Long Island and NYC Fishing Report- November 22, 2023

On both shores, the blackfish bite is on fire from east end to west end, and the central south shore hosts good striper fishing with bluefin tuna in the mix.

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).

  • Blackfish (Tautog) continue to chew in the shallows of the sound, short trips to nearshore wrecks and boulder fields continue to produce keeper-size fish, and even fatties over 7lbs. 
  • Long Island’s South Shore once again attracts national attention with epic bluefin blitzes occurring in sight of the beaches. 
  • The Fall run remains firing on all cylinders, with peanut blitzes continuing in the back bays of the Western Sound, and adult bunker pods staying thick across the South shore. 

Jamie from Bay Park Fishing Station in Oceanside reports: 

“The striped bass are still holding right off the beaches. Some of the best fishing on the East Coast is happening right now on the bunker pods close to shore. Put a slot-size striper on the table for Thanksgiving! 

Large bluefin have been spotted in 50 feet of water from Rockaway to Jones Beach. Every morning, boats are stopping in the shop to gear up before chasing these ghosts. We’re still open 7 days a week for all your fuel and fishing needs!”  

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

“Not much has changed this week. There’s still a lot of action in the inlets, just off the beaches, and in the surf. Surfcasters using diamond jigs are having a lot of luck. The tuna action was insane last week and died down a bit this week, but they’re out there for those who can get to them.”

Paul McCain from River Bay Outfitters in Baldwin said:

“On Monday, I went out with Bryan Arena in Rockaway of Salty Dog’s fishing charters. We fished outside the inlet and it was quiet on the boat front, but there was still tons of bunker around. The fish were down deep and fly fishing was tough, so we fell back to live lining and snap-jigging which caught some pretty nice bass in the 30 to 40 inch range. We even saw whales feeding on the bunker out there which was awesome.” 

Petey Trovato from Lindenhurst Bait and Tackle told me:

“The bass continue to bite anywhere there’s bait – my girlfriend, brother and I had 11 bass in a back bay at night this past weekend all on SP minnows in bone and chicken-scratch colors. The bass were on peanut bunker.  Johnny Fish from the shop had 3 fish the last time he was out, all over 30 inches with the biggest being 35 inches. He caught them snap-jigging bucktails. 

One of our best customers Joe Biscardi had a sick day blackfishing, we call him the ‘Tog whisperer’ – he caught 11 fish total, with five over 4 pounds and the biggest over 6 and half. Crabs on jigs over a shallow-water wreck got it done.  

I went down to Jones Beach yesterday and in my first 3 casts had 3 schoolies on a green-tubed diamond jig. It’s been insane fishing lately and it hasn’t slowed down at all on the South Shore yet.” 

Captain Josh Rogers of Gypsea Charters in Brooklyn reports:

Excellent blackfishing on most trips this past week aboard the Gypsea. Nice quality fish have been coming up on all trips. They seem to chew more on certain parts of the tide, and when they do, it’s an all-out slaughter!  Of course, we have seen some slower days when the conditions are tough, but overall, we are very satisfied with the fishing. Only a month left in the NY season, book a trip, and come on out!” Call/text (516)659-3814 for booking info and reservations, which are required.

The Gypsea continues to find quality tautog, with certain stages of the tide being more productive and allow anglers to fish jigs rather than rigs. (@gypseacharters)

I had the pleasure of targeting blackfish in the Sound this past Sunday with Dave Flanagan of North Island Fly. It was cold and breezy that morning, but the spot we were fishing was just a quick blast from the boat ramp, in only 30 feet of water. 

When we arrived at the wreck, Dave immediately pulled up two keeper-sized tog, and only a few minutes later my buddy Rob hooked a beauty over 7 pounds. We threw it back for good karma, and more keepers started to flow in not long after.

My friend Rob with a 7-pound tautog that we photographed and released in the interest of maintaining big tog populations.

We all caught a limit, with one of the Robs catching a double limit. I caught a new personal best at 6 pounds, and went home with a renewed appreciation for togging, something I tend to skip out on for striper fishing during the Spring and Fall. Blackfishing from a boat is a bit more luxurious than from a kayak.

Before heading out on that tog trip, I spent my Saturday morning looking for the peanuts in the back bay near where I live. That morning, they didn’t show. There were birds around, but not in the air. The bay seemed quiet, and I thought to myself that it’s probably close to the end of the Fall run up here. Maybe the fish have moved on. 

