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Long Island/NYC Fishing Report – December 12th, 2014

Most boats are now out of the water for the winter season, so the majority of anglers have switched over to fishing on open and charter boats or from the surf. Anglers who still have their boat in the water primarily targeted stripers, sea bass and blackfish during this report period.

The striper fishing along the South Shore has been predominantly by anglers trolling bunker spoons and umbrella rigs on wireline in 25 to 40 feet of water. The bunker spoon action has begun to slow as the schools of bunker have thinned out as they are working their way south.  But when the bunker spoons produced, the fish were typically from just keeper sized to 30-pound class stripers. With the dropping water temperatures more sand eels have begun to show and the action on the umbrella rigs has improved, but the majority of the fish were schoolies.  Only a few bluefish were mixed in with the stripers.

Along the South Shore surf the best striper fishing was on swimming plugs during the night tides, but the fishing remained spotty at best.  Anglers working first light also did well on stripers and blues on poppers and tins. A few anglers were fishing bunker chunks, but plugs were the better choice.  

Boats clam chumming the South Shore inlet bars during the outgoing tide continued to do well. A few fish in the 20-pound class were reported, but most fish ranged from 8 to 12 pounds, which is typical for this type of fishery for this time of the season.

Some of the best striper action was reported in the bays and harbors along both sides of the western Long Island Sound, which have yielded a good number of schoolie stripers, with a few just breaking the 28-inch mark. Most of this action has been at night on small swimming plugs and spearing/sand eel style flies. Depending on the weather, these stripers will stay in the back of the harbors where the water is warmer than in the deeper parts of the Sound until late December. Then a fair number of these stripers will move into the deeper water to winter over. The bunker have largely moved out of the Sound.

The striper and bluefish action off Montauk has slowed from both the surf and boat as the fish are moving their way westward. There have been reports of a few large stripers caught off Cape Cod, so if the herring show up in good numbers there will still be a shot at a few large bass before the season closes on Dec. 15.

The sea bass fishing remained strong on the wrecks and reefs in 60 feet of water and deeper, in Block Island Sound and around Montauk Point. On the wrecks deeper than about 90 feet of water, a good number of codfish were reported – some well into the 20-pound class. If the sand eels settle in for the winter the codfish will stay local and hopefully the fishing will materialize as it did during the winter before last. There are a lot of sea bass in shallower water, but they are nearly all small.

The blackfishing remained strong off Orient Point and Fisher’s Island, with numerous fish in the 5- to 8-pound class reported. Smaller blackfish were reported on the inshore grounds and in the Sound. The larger blackfish have been moving toward deeper water in the Sound and to the South Shore wrecks deeper than 60 feet, which have been the prime fishing grounds for open boats running full-day trips. Crabs remained the prime blackfish bait.

Some of the open boats are now running long-range blackfish and cod trips. These trips often target less frequented wrecks 80 or more miles from shore. Only a few boats reported on these trips, but the fishing was excellent.

The freshwater scene was quiet with the exception for some late fall trout fishing in the stocked lakes and streams where the fishing has been quite good for browns and rainbows.  Mepps spinners, worms and streamer flies have all worked equally well.

The pheasant season is in full swing, with good hunting reported from the Rocky Point Preserve.

Guy Zummo 

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