Eastern Long Island Fishing Report- September 14, 2023

Gator blues linger on the north shore, hardtails are in from east end to west end, and good fluke fishing continues prior to the storm swell.

Eastern Long Island Fishing Report

  • Hardtail invasion all over the island: bonito, albies, Spanish/chub/Atlantic/frigate mackerel, even skipjack tuna.
  • Big bass in Montauk. Big blues on the north shore.
  • Awesome fluking this past week.
  • Good-sized bottom fish coming over the rail.

The Captree Pride reports:

“Our tuna trip will depart on Sunday night at 8pm and return Monday at 8pm. We’re running the same trip the following week. This week we got into a great albie and bonito bite. Lots of anglers caught tasty, toothy bonito. We did some good fishing in the ocean early this week, picking a bunch of sea bass, fluke and bonito. Over the weekend, Chris caught 21 fluke, two keepers, two big sea bass and a large ling. The fluke bite was pretty amazing going into the weekend. One trip produced over 300 ocean fluke to 5 pounds.”

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

“There has been a good Spanish mackerel bite cooking for about 2 weeks now. The albies have been in since this past weekend. The bass bite has been okay on peanut bunker, but the blues have been everywhere.” Check out Dave’s website to book him for a charter at www.northislandfly.com.

Albies joined the Spanish mackerel that North Island Fly has been targeting for the past two weeks. (@northislandfly)

The Celtic Quest Fishing Fleet of Port Jefferson reports: 

“We’ve been picking large specimens of a variety of species. Big weakfish and sea bass have been coming up consistently all week. Plentiful porgies have kept our rods bent as well. We’ve seen some very large gator bluefish , with some cocktails in the mix as well.” Call them or check the website/Facebook for more info.

The north shore continues to see quality weakfish caught during one of the more memorable weakfish runs in recent years.

The Peconic Star 3 of Greenport reports:

“Tuesday’s trip was pretty awesome, and skilled anglers were able to put together a very nice catch. The high hooks ended up catching 30 to 50 fish each. We had sea bass, porgies and bluefish making up the bulk of the catch, and a giant sea bass ended up taking the pool. We saw dolphins, harbor seals, little tunny and bald eagles out there.

The day prior, the weather was awesome, despite the weatherman’s forecast. The porgy fishing started off red hot with jumbos to three pounds. Sea bass to three pounds were also coming over the rail.  The big scup were biting for us pretty regularly throughout the week. We ran into a lot of short sea bass, and had to pick through a lot of them to cull a limit of keepers. We came across some bonito, some cocktail bluefish, a few striped bass and pufferfish, chub mackerel and gator blues.

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.”

Bill at Chasing Tails Bait and Tackle in Oakdale reports:

“Hardtails are in! Albie fever has hit as these pelagics rip by our shores. Spanish Mackerel, Bonito, Chub Mackerel, and False Albacore have started showing up. Epoxy jigs and Deadly Dicks are your best bet, chuck it out far and crank it in fast! Cocktail bluefish are all over the place too, every inlet, canal, and river is loaded with cocktails and snappers. They are crushing spoons, diamond jigs, epoxy jigs, and popping plugs. Fluke reports are consistent this week, with plenty of action under the bridge, in the inlet, and in the ocean. Bucktails or a jighead with a plastic artificial put up numbers! Fat Cow shads and Gulp grubs are a local favorite. Shop rigs tipped with the tried-and-true squid and spearing combo will always put fish in the boat too. Sea Bass action on the outside reefs and wrecks is going well. Clam on a hi-lo rig will always produce, or you can jig ’em up with a big bucktail, diamond jig, or epoxy jig. Stripers and some bigger bluefish have been popping up here and there already. Right now, it’s all about being at the right place at the right time. This passing hurricane should push fish in for us.

Bass and pickerel fishing is going great right now. They are eagerly taking down lures while they’re out for the hunt in the morning and evening hours. Topwater lures like frogs, poppers, and walking baits are getting demolished by hungry fish. Swimbaits and inline spinners also work wonders. Senkos and jigs are doing their job during the warmer hours. Drag and drop all over the lake, look for structure like weed lines and logs. If you’re looking for fun and easy fishing, panfish like sunfish and perch are always enjoying a classic worm and bobber rig. Try a small inline spinner or soft plastic jig if you’d rather use lures. Trout are very active, rising every morning and evening. They are taking all sorts of dry fly presentations. Hang a nymph under a dry or a bobber when they go down to rest for the afternoon.”

Nick from Haskell’s Bait and Tackle in East Quogue reports:

“Shinnecock Bay has lit up with lots of great fluke action. Multiple boats have reported  return trips laden with limits. Incoming tide in the east cut and the inlet is your best bet. Bluefish have picked up again, with lots of snapper and cocktail sized blues munching on all the different baits in the bay. Albies showed up in great schools the last week, and amber-colored epoxy jigs have been their favorite jig to eat. Small bonito and frigate mackerel have been in the mix. Weakfish are in the surf along with fluke. There’s still not much on the bass side, except for the vicinity of the bridge; skimmer clams and chum is getting them to bite.”

The Shinnecock Star in Hampton Bays reports:

“We tucked the boat away to ride out this storm in safe water. We’ll be back sailing once Oaklands Marina gives us the go-ahead. It’s been a wild bite leading up to this. One of those weeks where we spend so much time catching and cleaning fish that it’s tough to keep up with the reports. Tuesday was incredible. The conditions were perfect, and we pulled 30+ keeper fluke over the rail. Charlene had three of them, and took the pool. A majority of the fish took a plain hook rigged with fluke ribbon and spearing. The skinny water bite has been ridiculous! We’ve been getting 25+ keepers on most trips. Cynthia took our pool last week with a six pounder.”

The Hampton Lady of Hampton Bays reports:

“We found a pile of fluke that have been biting their heads off this week. After a slow Saturday, the bite kicked into high gear on Sunday. The fish are filing out of the bay this time of year, and can be a blast on light tackle. We’re seeing lots of fluke come over the rail. Right before the weekend, we even had two double digit fluke get caught: a 10.2 and 10.6 pounder. The pool fish had been going over 6 pounds daily and a bunch in the 5-8 pound range. We’re sailing 6am-2pm.”

Chris Albronda from Montauk reports:

“It was another epic week of fishing in Montauk. The false albacore have showed up in a huge way; it’s undoubtedly the biggest showing of albies I’ve seen in my 33 years fishing Montauk. Mike Ozkaya (@LIFliesMike) is tying the flies I use to troll them up when the fish refuse to accept spinning lures. Mike ties the best flies in the biz.

Striper fishing is producing some slot bass on live bait, and even bigger fish on the troll and diamond jigs. Fluke and sea bass fishing has been phenomenal lately. Definitely hop aboard a head boat for a shot at your PB. The tuna fishing was as good as it gets, and it didn’t take a long ride to find them this week.” Shoot Chris a text at 631-830-3881 to book a trip. He’s available for offshore trips, and to privately captain your vessel on Sundays and Mondays.

Bill Wetzel of the Surf Rats Ball reports:

“During the night shift on Monday, Steven and I expected to find fish in tight on spearing, but only had a few taps and one dropped fish to show for it. 

Dave fished the outgoing on Saturday until midnight, but couldn’t buy a bite along the north side. Sunday’s trip was immediately better, when he caught 2 schoolies in the dark on a blurple SP minnow along the south side. As the light began to show, he tied on a popper and began picking a ton of fish over two hours. Most of them were right in the wash. Once the bite slowed a bit, he tied on a bucktail and rekindled the action for the next hour and a half. When it was over, he had about 25 fish to hand. Fish were in tight on Friday, feeding on spearing. Bill picked one rat and a bunch of low-mid teen fish off the rocks. Many of the fish hit the rear hook.

On Saturday, Austin and Jake joined me for the night shift. We caught two 12 pound fish in the first few hours, and then Jake’s chicken scratch SP minnow got hammered by a fish I estimated to be 37 pounds. We’re still in the summer patterns, so it’s not a slay fest, but there are some solid fish to be had. Subscribe today at www.longislandsurffishing.com.”

Join OTW in Falmouth, MA on Saturday, 9/23 for our annual StriperFest! Live music, free boat rides with Yamaha, hourly prizes and more! Click here for event details.

Eastern Long Island Fishing Forecast

That week was about as cool as it gets fishing-wise. I felt jipped, as there were very few stripers along my stretch of beach. Even the shark population seemed to dwindle. I figured that latter fact would increase my odds of catching my much-coveted cobia, but no such luck. So, I actually tried catching some bass. A couple night tides and a bunch of daytime fishing proved fruitless. Despite the diminished fish-catching potential, the wildlife viewing opportunities were just amazing. First off, we had a few minke whales in my area, which tend to only appear once or twice a year. I saw one minke three days this week, and on another day I’m quite sure I saw 3 or more of them. They were coming within 100 yards of the beach, working the bunker schools. I was getting skunked with a big smile on my face, watching this minke whale sprint through the schools.

