Eastern Long Island Fishing Report- May 11, 2023

More and bigger bluefish show up in the bays and inlets, the North Shore comes to life with bass and blues, and there is great bottom fishing in the Peconics.

Eastern Long Island Fishing Report

  • The entire North Shore is on fire with good fishing. Sandeel bite in central L.I., big bass off the North Fork.
  • Abundant stripers on the south shore, feeding especially at night.
  • Big weakfish were very prevalent this week, alongside some solid fluke and an incredible jumbo porgy population. Peconics are on fire.
  • Big tilefish and barrelfish out of Montauk.

Capt. Dave Flanagan of North Island Fly in Northport reports:

“Cliff and Luke joined me this weekend to target some bass on the boat. We picked a bunch of schoolies on soft plastics, then switched over to spoons and cleaned up. Jonny came aboard yesterday at the last second. We had a bunch of really good fish on top, down low and in the middle of the water column. It was a morning to remember.” Check out Dave’s website to book him for a charter at northislandfly.com.

Jonny with a nice bass on North Island Fly charters.

The Celtic Quest Fishing Fleet of Port Jefferson reports: 

“We put a full boat limit of stripers on deck yesterday afternoon. The morning trip produced full buckets of porgies, and a strong showing of weakfish. One weakfish was nearing ten pounds, and one angler even pulled up a keeper fluke. The fishing was as fast as it gets. Jamesport produced well a few days prior, providing full buckets of scup and some nice weakfish for our anglers. There were some slow sessions this week, but we were always able to put together a decent catch regardless.” Call them at 631-928-3926 for booking info, or check the website/Facebook for more info.

The Peconic Star of Greenport reports:

“The spring run is going strong for anglers who come aboard our boat. It feels a bit like Groundhog Day, with the consistent productivity. Yesterday produced a full boat limit of quality scup from 14-18 inches. There was a good mix of 3-7 pound weakfish that also came up, plus a few weakfish and one fluke. Our crew prepared some Peruvian porgy ceviche while on the water a couple days ago. It was spectacular! We’re sailing daily for jumbo porgies and weakfish. For booking info, call Captain Paul at 631-522-2002.”

Porgy ceviche courtesy of the Peconic Star.

Steve at Wego Fishing Bait & Tackle in Southold reports:

The fishing is really good right now (someone screamed in the background “the fishing is AWESOME!”). We’ve got jumbo porgies in the bay, lots of stripers around, some huge bluefish and beautiful weakfish. Fluke started showing up pretty darn good in Greenport Harbor. Yesterday the Gut was loaded with bass, so take a ride over there if you wanna get in on some good action. Fish to 42 pounds have been reported. There are plenty of good fish locally too though. Check out Jessups or Nassau Point. Again, the weakfish are really good this year… and the weather is nice, so get out there!

Capt. Phil of Fishy Business in Orient reports:

We kicked off the 2023 season with the Washwicks and friends. They caught a well mixed bag consisting of bass, blues, fluke and lots of porgies. Fishing is good and has been improving daily. They sail out of Duryea’s in Orient. Give Phil a call to book a trip: 516-316-6967.

Captree Bait and Tackle reports:

“In an effort to compete with the big box stores, we’re selling Gulp at a discount if you buy in bulk: 12 packs for $100. On the fish front, Chris brought in a slot striper he picked from the beach near the inlet. Another angler brought in a bluefish the day prior. There is a ton of bait around our piers, and you’ve got a good chance of catching if you choose the right tide. There are plenty of local reports of fluke, blues and bass off our piers. Max F. has been catching some schoolie bass out there. Kyle brought in a 5.5 pound fluke at the beginning of the week, caught aboard one of our local party boats.”

Bill at Chasing Tails Bait and Tackle in Oakdale reports:

“This week was finally the one we’ve been after. Good weather, good tides, and great fishing. Stripers are all over the place and very hungry, gulping down spearing, squid, and bunker. Schoolies to over-slots are common. Poppers, SP’s, swim shads, and bucktails keep piling up on the counter. Fly guys have been doing well on big clousers, and hollow flies. Bluefish are coming in hot and they are eager to bust up some tackle. They’re destroying anything on the surface: SPs, diamond jigs, and bucktails. Fish in the 12-15 pound range are common. Weakfish are starting to pop up in our local waters in solid numbers and size. Bright colored soft plastics are the go-to for the unicorns, but bucktails are also very effective. Fluke action is hot on the flats; some big flatties are lurking in the shallows. Hit them with light tackle and a bucktail, you’ll pull them right off. The classic squid and spearing combo on a shop rig will always get the job done too.

The local lakes and rivers are alive with action. Pickerel are out cruising the shoreline looking for a snack. They’ll hit anything shiny and moving. In-line spinners, spoons, under spins, and swim baits will entice a toothy bite. Panfish are schooled up and ravenously eating. Bluegill and yellow perch will slurp down any worm you toss their way, and they love chasing down small lures and flies.”

