The blackfish season opened at the beginning of this report period. Anywhere there was structure blackfish were caught. Many anglers are targeting blackfish, sea bass and porgies on the same trip and same location as these fish are usually found together. The blackfish tend to be tighter to the structure, with sea bass and porgies a the fringes of the structure.
Good blackfish action was reported on the South Shore artificial reefs, inshore wrecks and rock piles. There was surprisingly good blackfishing in the South Shore bays and inlets, including the bridge abutments in the inlets. Shore anglers fishing jetties, marina bulkheads and walls caught keeper-sized blackfish, along with plenty of short fish.
Triggerfish and blowfish were being caught in the same inshore areas as the blackfish.
On the North Shore the blackfishing was excellent at all the rock piles and reefs. Blackfish action was excellent off Montauk and Orient points and in The Peconics and Gardiner's Bay. The standard fiddler and green crab baits both produced well in all areas, as did clams when fished from the North Shore beaches.
The sea bass fishing remained good, with the biggest fish caught on the less-fished wrecks and hard spots, which is expected given that the season has been open throughout the summer. Sea bass were caught wherever the blackfish were caught.
Clams and sandworms produced large porgies on the North Shore beaches, from the City line to Orient Point. The key to successful beach fishing was to keep moving until the porgies were found. The porgy fishing remained excellent in Gardiner's Bay and The Peconics at Jessup’s Neck and Rodgers Rock, on the South Shore artificial reefs.
Large porgies were also being caught off Shagwong and around Montauk Point.
The fall, surf-striper run is in full force, as is the boat fishing for stripers and blues. Bernie’s Bait and Tackle reported good striper fishing in the surf from Breezy Point, with bucktails and plugs catching stripers up to 35 pounds, with the majority of the bass large schoolies. Mike at Saltwaters Bait and Tackle reported that bunker chunks fished from the beaches around Fire Island Inlet caught stripers to 50 pounds. Some bluefish have been reported mixed in with the stripers in the surf.
Large schools of bunker were reported just off the South Shore beaches, providing boat anglers with excellent striper and large bluefish fishing. There was a very good weakfish bite in Fire Island Inlet on the night tides. Bucktails, diamond jigs and plastic baits fished on a jighead all produced weakfish to 10 pounds.
The striper fishing off Montauk Point was excellent, with nearly all boats reporting limiting out on keeper stripers when fishing diamond jigs, trolling tubes and parachute jigs and using live bait. Bluefish in the 8- to 12-pound range were making up about half the catch. The Montauk surf was hot, with bass to 40 pounds being reported on bucktails and plugs. Anglers were reporting up to a half dozen large stripers an outing. The fall striper run is better than during the last few seasons and all signs indicate that this fall run will remain excellent.
Mike also reported that the offshore bite at the Fish Tails was excellent, with anglers chunking-up 60-pound class yellowfin, bigeyes in the 200-pound class as well a few long-fin. Mahi were mixed in with the tuna. The best action occurred along the highest temperature breaks and the night chunking had the edge over the daylight fishing.
The shark fishing remained good, with a fair number of sharks still being reported.
The night fishing for bluefish remained strong, but anglers are now reporting more and more stripers being caught, with some nights nearly all stripers. This is an excellent fishery to take advantage of by hopping on one of the open boats running out of Sheepshead Bay, Freeport, Point Lookout and Captree.