Some of the best blitz action of the year occurred this week. Great surf action for schoolie bass, with some slots and even some over-slots in the mix. There are still stripers in the bays, and there seems to be a good body of fish migrating along the east end beaches. Bait this week consists of mid-sized bunker (8 inches), herring, and sandeels. Bucktails, rubber shads and soft plastics have been killer.
A lot of big tog were coming over the rail this week. Several double digit white chins were reported. Big black sea bass to 6+ pounds were a staple as well.
There are still some bluefish and weakfish getting caught, plus scup and triggerfish. There’s a good mix out there, but the variety is decreasing daily.
Long Island Fishing Report
Rockfish Charters in Brooklyn reports:
We found some good fishing on the tog grounds this weekend. Both Saturday’s and Sunday’s trips saw boat limits. Bass were waiting for us on the trip back, so we jigged up a quick limit of stripes before heading back to the dock. The last several tog trips have shown a major improvement from the last few seasons. As the water cools, the fishing just keeps improving. Call/text Capt. Kyle or Rich to reserve a spot: 347-661-4501.
Frank from Bernie’s Bait and Tackle in Brooklyn reports:
Bass are providing some fantastic fishing all over the place, but rarely will you find them in the same spot two days in a row. It’s mostly schoolies, with a nicer bass in the mix every once in a while. The bass seem to be on the move, roaming in schools from spot to spot. We heard some fish reports from 20-30 pounds, but they’re the exception to the rule. Bunker was on the menu, at 8-9 inches long. With herring and shad coming in, that’s an appropriate size profile you want to adopt. Sometimes the fish are blitzing on them, but the surface action has often been out of reach for surfcasters. There have been occasional bluefish caught in the mix. Some were even taken that measure 10-12 pounds. Those gators weren’t the norm, but they were there. They might not stick around with cooler weather we’re experiencing, but you never know. Bigger shad have been getting caught up by the Verrazano and 69th street pier. Herring are more towards far Rockaway. Guys are still going out to do deepwater bottom fishing. Porgies are still there! It’s doubtful you’ll luck into any from shore, but the boats have been finding scup. Tautog gets honorable mention. There are great reports from many areas, but mostly not from local waters. There are not a lot of keeper fish when you do find them in NY. Better reports are coming from the Sound, the east end and Jersey.
Paul at River Bay Outfitters in Baldwin reports:
There’s not a whole lot going on on the saltwater side now, as the season slowly wanes to a close. Effort is beginning to dwindle, and the scene is changing. The duck hunters are the most numerous people in the back bays, where the water is now quite cold. You won’t find many anglers back there at this point in the season. There were still whispers of striper action on the beaches this week. One customer, Matt, was going to make a night trip this week his last trip of the season. He ended up having his best outing this fall, with many stripers coming to hand. I have a feeling it’s no longer going to be his final trip. The Connetquot is fishing well, as usual. A group of guys hit it yesterday, and soaked perdigon nymphs. They were fishing “rainbow warriors” specifically. They had a great outing, with many brookies and ‘bows coming to the net. One angler even caught a brown trout that began to release eggs when he was handling it. Paul says an egg pattern would be a good bet. A couple notes on egg patterns first:
- You cannot use any egg patterns that have been made from molded plastic (i.e. beads).
- Trout don’t exactly chew eggs, they just inhale them, so make sure you set the hook quick when they take!
Heed those points and you’ll have a good time of catching on the Connie!
The Capt Lou Fleet in Freeport has been fill-in coolers while offshore. The big sea bass bite has been outstanding. There were some bluefish, porgies, and weakfish in the mix just before the weekend. The cod that came up weren’t a surprise, but perhaps the triggerfish that hit the deck was. Seal watching trips are another one of our highlighted events, so check out the info for them on our website. Book your trip at www.captloufleet.com.
