Western Long Island and NYC Fishing Report – April 6, 2023

Blackfish season is off to a good start, 30-pound stripers are heading up the Hudson and schoolies are biting well in the bays at night.

Brandon Weitz (@bweitz1) has found quality fish in the back bays using a JoeBaggs Outdoors Swarter in chicken scratch pattern.

As Queens’ very own Nas once said (quoting Tony Montana), “the world is yours”. That’s how New York anglers feel when the calendar hits April 1 each spring with an entire fishing season at our fingertips. The freedom of abundant fishing options once again has anglers going into work exhausted, humbled by last night’s skunking, but smiling through it all because we’re back on the water.

The first week of April saw a steady pick of blackfish and cod for boats that got out after the April 1 tautog season opener. Meanwhile, anglers north of the GW Bridge enjoyed their striped bass season opener. As a reminder, NYSDEC regulations permit registered anglers on the Hudson River to take 1 fish between 18 and 28 inches daily. On Long Island, there’s plenty of catch and release striper fishing to be had until the season opens on April 15 for anglers south of the GW Bridge. The slot size for keeper striped bass south of the GW is 28 to 35 inches. If you notice something suspicious, or signs of poaching— such as hidden trash bags, people digging, or anglers coming to and from the shoreline frequently— don’t hesitate to call your local DEC officer. Here is a list of our officers by region; save their numbers in your contact list. Yes, times are tough and groceries are silly expensive, but it doesn’t warrant keeping illegal fish. We desperately need to preserve our resources in this area, starting with striped bass.

By the way, have your heard about the company planning to dump nuclear wastewater into the Hudson River this August? Yeah, that same company, Holtec International, is also trying to dump 1 million gallons of nuclear wastewater into Cape Cod Bay right now, coming from a decommissioned nuclear plant in Plymouth, MA. This is all the more reason to get up in arms over protecting the Hudson, and the stripers that swim there. We’ll have more to say about Holtec on the Hudson down the road.

Now for the fun stuff. Striped bass fishing has been near excellent on the north and south shores of Long Island’s west end, and the bite is on fire in the Hudson! My new acquaintance, Mr. Poseidon, who you’ve probably seen on Instagram or YouTube, filled me in on the striper fishing in the Hudson River north of the Boroughs. Poseidon said: “One of the best days on the Hudson was last Tuesday. I watched two gentlemen pull in two beauties: one 37-inch, 22-pound striped bass, and one 39-inch, 27-pound striped bass. There were many more fish landed in the teen weight class as well. It was a large school heading up the river with a few fish breaking off for a bite to eat on the mud flats. It was a day to remember, and that’s just the start! We’ve got a few more good runs of stripers coming through, and then we get to see them out.”

From the Jamaica Bay area, my buddies Chris Landry and Karl Neumann saw some great fishing this past week aboard the Rock Steady 2. I’ve had the pleasure of fishing with these gents aboard the OG Rock Steady in J-Bay, and I even wrote about it in our November/December 2022 issue. The BK Anglers crew fishes hard, and this week, they took a short ride across the Hudson and fished Raritan Bay. They slammed fish from 24 to 34 inches with Muggin’ Em Up Bucktails— made by Mario, a skilled local jig tier— and miscellaneous soft plastics. Chris predicts that the bass fishing in Jamaica Bay will pop off in the next week or so after some sustained warmer weather gets more fish on the move.

Chris Landry (@bkanglers) and Karl Neumann (@kan313) smiling with a solid early-spring double up.

While the bulk of bass have not yet pushed into Jamaica Bay, it’s like a ticking time bomb. For weeks, schools of small bait have been reportedly accumulating around the warm mudflats in the back of the bay, and once those bait schools meet incoming schools of migratory stripers, it’s ON. Whether the bass are heading up the Hudson or pushing east toward Montauk, J-Bay is right there for a quick drive-thru bite.

Speaking of east, striper fishing just outside of the Metro area has been producing some quality fish. It’s likely that most of these bass are resident fish, but liced-up migratory stripers are close behind.