Another skunking with the fly rod in the surf had me rethinking my approach to surf fishing. I feel like my 10-foot rod and VS 200 aren’t heavy enough for the potential that’s coming. These huge cobia that are becoming more prevalent, plus the bycaught sharks which inevitably come to hand, warrant something heavier. Plus, on two occasions this week, a bluefin tuna came within casting distance of the beach. One time, I had a fly rod in hand. I was working the surf with a clouser, hoping for a fluke or a striper. The bunker school 40 yards in front of me was at the edge of my casting range for my 7 foot rod rigged with a rubber shad; I could reach the school though. The outer edge of the school was about 30 feet farther, which would be an easy cast with a plug and my ten-footer. That’s where I saw the back of a bluefin tuna rise up and run through the bait ball. If I was throwing a popper at that time, it is possible I could’ve tied into this fish.

The following day, I came down to the beach after a long morning of fly casting for albies. They never came within fly-casting range, so I basically just practiced casting. At some point I bailed, figuring I’d work the rest of the day. When I got home, though, I walked to the beach with my drone and immediately saw a humpback whale slapping the water with its pectoral fins. This was the first humpback I’d seen in a week, so I launched the drone immediately. It’s always fun to get cool footage of them causing a ruckus. A distance swimmer I know was in the water right in front of me, and I flew right past him and his friend. They were headed right for a big bunker school, and I was headed for the whale. The whale wasn’t immediately visible, so I looked around a bit, and noticed a bunch of explosions near the swimmers. I ran the drone back quickly to see what was up, and realized there were dolphins surfing the swells from the outer bar all the way into the beach. The swimmers got freaked out and headed for the beach. I watched the dolphins for another few seconds before I noticed a shark headed towards the swimmers. A couple seconds later, the shark changed direction when a giant bluefin tuna swam out from underneath some cloudy water, headed for the deep. That tuna was probably a hundred yards from the beach, and 100 feet from the swimmers. I followed it around for a few minutes with the drone.

This bluefin tuna was cruising within casting range of the beach. (@southforksalt)

It nearly swam into another tuna that was headed for the shoreward. This new tuna was much larger, and moved way more slowly. I thought it might be less actively feeding, but when it encountered the bunker schools, it ran through them swiftly, intent on capturing a mouthful. Eventually it turned sharp towards shore. I figured it would get spooked by the shallow water, but this giant tuna literally came within 40 to 50 feet of the beach. Here was tuna number two this week that I could’ve reached while surfcasting. I’m certain these huge fish would spool my VS200 in mere moments. So I’m thinking I might need a bigger setup to handle something huge, should I ever be afforded that opportunity.

So, despite the lack of fish for me, I’m stoked on how this week went. I did a lot of fly casting for both stripers and albies, with only one hardtail to show for my effort… and that one came on spin gear. But man, that felt good. Those albies pull hardddd. I always forget just how hard, but this one put a nice burn in my biceps. Next step is one on the fly rod, which will probably take a lot of time on the rocks, cooperation from the fish, and just plain luck. Gotta put the time in.

My buddy EJ pulled in this albie from the rocks this week.

The Montauk albie run has been described as the best in a long time. I feel like everyone who’s been going for them has been catching them. If you’re on a boat, you’re going to have a good time; bring the fly gear. It seems like it has been slowing down a bit as the swell’s been increasing… at least for the shorebound. 

Steve Bechard with a nice Montauk-caught albie on the fly.

I feel like the storm surge could potentially flush a ton of bait out of the bay, and the fishing could explode. We’re going to have some chilly nights as well, which could hasten the baits’ egress. The water will eventually become dirty, and the albies won’t be biting as much. It may stay clean with this north wind though, so we might have a few more days where potential is high, even when the wind is ripping. I’m going to be keeping my ear to the ground, and hopefully get some more while the getting is good. There could very well be a hiatus or a change in the consistency of the hardtail bite once this hurricane passes. 

I reckon the mullet will really start running soon. I think they’ll serve to ignite the bite in my area. They definitely did that last year. Maybe these cold nights, big swells and big moon tides will encourage them to move. It’ll be tough to decide between jetty albies and surf stripers, but at least the opportunity will be there… I hope. I’m feeling good about this next week of fishing.

Go catch ‘em up.

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