Western Long Island and NYC Fishing Report- September 22, 2022

Stripers bite at night in the back bays, while during the day the bays fish well for bluefish, fluke, puffers and weakfish.

Right around the autumnal equinox is when I start to strap on the waders after 8 or 9 p.m. and hit the back bay salt marshes for some striped bass fishing. It usually begins with a few bluefish mixed in with schoolies and low slot fish, but it’s one of my favorite ways to target them. While it’s tough to beat casting to feeding fish from a jetty, I almost enjoy slinking around the quiet bays and channels in the dark even more.

The back bay stripers this early on are likely summertime residents, but I’ve caught a few fish with sea lice on the north shore beginning right around September 20th. Back in the fall of 2020, I spent much of my time living on the North Fork out of my aunt’s little beach house so that I could capitalize on the bite around Orient, Greenport and Southold. The stripers move into Gardiners Bay and Peconic Bay, and they enjoy crashing small schools of bait under dock lights and bridges. I keep my ears, not my eyes, open on these cool fall nights, so I can hear the sounds of bass popping on the surface. The North Fork is where I typically found those first long-traveled, liced-up migratory bass of my Fall Run fishing. But when I wasn’t out on the North Fork, I turned my attention to the back bays and salt marshes of the North and South shores.

Sean Conway (@long_island_fishing_guy) pops a purple bucktail from the lip of a schoolie striper before releasing it.

Both the north and south shores will hold a ton of schoolie bass throughout the Fall Run. My bait of choice was usually either a small bucktail jig or a 4- to 5-inch soft plastic. The most productive colors tended to be white and chartreuse, but pink or purple paddletails also proved useful on occasion. Even though lightweight jigs could be fished well with a 7-foot rod, an 8- or 9-foot rod will provide you with the backbone to pull in heavier, stronger fish that know how to use the current to their advantage.

Locate pinch points and deep channels with swift current, and slowly jig these smaller offerings to pick up some early fall run fish this season.

This is also the time last year that I began my wild goose chase for an albie from shore, otherwise known as a “shore ‘core”. I don’t think anyone had a tougher time catching one from shore; I chased them from jetties on the south shore to open beaches on the north shore, even fishing the wrong stretches of beach where other anglers were having success. They’ll stick around for quite some time, so ready a few rods with different offerings and take a few casts at your nearest inlet. Deadly dicks, Fat Cow jigs and a casting egg with a fly will cover most of your bases, as albies feed ferociously on small bait like sand eels, spearing and bay anchovies. As more of that small rain bait files into New York waters, hitting the beach at first light with a fly rod or some of the aforementioned lures could yield you a shore ‘core.

Also biting well in our back bays are: northern pufferfish, weakfish, northern kingfish and triggerfish. I’ve never caught a trigger, but from what I hear, they are strong and pretty aggressive. You can easily target northern puffers and kingfish around hard structure with strips of squid threaded onto a small baitholder hook. They’re both delicious for a fish fry, but its a lot of work for a little meat. Still, it’s worth trying before the water temperatures drop and our warm-water visitors move out.

Fluke fishing is still good in the back bays too, and it will stay that way until the water temperatures take a serious dive. That could potentially happen after this storm and cold front move in, but the only way to know for sure is to get out there and try.

From the Boats

Captain Josh of Gypsea Charters in Howard Beach, Queens reports:

“Another awesome week of fishing aboard the Gypsea II in Howard Beach. We saw excellent bass fishing continue, with boat limits and releases on most trips all using live bait. It is shaping up to be another great fall run!

On the fluke front, we did manage to get a trip in and boy were we glad we did. We fished the deep stuff and put together a nice catch of quality flatties to 6 pounds. The highlight of the week was watching 6-year-old Marky do battle with a 35-inch bass; it’s very rewarding seeing the smile on children’s faces. We will be striped bass fishing this weekend, and plan to make another few fluke trips once the ocean settles after this storm.” They have space available this weekend! Call or text Captain Josh (516)659-3814 for information and availability.

The Gypsea had a great day on the fluke grounds when conditions were not as favorable for striped bass last week. (@gypseacharters)

Captain Rich Colombo of Rockfish Charters in Brooklyn reports:

“Bass fishing has slowed down in the NY bight. We still catch a bunch of slot fish, but not the red hot action that we had all summer. The giant bluefin have made an appearance again. It’s strictly catch and release at the moment, but the action with fish to 100-inches has been consistent.” Call Captain Rich to book a trip (347)661-4501.

Captain Rich shared this photo of a giant bluefin as it came boat side during a trip on Wednesday. (@rockfishcharters)

Captain Vinnie of Karen Ann Charters in Jamaica Bay reports:

“Jamaica bay and points west, including NY harbor, have been on fire for striped bass. The Fall is shaping up nicely with a variety of species; striped bass are the star attraction, but weakfish and fluke are also hitting the deck. Our fleet has boats for all your needs, from back bay skinny water to offshore hunting pelagics.” Call Captain Vinnie (516)728-6952 to book a trip.

Captain Vinnie shared this photo of some keeper fluke found close to home this past week. (@karenannchartersny)

Sound Bound Charters in New Rochelle and Mamaroneck reports:

“Porgy fishing remained strong and steady on both morning and sunset trips this past week. A couple of keeper black sea bass were mixed in here and there, but the best action right now is still scup fishing in the western Long Island Sound. The fish are biting on sea worms, but jigs will also get the job done. We have availability on upcoming trips after the storm; our trips resume Friday morning when conditions improve, and walk-ons are welcome.” Go to soundboundcharters.com for more information.

