Western Long Island and NYC Fishing Report- September 14, 2023

Mahi are abundant just off of the south shore, albies arrive in the Long Island Sound and Spanish mackerel and bonito charge south shore inlets.

Mahi, lesser amberjacks and much more are abundant around in the waters just south of western Long Island. Here, OTW’s Assistant Editor, Matt Haeffner, holds a decent mahi that ate a 1-ounce Fat Cow epoxy jig.

Western Long Island and NYC Fishing Report

  • Spanish mackerel, and bonito continue to crash the inlets and beaches, with albies making spotty appearances across the South shore.  
  • Mahi-mahi from shore! Alongside a terrific mahi bite offshore, ‘chicken’ class mahi make an appearance at inlets. 
  • Consistent tuna bite on chunk and live baits for offshore crews. 
  • Blitzing bluefish provide light-tackle fun anywhere you can find bait, from jetties to back-bays.  

John from Freeport Bait and Tackle reports: 

“Ocean fluking has been and continues to be great. The reefs are producing keeper fluke and sea bass consistently, and bonito have been crashing the party at times as well as bluefish and the occasional false albacore. Chub mackerel have been around as well and you can catch the mid-water column by jigging. Some bass have been reported by the bridges, but mostly bluefish. 

The most noteworthy catch reported recently has been a cobia caught off Guy Lombardo pier on a peanut bunker. Pretty unusual and another awesome example of how prevalent cobia are now, with more getting caught from shore!” 

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

“Joe Baggs resin jigs have beeen flying off the shelves – pelagics are everywhere! Bonito and spanish mackerel have been all over the inlets and reefs, with plenty of bluefish from cocktails to gators mixed in.

Offshore, the yellowfin chunk bait has been great, and there are plenty of opportunities to jig and pop for them. Mahi have been everywhere too, and any floating structure is pretty much certain to have mahi on it for the taking.” 

Jamie from Bay Park Fishing Station said: 

“The tuna bite is on! Bluefin are being caught around Ambrose channel mostly on live bait. Some have been caught trolling as well. Rich Noop had one in the 100 pound class at broadcast on a small spreader bar.

Doormat fluke have been biting on live-lined peanut bunker in the back bays. Some customers have reported its been the best fluke bite all summer this week. Bucktail and gulp have been catching keepers too. 

Cocktail blues are on the peanut bunker as well, making back bay light tackle fishing the thing to do if you want fast action! Bring the kids and some topwater plugs and catch em up!” 

Paul McCain from River Bay Outfitters in Baldwin said: 

“Monday I went out to the inlet and saw a guy catch his first false albacore from the rocks. I managed to catch a few blues but no other pelagics. Bonito made an appearance for a bit but only a few anglers managed to get them. It seems just like the albies, they come in short periods and quickly move further out of casting range.

On the Connetquot, I took out a gentleman fly fishing for the first time yesterday and he got on a nice 18-19 inch trout, but the 6x tippet snapped before we could land him. It was probably a rainbow and it ate a dry fly which is a bonus. The cool weather over the next few days will be a blessing for all types of fishing.” 

Petey Trovato from Lindenhurst Bait and Tackle reports: 

“There’s been a lot of keepers and doormats in the bays, your best-bet is to live line peanut bunker if you have the means. Otherwise bucktail and gulp or a bucktail tipped with squid and spearing is effective too. Albies have been popping up at the inlets but its rare right now. Spanish mackerel and bonito are more frequent and bluefish are there all the time, it just depends if they’re gator-sized or cocktail-sized. This storm will mess things up for a bit but hopefully fishing will stay consistent once it blows by.” 

Captain Adrian Moeller of Rockfish Charters in Queens reports:

“The yellowfin tuna fishing has been red hot offshore and the bluefin tuna bite nearshore has been hit or miss depending on the day. This week we’ve been targeting yellowfin with our bass charter clients that want to try their hand at tuna fishing. It’s a steep learning curve, but we love teaching newcomers, and they’re definitely loving the pull of a big yellowfin vs the stripers they’re accustomed to catching with us. We bring lots of peanut bunker, get them going in our slick, then target them with jigs, bait and poppers. On the way home, we fill the box with an encore of mahi-mahi. We should have a solid month of this quality fishing left, then slide right into fall run bass fishing! Call (347)661-4501 to book a trip.”