I spent the rest of the day at Montauk Surfcaster’s Association’s ‘Surf Day 2023’ show talking with awesome people in the fishing community, and shopping the booths. I picked up a dope snapback from Lurewalker, a couple of slow-pitch jigs from AllPro National, a sweet looking peanut-bunker sized glide bait from Stryker Lures, that I hope to use in the back bay soon, and a sandeel-style bucktail from Uncle Fish’s Bucktails that I know will be deadly on the South shore.  

When I got home that afternoon, I passed the bay and saw birds scrambled and peanuts again erupting from the water, and a few buddies of mine had messaged me on Instagram saying they just had one of the best schoolie fishing sessions of their life in a nearby back bay. It ain’t over yet.  

Western L.I. and NYC Fishing Forecast

Things are quieter. Whereas through most of October the bays were erupting with peanut bunker, the action has definitely slowed to more of a window-based bite. The bass seem to be getting smaller, too. With more schoolies in the mix, and less gator bluefish. Results may vary, however. 

Blackfish continue to chew, and keepers are still around in shallow near-shore structure. But you have to be willing to grind. You might get lucky and find bites right away, but there will be dull periods in-between. Anchoring, or spot-locking with a trolling motor is mandatory especially on a windy day. You won’t have to go far to find quality fish. If you find small fish, keep fishing through them and adjust your angle as necessary. Experiment with scoping out your anchor line to position yourself in different spots over wrecks and boulders to find the honey hole. Bring plenty of crabs. You can easily go through 100 green crabs in a short timespan when the fish are nibbling. On my outing last Sunday, we had no bycatch at all save for a single oyster toadfish. 

One last thing to mention; there have been a couple of reports of mackerel schools out in the Sound this week. Blue and green colored lures (or even better, mackerel-pattern…) should attract more attention if you’re fishing the Sound side or the mouth of a bay. Keep your eyes open for nervous patches of water.  

Surfcasters looking to put a bass on the table this Thanksgiving should throw diamond jigs, minnow plugs, and soft plastics for slot-size fish. With sandeels around, a diamond jig will make fishing easy this time of year. Keep your eyes open for birds and bunker pods. And remember – it ain’t over till its over. There’s still plenty of fun to be had in the salt. 

Thanks for reading, tight lines, and Happy Thanksgiving! 

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).

  • 19+ pound tautog caught on the south shore.
  • Giant porbeagle caught mid-island.
  • Outstanding striper fishing mid-island.
  • Buffet on the wrecks.
  • Late season albies in Montauk.

Captree Bait and Tackle reports:

“Patty Ann Charters put a 254 pound porbeagle shark on the deck this week, which came home for dinner. Greg had been out tuna fishing when his first porbeagle hit; he says it was likely there to feed on the stripers, but its stomach was empty. Ed Walsh got out before the weekend and found a lot of stripers from 25 inches to 25 pounds, all willing to take topwater presentations.”

While bluefin tuna fishing on the south shore, the Patty Ann crew caught this hungry porbeagle shark that came home for dinner.

The Captree Pride reports:

“We’re running tomorrow on Thanksgiving to get in on the striper blitzes of late. We’ve had full boat limits 12 days straight. There have been some big gator bluefish in the mix too. Stripers have ranged from 28 inches to 50 pounds.”

The Fishfinder of Captree reports: 

“It’s been big bass and gator bluefish all week on the Fishfinder. Two days ago saw 30 blues to 15 pounds, and endless stripers to about 35 pounds. Most of the fish are coming up on diamond jigs. The blitzes on bunker and butterfish have been insane, and seemingly endless. Lots of the fishing is occurring just outside the inlet in 25 to 50 feet of water.”

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

“I had Harry and Vinny out early in the week to target tog. Despite some battery issues, we were able to put a 3-man tog limit in the boat. Nick, Rob and Robbie came out with me a couple days later and put some nice tog on the boat. We had a bunch that were 6-7.5 pounds, all released. We kept some smaller ones for dinner.” Check out Dave’s website to book him for a charter at northislandfly.com.

Nick Cancelliere got out with Dave Flanagan of North Island Fly to beat up some nice keeper tog in Long Island Sound this week. (@northislandfly)

The Celtic Quest Fishing Fleet of Port Jefferson reports: 

“Mattituck has been treating us well, with a good bite of tautog this week. We’ve been seeing some blackfish boat limits come over the rail, and some solid sea bass as well. Blackfish to over 5 pounds have been getting caught.” Call them at 631-928-3926 for booking info, or check the website/Facebook for more info.

The Peconic Star 3 of Greenport reports:

“Tog fishing has been awesome this year, so make sure you come down on Friday to join us for “Blackfish Friday.” The north shore’s season ends December 9th, and we’ll try to get out as much as possible until then. The bite this past weekend was tough, with some crazy weather conditions. We did see a fair amount of keeper tog and shorts come over the rail though. Better anglers did have limits of blackfish to about 7 pounds. Some drops required a full pound of weight to stay on the bottom. There were some really nice sea bass in the mix, and a harbor seal messed with us a bit by stealing two keeper blackfish from our customers! We’ll resume sailing on Friday.”

Brooklyn Girl in Orient reports:

“Sundays’ 20-angler trip had a steady pick of blackfish all day long. Jason R. had 7 good ones to 6.5 pounds, and the whole boat limited out on tog. We had 70+ keepers come over the rail, plus some sea bass. Saturday’s fishing was awesome, with the average size of tog being 4 to 6 pounds. High hooks had 20+ keepers and many shorts. Walter won the pool with a 9 pounder. Keith Sr. and Keith Jr. each had 15 to 20 fish up to 8+ pounds. We got an easy boat limit, with over 140 keepers hitting the deck.”

The blackfish bite is hot off the North Fork this week, with easy limits of quality keepers for anglers aboard the Brooklyn Girl.

Bill at Chasing Tails Bait and Tackle in Oakdale reports:

“Striper season is showing no signs of slowing down. There are fish all over the bay, ranging from schoolie size to well over the slot. Spooks, poppers, glide baits, swim shads and bucktails are putting in serious work. The ocean is littered with bass in the 40 to 50+ pound range smashing apart bait schools before they migrate south. Big poppers, swim shads, spooks, and shallow swimmers are getting annihilated. Live bait is working well also. Eels at night are deadly for a big striper. Surf rats are smashing solid fish on diamond jigs, SP Minnows, shads, and bucktails. Darters and bottle plugs are always getting eaten. Tog action is just ridiculous. So many large tautog are coming up over the rails. A 19+ pound fish was just caught locally. Happy to report it was released. This blackfish season has been pretty amazing. Tuna reports are just as great, with massive tuna ripping around real close. The ghost hunters are out in swarms. 

The lakes are getting cold! Fish slow and low for best results. Senkos and jigs work great; a slow moving crankbait bonking off structure would work very well. Bass and pickerel are looking for easy meals. Sunfish and perch should be easy enough to get with a classic worm and bobber combo. Trout are all over the nymphs and smacking around streamers.”

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

“We’re still hearing some reports of bass off the beaches. There’s a lot of shorts, with some slots in the mix. It’s mainly been a day bite, with fish taking diamond jigs and topwater presentations when the conditions are right. Blackfish and sea bass have slowed down a good bit, but anglers are still picking away on the deeper wrecks and reefs. For the light tackle guys, white perch have been chewing well in the tidal creeks and estuaries. Try working the top of the tides with a small presentation for your best chance.”

The Hampton Lady of Hampton Bays reports:

“Our last whack-and-stack wreck trip was as awesome as the rest of them. We caught weakfish, cod, pollock, scup, sea bass, bluefish, pinfish, ling and more. The sea bass were monstrous, weighing up to 6 pounds; we picked a full boat limit of them.”

This sea raven came over the rail of the Hampton Lady during one of their wreck trips this week.

Bill Wetzel of the Surf Rats Ball reports:

“Ray and his son joined me on 11/18 to work the south side of Montauk. There was very little life there, so we ran to the sand beaches. There were a few fish willing to hit there, but we brought none to hand. There are some herring around, and we’re hoping for a herring bite to occur.

Rob fished a western LI south shore beach two days ago in the afternoon. He picked 6 schoolie bass in the north wind, all in the low-mid 20 inch range. They were eating along the lip, taking sandeel presentations and rubber shads.” Subscribe today at www.longislandsurffishing.com.

