Long Island Fishing Report- May 12, 2022

Fluke fishing is consistent to the west, while big blues arrive and bass hit the flats out east.

Mark Anaya

Above: Mark Anaya landed this big migratory bass from his kayak this week.

Long Island Fishing Report

• Big fluke to the west.
• Bigger bass move onto the flats.
• Gator blues arrive.
• Big porgies on the north shore.
• Solid tilefishing offshore.

Jerry Ruff of Fish Your Way kept after the striped bass with bait early this week. He details his method for fishing circle hooks and explains his approach towards the specific tide he’s fishing. Cut chunks of bunker were his offering to these upper-30-inch fish just outside of NYC. A few days later, Jerry opted for the freshwater. He used white grubs (Berkley powerboat) to target some nice fish underneath a bridge. It’s a 3 inch grub on a 1/8 ounce jig head. He picked a few nice bass and a big old pickerel.

Josh at Gypsea Charters in Howard Beach reports: “The wind kept us off the water pretty much all week. We did manage to get out on Friday before the nor’easter, and absolutely hammered the fluke. The water is still a bit chilly, but we’ve been seeng anywhere from 20-30 keepers a trip. The fluke have been up to 28 inches, with some quality weakfish in the mix.” Call/text the Gypsea 516-659-3814 for details.

The Gypsy crew with a nice haul of keeper fluke.

The Capt Lou Fleet in Freeport cancelled most trips this week due to the high winds. A Coast Guard inspection prolonged the hiatus. With waters calming down, they’ll be getting back out imminently. They’ve begun their whale-watching trips, and the pictures they’re posting are just incredible. Check some of them out on there Facebook page. Book with them at their website: www.captloufleet.com.

Point Lookout’s Superhawk has had some successful fluking trips lately. The last few trips have seen nice catches with fish pushing up over 6 pounds. The best fishing has been in the bay for those anglers utilizing light tackle. They are still running some trips for ling, cod and other fish. Call today to make a reservation: 516-607-3004.

Paul at River Bay Outfitters in Baldwin reports:

The wind killed them all week, but Paul and co. finally got out yesterday and caught some shad. On Monday, just before the strong winds, they ran a trip to Jones Beach. Field 10 was washed out, with water to the dunes, so they headed to the inlet instead. With the wind at their back, it made for some good fishing. Paul said the inlet has completely changed though. The channel is very small, and there is a tremendous amount of shoaling. Apparently navigating it is quite dangerous, and a lot of captains have been complaining for a while.

Paul’s guiding on the Connetquot tomorrow and running a shop trip to Hempstead Lake on Monday. The large lake just gained a new boat ramp, plus a viewing deck for watching bald eagles and a fishing pier as well. Give him a call for details on the trip.

Dave Flanagan of “North Island Fly” in Northport says today was his first day out since the big blow. With light winds, overcast skies, and water temps in the mid-50s, the conditions couldn’t have been better. The fish appreciated it too, and there was nonstop action with local schoolies and a few larger bass boiling on their topwater flies. There are bigger fish just to the west, plus a good showing of blues. Dave’s hoping those will arrive imminently for his next trip.

Some nice, light winds and overcast days through the weekend and after should produce perfect conditions for throwing more topwater offerings. The possibility of a bigger fish is always present these days. Check out Dave’s website to book him for a charter at www.northislandfly.com.

Mark at Cow Harbor Bait & Tackle in Northport reports:

A nice mix of larger fish were caught locally this week. The schoolies are alive and busy; they’ve been very aggressive towards squid as they push into north shore harbors. The heavy north wind recently has been pushing the fish from the east deep into local western waters.

Mark got nailed by a big fish while catching a bunch of schoolies the other night. The big fish often hit when you’re least expecting, and this big mama caught Mark sleeping. Mark recommends using either bone color or a bronze-back pattern to target the squid bites anywhere from Nissequogue to Huntington. Also, the bass have been switching their preference from light to dark patterns on a whim. Keep that in mind.

The fish are liking slower retrieves, as the water temp remans in the mid-high 40s. With the impending south winds, we’ll expect that water temp to rise. When that occurs, look for big cinder worm hatches and mantis shrimp bites. As soon as those mantis shrimp arise from the mud around the May moon, the striper fishing will explode. There will probably be some solid weakfish in there on the feed as well. Once the water temps hit 50, it’s gonna be lights out.