Point Lookout’s Superhawk reports:

“The last few days have seen some of the best fishing of the year! Anglers have been treated to jumbo porgies, sea bass, fluke, bluefish, bonito, false albacore and even yellowfin tuna! One of the most impressive catches was made by long time Superhawk family member Sanitation Mike. Mike landed the 48-pound yellowfin on a light spinning rod with 15-pound test! Congratulations Mike!” Call (516)607-3004 to reserve your spot, as reservations are a must.

Above is an action shot of Sanitation Mike fighting the yellowfin tuna he caught on the Superhawk this week!
Platter-sized porgies and big sea bass are a regularity on the family-friendly Superhawk.

For anglers looking to meet friends or family closer to Suffolk County, Captree State Park is the place to do it.

Captree’s Laura Lee reports:

“On Wednesday, the 7 a.m. local trip caught 72 fluke up to 5.5lbs, 47 sea bass, 1 toadfish, 1 porgy and 11 sea robins. The 6 a.m. trip caught 197 bonita, 55 false albacore, 175 mackerel, 7 fluke, 18 sea bass, 25 porgies, and 3 bluefish. Later on, the 1 p.m. Local trip caught 51 fluke, 27 sea bass, 2 blowfish and 14 sea robins. Then at 6 p.m. the Local caught 18 weakfish, 6 bluefish and 2 sea bass.”

From the Shops

Jacks Bait and Tackle in City Island, Bronx reports:

“Scup fishing has been pretty much off the charts recently. The fish are keyed in on smaller bait, so resin and diamond jigs are working, but so are the classic baits. Most anglers around here find success with sea worms, which we keep plenty of in-stock. Stripers have also been making a better showing. Fishing with eels at night is the key to success, but after this storm and subsequent cold front, the artificial bite could really pick up. When it does, most anglers catch on lures by casting plugs from the rocks.”

Brandon at Causeway Bait and Tackle in Wantagh reports:

“Fluking has still been pretty good in the back bays recently, with plenty of short action. Deeper water hold and stronger currents hold bigger fish, so the bridges are fishing well for a few keepers. I got offshore this week and crushed some Yellowfin all in the 70- to 80-pound range. There have also been some smaller bluefin around 45-pounds reported within 15-20 miles from shore, so you have a lot of people going out to fish the wrecks and bringing heavier gear with them in case they stumble upon a tuna bite. Other than that, we have a lot of customers itching for blackfish season, the parkway bridges still have big bluefish, and plugging for stripers in the salt marshes has been improving.”

Freeport Bait and Tackle reports:

“Fluke are still around in the bays with a couple of keepers here and there, but they’re mostly biting out front around the reefs and wrecks if you want fish with some size. There are lots of triggerfish being caught around the bridges on bait and various jigs, including resins/epoxys and bucktail jigs. Schoolie stripers are moving into the bay now, but the fishing still remains best at night for the most part. Otherwise, overcast conditions and cool air temperatures seem to prevail. Albies are also biting around Jones Inlet, but it’s been pretty scattered.”

Bay Park Fishing Station in Oceanside reports:

“Stripers, weakfish and fluke are all biting well in the back bays right now. Our recent shipment of RonZ’s inshore baits are flying off shelves as anglers use the dark colors for jigging stripers at night, and lighter colors are catching weakfish and fluke around the bridges in the mornings.”

Western L.I. / NYC Fishing Forecast

As fluke season slows down, try targeting striped bass in many of the same places you’d target fluke in the back bays; just do it at night. Soft plastic jigs, bucktail jigs and small swimming plugs will be your friends. If you’re fishing at night, either fish with a friend or tell someone, anyone, where you’re going. There’s lots of sketchy mud and quicksand during low tides, so even the back bays can be treacherous when you’re alone.

Daytime anglers should try hitting the wrecks or reefs for what sounds like some stellar sea bass fishing right now. Bring a healthy mix of Gulp and bait with you; there’s no telling what the fish will prefer on a given day unless you’re out there daily figuring it out.

Shore anglers, kayak anglers and surfcasters can enjoy any number of species right now. Bluefish will still be around jetties and back bays, where the water remains slightly warmer and the baitfish have less space to hide from their menacing appetites. False albacore are moving west, and pushing closer to shore each day. If you plan to fish the beach, bring plenty of tins, diamond jigs and resin jigs. Stripers and blues in the surf will just as willingly eat one of these small and shiny offerings. Make sure you retrieve it all the way in, through the foamy wash and up the beach lip. Striped bass are no strangers to last second strikes.

With the storms this week, prepare for the worst and fish through the worst, because high winds and turbulent surf screams “hungry stripers”.

It’s shaping up to be a great fall run, and I’m excited to do some fishing in my hometown over the coming weeks and months. I have my beach pass. Maybe I”ll see some of you out there.

Be safe, respect each other out there, and fish hard.

Catch you next Thursday.

2 on “Western Long Island and NYC Fishing Report- September 22, 2022

  1. peter okeefe

    good report..thanx…more than one tuna caught on the Superhawk too!!

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