North Fork is on fire! Albies, gator blues, big bass, and big tautog for the taking. Gannets showing up on the South Fork, with stripers in tow. Good bottom fishing in Montauk and on the North Fork. Much of the island is still catching black sea bass and porgies.
Long Island Fishing Report
Frank from Bernie’s Bait and Tackle in Brooklyn reports:
The quality of fishing went down slightly this week. The scene is more inconsistent than it has been all fall. However, with the dropping temps, fish are beginning to act more rambunctious when they do appear. Dennis from the shop got out Tuesday afternoon for the sunset session. He caught 18 bass from Coney Island beaches. He had spotted birds working the beach, and caught 4 keeper bass as well as 14 other shorts. Frank received a similar report about birds working from Kingsboro to Coney Island, with fish in some spots but not others. Compare that to the next day, when Frank’s bosses got out on the boat in the Breezy area. They are weathered anglers, but they didn’t buy a single bite in the few hours they were out. That is pretty much the way things went this week, with some days on and some days off. Frank referred to it as “feast or famine.” With the colder weather inbound, we’ll start to see stripers doing their thing. Still, with the warm water temps, one could certainly still find a mixed bag on the bottom. Take Jay for example, who caught his first weakfish this past week from Canarsie Pier. It was the only fish he caught, but the squeteague weighed six friggin pounds! Congrats Jay! There are stragglers of all kinds in the area. Frank says sea bass and porgies are still on the menu, and party boats are still targeting them in deeper water. Tog are showing in the shallows a bit more as of late. Bigger fish are beginning to show face. The keeper-short ratio is quite low, as usual, but more big fish should be moving in regularly as the water temps drop. There’s still plenty of bunker around. Frank just saw a huge body of peanuts in the back bays the other day. The stage is set for some awesome striper action as the water temps decrease.
Rockfish Charters in Brooklyn reports:
There’s currently a huge body of stripers in the region; oversized bass are mixed in with slot-sized fish. They are marking them underneath the local bunker schools. They caught and released some huge fish this week. Book your trip to get in on the action before the big/keeper fish depart for the winter! Don’t forget to dress warm. Call/text Capt. Kyle or Rich to reserve a spot: 347-661-4501.
Josh at Gypsea Charters in the Rockaways reports:
Tautog fishing has shown much improvement over the past week due to the temperature drop. There’s plenty of action to be had, with nice keepers in the mix. On the bass front, the fall run is now in full swing. If you want to get in on some striper action, the time is now. The Star will continue to run open-boat tautog trips by reservation every weekend. It’s also available for private charters for stripers/tautog for the remainder of the season. Text or call Josh at 516-659-3814 for info/booking.
Paul at River Bay Outfitters in Baldwin has been hearing reports from the Jones area. Word is the bite was inconsistent this week. One tide you’ll catch a bunch, and then there’s nothing on the same tide the next day. It is very hit or miss. However, one of his customers typically picks a fish or two in the back bays this time of year. The other day he had five fish, possibly indicating an uptick in the fall fishing. The Connetquot has been fishing well despite the high, muddy water. The water level is high from rain, but dropping fast. Paul recommends trying flashy streamers in this water. Once it drops, switch to nymphs. All the local ponds are stocked now, and they will probably receive another stocking in a couple weeks. The incoming cold weather should get the fish in the back bays moving. The cold weather also has Paul thinking about steelhead upstate.
The Capt Lou Fleet in Freeport reports:
We just disembarked for another 24-hour tuna trip. The fishing on our past few trips has been absolutely wild. Tautog fishing closer to shore has been excellent. Sharpies have been able to catch easy limits. Seal watching season is almost back upon us too. Check out some pictures they posted recently from last year’s trips. Book your trip at www.captloufleet.com.
Point Lookout’s Super Hawk reports:
The fishing has been very good, and the crowds have been light. This is the time of year everyone has been waiting for! There are consistent catches of giant sea bass, jumbo porgies, cod, and more. Call today to make a reservation: 516-607-3004.
Lindenhurst Bait & Tackle reports:
The stripers are definitely in now! Larry and Kyle Markowitz got it done today while working for the bunker pods west of Fire Island Inlet. The jig bite also started yesterday in the ocean. Umbrella rigs are catching loads of bass in the State Boat Channel and East/West Channel. Live eels are contributing to catches at the Robert Moses Bridge and lighthouse rips.
