Long Island and NYC Fishing Report- November 16, 2023

Insane striper blitzes continue along the entire south shore, and double-digit tautog are caught from Brooklyn to Orient.

Long Island and NYC Fishing Report

Western L.I. and NYC

The Western L.I./NYC Fishing Report is written and compiled by NYSDEC licensed kayak fishing guide, Nick Cancelliere (@li_kayak_fishing).

  • Bunker-palooza continues, with a huge belt of bunker sitting off the South shore getting blitzed on by bass, blues, and even tuna.  
  • Tuna rumors materialize into catches! 
  • The blackfish train keeps on togging. Reports coming in from anglers on both shores of easy limits in both shallow and deep water over structure.  
  • Albies still around on the South shore. 

Jamie from Bay Park Fishing Station reports:

“Bunker-palooza continues! The bass bite is red hot with most anglers using topwater plugs as of late. Large spooks, pencils, and little-neck poppers have been catching fish from shore and from boats while the bunker themselves have been getting ravaged by bass close-in. 

Blackfishing has stayed good over the past couple of weeks especially on wrecks. Whether its jigs or rigs, or crabs of all sizes, it seems the fish aren’t being picky and are still around in shallow water.

Bluefin have been busting periodically from the Bight to Jones Beach area, and several were caught and released this week on topwater! Bay park is still open 7 days a week for all your fall-run fishing needs!” 

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

“The bunker insanity continues with huge pods off the beaches still getting blitzed on. You don’t have to go far to find them and when you do, jigging flutter spoons, casting topwater, or live lining bunker will all get bit by big fish. This week the fish were even bigger with more over-slot fish being caught and released in addition to the slots.” 

Brandon Weitz of Causeway Bait and Tackle landed this big bass on topwater on Sunday after catching on live bunker and flutter spoons all morning. (Photo by Matt Haeffner)

Paul McCain from River Bay Outfitters in Baldwin said:

“Out in the surf, fly anglers are catching schoolie to slot size fish on clousers and big deceivers. With large bunker in the surf your best bet is to use the largest flies in your box. On the freshwater side, I’ve been guiding on the Connetquot and there’s a great dry fly bite when the hatches go off, but otherwise it’s been mostly a nymph bite and the trout are picky about what streamers they’ll hit. Of course, at the Connetquot its not a matter of if you’ll catch, but how many and on what types of flies.” 

Petey Trovato from Lindenhurst Bait and Tackle told me:

“Insane bite from the beach right now with bunker coming in close. Diamond jigs are still killing it but so are SP minnows, topwater, and bucktails. When you head out on the beach you might just see tuna blitzing on the pods further out, where the whales would be. Keep your eyes open for birds and nervous water, once you find ‘em you’ll be in it. The Fall run is the best time to fish for a reason!”

John from Freeport Bait and Tackle reports:

“It’s mostly been slot and overslot size striped bass on the bunker pods, plus tuna. The action has been crazy on the pods not far from shore and both surfcasters and boat anglers are getting in on it. Blackfishing is still great on the bridge pilings and in the reefs, but keepers are a bit more scarce. Just a regular jig and crab or rig and crab is all you need, the trick is finding where the keepers are hiding. There will always be dozens of shorts to weed through, so make sure you bring lots of crabs!” 

Captain Josh Rogers of Gypsea Charters in Brooklyn reports:

“Blackfishing has been exceptional this past week! Despite the strong current with the new moon, we saw plenty of action with quality keepers in the mix. Steve W. had the big fish of the week going just over 10 pounds, followed by a 9.5 pounder and plenty between 4 and 8 pounds. Many lucky anglers have also been able to witness incredible striper feeds on the way home in which we typically stop on for a little added fun. We’re blackfishing every day by reservation only, call or text (516)659-3814.”

Despite heavy currents from the recent new moon, anglers aboard the Gypsea found some double-digit tautog among the 4 and 8 pounders (like the one shown above) this week.