Bill and Jacob from Chasing Tails Bait and Tackle with double-header stripers. (@fishlongisland / @chasingtailsbait)

Rosie Fishing of Moriches Bay reports:

“We’ve been limiting out constantly, with some solid fluke to 5.5 pounds. The fish have been chewing all day long. Mr. Young picked that pool winning 5.5 pounder yesterday. We’re sailing pretty regularly at this point, with some private charters booked, so give us a call for booking info: 631-905-5829.”

Surfcasting guide Bernie Bass reports:

“It was a rollercoaster ride in the suds this week, with inconsistent bites on the bass front. I ran into some schoolies early on, then had to hunt a ton when the water became dirty. I’m hoping for some bigger fish this week, and some better water. The bluefish have been really thick, and there are some monsters out there. Throw some topwater to them for a great time.”

The Shinnecock Star in Hampton Bays reports:

“We’ve been picking a good variety of tasty species from Shinnecock waters this week. Yesterday produced a boat load of jumbo porgies, a boat limit of weakfish and some keeper fluke. The day prior produced a similar catch. The bite is on!” They’re sailing out of Oaklands Marina daily from 7am-2pm. Text or call Capt. John for info: 631-728-4563.

A solid mixed bag aboard the Shinnecock Star this week.

The Hampton Lady of Hampton Bays reports:

“Our first Thursday Captain’s choice trip went great, with anglers stuffing coolers with scup and weakfish. We pulled up some blackfish and sea bass, and tossed ‘em back. Meka picked a four pound fluke that day, moving into first place for our free giant tuna trip. More recently, we bailed a mixed bag in the peconics, taking home some scup, fluke and big weakfish. The weakfish were responding real well to jigs and bait, while the fluke have been attacking bucktails and Gulp. Weakfishing is about as good as it gets right now. It has been easy to fill buckets of scup, and there are some bigger fluke showing up.

We’re running a deal: if you fish 3 times in May, the 4th trip is free. Every Thursday is a captain’s choice trip, where we’ll target whatever is biting best. Text Capt. James for reservations: 631-521-3366. We’re sailing 6am-2pm.”

Chris Albronda from Montauk reports:

“It was another extraordinary week out of Montauk, and there’s some excellent fishing from both surf and boat. There were some fat slot fish being caught all week long, with a lot of those fish taking topwater presentations. Diamond jigs are also getting the job done, as are bucktails. The bluefish have also showed up and they are very, very large. The fluke fishing is pretty good. We had tough conditions this past week, with the full moon and the wind. We’re probably going to see some pretty epic catches this coming week. Boston Mackerel and Herring are present. Bass have been chewing along the north side for the surf guys.” Give Chris a call at 631-830-3881 to book an awesome light tackle fishing adventure. He has availability this Sunday.

Montauk’s Viking Fleet reports:

“Our ‘deepwater exploratory trip’ hosted some talented anglers who competed for the biggest fish. Joey Umana from Levittown took 1st with a 38-pound tilefish. Bob Gregson from CT picked a 35 pounder. The edible pool went to Tom Lambert of LI, with a 25-pound barrel fish.

Our Sag Harbor scup express trips were stellar this week. Monday was the best day of fishing so far on the Viking Starlite. Benny picked the biggest porgy at 3 pounds, and the biggest weakfish at 5 pounds! We’re sailing out of Sag Harbor until Sunday at 6am. Sunday was slow, but we managed a couple keeper fluke and a handful of throwback stripers.

Saturday’s Sag Harbor trip produced a lot of fish. Trevor Whyte from NYC took the pool with a 3.2 pound porgy, and Emily Samuel from Amagansett took an eight pound bass for the edible pool. There were lots of bluefish in the mix as well. Call the office to book at 631-668-5700, or book online at vikingfleet.com.”

Bill Wetzel of the Surf Rats Ball reports:

“Bob S. hit Montauk with me on 5/6 for the night shift. We found some small bass on hellcats and SP minnows on the south side, feeding on spearing. Andrew joined me the following night in the peconics. We both lost a couple decent fish, before bringing a few legal-ish fish to hand. Andrew then caught a low teen fish on a chartreuse darter. We saw a lot of needlefish out there, but nothing was attacking them.

On 5/8, JB joined me on Montauk’s south side, where we did not fare too well sans shoe-spikes. We hit a shore spot, and picked a half dozen schoolies on 3/4 ounce bucktails. When it was dark, we found some more schoolies on SP minnows.” Subscribe today at www.longislandsurffishing.com.

Eastern Long Island Fishing Forecast

Big bluefish and weakfish catches highlighted my social media feed this week. I saw photos of my friends with weakfish to nearly ten pounds, and bluefish in the mid-teens. I pursued these monsters all week, with nothing to show for my efforts. The closest I came was two nights ago when a big fish broke me off after a 1.5 minute fight. It was most likely a bass, but we’ll call it a gator so I don’t feel so bad.

