Western Long Island and NYC Fishing Report- June 8, 2023

South shore stripers key in on bunker while the North shore hosts spearing and sand eels, big fluke are being caught in south shore bays and porgies are in thick across the island.

  • Stripers key in on sand eels and spearing along the North shore, creating finicky bites. 
  • South shore charters rake in stripers in the 40- to 50-inch range on live bunker and artificial lures. 
  • Blues are concentrated in the back bays, inlets, and the Sound.
  • Anglers North to South are jigging up scup in large quantities, from shore and from boat, with some cod in the mix. 
  • Fluking picks up, with many respectable keepers being weighed in at tackle shops.

Smoooooke on the waaaaaater! Keep our neighbors up north in your prayers as they battle these wildfires. I have no idea how the smoke haze will impact the bite, but I imagine darker skies might be a silver lining for striper fishermen.  

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

Jamie from Bay Park Fishing Station in Oceanside said: 

“The fluke bite is still steady. We have weighed several keeper fish over 3 pounds this week, with one of the biggest at 6.5 pounds from the inlet. Striped bass have shown up in force following bunker pods near Rockaway, the pods are explosive when they git hit by big bass, so they’re easy to find if you keep your eyes open. Brayden Owens and company on the fighting Irish were the first on the board at bay park with a Thresher shark over 200 pounds. Bay Park Fishing Station is fully stocked and has everything you need from gas, to bait and tackle.”

Vinny Vitale from Freeport Bait and Tackle said: 

“The air temperature might be lower than expected, but the fishing is red hot. Bluefish continue to terrorize the beaches and backwaters. Bunker is all over the place from Jones Beach to the western bays. The shop is stocked with live eels and fresh bunker daily which is the key for anglers looking to pick up quality bass during the night tides off the beaches. On an artificial note, anglers are catching bluefish on tins and Hopkins lures, which the shop has plenty of. Flue are continuing to chew down all shapes and sizes of gulp and local spearing with plenty of keepers.

We are also equipped with all types of tuna and shark tackle and gear as the big game season starts to pick up with the rising water temperatures. Come by the shop and get yourself ready for the summer madness!

If you are participating in Scotty’s tournament, call ahead and place an order for chum and fresh bunker!” 

Paul McCain River Bay Outfitters in Baldwin told me: 

“Despite the wind in our faces, we’ve had a couple bluefish on the fly rod as well as a striper or two at an outing this week. The fish were on very small spearing which made for a finicky bite if you aren’t chucking flies. Recently Democrat Point has been closed to 4×4 access due to plover nesting so keep that in mind if you plan on doing any beach driving to surf fish.” 

Brandon Weitz from Causeway Bait & Tackle in Wantagh told me: 

“Fluke fishing has been pretty good by us! Last night I fished for a little at the dock and landed 3 fluke, with one keeper over 20 inches. The striper bite continues to be epic and we have been catching cows on jigs and spoons on my boat around the lower bay.”


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A post shared by Brandon Weitz (@bweitz1)

Johnny Fish from Lindenhurst Bait & Tackle reports: 

“There’s been a good bucktail bite coming out of the inlets. Fish in the upper 20-30 inch class are being caught by anglers on the rocks. With the strong current you’ll need between 3-4 ounces to hold bottom if you’re fishing bucktails.  Fluking has improved in the channels and inlets, with a few customers weighing keepers over 5 pounds this week. Boats have been doing a bit better than shore anglers it seems. Come down to the shop for all your bait and tackle needs.” 

Rockfish Charters in Queens reports:

“Fishing continues to be phenomenal. We’re finding giant bass, and lots of them, on every trip. Most of our charters are choosing to keep catching trophy fish rather than split our day and go inside the bay to catch keepers after catching their new PB’s… can’t blame them! We’re looking forward to fishing the Manhattan Cup this week and have an opening for charter next week. Give us a call (347) 661-4501 to get in on this once in a lifetime bite before it’s over!”

Gypsea Charters in Brooklyn reports:

“We saw another productive week on the fluke grounds! A new body of fish moved into the bay, with 20 to 30 quality keeper hitting the deck each trip. Highlight of the week was Tariq’s 11.5-pound doormat, which he released. Kudos to him on a legendary catch! We will continue to target these fish in the bay until the water temperatures are right for the ocean in a couple of weeks. Call or text (516) 659-3814 for more information and reservations.”

