Western Long Island and NYC Fishing Report- November 10, 2022

Striped bass hit topwaters, spoons and live bunker, while wreck fishing produces huge porgies and sea bass.

What a Fall Run it has been on Long Island. The west end has seen some stellar fishing over the past several weeks, and although there are slight indicators of the bite slowing, there’s so much bait it’s hard to imagine the live bunker and topwater bite dissipating before Thanksgiving.

For boat anglers, finding fish has been as simple as locating thick pods of bunker out front. Head out of the nearest inlet and patrol a couple hundred yards off the surf. Often times, bunker pods are so thick they can be spotted from a distance before electronics pick up on them. During a choppy day last week, Sean Conway and I got out with Captain Vinnie of Karen Ann Charters to see what we could do on the bunker pods. We danced through heavy swells off of Rockaway, throwing Super Strike poppers and Docs to no avail. As soon as we made the switch to live bunker though, the bite picked up. Sometimes, there’s almost nothing you can throw at stripers that will convince them to eat with such an abundance of bunker available, so we succumbed to live-lining. A few smaller slot fish came to the boat, but Sean hooked a nice one in the slop that pulled a good bit of drag on him in the heavy current.

Sean Conway (@long_island_fishing_guy) caught this beautiful 25-pound striper off of Rockaway on Karen Ann Charters this week. (@karenannchartersny)

The surf bite has slowed down slightly to the East. I spent Saturday morning prying the beaches from Jones to Robert Moses with not even a fish to show for it. It was a complete bummer; each spot I fished showed so much potential upon arriving. Sustained southeast winds had created a long sandbar that seemed to stretch miles down the beach. It sent waves tumbling as long, rolling foamers into the deep trough that separated the beach from the sandbar. Those conditions seemed perfect for plucking a few bass from the deeper water on bucktails and sand eel jigs, but there was so much seaweed catching my line that I was lucky to get one cast and retrieve without a wet clump of green soiling my presentation. I knew I wasn’t alone. The beaches that were crowded at sunrise slowly emptied throughout the course of the day.

I fished the jetties and even waded to some of the now-exposed portions of sandbar to approach the surf from different angles. Not even the shallow cuts in the sandbar were producing. By 2 p.m. I decided to buy a bucket of crabs and target some tautog. A few friends to the east had been doing well for tog from shore, and judging by the amount of boats piled up beneath Fire Island Inlet Bridge, most other anglers had opted for dropping crabs given the conditions out front. I caught one very small tautog off a solo wooden piling with an S&S White Chin Wrecker jig, but couldn’t manage to get a hook into any of the other faint taps I received. They could have been porgies or juvenile sea bass pecking away at my jig all day, but it was more action than I found on the beach.

Surfcasters on the North Shore experienced some decent striped bass fishing this week. The recent cold snap and full moon tides flipped a switch, sending slot sized fish into the back bays. Those fish are most likely eating small baitfish, juvenile scup and crabs, so anglers can probably pull a few fish on smaller swimming plugs like Mag Darters, bucktail jigs, and low-profile soft plastics on jigs. Larger fish will linger out in the Sound to prey on bigger baits, but don’t be surprised to find a few slot or over-slot bass in the backwaters.

This time last year, my buddy Matt Ventre caught a few nice slot fish with a couple casts while I went fishless all night. He used only a 1-ounce white Yo-Zuri mag darter. (11/09/2022)

Water temperatures and bait presence will be the two dictating factors in whether or not this incredible fall run continues as it has. From what we can tell, the south shore bunker schools are not going anywhere. A few windy days from the southeast or southwest here and there should actually keep them on the beaches. When the bottom gets stirred up it makes fishing temporarily challenging; but bunker are filter feeders, and they will use the day or so following a heavy blow to feed on the micro-organisms that get stirred up with the wind that churns up the bottom. This pushes them slightly closer to the surface and makes them more susceptible to blitz conditions.