Derek Monfort with a big chopper bluefish from this week. (@derek_sucks_at_fishing)

I actually picked up my camera this week way more than my fishing rod. I don’t regret it. I saw some really cool stuff. I’ll talk about some of the stuff that’s pertinent to our fishing first.

The drone gave me a good look at this school of bluefish invading the shallows.

I rolled up to the flats as the sun was setting behind some clouds, a half hour before it would hit the horizon. The light fell drastically, eliminating my hopes of sight fishing a striper at sunset. The water was very clear, and the tide was pretty low; cloud cover and low/no light make it very hard to actually see fish though. I’d film instead, and see what I saw. At first, I saw only horseshoe crabs; they can be cool to watch though, especially in timelapse form when there’s a lot of them present. I followed a few different mating couples before noticing a silver flash near one’s tail. I flew down and saw a school of stripers following the crabs. They were very difficult to see, given the poor visibility; the fish were practically transparent too, blending almost perfectly into the sand. They were not big fish either.

What stood out to me was their behavior. The bass were following behind the very slow horseshoe crabs. Every once in a while, I’d see a fish turn on its side. In my mind, that’s an eat. It seemed to me that these fish were sucking up morsels that the horseshoe crabs dislodged from the sand. It could’ve been crabs, shrimp, worms…. Lord knows what.

I mentioned this to Steve Bechard, who’s one of the best fly anglers and probably the best flats fisherman I know. My observation rekindled an old memory of his. While fly fishing with some folks on Martha’s Vineyard, Steve spotted a couple very large bass that were swimming lazily right near some swimmers. Steve’s companion, an MV local, said “oh yeah, they do that regularly.” Stripers to thirty pounds would wait for the wading humans to spook any of those aforementioned morsels from the sandy bottom. How cool is that?!

Anecdotes like that never cease to amaze me. Stripers’ curiosity will provoke them to disregard their fear of predation if there’s a feeding opportunity for them. My respect for this fish only ever increases.

Another awesome sight I experienced this week occurred when I flew my drone over a pound trap. In case you don’t know what that is, it is a commercial fishing net that is connected to the beach. There is a “leader net” that fish swimming parallel to shore will run into. When they encounter this net, they instinctively follow it offshore. At the end of the leader net is a funnel that the fish swim through; the funnel leads into a corral, where the fish can swim freely until it’s time for the fishermen to harvest them. The fishermen take boats out to the corral, and use handheld nets to scoop up the different species stuck in the corral. Bycatch is easily released for the most part, and those fish barely experience any air exposure as they’re being released. As I understand it, this is the most sustainable type of commercial fishing. The technique has been employed for hundreds of years.

When I flew over this one pound trap, I was blown away by the variety of species in there. I filmed big fluke, gator bluefish, striped bass, dogfish, giant skates, sea robins, porgies and rock crabs. I imagine there were squid in there, but I did not see any. Lord knows what else was in there. Every year, I receive reports about tarpon getting caught inside pound traps. Cobia typically end up inside of some during August.


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A post shared by Tim Regan (@southforksalt)

Another cool story from Steve… he used to work these traps growing up, and the oversized bass which would be released learned not to get caught. The bass also learned that a lot of fish get tossed back into the water, regaining their freedom, just like our striper did. Big bass would apparently follow the commercial boats out to the corral, and wait there for the fishermen to release their bycatch. This created an opportunity for a routine, easy meal for the big bass.

I’m reminded of the tarpon at Robbie’s in Islamorada when I picture this: fish that get used to being fed kind of act like pets. Maybe one day somebody will teach them those stripers to roll over.

I have one more story from this week, completely unrelated to fishing. There’s an upcoming air show, where lots of planes, jets and choppers will be flying. I don’t know where or when, but I mention it because I’ve been seeing these incredible objects in the sky all week. Friggin Maverick and Iceman flew right over me two days ago. Some folks said they were F-15 or F-35 fighter jets; again, I don’t know anything about them, besides the fact that they are extremely loud. My buddy heard them go right over his property, and the noise made his whole house shake. Later that day, I saw a few more large planes and choppers that I’ve never seen before. At first I thought we might be getting invaded along the North Fork or something… kinda freaky.

I spent most of my week getting skunked on the fly. It is brutal but I persist. I hear big fish popping at night, too far away for a fly cast. I see guys pulling them up from the inlet bottom, too deep for my floating line to reach. Bluefish are exploding on bait 200 feet from the beach; an easy cast with a pencil popper, but I’m throwing a clouser maybe half that distance.

It’s part of why I filmed so much this week. That’s easy. Catching fish on the fly is hard. Both are rewarding. I’m trying to keep some fish to eat this week though, so no more Mr. fly guy. There’s a ton of opportunity out there. Make sure you get in on it while the getting’s good. It’s shaping up to be an absolutely epic spring.

Tight lines.

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