Eastern Long Island Fishing Report- July 20, 2023

Stripers and blues enjoy cinder worms on the north shore, gator blues and sharks patrol south shore bunker schools, and bottom fishing is good for fluke, sea bass, triggerfish and more.

Eastern Long Island Fishing Report

  • Great bottom fishing. Kingfish, blowfish, fluke, sea bass, etc.
  • Good surf striper bite around the new moon.
  • Big bluefish patrolling both the south and north forks.
  • Sharks galore!

The Fishfinder of Captree reports: 

“Fluke trips lately have seen plenty of action throughout the entire trip. We sailed outside the reef today and saw keepers and shorts, plus sea bass, scup, and a nice codfish for Carl. John picked a pool winner the day before that weighed six pounds. Pool winners earlier in the week were 4 to 7 pounds, with good numbers coming over the rail. On Saturday, we ran a night trip for bass and bluefish. We caught slot-size and short stripers, and a good amount of blues to 7 pounds. We’ll be targeting fluke every night until further notice, from 5 to 9 p.m.”

The Fishfinder is finding quality fluke from 4 to 7 pounds this week.

Bill at Chasing Tails Bait and Tackle in Oakdale reports:

“Fluke action is just as hot as the weather! The bays are loaded with fluke, and the inlets are holding some mondos. Nearshore reefs and wrecks are loaded up too. Big flatties are smacking bucktails and drinking lots of Gulp! juice. Shop rigs tipped with either Gulp!, Fishbites, or a squid and spearing combo are putting in work as well. Sea Bass are loaded up on the outside wrecks and reefs as well. Big knuckleheads are just as common as a full cooler. Drop down a big bucktail, epoxy jig, or slow pitch jig, and you’ll have non-stop action. Sea Bass also love a rig loaded up with clam or squid. Some bluefish are still lurking in the local inlets, crashing through bait schools and swallowing poppers whole. At the local docks, inlets, canals, and jetties, kids and kids at heart are loving the resurgence of blowfish and kingfish. A couple small hooks and some clams are all you need for a fun fishing outing with lots of consistent action. 

Steamy summer days mean one thing: topwater bass action! Bass are blowing up surface  lures all morning and evening. Frogs, poppers, and walking baits are getting hit hard by aggressive bass. Pickerel are out on the prowl and love a good top water lure as well. Once it starts to get too hot outside, and the fish go down deeper, go slow and low with your presentation. Jigs and senkos will get their attention. Panfish are schooled up tight, and eating every worm that crosses their path. A simple worm and bobber rig will have you on fish all day. If you like lures more, Trout Magnets and small in-line spinners are must-haves! Trout action is real slow unless you’re hitting an early morning or late night hatch. Water is down low in the park, and very warm.”


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

“We’ve been targeting an awesome cinder worm hatch the past few days. The stripers and blues have been feeding heavily upon them, and we’ve been using fly and light tackle to target that bite specifically. The fishing has been awesome this season!” Check out Dave’s website to book him for a charter at www.northislandfly.com.

Captain Stu Paterson of Northport Charters reports: 

“It was another great week of fishing camp and private charters! Lots of rod bending action kept our anglers busy throughout the week. We found some beautiful keeper fluke outside in the Sound, and big two pound porgies. On Tuesday, we nailed 5 keeper weakfish on one drift inside the bay. Those weaks were up to six pounds. There’s a lot of life in the Sound and Northport Bay now! We’ve got stripers in the mix and some big, aggressive gator bluefish to 14+ pounds.” Call/text Stu at 631-707-3266 or check out Stu’s website to book a trip: northportcharters.com.

Fishing camp is going great for Northport Charters, who are still finding quality weakfish close to home on the Long Island Sound.

The Celtic Quest Fishing Fleet of Port Jefferson reports: 

“Porgytown USA continues to live up to the hype. The bite was consistent this week, and scup filled lots of boxes. We picked an over-slot striper yesterday that went back to fight another day. Pufferfish were coming up, as well as some nice sea bass. Come get some while the getting’s good!” Call them at 631-928-3926 for booking info, or check the website/Facebook for more info.

The Peconic Star of Greenport reports:

“We fished Block Island Sound the other day for a nice mix of mostly large scup. The final drop of the day topped everyone’s bucket off with a bunch of sea bass limits all around the boat. The sea bass were nice fish, up to three pounds. We picked a bunch of mackerel as well. Weakfish and fluke were biting earlier in the week. Anglers have been putting good mixed bags together throughout the week. We’re running full day trips daily, from 7:30-3. The weekends have half-day options, from 7:30-12:30, targeting a mixed bag. For booking info, call Captain Paul.”

Rosie Fishing of Moriches Bay reports:

“The week began with some solid fishing. There was good numbers of short fluke, and lots of anglers were taking home a limit of fish to about 5.5 pounds. As the week progressed, the bite seemed to improve. Two days ago, we had anglers catch over 30 fish per person, with multiple limits to 6.4 pounds. Yesterday was on par, with over 60 keepers hitting the deck to 6.2 pounds; the bite was on fire in the bay. We pulled some chunky fluke over the rail this morning, continuing the mayhem. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for sailing times and reports. Give us a call for booking info.”

The Shinnecock Star in Hampton Bays reports:

“The fluke bite has been great! Gregg picked the pool on Tuesday using a homemade green bucktail teaser. His fish went 5.5 pounds. On Monday we had fish to six pounds. We’re spending most trips in the bay. Light tackle fishing has been a deadly approach. Jimmy had our first double-header of keeper fluke we’ve seen this season, from 7 feet of water.” 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:

“We’ve been real busy on our half day fishing charters in the bay. When conditions allow, we run to the reef; we’ve been finding some good sea bass and scup out there. The weather this week is looking prime, so give us a shout! Text Capt. James for reservations. We’re sailing 6am-2pm.”

A nice triggerfish that hit the deck for the young angler aboard the Hampton Lady.

Chris Albronda from Montauk reports:

“It was a tough week on the striper front off Montauk. To the east, the striper bite is on fire; gotta make sure you have your Rhode Island fishing permits in order though! It’s worth it; the fishing is crazy over there. The bluefish in Montauk are equally crazy. We have a variety of sizes to pick at. Captain Jaime on the Miss Montauk had some excellent reports and says the fluke fishing has gotten really good when conditions are right. Black sea bass have been tough to come by as far as keepers are concerned. Offshore, the tuna fishery has been awesome. Yellowfin, bluefin and bigeyes are hitting the dock.” Shoot Chris a text at 631-830-3881 to book a trip. He has availability for the remainder of the month.

Montauk’s Viking Fleet reports:

“The fishing over the weekend was off and on. Some trips had excellent fishing, and some were tougher. Saturday was mostly great! The fluking has improved greatly, and the sea bass have been big and plentiful. Scup fishing was fantastic during the day, especially at the lighthouse. Hugo Mendez took the first place pool with a 3 pound porgy, and Pedro Mendez won the edible pool with an 11 pound bluefish. Kenny Hang took the pool in the AM with a 3.8 pound sea bass. The day prior, we had a nice mixed bag of scup, sea bass, mackerel and trigger fish.” Call the office to book or book online.

Bill Wetzel of the Surf Rats Ball reports:

“Bill got out two nights ago in Montauk. He and Brian fished the south side for one hit. They headed west and managed a couple bass to legal size on needlefish and SP minnows. Later on, they moved to the north side, where Brian lost a decent fish. Bill says now is the time to target large stripers.” Subscribe today at www.longislandsurffishing.com.

Eastern Long Island Fishing Forecast

Quick note before we start. New York State is attempting to outlaw a variety of surfcasting methods. They’re saying the only acceptable method of surfcasting is standing on the beach and casting into the water. That means you would not be able to deliver bait or lures via drone, kite, surf/paddle board, etc. If you are doing anything other than casting from shore with your feet on the ground, then you are breaking the law. The proposal states that an angler cannot even swim a bait out; this vague verbiage could potentially illegalize skishing. Handlining will also be made illegal by this proposal.

Seeing as some folks who love surf fishing are physically incapable of casting, I find this proposal to be discriminatory. Imagine a soldier gets wounded overseas, and can no longer raise his arms over his head, preventing him from casting a bait. The state is telling this warrior that his disability disqualifies him from participating in surf fishing. 

These proposed laws are attempting to cut down on the shore-based shark fishery.

There is a public comment period for this topic, open until August 7th. I hardly participate in this fishery, but the proposed rule changes are unfair to folks who can’t afford a boat (or don’t want to go on one); the new rules will also restrict a much wider demographic than just shark anglers. Surf anglers already bear the brunt of discriminatory policies. If a surfcaster should find a tuna on the end of his line, and the angler wins the battle, he cannot harvest that fish. The angler must release the tuna (most likely to be eaten by sharks)… all because he can’t afford a boat. Harvesting that once-in-a-lifetime catch would be a federal crime.

I encourage all of my readers to submit a public comment. I will keep reminding you until the closing date. Thank you. Here’s the link: https://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/fish_marine_pdf/dmrrulesmfterms.pdf

I am on cloud 9 right now. The wildlife show I witnessed this morning was second to none. The footage I’m about to put out will be ridiculous, so keep an eye out at @SouthForkSalt. 

These aren’t the biggest bunker schools I’ve seen, but they are very large, especially compared to anything else I’ve seen this summer. The fish were right on the beach this morning, under a glassy surface. With blue skies, I could see everything. I’ve been watching dozens of spinner sharks and dolphins, a humpback whale, gator bluefish, ospreys, a bald eagle and lots of cormorants working the schools. 

An aerial view of the bunker schools swimming just off the beach this morning. (@southforksalt)

I feel like I can’t convey just how awesome it was to see this. I was grinning ear to ear. I was going to write “give me a great day of filming over a great day of fishing,” but that just isn’t true. Give me both! When I caught my PB striper on the fly last week, I had the same uncontrollable grin on my face. The stoke that the ocean can deliver is practically unparalleled; it is akin to being in love. Maybe that’s just me, but I’m sure it isn’t. You guys and gals love fishing too, and I’m sure ANYBODY can [and probably will] become overtaken by euphoria when watching a humpback whale lunge feed 50 feet from dry sand. 

I know I’ve been freaking out about the absent bunker. I believe I shared my findings last week from a survey I conducted. Quick review: there was hardly any bunker all along the mid-Atlantic and Northeast coast. Most sightings were miles offshore, but some small schools were holding strong at a few select beaches. My beach was not one of them. Today, it was. I hope it will be tomorrow, and for the rest of the summer. This could be the late arrival to which I gave the benefit of the doubt. I have my fingers crossed.

The fishing potential that comes with this influx of bunker is limitless. With the especially hot waters in the US this year, I reckon we could be seeing more “exotic” species than ever. Tarpon are a usual suspect, but in very small numbers. I’m expecting to hear about more of them this year. I know black drum were getting caught to the west pretty good not too long ago. The cobia bite seems to be occurring once again; I’m hoping that they push a bit farther east this summer, and some of us east enders get a real shot at catching one or two. I know my dude Jerry from @FishYourWay just caught a cobia from shore for the second year in a row. He had a great youtube video of the catch. Send ‘em our way bud!

With the nicer weather and calmer water, expect the surf bite to ignite. It was real tough before this new moon, and the difficulty was pretty long-lasting. You had to fish the early morning, late evening or night bite to really get on them. I don’t know if that was a warm water issue or what, but it was so hard to buy a bite midday. I’m kind of expecting that midday bite to ignite, which is awesome. When the sun is high, sight fishing becomes a possibility, and there isn’t a much more exhilarating way to fish than seeing your target and deliberately catching a specific fish.

Keep an eye out for that dark water on the ocean, and cast poppers at it. There are some very large bluefish swimming by the beaches. Find the stripers up front, for the most part. Hickory shad are a mainstay at this point, and they can be very fun on lighter tackle. Fish a skinny bait like an epoxy jig on the surface to catch them; or, even better, whip out a 6-8 weight fly rod with a surf candy and let it swing in the sweep. Those little shad can be a blast on lighter tackle. They pull hard if you’re not overpowering them, and jump like tarpon!

Head to the rocks for a chance at catching some triggerfish. They are delicious, although quite hard to clean. Their scales are like actual armor. I’m expecting the open beach fluke bite to really kick into high gear now. Feels like it’s about time. I’ve caught very few this year, and it feels strange to me. Thing is, a lot of aspects of this year’s fishing feel strange. We could be just getting into the swing of things now… I hope we are. If so, we’ve got some phenomenal fishing ahead. Take advantage! The landscape is changing annually. The possibility of catching something totally irregular has never been more likely. We seem to be on the leading edge of a transforming ocean, and the catches that will occur as a result will be etched into our memories forever. Be the one that makes the crazy catch!

Enjoy yourself, and catch ‘em up.

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