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Captain Josh Rogers of Gypsea Charters in Brooklyn reports:

“Fluke fishing continues to remain excellent over the past week. The fish have ben hungry and aggressive, fattening up before they move out to deeper water. Despite the upcoming storm, we anticipate good catches as these fish filter out of the bays for the deep. We will continue fluking for as long as they are around before we switch over to stripers and tog as we gear up for the fall run. Call or text (516)659-3814 for reservations, which are required.”

Jamaal H. Jr. hoists a solid stringer of keeper fluke from a recent trip on the Gypsea. (@gypseacharters / @08laamaj)

Here’s what anglers have been posting on social media:

@nikki_stripes with a mahi from the rocks!


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A post shared by Nicole Gaines (@nikki_stripes)

@_raul_andres_ with a trio of pelagics from the surf on an epoxy jig. 


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A post shared by Raul Andres (@_raul_andres_)

@petey315691 from Lindy Bait and Tackle shared this picture of his father and his cousin with a nice bluefin tuna. 


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A post shared by Petey Trovato (@petey315691)

OTW’s @hefftyfishing with @rocksteadycharters on some NY mahi. Stay tuned for his piece coming soon. 

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.

Oh baby! This week has been all about the pelagics. While most albies are being caught out East, there have been a few catches reported from Jones Beach to Fire Island. Spanish mackerel and bonito are regularly being caught at the inlets, and bluefish are everywhere as usual. This is the most exciting time to fish and its nice and simple – just tie on a spoon, resin, or epoxy jig, cast out and work a steady retrieve. Bait schools hopping out of the water make it obvious where the fish are, and birds provide waypoints for boaters to hone-in on. At any given moment a feeding frenzy could form and get your adrenaline going and make for easy action. 

Outside the South Shore inlets, bunker schools are still active and being breached on by whales, sharks, and striped bass. Rays are still around in numbers and surf anglers casting chunks are still catching big specimens. On Saturday, dolphins came right up to Jones Inlet providing a spectacle for anglers targeting pelagics and fluke from the rocks. Myself and a few other anglers were able to hook into large bluefish, bonito, and the occasional spanish mackerel that day.  

On the North Shore, the bluefish have been going crazy for some time now, its only a matter of where and when the stripers will join in on the fun. I’ll be dedicating a day or two this week to some striper haunts that I haven’t touched since early July. One thing to note is that adult bunker pods have been somewhat non-existent since June. It’s concerning that, when you look back only a year ago, Hempstead Harbor was paved wit bunker from end-to-end, getting blitzed on by bluefish on the daily, and this year there is hardly any at all.  

The lack of adult bunker has made for an interesting bite with the recent bluefish blitzes. Bay anchovies have been very widespread along the North shore and bluefish have been blitzing on them the same way albies would. Just two weeks ago I caught a bluefish on a micro slow-pitch jig not much larger than my thumb. Perhaps the lack of adult bunker and abundance of peanuts and bay anchovies will make for a better jig bite with smaller, light-tackle offerings. We’ll just have to see. 

What to Expect

With this storm offshore, we’re looking at a pretty strong North wind up to 25 knots and big swells up to 9 feet starting tomorrow and peaking on Saturday. The bays won’t be much better and neither will the North shore. Sunday things lay down a bit and by Monday we’re back to normal. The West island won’t be getting it as bad as the East will. You might want to cast a chunk into that honey-hole cut of yours one more time before the storm rearranges the beach structure. My advice? Try the North shore or stay in the bays. The beach will likely be too sketchy to be worth fishing, but I know there are surfcasters who have different plans.  

Fluke are still around in good numbers and you shouldn’t have any trouble locating them with the traditional offerings of a bucktail and gulp, or jig and teaser combo worked from the beach, or drifted on a boat. The Captree fleet have been reporting a lot of keeper sea bass as well as bonito on their reef trips, though its likely they’ll be confined to the bays until the storm passes through. 

Pelagics are the star of the show right now. Spanish mackerel, bonito, bluefish, chub mackerel, even almaco jacks and lesser amberjacks are biting on simple epoxy jigs casted near bait and retrieved steadily. False albacore have already made random appearances at the inlets and offshore, but it’s been irregular and reports are spotty. Your best bet is to consistently get out there – albies can show up for a 30 minute window and be gone the rest of the day. You might even catch a mahi. Anything could happen! 

Thanks for reading, stay safe with the upcoming weather, and tight lines. 

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