Captain Adrian Moeller of Rockfish Charters in Queens reports

Fishing on the Rockfish has been incredible all week. We’ve been out daily chasing slot fish and trophies depending on what our charters want to do. There’s more bass around than ever, we’re catching schoolies to jumbos on each trip, it’s a great sign for our fishery that we have such diverse year classes mixed together. On Wednesday we weighed (and quickly released) a 52-pound bass and caught dozens of fish from 10 to 30 pounds in the same area. We also hooked a huge Thresher shark right off the beach and have been seeing 100-inch bluefin tuna crashing the bunker pods mere feet from the boat. This is a fall run for the books! We have 2 days left this year, so go to rockfishcharters.com to book your trip.”


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


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This past weekend I took a little trip to my favorite winter haunt, the Connetquot River, for some fly fishing. Not quite as exciting as what’s been going on in the salt, but it was a nice change of pace and the Connetquot is certainly loaded with sizeable brook and rainbow trout right now. I had no issues finding fish, but getting them to bite on all but the tiniest nymph flies was another story.

Brook trout were taking dry flies during a hatch on the Connetquot River this week. (@li_kayak_fishing)

Eventually, a hatch did develop and I was able to get a couple of hits on a dry fly, which is my favorite way to fly fish. This week, I hit the back bays again, finding peanuts getting blitzed on by schoolies in the mornings as they have been over the past couple of weeks Over the weekend, I’ll be doing some party boat togging which I cant wait for. If you ask me, the best experience you can get on a party boat is on a blackfish trip.  

Western L.I. and NYC Fishing Forecast

North Shore

The peanut blitzes have wound down slightly. Its becoming more of a time-sensitive bite now, and that can also depend on your location. In a back bay, low-tide provides the bait with less places to hide and is when I’ve seen the craziest blitzes occur. The outgoing tide has always been my preferred tide for big fish especially in areas of current, but the incoming tide is my favorite when I’m fishing a back bay. Around high-tide fish generally are all over the place and staying on a bite can be trickier. The birds are still out, but the bait won’t always be moving or getting blitzed on. It’s more of a tactical, stealthy experience up on the North shore for this reason, vs. the insanity taking place on the South shore with the adult bunker pods stacked up off the beach. I found myself casting a small yo-zuri popper that I found snagged on a piling into the side of a sod bank and enticing a hit or two by schoolies that were attacking peanuts against it. Ultimately though, most of my success has come on paddletail soft plastics like Storm Wild-eye Shads and Z-man Herculez which I really prefer when there’s bluefish in the mix. 

Blackfish are still in shallow and are swarming jigs before they reach the bottom in some locations. Wrecks and rocky structure that has been producing since opening week continue to produce keepers and fast bites, but don’t be afraid to switch locations and try a different piece of structure. So far, it’s been a fantastic Fall blackfish season for both shore and boat anglers. 

South Shore

The bunker remain stacked up off the beach and the blitzes continue on the daily. The highlight of this week was the shore action. Churned up waves contained stripers and bunker which led to epic topwater action for surfcasters. Anglers working topwater plugs would find themselves snagging bunker at times when they were really thick. SP Minnows and darter-style lures are absolutely deadly right now and will land fat, well-fed fish of all sizes – there are still big overslot fish to be caught – as well as bluefish. The boat bite hasn’t really changed and a flutter spoon, live lined bunker, or topwater spook continue to be the primary choice for most. 

Blackfishing continues to be productive on the bridges and outside on the reefs with crabs on jigs and rigs. It’s a tough game targeting blackfish from shore, but its doable with a hook-and-sinker rig tipped with cut crab. After some success catching blackfish on artificial bait like Fish Bites I would recommend adding a strip of orange, clam-flavored Fish Bites beside your crab both to keep it on the hook, and as an attractant. I think the orange color works well to imitate the guts of a green crab, which I think the fish love most. I’ve often reeled in a spent crab that consists of just yellowish white-meat with no guts left. The benefits of the fish bites is that you can catch multiple fish with it, and it won’t tear off the hook nearly as easily, inviting that blackfish to devour your hook rather than nibble on it.

There are sporadic reports of albies still being caught, but they’ll be hard to find and far more finnicky. I would keep some albie snax on hand, but ultimately an albie blitz should be the cherry on top to a great day of fishing for stripers or other series. I wouldn’t dedicate a full trip to targeting them at this point but you still have a chance of running into them. If you really want to catch a hardtail – and have the means to do so legally – target these bluefin that have been coming in close to shore. It’s been insane seeing the action of these bluefin busting on the bunker pods in such shallow water. 

It’s going to be pretty warm today and Friday, and the weekend doesn’t look too bad either, save for a snotty Saturday. Regardless, you should be getting out every day you can because the action has been non-stop and fantastic for all the Fall-run species. The best time to fish is whenever you have time to! So get out there, and let me know how you do.  

Thanks for reading, and tight lines. 

The Western L.I./NYC Fishing Report is written and compiled by NYSDEC licensed kayak fishing guide, Nick Cancelliere (@li_kayak_fishing).

Eastern Long Island Fishing Report

The Eastern L.I. Fishing Report is written and compiled by OTW Field Editor, drone pilot and NYSDEC surf/fly fishing guide, Tim Regan (@southforksalt).

  • “Miles of stripers.” Blitz action occurring all along the south shore of Suffolk. Lots of shorts, with fish to 25 pounds in the surf. Boats are catching fish to 50+ pounds.
  • Insane giant bluefin tuna bite inshore, in view of the beach. Fish to 900 pounds.
  • Gator blues in the deep ocean water, and still present on the north shore of LI.
  • Double-digit tog off Orient and Montauk.

The Captree Pride reports:

“Today was the best fishing we’ve seen this year. One drift this morning resulted in 40 minutes of nonstop catching, all 28 inchers to 50 pounders. We limited out quickly, and had fun catching and releasing the rest of the day. Blitzes were quite common this week, with miles of bass working the surface. Our high hook, Steve, caught close to thirty stripers yesterday. Come on down to get in on this crazy action! Get your tickets at captreepride.com.”

The Captree Pride is putting their anglers on bass ranging from 28 inches to 50 pounds this week!

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

“I got out with a few other local guides to check out the inshore tuna bite we’ve been hearing about. We didn’t catch any, but we saw a lot of 200+ pound tuna completely airing out throughout the day; we had one follow our lure, but no luck. Nick, Nick and Will joined me earlier this week on the north shore, and we had an awesome striper session before battling some blackfish. Bass were blowing up on the popper, and even a buzz bait. The tog were chewing well, and we brought home four for the table. We even stuck a few albies while we were togging!” Check out Dave’s website to book him for a charter at northislandfly.com.

The Celtic Quest Fishing Fleet of Port Jefferson reports: 

“Mattituck has had some pretty steady fishing these past few days, although it hasn’t been easy. The tog are hit or miss, with some challenging bites and challenging conditions. Skilled anglers have been able to bring a good number of keepers over the rail. Sea bass fishing was solid two days ago, yet tougher on the other days this week. We were catching porgies this week, up until yesterday; we’re thinking they may have finally moved out of the area. Call them at 631-928-3926 for booking info, or check the website/Facebook for more info.”

Tautog and quality sea bass are coming over the rail in numbers for the Celtic Quest.

The Peconic Star 3 of Greenport reports:

“Water temps are now in the mix-up 50s, which is primetime for blackfish in our area. Yesterday’s bite was pretty wild; our high hook had 46 tog, keeping his limit in the 3 to 5-pound range. We finished the day with a full boat limit of tog to six pounds. A few days prior, we had a full boat limit to 7 pounds, and a ton of released fish. We also had some nice sea bass hit the deck. White crabs seemed to outperform green crabs. Monday’s trip was even better, with fish to 9 pounds, and over the weekend we saw similar results. Our special high roller tournament ‘blackfish Friday’ trip is scheduled for November 24.”

Tog are chewing well on the east end. Anglers aboard the Peconic Star have been catching limits of blackfish ranging from 3 to 7 pounds this week.

Brooklyn Girl in Orient reports:

“Sunday’s 25-angler trip was drop and stick, with some double digit fish hitting the deck. There were a lot of 4 to 6 pounders, several 7 to 9-pound-class fish, and two more double digit brutes at 11.2 and 12 pounds. Every angler did well, and Captain Marco dropped a line and quickly put the biggest tog of the season on the boat. It was an easy boat limit, with lots of jumbo sea bass and a cod in the mix. Blackfish season is just hitting its peak. We had four double-digit fish hit the deck over the weekend.” Contact Ken/Barbara for trip info.

Big, bruiser tog hit the deck on the Brooklyn Girl this week, including several double-digit fish among the 7 and 9-pounders.

Bill at Chasing Tails Bait and Tackle in Oakdale reports:

“Bass season is still going super strong. Lots of big fish are out in the ocean, getting caught all day every day. Big pods of bait and big pods of migrating stripers make for an amazing day on the water. Jigs, flutter spoons, bucktails, swim shads, glides and spooks are all getting absolutely hammered by giant fish. Bunker spoons and umbrella rigs are also putting in work for the trolling guys. In the bay, there are still big groups of peanut bunker roaming around, getting harassed by striped bass. Toss in a swim shad, spook, or glide bait for your best opportunity at a catch. Fly guys are cleaning up with peanut bunker imitations. Tog season is on fire too, lots of healthy tautog are out chilling on the local wrecks and reefs waiting for a tasty crab snack. The jig bite is super hot, and rigs are always doing a number.

Bill Falco of Chasing Tails Bait and Tackle in Oakdale jumped in on the insane striper action off the south shore this week. (@chasingtailsbait)

Freshwater fishing is on fire as the bass and pickerel get ready for the winter months. They are packing on the pounds and enjoying the sunshine while they can. Shallow diving crank baits, jerk baits, jigs, and Senkos are the go-to’s. Bluegill and perch are schooled up and munching hard on worm and bobber rigs, or small jigs and in-line spinners. Trout action will be best later on in the mornings as the sun comes up and warms the water. They will definitely still be rising during these cooler months so keep an arsenal of dry flies with you. Nymphing is definitely your best bet, most fish will be feeding more towards the bottom. Streamers are always a great choice to pull some picky trout.”

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

“Striped bass are still showing up on the beaches in good numbers. From the boat, if you can get out early, follow the birds between Shinnecock and Moriches and you’ll find plenty of fish. Snap-jigging bucktails, topwater presentations and flutter spoons have all been working well. In the surf, small presentations seem to be working best; try using paddle tails and tins. Big bluefish have also shown up in the mix, along with some decent bass pushing bunker schools right into the beach. Mike Mosca picked one of those nicer teen fish at night on a swimming plug. Throw topwater should you encounter that during the day. Tog are still being picked off the jetties on the high outgoing tide.”

Mike Mosca caught this chunky bass while throwing swimming plugs from a local beach during the night shift this week.

The Hampton Lady of Hampton Bays reports:

“We’ve been on the sea bass all fall! Our wreck trips have been seeing knuckleheads to six pounds, plus a variety of other offshore fish. Pollock, cod, scup and ling are all making it into the box as well. We’ve been doing well on the blackfish grounds too, and will be sailing to target them pretty regularly over the next week.” Text Capt. James for info/reservations: 631-521-3366. 

Sea bass, cod, ling and more are chewing around the offshore wrecks for the Hampton Lady this week.

