Eastern Long Island Fishing Report- June 22, 2023

Fluke fishing continues to improve as more porgies move into the Peconic, trophy stripers are caught on south shore beaches, and bottom fishing fanatics prepare for sea bass season.

Eastern Long Island Fishing Report

  • Sea bass season opens tomorrow.
  • 30, 40, and 50 pound bass for south shore surfcasters this week. Sausele takes the lead of the Surfmasters with a 51.
  • Fluking improves steadily.
  • Porgies to 4 pounds.
  • New NYS record thresher shark.
Brandon Sausele take the lead in the Montauk Surf Masters Spring Shootout with a whopping 51-pound bass. (@bsausele42)

Captree Bait and Tackle reports:

“Pat Dabrowski popped into the shop with a limit of fluke he just acquired from the local pier. He got into a few weakfish as well out there. It is blue crab season; we’ve seen some coolers full of them this week.”

The Fishfinder of Captree reports: 

“The past few 10am trips have found lots of fluke, both shorts and keepers. More fish are being taken on bucktails as the water temps rise. Gulp in salmon, pink shine and white have been getting the job done. Saturday’s 5pm trip saw a bunch of blues and weakfish of all sizes, chewing on assassins and jigs. The pool fish was an eight pound bluefish taken by Brian.”

The Celtic Quest Fishing Fleet of Port Jefferson reports: 

“We beat back against the wind yesterday to put together a nice catch of weakfish and porgies. We had some nice slot bass come over the rail a few days ago, and some solid sea bass chew on our hooks mid-week.” Call them at 631-928-3926 for booking info, or check the website/Facebook for more info.

The Peconic Star of Greenport reports:

“A new body of smaller scup has moved into the area, so we had to pick through some smaller fish yesterday to get to the slabs. The bite was relentless though, and everyone picked some large and jumbo porgies. Some weakfish, fluke, and a couple stripers came over the rail before the trip’s end. A few days ago, we bet against the meteorologists and won, fishing some calm seas for a decent bite of porgies. Some weakfish and a striper came up as well. We’re fishing daily for jumbo porgies and weakfish at 7:30am.” For booking info, call Captain Paul at 631-522-2002.

The porgy bite is still alive and well on the Peconic Star after a new body of fish moved in.

Capt. Phil of Fishy Business in Orient reports:

“The Condrill family came along to target stripers and blues two days ago. We put together a limit of bass, and took a few blues for the BBQ. Some overs and unders were sent back to swim another day. We had the Eastern Anglers aboard earlier in the week. These guys fished hard through unfavorable conditions, putting a limit of bass on ice. Over- and under-slot fish kept the boys busy throughout the tide, and we finished up the session with a few fluke to take home.”

They sail out of Duryea’s in Orient. Give them a call to book a trip!

Bill at Chasing Tails Bait and Tackle in Oakdale reports:

“Wind. It seems like it’s here permanently these days. The big surf pushed some big fish up into our waters, with bass up to 40 pounds being caught on the local beaches. Darters, bottle plugs, and big bucktails put in work this week. Poppers are getting it done in the early sunrise and sunset hours. The bay is still holding some quality bass if you know where and when to look. Bluefish are scattered all over the place, holding strong on flats, crashing every bait school that swims by. Topwater plugs, SP Minnows, bucktails, and tins are getting annihilated by blues. 

Fluke action is hot in the bay, with solid fish coming over the rails for most anglers. The shop rigs are very popular, with bait or artificials tipping the hooks. We make standard rigs and bucktail rigs at the shop. Weakfish action has slowed, but many anglers are still having great outings with solid fish coming up. The local docks are starting to see an increase in blowfish and kingfish activity. They’re tons of fun on small rods, for everyone of any age. 

Bass action in the local lakes is heating up. Bigmouths are active and willing to take down big baits. Swimbaits, Senkos, jigs, and topwater lures are getting a lot of attention. Cruising pickerel will snap at the same lures, plus anything shiny like an inline spinner or small spoon. Yellow perch, and sunfish are schooled up and very interested in eating nightcrawlers on a worm and bobber rig, or something small like a spinner or trout magnet jig. Trout are all over the morning and evening hatches. Dry flies are the way to go. Sulphur, caddis, and BWO are getting smacked hard.”

Rosie Fishing of Moriches Bay reports:

“We picked some good buckets of fluke the other day despite the heavy east wind. Bobby picked his limit at the rail. The day prior, we slammed them during a slightly lighter east wind. We had over two dozen keepers come over the rail and in the pail. We just added a new six-man charter to the fleet, the “Sundowner.” It’s just about ready for business. Captains Dave and Angelo took some family out to shark fish and caught a bunch on this new boat; they even picked a six pound fluke from the deep. The fluke fishing was great all week, with lots of keepers hitting the deck. The beginning of the week saw multiple keepers to 6.1 pounds. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for sailing times and reports, and give us a call for booking info.”