This weekend looks like it may be a bit on the windy and choppy side. A tropical storm is scheduled to blow in over the next 24-hours with wind gusts up to 45-miles an hour. There’s no telling how that could impact the bite unless you’re out there fishing in it; however, it could be equally as productive to wait out the worst of the wind and hit the beaches on Saturday and Sunday morning with swimming plugs and bucktails to fish through the silty mess. After seeing the surf structure that has formed around Robert Moses and Jones Beach, this storm could ignite a seriously exciting beach bite.

From the Boats

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

“Very good blackfishing continued over the past week, seeing lots of keepers on most trips and enough short life to keep things interesting. More experienced anglers were easily able to grab their limit. It was nice to see quite a few fish in the 5 to 7 pound range come over the rail. We will continue blackfishing until the end of the season on 12/22.” Call/Text (516)659-3814 for reservations which are a must!

All smiles when you get your blackfish limit on the Gypsea! (@gypseacharters)

Captain Rich of Rockfish Charters in Brooklyn reports:

“Nothing new this week. There are still miles of bass feeding mainly on peanut bunker all around the west end and the NY Bight. We’re catching them almost entirely on topwater, but they’re biting on just about anything you throw at them. There are some schools of adult bunker with larger fish beneath them to the south and east of us as well. As long as the bait sticks around, so will the good fishing.” Call/Text Captain Rich (347)661-4501 to book a trip!

Captain Rich Colombo shared this photo of his electronics absolutely loaded with bass marks. (@rockfishcharters)

Karen Ann Charters in Jamaica Bay reports:

“We’ve been fishing out front of Rockaway and Jamaica Bay finding bass to 38 pounds. The bite is different each day, but as long as the bunker are there, so are the bass. Some days they want live bunker but the next day they’re crushing poppers. Super Strikes Little Neck Poppers tend to perform the best for us.” Call/Text Captain Vinnie (516)728-6952 for availability to book a trip!

Light tackle on over-slot stripers made for a fun day aboard Karen Ann Charters.

Sound Bound Charters in New Rochelle and Mamaroneck reports:

“On the Sound Bound Star out of New Rochelle, Captain B. reported a great mixed bag catch on Friday. There were loads of jumbo porgies, a good mess of black sea bass, a few weakfish and blackfish. Fresh clams and worms did the trick, leaving most anglers on board with nearly two buckets worth of porgies to bring home.”

Point Lookout’s Super Hawk reports that fishing for big porgies and sea bass around the offshore wrecks has been very productive again this week. The Super Hawk is sailing special offshore wreck trips everyday from 5 a.m. till 5 p.m.; reservations are required. Check them out on Facebook or go to superhawkfishing.com for more information.

The Super Hawk is the authority when it comes to catching quality, late-season sea bass.

For anglers looking to meet up with friends or family from the east, Captree State Park is a great place to do it as it sits just over the Nassau/Suffolk county border.

Captree’s Laura Lee reports:

“On Tuesday the 7 a.m. trip caught 223 blackfish and 4 sea bass. At 1 p.m. the local boat caught 42 blackfish and 2 sea bass. The evening 6 p.m. trip caught nothing.

On Wednesday the 9th, the 7 a.m. trip had 15 fishermen. They caught 220 blackfish and 7 sea bass. The 1 p.m. local boat caught 194 blackfish, 2 sea bass and 4 capeshark. The 6 p.m. trip caught only 4 cape shark. But the late 11 p.m. trip had 7 fishermen and they caught 7 slot size striped bass and 3 over slot.

From the Shops

Bay Park Fishing Station in Oceanside reports that their customers Anthony, Nick & Tom caught some monster stripers earlier in the week that they trolled using bunker spoons off of Rockaway. They also shared that Bonnie Glennen kept busy yesterday afternoon with consistent action on the bunker schools in sporty conditions. Bonnie had 6 fish and released five of them, keeping one for the table, while some releases weighed up to 40-pounds. She fished with Captain Ian of Bon E Charters.

White-legger crabs and green crabs are both now in stock, along with bunker spoons and anything else you’ll need to catch your target species this weekend. Stop in to the shop for your last-minute tackle needs!

