Western Long Island and NYC Fishing Report- September 7, 2023

Spanish mackerel chase bait around south shore inlets, local reefs see improved fluke fishing and the north shore is loaded with cocktail bluefish on bay anchovies.

Western Long Island and NYC Fishing Report

  • False albacore reach the South Shore inlets. 
  • Schools of bonito offshore with Spanish mackerel and bluefish mixed in, periodically crashing the surf and inlets. 
  • Consistent sea bass and fluke bite outside the inlets. 
  • Bridge stripers taking live baits and blitzing on small baits in short windows. 
  • Steady bluefish action on the North shore, with some gators but mostly cocktails blitzing on bay anchovies. 
  • More sheepshead, cobia, black drum, and triggerfish are still being caught among other ‘exotic’ fish on the South Shore.

Paul Mccain from River Bay Outfitters in Baldwin said: 

“It’s brutal out there. I did get out and caught a few short fluke. The bluefish were fired up as usual but it was mostly cocktail blues and spotty blitzes.  

While snapper fishing with my wife, we managed to catch a Spanish mackerel, way in the back of the bay, where its practically brackish water, some juvenile jack crevalle, and even a diaper striper at 6 to 7 inches! The peanut bunker schools are massive and flooding the bays right now.  

Freshwater has been very tough with the heat and I don’t recommend chasing any trout while this heatwave is ongoing. The weekend should cool things down.”  

Petey Trovato from Lindenhurst Bait and Tackle reports: 

“The beach bite has been hit or miss, with a few people reporting stripers out of the surf but mostly bluefish and bonito. Fluke are still around in good numbers and there are still plenty of keepers to be found off the points and in the lips by jigging bucktails and Gulp. Bluefish have been insane lately, blitzing on peanuts and other small bait frequently and in tight to shore.” 

John from Freeport Bait and Tackle reports: 

“We’re still seeing cobia inside the bays. Bay fluking has been steady but more keepers are being reported out front from the reefs. At the bridges, stripers have started to bite more frequently, particularly at night on live eels and bunker. Things should really pick up after this weekend when temperatures come back down.” 

Captain Josh of Gypsea Charters in Brooklyn reports:

“Fluking has been up and down this past week with some days better than others. The fish are definitely on the move as we have been targeting them in much deeper water. Now is the time when you have a chance to catch the fish of a lifetime. Tracy Boshart took this week’s honors with an 8-pound, 5-ounce flattie. Call or text (516)659-3814 for info and reservations, which are required.”

The Gypsea is putting their customers on quality fluke by bouncing around to move with the fish and find the best concentration of keepers. (@gypseacharters)

Captain Adrian of Rockfish Charters in Queens reports:

“We’re in full-on tuna mode on the Rockfish right now. Mostly jigging and live-lining for yellowfin way offshore, then putting a beating on the mahi on the way home. The inshore bluefin tunas have finally shown up in numbers and we’re starting to run inshore trips for them. We’re also still doing one or two Manhattan bass trips a week, which are a nice change of pace and not weather dependent. Give us a call at (347)661-4501 to book a trip!”

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


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A post shared by Dan M (@fishing_accomplished)

Dan M. of @fishing_accomplished closing out his summer break with an impressive northern kingfish.


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A post shared by Brian (@bsprex)

Brian Spreckles @bsprex found a consistent fluke bite on the North Shore over Labor Day weekend.  

Karen Ann Charters @karenannchartersny putting a customer on a J-bay striped bass. 

Summer ain’t over yet. While the heat’s been hot, the water has been flat and ocean fishing has been a breeze for those without sea legs. On Tuesday the Captree fleet sailed out of the inlets for bottom-fishing trips on the reefs and did very well. Some anglers capitalized on schools of bonito that were harassing bait around fish traps and brought home pelagic meat to complement their fluke, sea bass, and porgy filets. 

Labor Day weekend was prime fishing weather and, appropriately, most capitalized on the opportune conditions to get out and do some fishing. Jetty anglers were treated to bonito, Spanish mackerel, and what seemed like an endless amount of bluefish blitzing on bait. Those jigging for fluke found success using bucktails and Gulp, small soft plastics like paddletail shads and jerk shads, and high-low rigs tipped with spearing, squid, and fluke, bluefish, or sea robin strips. 

Last week and over Labor Day weekend, reports came in that indicated a rise in striper feeds, especially on bridges and rocky points. One buddy of mine told me they saw schoolies blitzing at sunset only a few hundred feet off of a North shore beach, but had trouble getting them to bite anything other than epoxy jigs worked slowly under the school. He came back the next day at the same time and managed to catch a schoolie with a clouser minnow on his 9wt fly rod. Another kayak fishing buddy of mine had success jigging soft plastics under a bridge to land a slot striper. Since the heatwave started its been a comparably quieter week.

What to Expect

We still have a couple of days left of high heat, but it looks like starting Monday next week we’ll be back to comfortable mornings and nights in the 60’s which should start putting gas on the fall run. For weeks now, bait has been stacked heavy just about everywhere from bays, to inlets, to the surf, but blitzes have been irregular and spotty, with some days being pure chaos and others flat and calm. At times you might chase birds only to find there’s nothing on the bait other than the birds themselves. Other days, the blitzes seem to be a mile wide and non-stop. 

If you have a boat, take advantage of the calm seas while you can and hit the reefs for sea bass, porgy, and fluke. Bring a medium-light set up with spoons or epoxy jigs to cast at blitzing bonito, Spanish mackerel, and bluefish. Absolutely keep your eyes peeled for albies. One was caught recently by Jones Beach on a Rapala X-Rap, and while it seemed to be the only one caught that day, its only a matter of time before they show up in large numbers and you won’t have to sit around waiting long for a shot at catching one. Consistency is key however and your best bet at being in the right place at the right time when the albies show up. In other words – the best time to fish is when you’re able to fish.  

Inside the inlets and back bays, cast out sinker rigs with bait for whatever bites – Paul McCain’s report this week is proof you never know what may be in the water, from banded rudderfish to juvenile jacks. If you’re really interested in catching exotic fish species, tie on a sabiki rig on a medium to light rod and cast around docks and shallow back bays. If you’re fluking from shore, slowly work bucktails and Gulp or soft plastic paddletails over ledges and beach lips. The versatility of the bucktail and the paddle-tail shad cannot be overstated. Paddletails over 4-inches long have a place in my tackle box when I want to cull the smaller fish and focus on catching a keeper sized fluke. 

There’s been a terrific bluefish bite in the Sound that shows no signs of stopping. Big blues have been known to jump clear out of the water while chasing schools of bay anchovies or ‘rain bait’ and making violent splashes. These blitzes are highly irregular, though, and can take place either early morning, mid-afternoon, or sunset and after dark. Trolling plugs and tubes around can yield a surprise gator or two in deeper water.  

So there you go, albies are here and the fever will soon be widespread. Tune your ears to the sound of birds swooping on bait and the chaos of fish boiling up on the surface. It’s about to get wild.  

Thanks for reading, and tight lines. 

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