Tariq landed this 32-inch, 11.5-pound fluke on the Gypsea late last week. This is the second 11+ pound fluke that the Gypsea has found inside the bay already this year! (@gypseacharters)

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

“Lots of striped bass and bluefish are being caught in the Western Sound on our fresh bunker, and anglers are locating fish by trolling with Jack’s mojos and bunker spoons. Porgies are being caught by the dozen locally from anglers fishing in our rental boats using Jack’s bloodworms and sandworts for bait. As always, chumming is a must in order to build a bite! Today on Jack’s boats, anglers were catching 20-plus scup per person by Execution Light, Prospect Point and Sands Point. There have also been some nice fluke caught by patient anglers drifting Jack’s spearing and squid combo on a bucktail or fluke rig.”

Here’s what anglers have been posting around social media this week: 


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A post shared by @blastin_bass_fishing


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A post shared by Raul Andres (@_raul_andres_)


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A post shared by Tyalure (@tyalure_tackle)


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A post shared by Brandon Weitz (@bweitz1)

This past weekend it was apparent that the fish are on very small bait. Stripers were visibly rising from the flat, glass-calm water in front of me, and I witnessed my topwater lure get followed slowly by multiple fish, with the lead one giving a few curious taps before swimming off. At slack low tide, I spotted several slot and even overslot fish swimming around and below my kayak in only 5 to 8 feet of water, at most. Topwater presentations were ignored, and slowly worked paddletails would get followed by small gangs of stripers yet none would commit. The only lure that I was able to get bit on was a pink 3/8-ounce bucktail. The striper that ate it was in bad shape – littered with parasites on one side and gashes on the other. Gnarly.  

Unfortunately, the only fish to commit to a lure that day was this beat up bass. (@outie_fishing)

At one point, I reeled in an epoxy jig and collided with a school of bait, causing a few of what I presumed to be spearing to skitter out of the water. Discussions with other anglers fishing the same area would lead me to believe it may have been juvenile sand eels. That afternoon, I decided to fly fish off the beach at sunset and found a small pod of bunker pushed against the beach. I could tell they were being eaten, and so was I – by hundreds of gnats landing on my face, neck, and ears. I was chased back to my truck and realized I had my drone with me. From the safety of my air-conditioned vehicle I launched my drone over the beach and was treated to a mesmerizing view of bunker. My jaw hung wide open when I also spotted multiple stripers just under the surface and hunting on the edges of the school, with some on the beach lip casting shadows on the sand. Every now and then a halo would form around a striper that made its way into the heart of the school. You can check out the full video here.

Stripers pinning a school of bunker to the beach. (@outie_fishing)

This got me pumped. The next morning, I launched my kayak early around 5:00AM. It was one of those glassy calm days that a kayak angler prays for. The water was flat and shimmering under the sun, and it was just me and the clam boats out that morning.

Two clam boats in the distance during that glass-calm morning on the North shore. (@outie_fishing)

However, there wasn’t a bunker in sight. The only constant from my last outing was that the stripers were again visibly breaking from the glassy water one or two at a time. Whatever they were eating was not visible on the surface.

I was able to land a 28-inch striper on my first cast, placed directly into the spot a fish had boiled up from. My second cast resulted in a schoolie, then another schoolie with a few casts between, and finally a slot after a dozen casts more. The bite then seemed to shut down, and no fish had risen for a while. So I moved a short distance out and worked a popper over some ripping current. A gator bluefish decided to play ball and I got treated to a nice blow up and drag-screaming fight to break up the silence of that calm, windless morning. I called it after that fish, as it was getting close to 8:00 A.M. I witnessed another striper rise on the way in and decided to cast an epoxy jig right at it. Nothing, but I did glimpse some of the bait they were on – baby sand eels, leaping from the surface away from my jig as I reeled it back in. I fast-trolled the jig on the way back to shore and turned up with nothing as well, which surprised me a bit, as I’d gone right through where the fish were that morning, but perhaps their feeding window had passed. 

What to Expect This Week

The wind forecast ranges from a light breeze to windless from now through the weekend. Tides on the North shore favor the before and after-work angler, with plenty of time to fish the outgoing in the morning before 9. High tide should reach its peak around 5:00 P.M. giving you that same window, but in the afternoon. On the South shore, it’s the opposite – you’ll have most of the incoming tide to fish before and after work. It may be worth venturing out on your lunch break to take a dozen casts into the outgoing tide which should be ripping around noon. The South shore will be windier (it always is) but not by much. It should still be a light breeze at most, if the forecast holds.  

Epoxy jigs, teasers, slim soft plastics, and flies are likely your best bet if the stripers are still keyed in on small bait. If you see bunker schools, and you have circle hooks on you, few lures will beat a live-lined bunker in most situations. Likewise, live eels should be very effective especially if you’re searching for a personal best. Live-lining has never been my cup of tea, but you can’t argue with the results; I got my personal best last year on a live-lined bunker, one of only a dozen times I’ve ever committed to the tactic.  

Good luck and tight lines! Thanks for reading.  

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