Rosie Fishing has been on the meat this week.

The gentlemen at Whitewater Outfitters in Hampton Bays report:

“Bigger bass have been getting caught from Moriches to Montauk this week. Guys have been picking some large in the inlets, fishing swim baits; you’d be hard pressed to catch on anything else there right now. The bridge has produced some good fish as well, for those guys livelining. Montauk has been especially good around this moon. Steve Figari picked some nice ones over by Moriches on swim baits. 

There has been a decent amount of schoolies in the bay, and some smaller bluefish have been biting in the back too. Porgies have begun trickling into Shinnecock as well. The fluke bite hasn’t exactly been stellar, but there is some quality around. 

Offshore, the canyon has been treating anglers well. The blue water is moving ever closer, so you’re looking at an 80 mile trip rather than 100 for a productive outing. There have been some yellowfin to the east, and bluefin scattered near and far. Some billfish are being found here and there, mostly really far out.

Last but not least, the bottom fishing has been solid. Puffers and kingfish are steadily moving in, as the tide runner weakfish are moving out. Sea bass opens up tomorrow, so anglers will be happy to be able to harvest some of the knuckleheads that have been coming over the rail.”

The Shinnecock Star in Hampton Bays reports:

“It’s been up and down the past few days. We’ve been going from limits on one trip to hide and seek the next. \The bait is stacking up in the bay though, with sandeels moving in; the fish are there waiting for them. This weekend produced some solid fluke over five pounds on Father’s Day. Our Fluke Fiasco was on the 15th; Rob Bartowe and his sister Katie won the second night, which was the more productive one. The wind’s been tough on us, making for some tough bites. Ralph won the night prior, taking home a new Lamiglas fluking rod.”

They’re sailing out of Oaklands Marina daily from 7am-2pm. Text or call Capt. John for info.

The Hampton Lady of Hampton Bays reports:

“Tom B’s family came out the other day to fish in their father’s memory. Tom had been angling aboard the Lady for years, and his family wanted a taste of what their father and husband loved so much. It was their first time fishing, and we all had a banner time together. Fluke and sea bass were the main quarry. 

Last Thursday, we put thirty keeper fluke on the deck, some of them serious bruisers. Certain tides were better than others, and the best producer was small bucktails and light tackle. We’re sailing 6 am – 2 pm. Text Capt. James for reservations.”

Tom B’s family took a trip on the Hampton Lady, his favorite boat, to commemorate him and his passion for fishing.

Montauk’s Viking Fleet reports:

“We anchored shallow on Friday, picking medium-large porgies along with a handful of weakfish to six pounds. The biggest porgy was two pounds. The next day, we jigged up some big bluefish and very big porgies. Elliott McGonegal from Water Mill took the pool with a 6 pound bluefish. A few keeper fluke were taken as well. The porgy fishing was okay the rest of the day, and a bit of variety came over the rail to spice things up. The highlight of the day was the new moon striper trip. Jigging got the job done, bringing all sizes of bass over the rail. Once the sun set, we switched to eels and absolutely killed it. We boated our limit of slot fish, and caught a few in the 40- to 50-pound range. Pat Damico from Rocky Point took the pool with a 22 pounder. We ran the same trip the next night, and hammered them again. We culled a quick boat limit, then played with a lot of big fish to 44 pounds. Some blues and giant scup hit the deck as well.

We hid from the prevailing east wind in Fort Pond Bay on Monday. There were a lot of shorts up there, but we ended up picking some real nice scup. Tuesday’s trip started around the lighthouse, where some good porgy fishing was found. When the tide began running, we ran down the beach and found some more. The biggest one was 21.5 inches, weighing 4 pounds!” Call the office to book your trip, or book online.

Bill Wetzel of the Surf Rats Ball reports:

“Last Thursday, we had some super calm conditions and clean water. Rick and Mike joined me to target the sand beaches. Rick picked a couple blues and a bass on pencils and bucktails. We didn’t see any bait there. We ran over to the rocks at night, but didn’t find anything in the rough terrain.

Three nights ago, I did the graveyard shift with Andrew and Jake. We hiked the south side, fishing it from 1-5am, but found nothing there.” Subscribe today at www.longislandsurffishing.com.

Chris Albronda from Montauk reports:

“It was another exciting week on the water in Montauk. The fluke grounds have been producing some very large fish. The sea bass were almost annoying while targeting fluke, taking everything in their path. There are some very large scup available. Striped bass fishing has been consistent. You will just have to work your way through the bluefish to get to them. There are some very large stripers being caught though. Many people have been shattering their personal best records. In the surf, there are lots of blues being caught, stripers of all sizes, and even some weakfish. There was a good report of about a dozen big weaks around sunset on the south side. Tuna fishing is red hot in the canyons, and there are some very big thresher, blue, and mako sharks around right now.” Shoot Chris a text at 631-830-3881 to book a light tackle trip.

Eastern Long Island Fishing Forecast

Nine days ago, an instagram post from NPR featured a photo that went viral. A lab table was lined with horseshoe crabs, which were tethered to an apparatus which “periodically bleeds” them. Their cerulean blue blood is extremely sensitive to toxins, which makes it an ideal solution to test syringes for contaminants. NPR is notoriously partisan, so I always take their spin with a grain of salt; the article is very interesting and informative no less. The photo of the crab lab brings to mind a particular motto from many memes: “ahh, manmade horrors beyond my comprehension!” Those memes usually give me a pretty good laugh.

A couple days later, another fishing-related story made me cringe. The folks who shared the story have since deleted the caption but left up the photo, due to blowback regarding some more “manmade horrors beyond my comprehension.” Unfortunately for people who regret publicly sharing the truth, posting on the internet is essentially writing in stone, so I’ll tell you the story I read. Here was a photo of a large thresher shark, a new NYS record, hanging from a rope on a dock. I’ve seen the same photo op many times before, and I actually have a YouTube video of my friends catching a 500 pound thresher; I was gifted a big chunk of that shark, and I ate it all. It’s pretty good when you soak it in a marinade. Anyway…

Before I go further, I must note that I am not against killing fish; I’ve probably killed more this year than I ever have. I don’t have a lot of money, and this is a good way for me to save some… guy’s gotta eat. So I’m pretty regularly pursuing fish to harvest once again, as was the case when I first started fishing. 

The story in the IG post’s caption floored me though, and the effect it had on me was powerful. I think jaw-dropping experiences ought to be shared, so here’s the verbatim caption initially shared by Hooks For Heroes, where I first heard of this catch: “NYS record 707lbs Thresher Shark caught by F/V Gina Ann. Very special fish, this fish was pregnant with 4 pups which were extracted at Scotty’s Dock and swam away to grow as big as their mother. The fish will be harvested as food and utilized fully.”

The 76 comments have been mostly deleted, whittled down to a couple dozen niceties. The most popular remaining comment decries the “crybaby crowd,” who likely reacted similarly to me after reading that original caption. Like I said, it was a jaw-dropper–both the size of the fish, and the dark truth that this one record most likely resulted in 1 dead mama and 4 dead babies. Call me a crybaby if you will. I just think these stories/pics about the crabs and the shark pups are right out of a dystopian horror novel. 

I’m not bringing this up to shame shark killers, or fish harvesters, or anyone at all; this act was entirely legal. These guys accomplished an amazing fishing feat; I’ve seen it done and I know the amount of hard work that’s required to succeed. The fight must’ve taken hours, and they must’ve been perfectly prepared from start to finish. Kudos to them on completing a pretty epic task.

I’m mentioning it because the story of the pups was deleted, although it was initially considered as fascinating as the catch itself. Why delete that, if there’s no shame in this act?

Fact is, there is some shame here. What are the odds those pups will actually survive to grow as big as their mother? What are the odds they made it back from the dock to the ocean? I can’t imagine they even swam 200 yards after a forced, premature, amateur c-section of their already-dead mother. 

I’m paraphrasing here, but one comment on the horseshoe article said “you can spin a story many ways to make your POV look righteous, but some things are just obviously and inarguably wrong.”

“Released safely to fight another day.” “Swam away strong.” “They’ll live to grow as big as their mother.” Those phrases were used to describe the crabs and the shark, and they’re utilized daily by catch and release anglers who have convinced themselves that this bloodsport we all love is completely harmless. It’s used to diminish the destruction gill nets cause as well: “the little ones swim through, the big ones bounce off.” It’s malarkey. The folks using these phrases are trying to convince themselves and other people that their negative effect is minimal, even when all evidence suggests otherwise. It’s outright untruthful. When you call the biggest BS’ers out on it, they respond with ad hominem attacks instead of looking at themselves in the mirror and asking “is what I did inhumane” or “how can I improve?”

This is something we should all think about: none of us, in our own minds, are doing anything wrong, especially when we’re not breaking the law. Even if we are breaking the law, we might imagine we’re doing the right thing, as the law isn’t always “right.” Putting a spin on it, like one of the three at the beginning of the prior paragraph, to mitigate the gravity of one’s actions does not let any of us off the hook (especially when it’s posted publicly, open to scrutiny). And these fairytale spins ought to be scrutinized. Feel free to portray yourself as a benevolent steward; fact is, we all unintentionally kill creatures, and saying we don’t doesn’t make that any less true. The least we can do is have some respect for the living creatures we handle, and be realistic about the footprint we’re leaving. And that’s all I’m arguing for. I’m not saying “don’t target fish for harvest,” because I’m not a hypocrite. It just rubs me the wrong way when somebody, for [an extremely prevalent] example, slams a 50 pound striper onto the deck of a boat, gill-rapes it for a 2 minute photo shoot, throws it back in the water, then posts the picture on social media with a buttery caption like “released to fight another day (muscle emoji).” Might as well say the fish lived happily ever after.

I feel the same way about commercial fishing, surfcasting, freshwater fishing, you name it. It’s nice to be optimistic, but being realistic is way more important; purporting anything but the objective truth is harmful to the health of our world.

My reason for diving into this topic is to promote good fish handling. Almost every fish report I read says “swam off strong,” even when the fish was caught on a 3 foot Dock Demon, or a friggin’ barbie rod, after a 20 minute fight, and the angler in the pic is holding the fish vertically by its gill rakers in his clenched fist. In the majority of cases, the report is painting a certain hole with lipstick, and that usually comes across very clear. Be wary of that if you want respect, and be good to the fish to earn it.

Rant over. Let’s get to the fishing.

To me, it sounds like this June’s bite was historic. The number of thirties, forties and fifties caught by surf guys around the moons is staggering. The surf bites actually held up too, for more than just an hour-long window of a specific tide in a specific spot. I’d imagine that suggests a pretty healthy population of large bass. Now, if we can just take good care of them for long enough to ensure they can produce some healthy offspring, the future will be bright. So let’s try to do that.

I’ve seen lots of good sea bass coming over the rails. Some smaller fish seem to have moved in, compared to a couple weeks ago, when all I saw were jumbos. Same story for the porgies, although the porgy bite is absolutely insane. If positive VTR’s suggest a good fishery, our scup fishery is golden. Fluking also appears to be stellar. It seems like the farther west you go, the better the bite; but they’re chewing well enough out east too, and I’m told the short life is still quite abundant. That seems like another healthy fishery to me. Next, consider the weakfish… ask anyone five years ago about weakfish, and they’d tell you “those don’t exist anymore; they went the way of the winter flounder.” Fast forward to today, and that fishery is performing extremely well. Also, the bluefish! How about that bite this year?! And the tuna the past few years, the menhaden stocks, the addition of spinner sharks, cobia and rays… I could probably keep going, but I think you get the jist.

It is a great time to be an avid angler.

Unfortunately for me, I’m fishing less than I have in ten years. This past decade, I’ve wet a line for about 350 days per year, on average. That is a conservative estimate. It is my passion, and I’d do it daily if possible. There’s no way I will reach that number this year. I’m essentially working two full time jobs, plus writing, filming, editing and guiding. I’m getting my fishing fix via this weekly fishing report, and daily reports from friends. It has been a very hard and exhausting month. So, I apologize if I came off really negative or scathing in this report, but that’s the stuff that’s been on my mind, and I had to say it. Woof. I appreciate you bearing with me while I’m not at my best.

The forecast for the next week or two is looking pretty ugly. Then again, the meteorologists have designated a ~50% chance of rain almost every day for the next two weeks… just commit yo. Is it going to rain or not? I swear, they’ve just given up on their jobs. It now seems to be about as much of a science as astrology. Just kidding, as I feel a good bit more confident about meteorological estimates, versus the assertion that I will have extra opportunities to thrive this week because I was born in the first half of September. What the heck do I know though?

All right, don’t waste any more of your time listening to me. Go fishing. It is absolutely amazing. Enjoy it every second you can. Talk to you all next week.

4 on “Eastern Long Island Fishing Report- June 22, 2023

  1. Sam Ratkewitch

    Why don’t you stick to reporting the fishing activity in the area and leave the virtue signaling to those woke folks who specialize in attempting to make us all feel guilty for just being alive. Yes, fish die when caught and often when released. So what? Should we all give up fishing because it’s a “cruel sport “ ? I enjoy your reports of fishing activity in the region but when you get into areas of a moral dilemma you have about fishing you are tuning out a lot of your readers. I get enough of that from the New York Times and don’t need any more from a fishing columnist. Sam

  2. SJS

    Well said Tim. I wish more folks possessed the intelligence to realize these fish have lives. They should make people pass a test before fishing.
    Use single hooks with flattened barbs.
    Never touch gill plates.
    Get the fish back in the water asap.
    Sadly, whenever I mention any of the above to so called fishermen, they usually scoff and follow with the proud to be stupid reply of,” it’s just a fish.”

  3. Fish

    Went on the Rosie on Monday from 12-3:30 and it was dead. The entire boat 3 fish were caught. Hope it was just a bad tide and hoping for better next time.

  4. Joe

    One OUTSTANDING article. Your Best ever. Can be summed up, ” sad but true”. WELL SAID !

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