Captree’s Laura Lee reports:
The togging after the weekend was excellent, with fish to eight pounds. Monday morning’s trip caught and kept 45 tautog. The togging over the weekend was even better. Sunday’s am trip caught 44 tog to 11 pounds. In addition, they caught 105 sea bass, 8 porgies, 24 cunner, and 2 ling, among other fish. There’s been a nice jig bite for fat stripers. Sunday’s trip had 20 anglers who caught 66 stripers, 48 dogfish, and 5 shad. The afternoon local trip caught 61 bass, keeping a full boat limit. Thanksgiving Eve saw a nice blitz of bass, and we ended up putting 207 on the boat.
Bill at Chasing Tails Bait and Tackle in Oakdale reports:
The last few weeks have been very cold and windy, but the fish don’t seem to mind one bit. Striped bass are stacked up outside in the ocean, up to 40 inches reported. There are lots of them hanging out on the bunker schools outside, getting fatter and fatter on their way out to their migration. On the inside there are still plenty of shorter fish as well, plus some keepers roaming around the inlet area. Swim shads, shallow diving lures like Daiwa SP Minnows and Bombers, poppers, and bucktails have been getting crushed. The open beaches are seeing some really solid fish in the upper slot size as well. Diamond jigs, swim shads, darters and bottle plugs have been getting worked. The tog sea bass bites are as solid as ever. Tog are big and plentiful, and eager to eat crabs on our shop rigs or a tog jig. Big sea bass are coming over the rails every day, filling limits with knuckleheads on clams and jigs. In the fresh water, most local lakes have been stocked with trout. Rainbow trout and some really solid two-year-old brown trout have been put in. They’ll go after in-line spinners, Trout Magnets, silver and gold spoons as well as the classic worm hung under a bobber. If you’re going for largemouth, low and slow is the name of the game this time of year. Drag jigs and Senkos, or slow roll an in-line spinner or small crankbait for the best outcome. Yellow Perch and bluegill will be out in school and eager to eat. They love a simple worm on the bottom or under a bobber, as well as little jigs.
Mark at Cow Harbor Bait & Tackle in Northport reports:
It’s chilly out on the North shore, but the die hards are out there still catching surf stripers. We are definitely coming to the end of the season though. There are herring around, so if you’re into pickling them, now’s the time to get out and throw some sabikis. There were some squid by Oyster Bay, but it’s not really a steady bite anymore. You could probably still catch some at night. If you’re looking for something to do, bring a pair of binoculars to the beach to do some seal-spotting. You can typically find them hanging tight to the rocks. Most boats have been pulled from the water, so the reports are slowing down big time. Don’t expect to hear many saltwater reports from here on out. Freshwater will probably be where it’s at for the near future. We do have some green crabs left, and it’s probably the last batch we’ll receive this season. Make sure you bring your gear in to be serviced! Wintertime is for service work. If you need maintenance on reels, rods, bogas or any of your gear. We also sharpen knives, so bring your dull ones in to meet our whetstone!
The Celtic Quest Fishing Fleet of Mattituck finished up their season just after the weekend. The tog and sea bass continued to chew well. They brought their boat around to the shipyard in Sayville the other day, and took some beautiful pictures of the journey along the way. Check them out on their Instagram page.
The Hampton Lady of Hampton Bays found some good fishing this weekend. Sunday’s trip to the wreck was incredible. We had doubleheaders of giant sea bass to over six pounds. We got out boat limit, no problem, catching from the first drop to the last. Some monster scup, red hake, and a couple bonus cod rounded out the catch, packing our coolers to the brim.
Montauk’s Viking Fleet reports:
Big tog came over the rails this past week, like our pool winner the day before Thanksgiving. Brad Phillips from Island Park caught an 11.4 pounder. Sea bass were no joke either that day, with Rafael Nunez’s 4.2 pound fish taking home that pool. Graylin Clayton took the cod pool with an 11 pounder on that day. Sunday’s trip was great, with lots of tog action to start the day. The average size of keepers has been improving. Easy limits were acquired by the sharper anglers. All anglers caught their limits of knothead sea bass. Those anglers using jelly worm teasers were high hooks. Fast forward to yesterday, another great trip. Many tog limits were acquired once again, and the sea bass fishing was even better. The tog were in a bit closer, and the bite was solid. Sea bass were giant, and the pool went to Steve Bento from Franklin Square, who caught a 4.4 pounder. Michael Jung from Freeport took the tautog pool with an 8.7 pounder. Several cod came up to sweeten the day’s catch.