Causeway Bait and Tackle in Wantagh reports:

“The surf bite has been hit or miss recently, but there were bass blowing up on little rain bait in the wash a couple nights this week… even so, it was hard to get them to bite. I had one fish on a JoeBagss sand eel, and a buddy who caught 5 or 6 schoolies and one slot at another nearby beach. The outgoing tide has been producing better than the incoming, generally. A lot more schoolies around here recently with the recent cold front and full moon. I had some friends on the boat came across some albies outside of the bunker pods the other day though. They got one or two, it was a very quick showing, but they’re around. There’s some bluefish out there too. If you’re fishing the bunker pods for bass, be prepared for lots of dogfish when dropping down live bunker or flutter spoons.”

River Bay Outfitters in Baldwin reports:

“I ran my last trip of the year to a nearby back bay during a beautiful night last week. It’s so warm still. The bays haven’t been turned on because of warm weather and water, but our final guided trip was pretty good. I caught a big hickory shad, another guy lost a huge fish that unfortunately popped the hook before we got a good look at it. The striper season could last a long time with the way the fishing and the weather have been recently. In the weeks following the end of striper season, I’ll start fishing freshwater and continue through the winter whenever possible.”

Freeport Bait and Tackle reports:

“Earlier this week, our friend Captain Ray of Carolann P. Charters caught a ton of slot and over-slot fish on golden flutter spoons around the bunker pods. They even hooked and lost a 350-pound thresher shark! The flutter spoons work great around big schools of bunker. Other anglers are getting them on Super Strike Little Neck Poppers and various topwater plugs. There are tons of schools scattered out front. In the back bays, anglers are still picking away at blackfish on the local bridges and fishing piers. Come down to the shop for crabs and some striper lures.”

Western Long Island/NYC Fishing Forecast

Tautog fishing on the wrecks should improve in the next couple weeks as the temperatures continue to drop. Like Paul McCain said, the bays are still warm (by November standards) and that’s why the tautog have been mostly stationed around the Meadowbrook bridges and local fishing piers. There’s plenty of crabs for them in the bays, so they’ll remain there until it makes sense to find cover and food elsewhere.

Meanwhile, the offshore wrecks and reefs are fishing great for hefty porgies and whopping sea bass. I met a gentleman while buying crabs at Captree who told me he caught a pair of 24-inchers on a party boat last week—he didn’t specify which boat though, so I didn’t pry.

Striped bass fishing shows no signs of slowing down here, but the caliber of fish has definitely dropped a bit. There are more schoolies and low-slot fish being landed by surfcasters on the beaches, and they’ll be chasing smaller bait like sand eels, silversides and bay anchovies. The larger bunker pods will continue to migrate south and west, and with them will go most of the larger bass. Still, there are rumblings of squid in some of the back bays on the north and south shores, so don’t hesitate to throw larger plugs if you notice or hear of squid in your area. Right around this time last year, my buddy Sean and I were fishing an inlet during a cold, wet night on the north shore. We kept receiving very cautious, light taps from unknown assailants. Finally, after several attempts, Sean got a hook into one of the culprits and reeled in a rather large, longfin squid. It was reddish purple in color, and following it we noticed 3 or 4 more squid of the same size. We quickly upped the size of our plugs, but the squid wouldn’t leave them alone, which lead me to believe there weren’t any fish around. If the bass were there, they would not have passed on squid.

As schools of smaller baitfish like silversides and anchovies file into south shore beaches, expect to catch more hickory shad among the schoolie and slot bass. They won’t let their presence go unknown; watch them leap from the surf just a few feet away. If you notice more than one or two shad jumping/fleeing at once, that likely means there are bigger bass stalking them in the wash. Bring a healthy mix of diamond jigs, swimming plugs, bucktails, resin jigs and some soft plastic sand eel imitations to the beach during the fall run and the likelihood of finding fish will increase drastically.

Wherever you choose to fish this week, respect each other, respect the fish, be safe and fish hard.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *