Western Long Island and NYC Fishing Report- May 11, 2023

Big weakfish hit the backwaters, bluefish linger around the inlets and bays while stripers bite on the beaches, and porgy fishing picks up in the Western Sound.

  • Fluking off to a lukewarm start while porgies & sea robins prowl the bottom.  
  • Big striped bass North shore to South shore
  • Blues from the East River to Robert Moses
  • Tide runner weakfish in your local back bays 

What an inspiring week it’s been. I concluded last week’s report with “I hope you catch your personal best” and this past weekend my good friend Peter Rainieri got an absolute tide runner out of his local back bay; his new personal best weakfish at around 28”. As anyone who targets weakfish can tell you, they are quite elusive and difficult to catch with intention. I can personally testify that every weakfish I’ve caught has been a bycatch of fluking or striped bass fishing. Congrats Pete! 

Peter Ranieri II (@pran1211) caught this beauty of a weakfish during a recent kayak expedition.

Before I give the rest of my shpeel, here’s what the charters & tackle shops have to say: 
Captain Adrian of Rockfish Charters in Queens reports:

“Great fishing continues this week. We have so many bass and blues in Jamaica Bay that we’re catching multiple slot-size bass every day in the cast net while getting bait. Then it’s been lock and load getting a few dozen fish per trip. Most have been slot size but we’ve had a few thirty pounders mixed in. As I write this we’re doing a trophy trip in the ocean, live-chumming bunker and getting fish up to 50 pounds on the surface. Give us a call or send a text to (347) 661-4501 to book a charter, fishing is incredible!”


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Captain Josh of Gypsea Charters in Brooklyn reports:

“We saw good fluke fishing continue over the past week. Although the action is not the greatest, the quality of the fish makes up for it. We expect the fishing to only get better as the water temperatures rise and the fish become less sluggish. Highlight of the week was our first double digit of the season weighing in at 11 pounds, 2 ounces. Huge congrats to the angler, Sean Dalton. Even better, the fish was released and swam away strong. Now is the time to catch the fish of a lifetime. Come on out, we said 7 days a week out of Brooklyn, NY. Reservations are a must, call or text (516) 659-3814 for info. and availability.”

Gypsea mate Jamaal Jr. and angler, Sean Dalton, pose with Sean’s 11-pound, 2-ounce fluke. (@gypseacharters)

Jack’s Bait and Tackle in City Island, The Bronx reported:

“There are loads of porgies being caught on the party boats like Island Current, Sound Bound, Daybreak and Riptide all using Jack’s jumbo sandworms and bloodworms. Chumming is always a must! Local fluke are being caught as well with our spearing and squid combos.

Also, local striped bass fishing is good by the Throgs Neck and Whitestone bridges, and the nearby lighthouses. Those fish are mostly being caught on our fresh bunker or by trolling Jack’s Mojos. The Hudson River striper fishing is still on fire with our bloodworms, sandworms and fresh bunker all responsible for catching fish.”

Jack’s Bait and Tackle shared this photo of a Western Sound fluke caught on one of the local charters this week. The fluke bite is picking up!

Jamie at Bay Park Fishing Station told me:

“Fluke bite is heating up in the back bays on spearing! The striped bass bite remains steady and the blue fish are officially all over the bays. Check out our updated hours at bayparkfishing.com”. 

Brandon from Causeway Bait and Tackle said: 

“The back bay bite has been hot, the other day I had 15 striped bass while chumming clam with some big bluefish mixed in. A buddy of mine caught 5 weakfish recently on light tackle. Fluking has been hit or miss coming off the moon tide but should only get better from here. Follow us on Instagram: @Causeway_bait_and_tackle” 

Paul McCain from River Bay Outfitters reports: 

“The saltwater fishing is really taking off. Blues are here, stripers are here, the guys have been sending in reports & photographs all along the entire south shore surf & back bays. This is the time we look forward to! It’s been really good. 

From what little I’ve heard about fluking, it’s been slow but it’s still early. The water is about 50 degrees and needs to warm up.  

I did some freshwater the other day, which I absolutely love because of how relaxing it is. More or less every cast I had a bluegill, bass, or yellow perch, and even golden shiners which was out of the ordinary!” 

Marc from Freeport Bait and Tackle reports: 

“Warmer weather means better fishing! After last week’s rain, we couldn’t wait for the weather to turn and the bite to pick back up. The striper bite has really started to heat up in the back with several reports coming in from the local channels and back bays near Jones Beach and Long Beach.  