Chris Albronda from Montauk reports:

“This past week, the fleet focused mostly on bottom fishing, which was phenomenal. The tautog fishery was top notch, with many double digits hitting the deck (most of which were released). Black Sea bass were thick and fat. The cod fishing was an early morning bite and produced some very large fish. A lot of the bigger fish actually ended up being taxed by gigantic blue sharks. Striper fishing was good enough to keep anglers entertained. The false albacore in the mix were especially exciting, popping up sporadically from Shag to Navy Rd. For a few days there, the giant bluefin tuna were inshore and many were hooked; I didn’t hear of any being landed though.” Shoot Chris a text at 631-830-3881 to book a trip.

Bill Wetzel of the Surf Rats Ball reports:

“Monday’s trip with Rob was spent around Mastic, targeting some backwater filled with spearing; unfortunately we found no bass on them. We bounced around on the sand beaches next, bringing one fish to hand on an SP minnow; the fish was tight to the beach. Tuesday’s trip with John B started on the sand beaches, where we found nothing. The south side was next, as there’s been rumors of bass on herring there. John got one fish around keeper size on a darter. The hit was soft, and there was a load of spearing in the wash; the fish’s belly was not fat enough to be a herring-eater. Water temps are around 57 degrees right now, and there’s still some solid fishing to be had.” Subscribe today at www.longislandsurffishing.com.

Montauk’s Viking Fleet reports:

The sea bass were thick recently, but our most recent trip had a tougher bite than usual; regardless, we had a decent pick of quality fish. We were catching porgies as well, and a half dozen keeper cod. Tuesday’s trip to Cox’s Ledge saw some solid action, with scup, sea bass, ling and cunner. More cod have been showing up every day, and our pool fish on this trip was 6 pounds. The sea bass pool fish was 4 pounds. Block Island has been putting up some good porgies and sea bass. Those anglers wishing to target tautog have been pulling up some nice ones. Call the office or book online at vikingfleet.com.

Eastern L.I. Fishing Forecast

I love calm water. While fishing, it allows me to fully utilize my sense of sight. I can see into the water, which allows me to sight fish to striped passersby. There are no big liquid crests and troughs between the beach and the horizon, which allows me to see different surface textures and signs of life within a three-mile radius to the south, east and west. There are no waves pounding the sand, dampening the sounds of avian competition and bass breaking the surface. I’ll stop there, as those characteristics amply epitomize what made this past week so amazing.

Monday morning was probably the most spectacular time I’ve ever spent on the ocean, and maybe one of the most soul-pleasing moments of my life… and then yesterday was definitely a top ten as well. 

Reading through the reports, I can tell I’m not the only one who’s been having some amazing days. The primary culprit causing such stoke is the bluefin tuna. They might not be everywhere at once, but I get the vibe that if you’re on the water along the south shore of Suffolk County regularly, you are likely witnessing giant bluefin breaching as far as the eye can see. On Monday, I didn’t want to pick up my fishing rod to focus on the stripers at my feet; I didn’t even want to pick up my camera to try to capture any of the wildlife going crazy. I just wanted to sit there and watch the majestic sight of these giant tuna throwing water and jumping clear out of it. I heard of fish from 500 to 900 pounds getting caught out there. I’m certain I saw fish that size air out entirely as they chased bait. I can’t be certain what the bait was, because when I DID film, these fish were almost impossible to capture. In my mind, this behavior is what gave the cold-season bluefin the nickname “ghosts.” I was using my drone the same way an angler would hunt for a ghost on a boat: scan constantly for whitewater, and sprint towards it when it appeared. Plus, 90 percent of the time, I’d arrive too late; the tuna goes down deep after blowing up on the surface 3 to 5 times after bait, and I’m left filming the expanding circle of bubbles left in the tuna’s stead. I did manage to capture two fish on camera though; one I saw chasing bait, which I would bet was either a snapper bluefish or a bunker; I saw gator bluefish ripping apart some bunker out there, so that would make sense. The other one was taunting a school of fish. I actually spotted the school before spotting a tuna. They were moving a bit quickly and nervously, so I watched them for about ten seconds before an absolute unit revealed itself. I’ll post this footage on social media soon so you can see. This fatty just circled the baitfish, not really chasing or predating. Anyway, it was a cool sight, and I was able to film that tuna for about a minute before it swam deep.