Captree’s Laura Lee reports:
It is officially striper season in our neck of the woods. Yesterday morning’s trip had 14 anglers who caught 25 striped bass and kept 13. They released eight oversized and 4 short bass. 1 fluke, 44 dogfish, and 1 weakfish mixed up the bag. The 6 pm trip caught 2 stripers, and the 11 pm trip caught 71. They kept a full boat limit. The offshore express trip two days ago caught a lot of sea bass, porgies, and dogfish. 12 bluefish and 4 ling also hit the deck. The 11 pm trip that night caught 68 stripers, 1 weakfish, and 3 shad. It’s been a good, consistent week on the striper front.
Dave Flanagan of “North Island Fly” has been experiencing some phenomenal fishing on the north shore this fall. Even gator blues, which seemed to be headed for a down cycle, have been chewing well up there. Stripers are doing the same, with plenty of schoolies to bend the fly rods. Albies have provided opportunities for a mixed bag, and a northeast slam. The first few days of November have been a great start to Dave’s last month of the season. Last but not least, tog are there for those who want ‘em. Check out Dave’s website to book him for a charter now at www.northislandfly.com
Mark at Cow Harbor Bait & Tackle in Northport reports:
Black fishing is still going strong off the beach. Guys have been catching tog from 4-7.5 pounds in shallow water. Wolfpacks of blues and bass are busy chasing around squid along the north shore. Check out the back of the river in Smithtown for a good bite going on. It just hasn’t slowed down. Weather is dropping down though, so expect the bite to pick up even more. The big tog should begin chewing even better with the dropping temps this week. There’s a ton of jig fishing going on right now. Guys all over the beach have been crushing it. It looks like some big bass are getting caught from the beach at night too.
Togging is just ridiculous on the north fork right now. Some quality fish have been coming over the rail. Yesterday, they nearly achieved a full boat limit, and probably would have if the tide hadn’t picked up steam so quickly. Lots of shorts kept the rods bent, and the scup mixed up the bag. The sea bass front was a bit less productive the past couple of days, but they still managed to pull a few from the deep.
Steve at Wego Fishing Bait & Tackle in Southold reports:
You wanna see albies? Go to the other side of Fishers Island. He says there are miles of them blitzing. It’s like an albie highway. Bluefish are also all over the place. Guys are running to beach as we speak, bugging out about albies and blues. Bass should be right behind them. A few guys fishing the Gut yesterday were saying it was loaded with stripers. Lures you want to bring along include JoeBaggs, Deadly Dicks, Yo-Zuri Mag Darters and Daiwa SP Minnows. It wouldn’t hurt to have a Super Strike Poppers as well. Steve says get the fish while they’re here. There was frost on the ground this morning, and the albies will probably not stick around long if it remains this cold. Speaking of which, this is tautog weather. Everybody is coming home with a limit lately. The shore guys are killing it too. The big fish are making moves into the area right now. Steve’s stocked up with green crabs, white leggers, and hermits. Green and whites are the way to go, though. Last but not least, there’s a giant tuna bite going on off Montauk. A 900 pounder was caught locally yesterday. If you need butterfish, herring, or sardines, Wego has ‘em.
Surfcasting Guide Bernie Bass came across the toughest fishing he’s experienced this month. He’s been on his game this fall, but this week provided inconsistent action. The storms dirtied up the water and made for some tough fishing. Earlier in the week, he had a good night bite going with smaller bass. The day bite wasn’t too shabby either, with fishing chewing bucktails on the heels of the storms. Nighttime action improved towards the end of the week. Bernie’s hoping this new moon phase brings in some big fish and consistent bites. Bait remains abundant. The season will be over before you know it; get it in while the getting’s good!
Jeff at Whitewater Outfitters in Hampton Bays says the fishing has been good whenever he can get out. There’s a good amount of bass around, and you can find them in the open ocean, along all the beaches, and in the inlet. The inlet has produced some really good bites lately. The open ocean has schools of bass willing to take topwater lures/flies. Bunker schools are out there, as are sandeels. Jeff says he hasn’t seen any albies down here this week. All the action is on the north shore.
The Shinnecock Star in Hampton Bays reports:
Despite the prevailing winds of late, the tog have been biting nicely. They got out on 11/2, anchored up, and picked away at some quality tog throughout the day. The morning bite sounds like it was the best. They have plenty of room aboard this weekend, so give them a call for booking info: 631-728-4563.