Out front, fish are being caught all along Jones beach. For those that are using bait, clams, bloodworms and bunker have been doing well at night. For those that are plugging, we’ve heard about fish being caught on just about everything. There were reports on soft plastics and metal lips catching fish but overall it seems like SP minnows, Swarters and twitch baits have been the most productive.  

The bluefish are mixed in with quality fish being reported in the 25-35 inch range. As far as fluking, the bite has been a bit scattered but there are quite a few BIG fish being reported in the 20+ inch, 5+ pound class. Gulp and spearing have both been doing well. Lastly, we’re starting to see some quality local spearing so hopefully things continue to progress and fish continue to follow. Come in and see us and we’ll get you ready to fish!” 

With the gorgeous weather we’ve had this week, I’ve been taking the opportunity to launch my kayak on a weekday afternoon. It’s not always an easy thing to do after a long day of work, but these afternoon trips have definitely paid off. 

On Tuesday I landed two overslot fish on a tube and worm rig – a technique that has been absolutely deadly for me this spring. Jigging with soft plastics produced schoolie to slot-size fish, and is more fun in my opinion than trolling, but if I’m being truthful, I owe all my big fish to the tube. A saying I live by is, “Twice is a coincidence, but three times makes a trend” well, so far all 3 overslot fish I’ve caught this season have been on the outgoing tide, about 1-2 hours into it, while trolling a 19” tube. Make what you will of that.  

When it seems like there’s no bass around in a given location, trolling with the tube and worm rig proves otherwise. (@outie_fishing)

I’ve yet to land a bluefish, fluke, or weakfish, but that’s mostly because I’ve been having the best striped bass spring of my life. I know I have all summer to chase fluke & blues, but I want to stay dialed into this bass bite for as long as I can, while its still the ideal temperature to be doing catch & release fishing. 

The water temperatures on the north shore are still in the low to mid-50 range, so these stripers are lively and still kick off fast after a fight. That will change once water temps heat up. I might make the conscious decision this year to cut my striped bass fishing until the cooler months of the Fall run and shift focus to  the many other species we have to target during the peak summer.   

If you haven’t checked out the most recent On The Water podcast episode, I highly recommend you give it a listen during your next commute, trolling session, etc. Kevin Blinkoff is joined by Mike Waine of the ASA who does a fantastic job of explaining the challenges of fisheries management, and the careful balancing act that goes into making decisions like the new slot limit. In my opinion, this episode should be mandatory listening for every angler in the Northeast right now. I’ve seen a lot of polarization in the fishing community from these changes, which is a shame, but if you have been arguing over the merits of this slot change with another angler, I recommend you send this podcast episode their way.   

Fishing politics aside, I also spent my Saturday this past weekend dropping clam on porgies with a friend who wanted to try kayak fishing. This friend had very little kayak experience, let alone fishing, so it was a double whammy of familiarizing them with the kayak and how to properly operate a free spool, keep contact with the bottom, and when to set the hook. They picked up on everything quickly though, and we both had double-digit totals of scup landed and plenty of meat for dinner. My filet knife needed a good sharpening by the time I finished with the last scup, and my friend went home a newly minted kayak angler.  

If you want to introduce someone to saltwater fishing, you can’t go wrong with porgies – they’re easy to target, fight hard for their size, the action is fast-paced, and you can guarantee meat to bring home thanks to the generous possession limits. 

At one point I decided to ditch the bait tactics and tried jigging metals instead. This definitely reduced the amount of hits I got, but I was able to land a few porgies and a sea robin just by lifting a light epoxy jig off the bottom and letting it flutter back down on slack line. No bait necessary. It’s a technique I apply during the false albacore season when waiting for albies to show up. Last year it landed, to my surprise, a little baby weakfish.  


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What to Expect This Week

Get out there and chase some unicorns! Or gators. Or cows. Or doormats. Or…sea dragons? I don’t think sea robins get enough credit for how cool they look with their head spikes and their wings, and the fact that they actually talk to you. They’re also vastly underrated as table fare, but I could write a whole separate article on that, and I think this report is long enough. Thanks for reading, and tight lines.  

2 on “Western Long Island and NYC Fishing Report- May 11, 2023

  1. peter okeefe

    striper emergency podcast brought to you but the same people who get paid by how many “emergencies” they can convince you of. “we need more money to study fish” is there cry!!! Fish cycles have been around for thousands of years and a few thousand fisherman with poles dont effect it. Its called nature

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