I caught this healthy bass on Monday while bluefin tuna were airing out on bait just a couple hundred yards off the beach. (@southforksalt)

My battery was spent, and I was satisfied; now I could at least show some video when I inevitably wrote about this unbelievable day. By the time I landed my drone, a giant school of stripers had appeared right in front of me and my friend Robin. I threw a short cast, and popped my small super strike slowly across the surface. Three boils behind my plug didn’t interrupt my cadence, and I moved it even more slowly during the last twenty feet of the retrieve. As a wave approached, a striper rode the current and took my popper. It was over the current slot, so I released it quickly. This was much larger than any of the other fish we’d caught that morning, so my hope was restored of future bites… these probably weren’t the death rats after all. I always get a little anxious this time of year, thinking each bite is going to be the last, and every small fish I catch seems to support that assumption. However, it only takes one longer, chunkier fish to dispel that anxiety. Here was hope for some more big fish. Now satisfied with the fishing, I’d spend the rest of my morning just enjoying the consistent spray of tuna-created whitewater across the entirety of my southern-facing view. There had to be scores of giant tuna out there. Robin said “there’s probably billions of dollars of fish out there right now.” Crazy.

Fast forward to Wednedsay, the next awesome occasion. My hope for more solid fish was fulfilled. As I swung flies using a strong rip on one beach, I watched a huge mass of birds collecting a mile west. I was catching a bunch of rat bass, and my friends were nearby catching cocktail bluefish the same size as those stripers. Once in a while, a flurry of fish would sprint by, and a small area of mayhem would appear along the lip. I caught some bass then that were slightly bigger than the rats, but nothing to write home about; all the while, the mass of birds grew. A few of the guys couldn’t take it anymore, and we made moves west. En route, a most glorious text came through: “12 to 15-pound blues on ______ Beach.” We pulled right up to the blitzing birds, and saw dark, oily water beneath them. 5-inch bunker were beaching themselves everywhere, trying to escape the ferocious bass. The three anglers on the bite were all bent up, and I ran out with my fly rod. The crystal clear water allowed me to pick specific fish to target. I threw a few casts into the bunker school and got investigated and denied multiple times. I spotted a group of three fish swimming from one bunker school to the next, and cast my fly into the non-bunker-saturated water. That got me the eat from the best fish of the three, a low-teen bass. After the release, it was all run-and-gun action, trying to keep up with the small wave of larger fish. I saw one low-teen bluefish caught, and a lot of rats. The bite was extremely visual and extremely exciting. I was sprinting alongside on small string of bunker that was pinned to the beach by just a few larger bass; I never got one of those to take.

That was another awesome day in the books.

I caught this army of cormorants sunning themselves on a shallow sandbar this week. (@southforksalt)

The amount of life out there is staggering. Look for the birds; you’ll probably see them at any beach you visit. There are tons of cormorants around (as evidenced by the above photo), more than I’ve ever seen. It blows me away that they’re protected from hunting still. Cruise around, and see if the birds are closer to the beach at a different spot. Don’t let seals deter you. There is a ridiculous amount of them, and the bass are feeding well with little regard to their presence. Even if you’re not finding fish, you will enjoy being outside. The sunsets have been absolutely STUNNING these past two weeks. Sunrise too. It’s blitz season folks. Kinda like Christmas. Go have some fun.

The Eastern L.I. Fishing Report is written and compiled by OTW Field Editor, drone pilot and NYSDEC surf/fly fishing guide, Tim Regan (@southforksalt).

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