Surfcasting guide Bernie Bass is back on the water despite a recent bout with the flu. He got out a couple times this week to throw darters and bucktails. The former worked at night and the latter during the day. Bernie put up some solid slot-sized bass this week.

The Shinnecock Star in Hampton Bays reports:

Captain John hit a few shallow spots during the blow with his kayak. He got on to a bunch of porgies, a few weakfish, and a solid fluke. Today he’s got a bunch of anglers on the boat catching good numbers of keeper fluke in the bay. Call Capt. John for trip info and reservations: 631-728-4563.

A jumbo porgy caught aboard the Celtic Quest out of Port Jefferson.
A healthy weakfish caught in the Long Island Sound on the Celtic Quest this week.

Chris Albronda gave me the goods on Montauk:

“Uncooperative weather prevented most boats from getting out this week, but those anglers targeting stripers from the shore did quite well. Slot-sized bass were found on the south side, chewing on bucktails and sp minnows. Word is there were even some bluefish in the mix! On the jetties, short fluke were hitting diamond jigs and Gulp.”

Bill at Chasing Tails Bait and Tackle in Oakdale reports:

The weather hasn’t been too cooperative this week, but the few anglers that did manage to get out did very well. Stripers are still very active inside the bay, all over the place. They’re smashing poppers and pencils on the top, SP Minnows and swim shads through the middle of the water column, and bucktails along the bottom. Bluefish have reared their yellow eyes and are in the local waters causing mayhem among bunker pods. Toss pretty much anything at them, and you’ll be in for a ride. Fluke are stacked up in the channels and flats, munching on squid and spearing and crushing bucktails. They like some color and action on the end, so throw on a Fat Cow Jig Srip, a Gulp! mullet or grub. Weakfish are roaming the bay on the early morning tides, and they love small baits on light tackle. Bright colors like purple, red, and pink get a lot of attention.

striper on the fly
As bass move to the flats, they become an exciting and accessible target on the fly.

In the freshwater, pickerel are out roaming and doing their thing. They are a blast on light gear. They’ll eat swimbaits, crankbaits, chatterbaits, inline spinners and pretty much anything else shiny you can throw at them. Yellow perch are schooled up in big numbers, and so much fun to catch. Same with the bluegill and pumpkinseeds. Great for the whole family. Remember to leave the largemouth bass alone until the season opens on June 15th.

Montauk’s Viking Fleet reports:

Captain Dave took the Starlite out on Friday to target porgies in the bay, after failing to find them anywhere close to home. A lot of bites came, and some limits were attained. The scup were a good eating size. Leon Bengari from the Bronx won the pool with a two pounder.

Capt. Steven ran deep offshore for tilefish from Wednesday to Saturday. Thursday morning started out windy, with some small dogfish mixed in with the tilefish. Once the weather broke it turned around. We had golden tile, blueline tile and hake coming over the rails for the remainder of the day, making for a successful catch. 

Day two started out good and got better. We found some barrelfish and caught a load up to 27 pounds. There were nice tiles caught all afternoon, along with some Rosies. All in all a very good trip. Rob Michalowski won the tilefish pool with a 26 pound golden tile. Theo Zmach took second place with a 23 pounder. Third place went to Tom Lambert with a 26 pound barrelfish. We had a decent amount of tilefish over the 20 lb mark. There were two tiles caught bigger than Rob’s 26 pound fish that were not in the pool.

Next tilefish trip sails on May 20th. Call the office to book at 631-668-5700, or book online at vikingfleet.com.

Bill Wetzel of the Surf Rats Ball took Jason L to the north side of Montauk on Thursday evening. No fish bit before sunset, so they ran to the rocks on the south side just before dark. After a hard skunk there, they moved back to the north side to finish the night fishless at 10pm. They saw no birds or bait.

Saturday’s trip began at 3am, with a strong northeast wind building. Despite the wind, the south side was clean with small waves. They moved there after a quick skunk north of the light. At 4:30 they moved deep into the south side; they began to pick small bass on 3/4 ounce bucktails. It was slow and the fish were small, so they ran to the sand beaches for another fish or two after sunrise.

Bill also heard of some good bites from legal-sized bass in Montauk recently.

