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Long Island/NYC Fishing Report – October 19th, 2012

The blackfish season opened up to some excellent inshore and offshore fishing, with blackfish in the 8-pound class common offshore and fish up to 5 pounds inshore. From the shore, blackfish were caught off the inlet rocks along rocky beaches in the Sound on the North Fork. Boat anglers did well on the artificial reefs, inshore wrecks and on the reefs and rock piles in the Sound. Fiddler, green, hermit and Asian crabs all produced blackfish. Shore anglers also did well using clams. There were a good amount of sea bass mixed in with the blackfish.

The surf fishing for striped bass and bluefish has significantly improved. Stripers between 8 and 16 pounds, with a few 20-pound class fish, have been blitzing the beaches around Montauk Point from the back of the town through Ditch Plains, around to North and False Bars and stretching to Shagwon Point. A fair number of bluefish between 5 and 12 pounds have been mixed in with the stripers. The fishing was reminiscent of years past when stripers and blues would blitz the beaches, chasing schools of rain bait and sand eels.  The top lures were bucktails under the light, poppers on the north side and tins and poppers on the south side. Bottle plugs and darters were the lures of choice at night, with eels working well along the south side rocks.

There was good striper action further to east along the ocean beaches, with the best action occurring near the inlet mouths during the night tides on swimming plugs, large plastic shads and live eels. During the daylight, the bulk of the catch switched to bluefish that took tins, poppers and fresh bunker chunks as large schools of bunker are just outside the South Shore inlets. 

Fly-rodders experienced some great striper and bluefish action from the beaches on intermediate lines as well as fishing around the big schools of bunker using a sinking line. Large Deceivers scored around the bunker schools, while Clouser minnows and epoxy flies produced off the beaches where there are large schools of bay anchovies, aka rain bait. There were also schools of false albacore reported outside the South Shore inlets caught on small tins and flies.

Clam bellies and skimmer clams produced a fair number of stripers in the teens on the west bars of Jones and Fire Island inlets, in the east and west cuts of Moriches and Shinnecock inlets and at the inlet bridges. The outgoing tide remained the best tide to fish. Larger stripers were caught on live porgies, bergalls, spot and eels. A mix of stripers to 15 pounds and blues to 15 pounds-plus were caught diamond jigging outside inlets, in New York Bight as in the rips off Montauk Point. Larger stripers and blues were caught under the schools of bunker using freshly snagged bunker, trolling bunker spoons in 25 to 50 feet of water in The Gut and The Race using bucktails.

The South Shore bays have a great mix of blowfish, porgies, small sea bass, blackfish, large snappers, northern kingfish, spot and trigger fish.  Most of the fish are small, but the action is hot and provides an excellent opportunity to take the kids fishing. Clams or sandworm baits enhanced with a little clam chum was an excellent choice. Top spots included the State Boat Channel, Sore Thumb pocket, the east-west channel in front of Tanner Park and off the Babylon pools, Dickerson’s, Snake Hill and West Channels and around the inlet bridges.

The porgy fishing in the Peconics and in the Sound has been excellent.  Captain Des O’Sullivan of the Celtic Quest out of Port Jefferson reported outstanding porgy fishing as well as good sea bass fishing.

Despite the rough offshore conditions, this was one of the best report periods of the season for bigeye tuna to 250 pounds, yellowfin to 60 pounds and longfin to 50 pounds trolled on spreader bars during the day and chunked at night at the Hudson Canyon and Edge. Single lures and ballyhoo trolled in a spread also did well. Mahi have been mixed in with the tuna.

The shark fishing has been quiet, but a few makos were still being targeted and caught between the 20 and 30 fathom lines.

The fluke season closed on Sept. 30, with a decent fishing just outside the inlets and in the Sound.

The freshwater fishing remained solid for largemouth bass and panfish in Upper and Lower Yaphank lakes, Lake Ronkonkoma, Stump Pond, Laurel Lake, the Peconic River and Fort Pond. Fishing in all the local ponds was also very good.  

Guy Zummo

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