Surf guide Bill Wetzel of the Surf Rats Ball reports:
Bill hit the Shirley beaches on Thanksgiving morning. At first light, Bill picked a rat on a chartreuse bottle plug. A gear foul up caused him to fumble with some new equipment as the sun rose. There was a bar just out of reach where Bill felt the fish were holding, but he needed a stubby needle to reach it. Unfortunately he didn’t have that lure, and called it a morning. He headed back out after his turkey dinner, and couldn’t buy a bite in that same spot. He began to get some bites when he figured out how to work the darter for the lazy fish chilling in the cold water. He had 5 more fish, one of them making the slot. Justin reported countless 12-15 niche bass running the eastern south shore just yesterday. They’re on spearing and peanut bunker. He threw surface plugs, hoping for something larger, to no avail. Bernie was fishing the Monmouth area on Thanksgiving weekend, and caught blitzing stripers to 16 pounds in the middle of the day on the outgoing tide. Steven targeted the Rockaway area this weekend in the middle of the night. He had a solid upper-slot fish from the shallows quickly take his bucktail. A half hour later he had another fish on a tsunami sandeel. Apparently sand eels had been moving into the area the past few nights. He picked a couple more bass on a Redfin before throwing in the towel. Anglers in the lot said the night prior was a better bite, and that not much was occurring tonight. A dusting of snow began to cover the cars and streets as he returned home. Just after Thanksgiving, Steve was fishing a western north shore beach at the top of the tide. Seagulls were picking up small bait close to shore, and a bunch of adult bunker had beached themselves. Bigger bucktails were the key to getting bites, and Steve got it done with a 2 ounce jig. It was mostly rats, with the occasional small keeper. One fish had a bunker tail protruding from its throat.
Point Lookout’s Super Hawk has stayed on the bite over the weekend, putting together consistent catches of giant sea bass, cod, jumbo porgies, pollock, weakfish and more. Their December schedule is posted on their Facebook page. Call today to make a reservation: 516-607-3004.
Long Island Fishing Forecast
I foresee this striper bite lasting well into December. There are still so many fish cruising by. East end surf anglers were catching fish to the mid-teens just two days ago. I got in on the blitz that produced those larger fish; I was probably minutes late for the better class of bass, but I caught a bunch of fish to about 28 inches. Some of them had bulbous bellies, indicative of heavy feeding. My friend Nico noticed some large peanut bunker being chased up onto the beach during the action. Gannets are hitting the water in large groups, providing an amazing show, and also hope that there’s still plenty of action ahead.
I’ve been having some luck in the back bays lately also. There’s a lot of small fish back there, but there’s a good mix of bass that are a bit bigger on average than what I’m seeing on the beaches. It would be smart to give your bay spots a look, especially if they’re not far from an inlet. The biggest I found out back this week was about 13 pounds.
I’m certain the best potential for the surfcaster is still going to be from one of these following places: the open beach, inlets, and bridges. Lots of small fish are migrating along the open beach, and there’s always some late-season giants cruising nearby. The inlets and bridges are good staging grounds for big fish who are expecting herring to swim by. Blue-colored lures at night time will be the key to finding some of these late-season large. I think there’s still at least 2-3 weeks until the big bass move on for good, and we’ll be able to encounter spits of great schoolie action for the next week or two. After that, it’s time to start in on the trout, perch and holdovers.
I’ve poked around for perch, with little luck. I’ve caught a few tiny ones, but nothing to make it worth returning. A bunch of water bodies that are known to hold have not been productive just yet. That action should increase as we settle into winter.
Hopefully, you’ve got a bit of a basis for making some fish-catching decisions now. Best of luck!