Western Long Island and NYC Fishing Report- May 25, 2023

Bluefish follow bunker schools into the Western Sound, North Shore fluke fishing improves, and striped bass fishing remains reliable in the back bays on both shores.

  • Big adult bunker schools are moving in on the North shore from the Western Sound.
  • Bluefish arrive on the North shore.
  • Bass are thriving in the cool water temperatures around the island.
  • Fluking continues to gain momentum on charter boats.

Here’s what the shops & charters have to say: 

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

“There are plenty of big bluefish around and they’re being caught on everything including our fresh bunker. A lot of big striped bass have been reported in the Western Sound hitting trolled plugs, spoons and shads, and of course, our fresh bunker. There are also tons of porgies being caught a little to the east this week, and by the weekend their should be plenty of good porgy fishing more locally. If you’re fishing for porgies, chumming is a must. Big fluke are being caught on spearing and squid strip combos too. Going into Memorial Day weekend, bass, blues and porgies will provide the most reliable action, with blues and bass biting at night and porgies by day. It’s a 24-hour fish fest! Enjoy the great fishing and the beautiful weather this weekend.”

Gypsea Charters in Brooklyn reports:

“The past week, we have seen some very good days and some very slow days. We have been landing quality fish every trip and fishing seems to be much more favorable when the weather is cooperative. There’s definitely a new body of fish in certain areas that we have been working, so we’re seeing more consistent action there. A few more weeks until we kick off our ocean season! As always, call/text (51)659-3814 for info and reservations.”

The Gypsea shared this photo of a couple quality fluke that hit the deck this week. (@gypseacharters)

Rockfish Charters in Queens reports:

“Fishing has been incredible all week. We’ve had a huge body of fish 5 minutes from the dock smashing live bunker and topwater plugs when we can get away from the crowds. Every trip is seeing easy limits and tons of releases on fish to 30 pounds. On Wednesday, we ran to the ocean and had big bass to 48 inches on bunker and eels. We have a few weekday openings coming up. Call (347)661-4501 to reserve!”


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Rich from Lindenhurst Bait & Tackle reports:

“Only a few reports were heard this week, mostly due to strong winds. Fluke fishing has been slow for anglers drifting the South side of the Great South Bay. Ben Dubois caught 2 keepers near West Channel on bucktails tipped with Gulp. Others have reported a few fluke in the State Boat Channel and East/West Channel.  

Bill Biscardi, Joe Biscardi and Joe Jr. caught about a dozen weakfish on Saturday early morning. The crew headed east for the first of the incoming tide. Ciro Tidesco, Joe Tyminski, and Chris Halko caught 15 weakfish on Sunday. Gulp and Fish Bites had the best effect. 

Alex Worgul and his fishing buddy continue to have fun with chopper bluefish around Cedar Beach. The guys noted that 2-ounce poppers and diamond jigs tossed through outgoing tide produced results. Gary Nankervis and Todd traveled west to play catch and release on jumbo striped bass. They trolled in 60′ depths where they safely released several 50 pounders. 

Right now, the best target would be weakfish, as they’ve been the most consistent bite this week, especially in Great South Bay.”

Vinny from Freeport Bait and Tackle reports:

“The SUMMER is COMING! The water temperatures are slowly starting to creep up, especially in the back bays. That means that the water is coming more and more to life with multiple fish species starting to show. Blues are dominating the beaches from Robert Moses to Point Lookout. They are hitting on swimmers, tins and bunker chunks. The fluke action has been terrific with fluke loaded all in the back bays. A lot of shorts are to be caught but some keepers are mixed in. Fluke were feeding on gulp and local spearing. As for the stripers, they are still around mixed in with the smaller blues typically feeding more so at night at the bridges. Many anglers have even reported multiple species days with bluefish, striped bass and fluke being caught right in Freeport near the Guy Lombardo Marina.
The shop has been fully restocked with gulp, plugs, tins and super cool rod/reel combos. Come by, grab some super fresh bait or some lures and get in on the action!”

Jamie from Bay Park Fishing Station reports: 

“Big blues are providing tons of action within the bays. The back bay fluke bite has been consistent too, with bigger fish being taken on Gulp and bucktails.

Bass fishing has continued to be good at the bridges and outside the inlets on mojos, swimming plugs, and bunker spoons. Rich Rogers and co. had a killer day at the AB bridge in the pouring rain last Saturday limiting out on bass and releasing over 12 fish.” 

Paul McCain River Bay Outfitters in Baldwin said: 

“I ran a trip recently to the Peconic River, the water was 6-7 inches low, but it was great fishing. All bass and a lot of pickerel. Surprisingly, no blue gills. We must’ve had 20 pickerel with the biggest being 12 inches. A lot of fun on the fly rod!” 