Chris from the SRB got out on the central north shore this weekend for the night tide around 10pm. He hadn’t been there for a week, so it was a gamble. IT was a good one though, as it didn’t take 15 minutes for fish to start hitting. The fist fish to come to Chris’ hand was a slot striper who ate an SP minnow. Two shorts followed thereafter. He switched up to a mag darter, but they fish just wouldn’t commit to that. Subscribe today at www.longislandsurffishing.com.

Want to get in on the bite? Find an OTW-approved Charter Fishing Captain on Long Island

Long Island Fishing Forecast

The wind just wouldn’t relent this week. That and a massive storm swell have made the open beach pretty much unfishable by me. Water was coming up to the dunes, and carving them away. East Hampton Star posted some wild pictures from Montauk, where the bluffs look like they’d been carved out with a giant ice cream scoop. The ocean should calm down significantly the next few days, with an opposing south and west wind decreasing the recent east storm swell’s momentum. 

I look forward to the change. There weren’t many places I was willing to fish this week. I gave some spots the old college try, but it really wasn’t worth it unless I got out of the wind. I even took a full day off from fishing… hated that. Luckily I had access to a downwind beach that was hardly affected by the wind from the nor’easter. There I found a bunch of striped bass to slot-size willing to eat my flies. The sea robins were back there too, working the surface in the bunker-rich waters. Their behavior reminded me of years past, when I’d see them feeding on shrimp, even breaching during some of their attacks. It’s pretty rad to see a sea robin acting this way. They were there doing that, and they were big and pretty!

One of the many colorful Sea Robins from that day. (@southforksalt)

Given all the bunker I saw, I assumed I might luck into some bluefish action. It’s that time of year! 

Nothing doing for me on the demon front though. However, I got word that gator blues showed up yesterday or the day before, up in the back bays. I’ll be running there later today to get in a workout. Just hoping to leave there with all my flies and fingers…. And maybe some bluefish filets!

Speaking of which… do you hate the taste of bluefish? Odds are, you’re doing it wrong.

Bluefish is my favorite fish to eat. The only time I ever tasted a bluefish I didn’t like is when I strayed from my usual routine.

Here’s the wrong way to do it: catch a bluefish, cut its gills and put it headfirst in a bucket filled with water, so that it “breathes out all its blood.” This is pretty much exactly what I see in every party boat picture of bluefish. The one time I did that, I ate the meat a few hours later. It was NOT good, literally the only bad-tasting bluefish I’ve ever eaten, probably because that fish had been drinking its own blood for however long.

Here’s how to make bluefish taste good, if you’re fishing from shore. If you’re on a boat, I can’t help you; I don’t have the experience. So, on the beach: catch the fish, cut both sides of its gills, throw dry sand on its tail for a good grip, and put its head in the water. Let it shake and breathe for a minute or two; this will help it bleed out. At times it’ll seem the bleeding has stopped, but that fish will bleed until it dies, probably a few minutes after cutting gills. Gut it after, and you’re good to go. Filet it, cook it whole, make ceviche, do whatever. You now have fresh, delicious fish to eat.

It works every time, if you just do it right. I’m batting upper .900’s with good tasting blues. I’ve seen guys saying for years that bluefish tastes too oily and fishy and “the best way to prepare them is to throw ‘em in the trash.” That’s purely a result of incorrect prep; which is fine, if you live and you learn. There’s a right way and a wrong way to do almost everything… but for one to develop a staunch, lifelong hatred for bluefish after one makes the mistake of improper cleaning, certainly deems one a googan. It’s the same as fishing the incorrect method in a certain spot over and over and over, but never catching fish, and then blaming the fish.

Don’t get me wrong; everyone has specific tastes, and some folks may just genuinely dislike bluefish. I guarantee, though,  if I fed bluefish that I prepared to anyone who talks smack about them, I’d convert ¾ people. 99% of those people wouldn’t know it’s bluefish unless I told them. 

It’s the perfect time of year to give this a try. Let me know if I’m right, or wrong.

The full moon is coming up in three days. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited for a specific moon phase. Fishing has been great this spring though. Also, foul weather often accompanies new/full moons. It’s awesome that these strong tides will be accompanied by calmer weather and easier conditions. I’m going to hit this moon pretty hard. Unfortunately it’s occurring during the peak of my work season, so I have to balance that. I think I’d be just as happy to see other guys catching good fish though. Even if you don’t catch, it’s good to know you had the right idea.

Go get ‘em. Tight lines.

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