Chris Albronda from Montauk reports:

“The highlight of the week would be the bottom fishing. There were some very big tog caught (and a lot were released!), and there were a good amount of XL sea bass on the mix. The jig bite was really good when the conditions permitted. The stripers have thinned out, but not entirely. Fish were caught in the surf and a few batches of birds were seen on the north and south side. Under those birds were mostly false albacore. The giant bluefin were close to shore, with a few overs caught and landed.” Shoot Chris a text at 631-830-3881 to book a trip.

Montauk’s Viking Fleet reports:

“Our Coxes Ledge trip yesterday was fantastic, with jumbo sea bass and a very nice showing of cod. There was loads of action all day long, with ling, big cunners and scup. A 9 pound cod and a 5 pound sea bass took the pools. Tuesday’s local trip to Block saw porgies, sea bass and cod. A 2.25 pound porgy took the pool. Tog fishing over the weekend was good, with an 8 pounder taken by Qi Yong Hu from Queens to win the pool. Bill Finalborgo took the sea bass pool with a 5 pounder.”

Eastern L.I. Fishing Forecast

It’s crazy to read all these reports of big fish still chewing really well mid-island. It seems to have slowed down a good bit by me. I do expect at least one more good wave of fish to pass by, but the bite was very slow compared to the week prior… at least in the surf. There were some fun blitzes that occurred along a few beaches by me, but they didn’t last long, so it was very much a “right place right time” type of action. Now the surf is all turned up from those very heavy winds last night. There were signs of life right before that occurred, so I’m thinking there could be some residual action once the surf settles down. Despite the size of the waves, the surf looks very clean; if you’re willing to huck 3 ounce bucktails for a while, I bet you could tie into some fish moving through structure near the inlets. Watch out for those gigantic heaves though; this is the kind of surf that will suck you in and not let you back out.

I intend to poke around the bays a bit while the surf is up. There’s still a lot of life in the back, and some stuff that would surprise you. For instance, my friend Justin caught and released a fluke just two days ago. You never know what you’re going to catch this time of year; there are always some warm-water stragglers left here in November and December. Last year I caught a juvenile black drum in mid-December in an estuary while targeting white perch. Blew my mind.

There could be some fun stuff in the back right now, as well as some big bass. I’m counting on some good stripers in December. I think a good amount of you are on the same page. The potential for a herring bite always exists. Word is, there are still some really good bass up north, so they could pop in for a bite as they make moves across Long Island. The herring population seems to have improved a good bit over the years, so there’s always hope that a big fish blitz can occur. My boss told me about this bite, it might’ve been fifteen years ago… the surf had been dead for a while, so he was surprised to see an obvious slick in the water in mid-late December. That slick was “a seemingly infinite pool of cow bass,” all hopped up to feed on herring. It stuck around for a few days, and the fish would chew something different each day. He always keeps a crippled herring in his bag during the late season, as that’s all the fish would chew one day. He caught many fish in the 30-40 pound range that week. 

That story has caused me to keep my big stick in the truck long past the final day of the open season. I’ve lucked into a few bites from big surf stripers in Decembers past. Two winters ago, I was catching 15-25 pound fish on Christmas Day. Their bellies were enormous, presumably filled with herring. Another time, the water looked too perfect not to try; it was silvery and sparkling like fish scales. Using lighter tackle, I launched a mag darter far into the rip. The treble hook failed to penetrate the large bass’ mouth when it hit… I believe I didn’t have enough backbone there for a proper hookset, and so my heart was broken. That one haunts me. Another year, probably 7 years ago now, herring came into the beach on December 15. I hooked and kept 5 of them, then drove up island to Robert Moses to chunk them. I caught 14 fish that night, all above thirty inches.

The potential is still very strong for prolonged season this year. I’m an optimistic guy in general; I feel particularly good about this winter though. The north wind should knock down the surf over the next few days. Come Sunday, it’s looking like we might have some calm seas once again. I’m hoping to witness another awesome showing of tuna then, and perhaps some more striper movement. I have a feeling I should stay close to the inlet specifically, but something’s telling me that I should probably take a good long look at as many beaches as I can. I’ll be on the hunt. I’ll start targeting white perch as well. Some of them should be starting to develop those huge egg-laden bellies. Options still abound!

Happy Thanksgiving, and happy fishing! Enjoy.

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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