After a recent bout of covid, Bill made it up to the north fork for a day with his wife. He picked a couple of small bass on a small mantis popper. Later that night, on the South Shore, he picked another two bass on black/gold darters. It was back to the North Fork on 11/4, following a report of decent bass harassing bunker schools. It didn’t take long for Bill’s Sebile plug to bump into schools of bunker, and he began to get hit by larger fish instead of the rats that began the night. Unfortunately, fish don’t stick to the Sebile too well, so he lost those bigger ones. That bite only lasted for about 5-10 minutes, which is reminiscent of most of this fall’s fishing. Bill said earlier in the fall that these quick, sporadic moments of action are indicative of the bass feeding upon bunker. AJ hit a spot on the Sound (in Connecticut) and was bailing bluefish from 10-12 pounds on pencil poppers this week. Those same fish should be here on LI along the North Shore. Rob found some of those blues this Monday while fishing the Kings Park area. One of them spit up an adult bunker. On Tuesday, Rob had a 20-pound bass come up for a Cotton Cordell Pencil Popper, and then three big blues. One was very large.
Montauk’s Viking Fleet reports:
Jumbo porgies were the mainstay yesterday, biting everywhere they went. Plenty of sea bass have been on the feed as well. Two days ago, the sea bass fishing was phenomenal. Cod have been biting too. Will Young from NYC won the edible pool yesterday with a 13 pound cod. Dogfish have been prevalent, as a kind-of unwanted bycatch while targeting bottom species. Luckily, they’ve been able to cull a nice bag of fish before the doggies settle in. Porgies have been taking the pools. The biggest came Sunday, at 3.5 pounds. Every day since the size of the pool winner has dwindled slightly. Yesterday’s pool porgy was 2.8 pounds, taken by Jin Jong Dong from Brooklyn.
Chris Albronda gave me the goods on Montauk:
We had another great week of striped bass fishing on the end. Loads of birds, including gannets, have flooded the scene. Stripers are blitzing all over the north and south sides. Black Sea bass and tautog are on the feed. It’s a great time to put a bag of bottom fish together. The Miss Montauk is doing all-day bottom fishing trips now. False albacore moved in on the last blow, and are being caught in a variety of ways. 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
My friend Matt says this morning, “It’s days like today I could spend all day on the beach not catching; just knowing what’s out there is thrilling.”
In my neck of the woods, the fall run actually kicked off this week.
The water this fall has been incredibly warm. I’ve been whining about the inconsistency on the oceanfront, but I’m pretty sure I was missing out on some good opportunities in the backwater. I’m not usually one to target the bays in the fall, but I believe I would’ve had a more productive fall if I did.
The first night I fished this week took place on Thursday, after a North Fork excursion. I soaked a dozen crabs up there, eventually getting the hang of the bite around sunset. After many misses, I finally caught 5 tog and black sea bass with my last six crab-halves. I got a hunch on the ride home and popped into a bay spot known for big bass. I skunk out there 99% of the time I fish it, but the hunch was righteous, and I experienced my most successful outing there ever. I didn’t catch a single fish but received about 12-15 hits. I had three fish on for over five seconds, and another 5 got hooked momentarily. I missed another 6 hits or so. Funny how “success” doesn’t require bringing fish to hand when the fishing is dismal. It was a much-needed high note on which I’d start my week.
I got back to the north fork the next morning at sunrise. I almost bailed on my plans because of the insane west wind I felt at 5am. It was supposed to be calm! I pondered for almost too long but decided to make the trip last-second, despite the gale. Out of 40 guys targeting the coinciding sunrise & top of the tide, I saw one albie landed, and landed one of my own. My first in two years! I expected nothing at slack, and I got what I came for, so I headed home for work. It was finally beginning to feel like the fall run to me. If I had been hitting the north fork all fall, I would’ve had this feeling much earlier. It’s been crazy good up there this fall.
Rarely will I make the North Fork my skunk-busting safe spot. There’s plenty of water closer to home where I feel confident I can catch. That just wasn’t the case this fall, so I’m glad I made the trip. I needed the Mojo.
I brought that mojo back down to the south shore, and the fish must’ve smelled it or something. Gabagool. Stripers began to show on the local sand beaches with much more consistency than I’ve seen this fall. Slots and shorts were quite abundant all of a sudden. I know some over-slots were caught as well. Gannets began to pour in from the east, with more arriving daily. I haven’t witnessed any blitzes just yet, but I’m sure they’re just around the bend. I reckon I’ll be seeing a bunch this week, so expect some cool drone footage. Today seems like the day they’ll start.
Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for some awesome natural events occurring while you’re out there. There are many more creatures migrating, other than the fish. This week I witnessed a praying mantis laying eggs, hordes of cormorants picking away at white perch and gizzard shad, big bucks play-dueling, and box turtles making moves across a client’s lawn. Nature’s amazing right now! Stay sharp!