Long Island Fishing Report- January 6, 2022

Plenty of offshore charters and back bay fishing opportunities are keeping anglers busy and bundled up in early 2022.

Happy New Year! 

Sea bass season ended on a high note. Quality pollock have moved into the wrecks with some bigger cod taken this week. Giant porgies are still a regular catch offshore.
 
Good white perch fishing and holdover striper action on shore, and bunker are still in the surf being harassed!

Black sea bass season ended with a bang for the Shinny Star on December 31st.

 

The Capt Lou Fleet in Freeport reports:

Our winter schedule for the 100 foot Atlantic Pearl can be found on our Facebook page. The first two trips are January 22 and 29, targeting deepwater wrecks for big porgies, pollack, hake, weakfish and cod. Sea bass season is over, so none of those will be kept. The trips will be 20 hours, and cost $175 per person. In the latter half of February, we’ll being targeting tilefish again.

They’re still running seal watching trips for the near future, including a couple trips this weekend; book with them at their website: www.captloufleet.com.

A view of some lazy seals in the back bays of Freeport, taken from a seal watching trip on the Captain Lou.

 

Point Lookout’s Superhawk has been putting together some high quality mixed bags on recent trips. Jumbo porgies, weakfish, and a few newly-arrived pollock have been coming over the rail lately. Some bluefish and some big cod have been in the mix as well. We’ll continue to sail offshore to wrecks since the fishing has been so good. Next weekend there will be two wreck trips, on Saturday and Sunday, to target porgies, weakfish, cod, pollock and more.

The Superhawk has seen a nice mixed bag recently, with some nice pollock coming over the rail.

Call Superhawk today to make a reservation: 516-607-3004.


Captree’s Laura Lee reports: 

New Year’s Eve produced some quality fishing on the morning trip. We kept a full boat limit after catching 348 giant sea bass. We also had a tremendous amount of porgies, boating over 750 of them. Other catches included six dogfish, nine pinfish, five cunner, three silver eels and three bluefish.

That was the only time we got out this week. Our next scheduled trips are Saturday 1/8 at 6am and Sunday 1/9 at 4am. All winter trips will be weather-dependent.

 

Mark at Cow Harbor Bait & Tackle in Northport reports:

Bring your boga grips in for the best service on the east coast! Bill Wetzel just got his back and is very happy with the service, which made his boga look good as new. They also added some chartreuse paint to the numbers on the scale, making it easier to read.

Don’t forget about the raffle for the custom rod at Cow Harbor, which you can get tickets for just by spending money at the shop. So if you need to buy fishing gear, what better place to do it then Cow Harbor! 

 

The Hampton Lady of Hampton Bays reports:

We closed out sea bass season on a high note. The glass calm water offered us a quick shot out to the grounds. We caught a full boat limit of giant sea bass to just under 7 pounds. We also had some beatufiul white hake, red ale, big cunner, some good codfish, a bunch of scup and pollock. One angler even pulled up a big lobster!

The near future will hold some cod fishing trips. 

 

Montauk’s Viking Fleet reports:

Last Thursday was our last trip of the year. Captain Dave reported a good day of fishing aboard the Viking Starship, with good catches of porgies, sea bass and cod. The sea bass fishing slowed down for the final day of open season. We’re looking forward to getting after the fish in 2022!

Look for their schedule and book online at vikingfleet.com.

 

Long Island Fishing Forecast

This will be my final fishing report for the year. As you can see, reports have become mostly restricted to those who are still sailing offshore to go wreck fishing. The fishing has been awesome out there. If you’re looking to fill your freezer with some good meat, try to get out on one of these trips in the near future. I haven’t heard of a bad trip yet this winter. Although you can’t take home sea bass anymore, there are plenty of other species whose season remains open all winter.

If you’re not into the boat scene but are looking to bend the rod, there’s plenty of opportunity in the sweetwater. This week, I had 4 species in one day in six waterbodies. White perch were my main target, and I put the smackdown on some good ones to about two pounds. I managed one striped bass that morning as well. Early in the day, I was able to collect a bunch of huge worms, which came out of the ground after a huge rainstorm occurred overnight. That brought the possibility of panfish into the equation, so I moved from the saltwater to the freshwater midday. 

I baited up a 1/16 ounce jighead with a very long earthworm. I launched the chunk of worm about twenty feet from the bank, next to some weeds. It suspended just off the bottom, hanging underneath a cork bobber I had fashioned. While the worm soaked, I casted a few different lures around the pond, hoping for a bite from anything. The artificial lures drew no strikes, but the bobber went down after a short while, and I pulled a nice-sized yellow perch to the bank. I tried to repeat that process, but I could not buy a bite over the next 10-15 minutes. I made moves to some brackish water, hoping for a carp next. As expected, the white perch were waiting for me there, and I caught small ones until sunset. Just after the sun went down, I got a fat hit from a feisty fish. The power behind the first run made it obvious that a common carp was on the other end of my line. This pretty fish ate the same marabou jig that I’ve been feeding to perch and stripers lately. This fish was a perfect end to an awesome day of winter fishing.

Throughout the week I kept after the perch and the stripers. I want to catch a record-sized perch this year, and I never mind fighting a striper on ultralight gear. I’ve caught both species every day since 2022 began. The bass seem to be here in good numbers, and the perch have been a reliable target so far this winter. I think my success in perching derives from increased confidence and capability. I’m soaking bait regularly, and I am fishing the right gear. In the perch game, gear is key. You want to work something tiny along the bottom, without snagging too much weed and fouling up your presentation. Some areas call for 1/32 ounce jigs. Some spots are so shallow and sticky on the bottom that you’re best off using a tiny, slow-sinking fly, or even a surface/suspending lure. To throw these tiny lures the maximum distance, you need light line. I go with 4 pound fluoro. 2 pound line can get you way more distance, but you sacrifice fighting ability when you go that light. I’ve broken so many fish off of 2-pound line after trying to put the brakes on a screamer. With 4 pound line, I feel way more confident when I’m trying to turn a fish. I might need to use a 1/16 ounce jig to send my lure the same distance, but I’m happy to substitute a little distance for what I feel is a lot of line strength.

A sizable white perch caught at sunset during a recent (chilly) outing.

I’ll be doing more of the same for the rest of the winter. Odds are, the water will get so cold that the stripers will just turn off. I’m used to them turning back on at the end of a warm, mid-winter day though. The perching should hold up well, and the fish should get bigger. Many of the perch I’ve seen are not even pre-spawn yet, which just means they’re smaller than their potential allows. As the winter progresses, so will the spawn. Tummies will grow large. The fish will look like there’s a blown up balloon in their bellies. Couple that pregnant state with a rampant feeding event, and you’re liable to catch a new state record. If you’re very lucky, you’ll chance upon the new world record white perch.

Be safe, bring a net. I already lost my biggest perch of the winter by trying to hoist the beast onto land. It shook the hook mid-air. Luckily there’s more where that big mama came from. I’ll be on the hunt for the queen for the next few months.

Whatever this winter brings you, I hope you stay safe and bend the rod. Tight lines my friends. Thanks for sticking with me until the end! I’ll start the reports back up in March.

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