Last night at Jones Inlet it was really windy but I managed to catch a 17 inch fluke right off the beach before the wind kicked up. The spin guys beside me were catching some nice bluefish as well. Fishing is really turned on now as long as the weather cooperates and it has been kind of tough. This week looks much better.” 

Brandon from Causeway Bait & Tackle in Wantagh reports:  

“Bluefish have continued to bite well from the construction docks to the Meadowbrook with some bass mixed in. The word on fluke has been quiet this week, but a buddy of ours reported a 22 inch keeper caught in the back of Merrick. The winds were horrible and put a damper on everything.  

While out in the ocean last Thursday, we saw bunker all over but oddly enough, no bass. Weakfish continues to be insane, with one of our customers catching a tide runner on a darter this past Sunday.” 


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I have to keep reminding myself its not even June yet. It’s been a terrific season from the very beginning and now with Bluefish showing up on the North shore in the Western sound, it feels more like summer than spring. 

Early this week, while trolling the ‘ol faithful tube and worm on the North shore for stripers, I was treated to my first kayak bluefish of the year.

This lone bluefish struck the tube and worm rig earlier in the week. (@outie_fishing)

Generally, I don’t get into bluefish in my neck of the woods until early June, but with how this season has been shaping up it wasn’t a huge surprise to see them a bit earlier than I’m used to. This blue was the only one I saw all day, despite casting a plug and popper around the same area. Instead, I only hooked up with stripers the rest of the day, which was only slightly disappointing.

A day of tube and worm trolling yielded plenty of healthy stripers, like this solid 36 incher. (@outie_fishing)

Not a bad problem to have when you’re looking for one species and finding another, unless maybe it’s sea robins while fluking.  

On a fluke trip this week aboard the James Joseph II out of Huntington with my father, we both went home with two keepers each, while a few others on the boat limited out and one angler took home the pot with an impressive 10-pound flattie. Notably, two sea bass over 16.5 inches were also caught and released, as their season hasn’t begun yet. It was a beautiful sunny day, but despite the warm temperatures and sun, the cool sustained winds in our face made it clear that it was still very much spring and not summer.  

Overall it was a great trip and time well spent. The captain and crew on the James Joseph do a tremendous job netting fish, keeping bait buckets full, and sending anglers home with quality fillets. If you’re interested in a party boat trip in the Huntington area, you can view the schedule on their website at jamesjosephfishing.com. They are always open boat and can provide everything you need for a great day on the water. 

Lastly I want to shout out the weakfish bite, which has been nothing short of spectacular. Anglers have been catching big, tiderunner sized weakfish from the shores and on the water all over the island. This is a great time to pursue that new personal best, or your first ever unicorn using light tackle jigs and plugs. 

What to Expect This Week

Bluefish continue to show up in numbers from the South Shore to the East River, and now, on the North shore. Big adult bunker schools are beginning to stack up on the North shore from Little Neck Bay to Hempstead Bay and will continue to spread eastward. I have no doubt their arrival coincides with the bluefish I caught this week. One of my favorite sights and sounds on the water is when a massive school of bunker makes a sudden change in direction as a result of stripers or bluefish swooping in on them. A technique I’ve been itching to try this season has been jigging flutter spoons underneath the schools, which I think would perfectly imitate a dying bunker and catch a striper’s attention. 

Water temperatures have stayed in the 60 degree range, and stripers continue to kick off lively after a fight. It’s shaping up to be beautiful week and weekend weather-wise, with calm winds, sunny skies, and warm temperatures. 

I recall last year being hell-bent on getting my personal best striper among the North Shore bunker schools in early June. There would be days I’d be out the entire incoming and not see a single bunker, let alone a striper. Then, as the outgoing tide grew, scores of bunker would seemingly erupt from below the surface with bluefish behind them.  

Cast out diamond jigs, metal spoons, and your least favorite color plug for blues. For stripers, stay on the move and look for structure such as ledges and rocky points with ripping current. If you’re in a vessel, use your electronics to find the bait.  

Fluking along the beach is one of my favorite things to do on a warm sunny day, and my recommended setup is a light or medium light 7’ rod, with 15-pound braid on a 2000 to 3000 size reel, with a single bucktail jig from ¼ ounce up to ¾ ounce for better casting distance. For trailers, the 4-inch Gulp grubs or 5-inch jerk shads in Pink Shine color are my favorites, but you can’t go wrong with any of the different shapes or colors. If you’re struggling to get bit, adding a teaser can increase your odds, but you run the risk of having to deal with a double-header of sea robins, which ain’t my idea of fun.  

Whatever you choose to pursue, keep in mind your local regulations and practice good catch and release when handling non-keeper fish. Be respectful to your fellow anglers and remember we’re all out there to have a good time. 

Thank you for reading, tight lines, and best of luck. 

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