Brandon at Causeway Bait and Tackle in Wantagh reports good fishing all around the west end of Long Island and down into New Jersey. He took a ride to Raritan Bay on Tuesday and beat up some schoolie bass using swim shads and No Live Bait Needed Paddletails. Upon returning to the L.I., he suited up in waders and got after some larger teen-size fish on the North Shore using swimming plugs. Nighttime is definitely the more productive window to target stripers from shore right now.

Brandon Weitz at Causeway Bait and Tackle reported a solid bite on the North Shore this week. The fish are keyed in on swimming plugs, with the JoeBaggs chicken scratch Swarter bringing most of his fish to hand. (@bweitz1)

Bay Park Fishing Station in Oceanside is under new ownership! Mark and Vicki have run a fantastic shop and fuel dock for years, and the new owners, Dan and Jamie, are excited to get their first season underway. Swing by the shop or the dock on your next trip out, pick up some last-minute necessities and welcome them to the community!

Paul McCain at River Bay Outfitters in Baldwin reports:

“We had a good turnout for my annual Long Island Fly Fishing Expo with around double the attendance of last year, which was great to see. On the water though, fishing is generally slow, but the bite is building day by day. There are people catching striped bass but they’re working very hard to make it happen. With some bass around, we’re really waiting for water temps to climb over 50 degrees, ideally to 55 to really get things going. Last I checked it was hovering around 49 degrees in the back bays closest to mainland. Every warm day with sun helps. Otherwise, the freshwater scene is pretty good. Trout have been stocked all over the island and there are some carp being caught on sunny days due to that warmer water. Hempstead Lake even gave up a few sunfish this week which is promising, as that’s a sign that water temperatures are climbing and fishing is surely improving.”

Rockfish Charters in Queens has a new captain operating the Rockfish fleet this season. Captain Rich will still be overseeing operations from a distance, but Captain Adrian Moeller (@bassappeal) will be taking over ownership. The community is sad to see Captain Rich go, but the Rockfish remains in good hands. The Rockfish crew are already finding good fishing; on Tuesday, they had some quality bass pushing 30 pounds on RonZ Z-Fin paddletails. Call (347) 661-4501 to reserve your trip today!


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Gypsea Charters in Brooklyn reports:

“We made a crew trip on Tuesday and were not disappointed! It was drop and stick fishing for the first couple of hours with keepers and shorts coming up. We also had some nice cod in the mix until the tide started roaring and the doggies took over. Worked a few different areas today and all produced some fish. We have availability this Friday (4/7), Saturday (4/8) and Sunday (4/9) from 6:30 a.m. until 2:30 or 3 p.m. for blackfish/cod. The fare is $120 plus gratuity, everything else is included. Call/text (516) 659-3814 for info and reservations, sailing out of Brooklyn, NY.”


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The Super Hawk in Point Lookout reports that they’ll be sailing daily at 6 a.m. for cod and tautog this month when conditions permit. Reservations are required. The weather is looking great for Friday and Saturday so don’t hesitate to book your spot! They are also running special 1 a.m. offshore wreck trips on Saturday the 8th, and next Saturday April 15 for jumbo porgies, cod, pollock, ling and more. Those special wreck trips cost $165 and will be limited to only 27 passengers or less. Make your reservation today (516) 607-3004.

The Super Hawk is putting customers on a consistent cod bite with some quality tautog in the mix.

Captain Vinnie of Karen Ann Charters in Jamaica Bay reports good fishing around the Raritan Bay as Jamaica Bay water temperatures continue to climb. By next week, there should be a bite developing in J-Bay with warmer water and abundant schools of bait in shallow. Right now, they are finding school and slot size fish in good numbers on light tackle by jigging soft plastics and bucktails with artificial trailers. Call or text Capt. Vinnie (516)728-6952 for reservations.

Sound Bound Charters in New Rochelle and Mamaroneck reports that the Soundbound Star will begin sailing on May 1st at 8 a.m. out of New Rochelle.

