Unprecedented squid run. Big bluefish here and there. Big bass in back. Good run of short bass along the sand beaches. Quality togging this week.
Long Island Fishing Report
Frank from Bernie’s Bait and Tackle in Brooklyn reports:
The big news this past week or two was a bit of a phenomenon for the area. There has been a squid run in the NY Bight. Squid are being caught inside the Sheepshead Bay Boat Basin, at Marine Parkway Bridge, and even in some marinas. Frank thinks they’re in feeding on the small bunker and spearing. Frank believes this showing of squid is unprecedented in the area. The squid are small to decent-sized. Guys have been catching between a dozen, to bucket fulls. The fishing is mainly done at night, and the bite may be dwindling. The last 2-3 mornings saw some excellent striper fishing from beach and boats in the Breezy/Tilden area. It seems there are waves of fishing swimming by, feeding along certain pieces of structure. Frank’s bosses went out on the boat for 3-4 hours in afternoon. They caught/released over 100 bass, but not a single keeper. It’s mostly shorts on beach too. There could be some keepers in the mix, but they’re few and far between. Bluefish have been in the mix, though not a lot. A couple reports came in this week of bluefish to 9 pounds, which are bigger than any other recent catches. Surface temps are dropping, and we’re in the midst of a full moon phase right now. This should give all the fish a jolt of excitement. Tautog have been keeping a low profile. Fish were reported, but not many keepers. Overall, togging hasn’t been great this year. Just before the season, there were good numbers of big fish. Once the season opened, there were barely any keepers to take home. Guys have been targeting sundials in the Coney Island area recently. They’ve been buying spearing from Bernie’s to target the flatfish.
Rockfish Charters in Brooklyn reports:
We boated over fifty keeper striped bass yesterday. The fish were hitting spoons, live bunker, and rubber shads. This is as good as it gets, and there’s only a few weeks left! We have some weekday availability coming up. Call/text Capt. Kyle or Rich to reserve a spot: 347-661-4501.
Josh at Gypsea Charters in the Rockaways reports:
Bass fishing continues to remain as good as it gets, with fish of all sizes being taken. The recent influx of bait to the area implies that the run won’t be slowing down any time soon. Quick limits are being taken, plus C&R til your arms can’t take it. On the tog front, the cooler water temps have had the fish chewing much better than they were earlier in the season. Some days, it’s still a grind. The Gypsea Star has officially shut down for the season, with big news in store for the spring. Thanks for a great year!
Kathy from Freeport Bait & Tackle reports:
Fishing has slowed down a good bit. One customer has been going out to fish the cholera for yellowfin tuna. He bought five flats of bait this Tuesday. Guys are picking up diamond jigs from the shop to target the local bluefish. Stripers are running, so a lot of guys are trolling mojos and bunker spoons. They’re mostly fishing out of Jones Inlet. The body of fish is mainly between the pink hotel and round house, from Jones to Rockaway. Kathy had the shop’s backyard renovated, and she is expanding the storage for boats. If you need to store your boat this winter, give Kathy a call on her cell: 516-205-6087.
Lloyd Malsin fished last week for tautog with wind against tide, which forced us to put out two anchors. There was a huge amount of life on the west reef, and only four boats targeting them. We put 125 tog on the boat. The hottest bite occurred right at the beginning of the outgoing. On the way home, we trolled in 56 feet west of Debs with a yellow spoon. We lost an oversized bass right at the boat.
Point Lookout’s Super Hawk reports:
We caught some huge black sea bass this week. We’ve been targeting them, jumbo porgies, cod, pollock, and more, and the fishing has been great! Togging has been productive as well. Our December schedule is posted on our Facebook page. Call today to make a reservation: 516-607-3004.
Captree’s Laura Lee reports:
Togging was great yesterday, with 119 fish caught to 7 pounds. Thirty of those were keepers. 43 sea bass, 4 porgies and 25 dogfish also came over the rail. The 11pm trip last night had 20 anglers, who caught 67 stripers. Tuesday’s “tautog special” trip caught 177 tog, keeping 42 to 8 pounds. There were several cancelled trips and lackluster outings during the middle portion of the week. Last Thursday and Friday were solid though, with decent tautog fishing and good numbers of stripers to 26 pounds.
Bill at Chasing Tails Bait and Tackle in Oakdale reports:
The fall run is still going strong as we enter the colder months. Stripers are all over the bay, eating peanut bunker and mullet; the herring and sand eel run should be arriving soon hopefully. Boat guys are catching ’em on popping plugs, shallow swimmers, swim shads, soft plastic sand eels, and bucktails. Surf rats are having a blast in the adverse weather, bombing big darters, bucktails, and bottle plugs out to slot and over-slot-sized fish. The night bite has been really good when they’re biting. There are still solid weakfish in the bay as well, chewing hard on soft plastics and small bucktails. Tog fishing is incredible, even locally still. Many anglers are having great days with lots of fish, and some very solid keepers coming up. Hit ’em with jigs or our shop rigs for non-stop crazy action. Black sea bass fishing on the wrecks has also been unbelievable. They love clams on our shop chicken rigs, bucktails and diamond jigs too. The freshwater is cold, so if you’re going for bass, definitely start off fishing shallow, then head to the deeper water as the day progresses. Look for timber, overhangs, stumps, and channel drops. Those are prime spots for big bass to hide out at this time of year. As for lures, hit ’em with finesse worms, jigs, blade baits, and crankbaits. Slow down your retrieve for better success. 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. Trout action is starting to get better at the stocked ponds and lakes. Connetquot Park fly fishing is on fire right now too. Bill from the shop was there on Wednesday morning and had over 20 fish in the net. Nymphing was hot, but they were also rising to small dries and eating flashy streamers. 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.
Mark at Cow Harbor Bait & Tackle in Northport reports:
The weather has improved the past few days and the fishing with it. We’ve got some warm weather in the forecast, and the water temps are still in the 50s, so expect the good bite to continue; especially with the full moon phase coming up. Mark got out on a charter for his birthday this week (HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARK!), and sang praises about how good the experience was. Not only was the fishing great, but the service and the company. They caught a bunch of tog while out. Togging has been great in general. Sea bass are still around. Albies seem to have moved off. In the surf, there’s plenty of schoolies around still. You just have to pick your time and tides correctly. Squid are around too, making for a fun angling target, and a good bait.
Captain Stu Paterson of “Northport Charters” reports:
We had a good time with Jay and his buddies yesterday. We pulled up lots of tautog, weeding through abundant shorts to get some keepers on the boat. There were some sea bass in the mix. The storms that hit at the end of last week scattered the bass all over the bay, but we’ve found them and are putting some slot-sized bass on the boat. Call or text today to make reservations: 631-707-3266. Or check out Stu’s website at northportcharters.com.
The Capt Lou Fleet in Freeport reports:
Togging was very productive this past weekend. Sea bass, jumbo porgies, ling and cod were biting as well. We are booking striper trips right now, for this weekend. Seal watching starts the day after Thanksgiving. The Nautical Mile Boat Parade occurs on December 4th. Capt. Lou is taking people for $25/pp. There’s a DJ and cash bar on board.
Dave Flanagan of “North Island Fly” has been staying tight with the tautog on the north shore. He brought home a limit right before that tornado weather the other day. He’s planning to target them for a little while longer. Check out Dave’s website to book him for a charter at www.northislandfly.com.
Surfcasting Guide Bernie Bass found stripers on both and day and night tides this week. There was a lot of small bass around, willing to hit bucktails at all hours. The mid-week storm produced a good bite.
The tog grounds of Mattituck have been on fire this week. Yesterday was extremely productive. They called it quits on their Port Jeff excursions on 11/14, after the scup seemingly departed. They found some sea bass and tog over there for their final trip. They will still be sailing out of Mattituck.
Kenny at Tight Lines Tackle in Sag Harbor reports:
The beaches haven’t been too crowded with casters, but the fish have been there biting. It’s mostly short bass along the beaches at this point. The inlet has been on and off. Carl Nigro had an easy mid-thirties fish while bucktailing from the rocks one day, and the boats have been doing a good job of catching. Montauk has been chock full of fish. Gin Beach has had some huge schools of bass. Some gator blues in the mid-teens made an appearance a few days back. There’s still fish in the peconics. Guys have been catching on poppers at sunset. Kenny reckons this fall’s looking like a late migration. 6 or 7 years ago there were hundreds of guys on the beach near the inlet on Thanksgiving, because there were bass all over the beach. He and I are both expecting to see some late season action like that. Montauk water temps broke into the sixties this week, after all.
Alan joined Bill on Friday for a northside schoolie session. The chartreuse Super Strike Zig-Zag Darter did all the work. Despite some large bass being landed the night prior, all they encountered were shorts. On Saturday night, Marcus and Mike ventured into the north side with Bill, avoiding the large surf on the south side. Despite a seal popping up right next to them, they managed to start catching fish on a bottle plug. Apparently the day bite was pretty wild, with blitzes all along the beach. Surf Rat Reports: John caught two short bass on the incoming at Smith Point on Thursday. The fish ignored bucktails, sp minnows, and a pencil; Tsunami soft plastics got the job done. Steve fished a back bay spot last Wednesday and caught a 33-pound bass on a black/yellow Daiwa SP Minnow. One rat reported some big carcasses on the beach; Bill says they’ve been washed up all over the east end, as a result of gill nets.
Chris Albronda gave me the goods on Montauk:
The fall run has been running at peak performance. Small stripers are blitzing down the entire south side and north side. The false albacore are there, but not as thick as the bass. On the troll, you’d find a larger class of fish. Diamond jigging the deeper rips will produce some larger bass as well. The bottom fishing has been producing some trophy fish this week. Taylor on the Double D landed a 10.3 pound tog the other day. The Black Sea bass are getting thick, but the porgies are starting to disperse. 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 trip at 631-830-3881.
Long Island Fishing Forecast
For the past 4 years, we’ve experienced a good sand eel run in the fall. When bass migrated by my beach, they’d come in close to shore like clockwork. You could probably catch some small fish during the day, and you stood a chance of getting at least one hit from a big fish almost every night. Sunrise was a very good bet, and some sunsets saw stellar fishing. As I analyze this, I’m realizing there was really no bad time to be fishing during a sand eel run.
This year hasn’t seen any real promise of a sand eel run, and the fishing is totally different. Mullet was prevalent for an extended time, and bunker was certainly a mainstay. Bunker is still one of the top menu items, and I believe squid and spearing are important right now. I’ve been doing a lot of bucktailing and plugging these days to imitate those baits. I feel like I’ve been in a fishless desert for more than half of the time though, and the only oases were 40 minutes in either direction–the inlet and Montauk. If you’ve been working those areas religiously, I’m guessing you had some decent fish this fall. Sticking it out on the sand beaches just wasn’t a very efficient way to keep the rod bent consistently. I actually don’t feel there was any consistency in the bite whatsoever this fall.
Fishing the bays was another good way to stay bent this fall. I only realized this in the past few weeks, so I think I’ve missed out on a good run in back. There are still plenty of fish back there though, so don’t sleep on your bay spots, especially around the moons.
There are lots of short bass running the beach right now, and there are many more waves of them to come. It seems like there’s still a good chunk of fall run ahead of us, so I’m remaining optimistic about some serious blitz action in the near future. I saw thousands of birds working in Montauk this week, and they’ll be following those fish underneath them as they continue their migration westward. Don’t forget to ditch that rear treble on your plugs for easy C&R fishing. Better yet, just use lures with single hooks on them.
Expect a fun week ahead, and enjoy it while it’s here! Tight lines.