run action. The bassing picked up on the Sound side, and at the Gut and Race. Guys were catching lots of stripers at the latter spots. Beaches are looking good lately, with some big porgies and sea bass coming to hand. The tautog season looks like it’s going to be a good one from the beaches. Wego just got some nice fresh crabs in. Yesterday and today, the tuna bite has been insane out at the Coimbra. Craig from the shop got out and had an epic session, catching more than his fill in an hour and a half. They had twelve fish between two guys in that time. He said it’s one of the best sessions he’s ever had. It’s mostly bluefin in the 50-70 pound range. If you head off a little bit farther, you’ll chance upon some nice Allison. There should be some giants coming in quite close to Montauk soon, and guys are beginning to gear up for that. There’s a crazy amount of boats out there targeting tuna; Steve said it’s probably more than would typically be targeting porgies at the height of their season. The scene out there is ridiculous on both the fishing and angler fronts as a result. The butterfish and sardines were providing some crazy fuel for the bite, and all the fish are coming on the chunk. Steve says you could catch on the troll, but why bother? Back closer to the beach, some albies have been coming pretty close. Most of the guys having any luck on the hardtails are on boats or kayaks though. The fish are typically a bit too far off the beach for surfcasters.
Andrea at Whitewater Outfitters in Hampton Bays reports:
You can find fish just about anywhere you go right now. Fish the bays, the beaches or the inlets, at any time of day or night, and you stand a good chance at catching. There hasn’t been a set-in-stone pattern yet really, but there’s fish to be caught. There were a few good nights recorded on the sand beaches by guys throwing Daiwa SP Minnows and Yo-Zuri Mag Darters. You can hit the back bay spots in the afternoon for a fun topwater session. Guys are getting fish to keeper size on soft plastics and bucktails in the inlets. Albies showed up yesterday morning, and today in the morning. They’ve been sporadic all season, but there’s some hope for some consistency moving forward. Jeff was on the boat today and saw a ton of them. Offshore, the yellowfin bite around the draggers about 40 miles off has been insane. Guys are trolling, chunking, jigging, and popping. Do any of that right next to the boats, and you’re probably going to catch. There’s some skipjack and albies out there as bycatch. Further off at the canyon, there are more yellowfin, bluefin, and bigeye. Last but not least is the weakfish, which can still be caught in the bay. Some guys had tide runners to 32 inches this week, throwing pink and orange gulp and bass assassins.
The Shinnecock Star in Hampton Bays finished fluke season with a bang, and are now on to seabass and triggerfish. Once tautog season opens, that will be the main target for them in the ocean. They finished the fluke season targeting fish that were feeding heavily upon the big brown shrimp that are in the bay. Call or text Capt. John for info: 631-728-4563.
Montauk’s Viking Fleet got on the sea bass and porgies regularly this week, with a number of cod in the mix. Harold Henry’s 12-pound cod won him the edible pool yesterday. Mike Hay from Brooklyn had an 8 pounder on Monday. The Viking Fivestar had some excellent fishing their past couple trips. The yellowfin tuna bite has been on fire; they’ve been boating limits. Their last tuna trip is October 12th, returning October 14. Saturday’s pool winner was Victoria Maursky of Rockville Centre, who landed a 5.5 pound triggerfish.
Bill at Westlake Marina in Montauk says a bunch of bass showed up around the point this week. The guys trolling wire and lures are happening upon some larger specimens, whereas the fly guys fishing the surface are having fun with all the schoolies they could want. Unfortunately the albies have not shown up in any significant numbers. The ones that are around have been getting caught around Fishers island and watch hill. More worthy of mention is the yellowfin bite occurring around the draggers. Sea bass have been getting caught up by Cartwright.
Surf Guide Bill Wetzel of the Surf Rats Ball reports:
Jed joined Bill for a chartered trip on Friday night, where they caught a bunch of fish on live eels and super strike darters. Jed had a nice fish near thirty pounds on the snake. Bill had a bunch on a black/gold darter, to 22 pounds. The next morning (at 3:30 am), Doug and Bill hit the south side rocks for just one bass before sunrise. They moved to the north side then and caught a bunch of schoolies on SP minnows and needlefish. Later in the day, Tom joined Bill in the growing surf. The south side was all that produced, after striking out on the sand beaches. By the beginning of this week, Bill had put a couple other charters on some more bass using bucktails. SRB member Rob A. picked a slot fish at a south shore inlet this week on a metal lip swimmer. He missed a hit from what was probably a nice fish just before that on the outgoing tide.
Junior and Alex Adams of “Fish Tracker” weighed in a 208-pound bluefin tuna they caught on a live bunker.
Long Island Fishing Forecast
I felt the change coming. I saw it in the forecasted swell and knew that a bite was imminent. It wasn’t a smack-you-in-the-face type of signal, but a deep-down feeling that came and went rather quickly. I ignored that feeling, and I’d therefore miss a chance at big bass.
The ocean seemed desolate for days this week. As much as I love calm, glassy water, it’s typically the toughest water from which one can derive a bite. I could see the mullet swimming right along the beach lip, coming over it with the soft, lapping waves, and then receding with the backwash. Peanut bunker were being harassed all the while below the surface, a short cast from shore. The shad were numerous, and a few short bass came to hand during this placid stretch. With the new moon just three days away, the prospect of big bass was realer than it’s been for months.
For years, I’ve watched the water daily. I came to realize that wind was the most important determinant for how the water would look. Offshore winds flatten out the ocean; onshore winds push water into the beach, creating waves. Lateral winds create sweep, and I could predict the water clarity based on the direction and strength of the wind. I often see sandy, “murkier” water result from a west wind, and the east winds typically push in clear water. Wind from the east will also be accompanied by a long period wave.
The ability to experience the conditions firsthand and see their effects upon the surf allowed me to ignore all forecasts but the ones regarding wind. My predictions are often spot-on. About a month ago, I forecasted calm waters for the week based upon the wind forecast. The next day, I was surprised to see some growing waves and a significant heave. How had I not foreseen this?
There was a storm offshore, and although the winds were north, there was a storm swell coming from way off the coast to our east.
Here was a factor that I could not see or feel, and thus had never bothered to analyze. Its effects deemed my predictions incorrect for the day, and my fishing plans were shot as a result. This storm swell subsided quickly, and the rest of the week was calm as I predicted; but that one day that opposed my forecast drove me crazy. I’d need to finally learn as much as I could about swell.
I remember considering the charts on swellinfo.com about ten years ago, and being overwhelmed by the different numbers and metrics used to analyze the surf. I disregarded them, and just went body surfing when the waves were good. IF I needed to plan days ahead when I would body surf, I’d probably have put more time into dissecting that “swell info.” I didn’t need to plan like that, though, so I just went when it looked good.
I dove back into swellinfo.com right after the hiccup in my forecast. We had another stretch of north winds and calm waters coming up. I saw predictions for a longer period wave coming, despite those north winds, and figured there was some good surf coming. It came, and I finally felt like my analysis of the Swell-info data came in handy. I’ve been checking it ever since.
Fast forward to those glassy days this week. On the website, I saw the swell forecasted to switch suddenly one night. I knew right away that this would be the end of the calm stretch, and maybe this would get the fish biting. My most productive day last week was, after all, in some very rough surf while bucktailing the beach near the inlet. I began to mull over the incoming change in my head, and got excited about the prospects to follow. Like I said, though, the ability to forecast this change was a newly acquired skill. I knew a great change was imminent, but I wasn’t exactly sure when.
Turns out the change would occur almost right as the swell switched. I watched the ocean as the wave period grew longer, and my excitement grew with it. Perhaps the blitzes would start tomorrow.
Long story short, I spent my time looking for visual signs that the fishes’ attitude changed instead of targeting the fish with a changed attitude. As the swell really began to arrive over night, the fish began chewing. The next morning I awoke to multiple reports of 30+ pound bass being landed from the beach around sunrise. My good friend Nico was one of them. I had missed the window.
It’s always this first week of October when a number of big bass get caught in the surf. It’s likely always around the moon as well. I think that next year, I’ll know exactly when to get out to target these big fish that bite this week. I’ll be looking for a change, whether in swell, wind, or even cloud cover. We had a slow stretch of monotonous conditions, and I grew wary and bored trying to crack the code. All I needed to do was wait for that change, and be there when it happened. Next year, I will be there. I’m hoping for another chance this year, to time the bite like that, but am not counting on it. There should be some real good fishing through the rest of this month, regardless.
There are big fish in the area, and they’re hungry. The bait situation is absolutely ridiculous. Plus, we’re on the back side of the new moon, and therefore have a few more days with extremely high potential for big stripers. Now is the time to get out there and wet a line. Fish the night tides, and try to get out for sunrise. The big fish bites this time of year can be very short-lived, and unforgettable. It’s prime time.
Speaking of changes, the wind is forecasted to pick up significantly tomorrow night as darkness settles. That’ll be a great night to fish. It seems we’ll have calm, pretty, easy waters until then, with light south and north winds prevailing. I think the surf this next week is going to provide some of the best fishing of the year for the shorebound.
There hasn’t been a ton of bunker around lately, until this morning. I could sense they were troubled, evidenced by a quick push into shore just after sunrise this morning. I don’t know what besides whales is bothering the menhaden, but I get the feeling some big fish are going to find these bait schools. It might be stripers, maybe it’ll be tuna. Who the heck can say?
It’s looking real out there, so go get ’em.