Jack himself at Jack’s Bait and Tackle in City Island, The Bronx reports:

“Striped bass fishing has been going great all over, from the Hudson down to Jersey, and there is even some solid catch-and-release fishing going on right in our own backyard. In the Hudson north of the GW, guys are catching big 20- to 30-pound fish on bloodworms and fresh bunker chunks. Down here by us, the striper season hasn’t opened, but some surfcasters are throwing paddletail swim shads and soft plastic eels from the rocks. Our blackfish season opened on April 1 and since then guys have been doing pretty good fishing crabs around here in 12- to 20-foot depths around big submerged boulders.”

Western L.I. and NYC Fishing Forecast

The blackfish bite is on! On the Sound side of L.I., target big pieces of hard underwater structure like boulders and shallow reefs for tautog. A kayak, or renting a small skiff from Jack’s Bait and Tackle will provide you with access to more spots than anglers fishing from shore. However, anglers targeting tog from shore can find success on the jetties and piers by covering water and searching for pieces of smaller structure to break away from the more highly pressured spots.

On the south shore, tautog are more likely to be hugging bridge abutments and pilings in the channels of the back bays and salt marshes. Depths from 10- to 20-feet are ideal places to start. Try to get your jig or rig as close to the bridge or piling as possible, and aim for eddies to keep your bait sitting still. This type of fishing tends to claim a lot of rigs, so bring some extra pre-tied leaders, or at the very least, a wheel of leader material and hooks.

Striped bass fishing is heating up on the north and south shores of Long Island. Swimming plugs and soft plastic paddletails are responsible for most of the catching so far, but bucktails and metal-lipped swimmers are also taking some fish, particularly on the south shore where bunker have begun to trickle into the bays at night, and there are likely a few schools lingering around Staten Island. With these big baits around, keep a glider or two in your surf bag alongside a few minnow plugs like SP minnows, Hydro minnows, Bombers and Mag Darters.

If you’re north of the GW Bridge, soaking bloodworms and bunker chunks with a spiked rod is a good tactic to discover if there are fish in the area; but it’s wise to bring a second rod with swim shads or plugs (like those mentioned above) to search for fish, and if nothing else, pass the time if the bite is slow.

Our fishing options are abounding once again. Freshwater fishing in the NYC reservoirs and surrounding lakes on Long Island are turning over. Largemouth and smallmouth bass are moving shallow while lake trout and brown trout are feeding more actively on sawbellies in open water on the reservoirs. Meanwhile, Long Island’s ponds, lakes and streams are giving up recently stocked rainbow, brown and brook trout on nightcrawlers, spoons, spinners and PowerBait nuggets. Take the kids fishing at a stocked pond by day, and strap on the waders for back bay surfcasting by night.

Wherever fishing finds you this week, be safe, respect each other, respect the water and fish hard. And remember, it’s only early April. We’ve got a whole season ahead of us, there’s plenty of time to pursue all of your desired species.

If you’d like to contribute to our fishing reports, contact me via email (mhaeffner@onthewater.com) or via Instagram (@hefftyfishing) with a couple photos and a sentence or two about your experience on the water. I look forward to hearing from you all.

5 on “Western Long Island and NYC Fishing Report – April 6, 2023

  1. peter okeefe

    I am sorry Matt but as much as I appreciate your report the very idea of calling police on someone for taking some fish I find disgusting. The atlantic is forty million square miles and a few fish taken by rod and reel is never gonna effect anything. Proof is in the pudding as each state makes up rules more confining each year with no real evidence regulation has ever helped. SPECIAL permits sold to foreign net boats goes on with not a word from OTW about that.

    1. C. Scott

      That is until hundreds or thousands of people have harvest “a few fish”.

  2. Fritzie

    Sorry Pete, but if everyone felt it was ok to poach fish where would that leave us. You can’t justify poaching because of other “bad practices or programs”. Unfortunately, for many people to learn that it’s not ok to poach is to hit them in the wallet. Don’t be selfish, play by the rules. If you’re so destitute that you feel you absolutely must poach, go to the local food pantry…it’s a lot less expensive than a citation for illegally keeping fish nor is it stealing from everyone else who follows the rules.

    1. Chris Connors

      Unfortunatley many of the poaches do not have a permanent address so they never have to pay the fine.

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