Western Long Island and NYC Fishing Report- August 24, 2023

Gator blues gorge on bay anchovies and peanut bunker in the Sound, stripers bite in the back bays on both shores, and Spanish mackerel invade the south shore surf.

Western Long Island and NYC Fishing Report

  • Doormats in the surf – 16.8 pound fluke caught in the Fire Island surf on a bucktail. 
  • Spanish mackerel arrive in force on the South Shore. 
  • Bluefish blitzes across the Western Long Island Sound 
  • Striper bite heats up on both shores; matching the hatch is key. 
  • Big sharks and rays continue to be caught on chunk baits from the beach. 

Petey Trovato from Lindenhurst Bait and Tackle reports: 

“Flukings been really good, a little girl on the captree pride caught an 11 pounder recently. My buddy Kurt got that insane 16 pound doormat out of the surf, and the early morning striped bass bite has been picking up too with a lot of good catches off the beaches.” 

Jamie from Bay Park Fishing Station said: 

“Bluefin reports keep coming in, with most of the action taking place south of Ambrose. Fluking remains steady outside at the reefs. Use bigger baits to catch bigger fluke, whether that’s live-lined snappers or peanut bunker, or large paddletail shads. Owen and Graham Galligan had a day landing 4 weakfish over 20 inches! Fish were caught on cut clams and squid and spearing combos inside the bay. Bay Park is open 7 days a week through the fall, we have everything you need for both inshore and offshore.” 

Paul Mccain from River Bay Outfitters in Baldwin said:

“The rivers upstate are coming down and fishing well, especially now that things are getting cooler up there. On LI we could use some more rain and cooler temperatures. The trout haven’t been rising on dry flies as much, we had better success with mop flies and streamers.

In the salt, a friend of mine, Dennis, has been catching tons of bluefish in the bays, both cocktail and gator size. Bass-wise it’s still a night game, but the bite has been extending further and further into the mornings and starting earlier in the afternoon. Cooler temps will only make things better.” 

John from Freeport Bait and Tackle reports: 

“Pelagics! Outside the inlets boat anglers have started catching false albacore, surfcasters are catching spanish mackerel. Bonito have been at Montauk lately and there’s always a possibility you could hook one from shore around the Rockaway and Jones Inlet areas. The consistent angler will be rewarded. 

Fluke fishing has stayed consistent throughout with a lot of big, noteworthy catches this week as well as weakfish in the back bays. Daytime striper fishing has picked up too and the stripers have been on bay anchovies on the North shore, so small lures are key.”  

Captain Josh of Gypsea Charters in Brooklyn reports:

“Excellent fluking this past week aboard the Gypsea. Some days the bite was ferocious, with many limits being taken. Other days were just a pick, with the cooler filled at the end of the day. The last few weeks of good fishing are upon us, don’t miss out! Call/text (516)659-3814 for info and reservations, which are required.”

Large keeper fluke were a regular catch for anglers aboard the Gypsea this week. (@gypseacharters)

Captain Adrian of Rockfish Charters in Queens reports:

“This week we’ve been concentrating on yellowfin, which has gotten a lot more consistent. Most of our fish have been caught on jigs and RonZ’s, but we always bring live peanut bunker along to get the bite going. Even if we don’t catch any on peanuts, we’re still finding them in the stomach of fish we jig up. We have some more availability in September and October for tuna and fall run bass. Call (347)661-4501 for booking and info.”

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


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A post shared by Brian (@bsprex)


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A post shared by Dan M (@fishing_accomplished)


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A post shared by @blastin_bass_fishing


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A post shared by Raul Andres (@_raul_andres_)

If you post a catch that you’d like to be featured in next week’s fishing report, tag or DM @li_kayak_fishing on Instagram, or email me at likayakfishing@gmail.com 

Lets start with the blues. It’s been pretty epic for the past couple of weeks with a huge upswing in bluefish activity in the Western Long Island Sound. For a while there’s been tons of bait around, and bird activity to match. On any given day over the past week, bluefish would erupt in huge blitzes sometimes only a few hundred feet from shore, well within casting range.

These blues are well-fed and heavy. They’ve been gorging on an array of bait but most recently it seems to be bay anchovies and peanut bunker. Smaller blues have even been getting eaten by larger blues; I got evidence of this when a cocktail I’d caught last week got bitten completely in half while reeling it in. I’m still not sure whether that was a shark or a bluefish, given all the recent musings of sharks in the sound. It’s not like sharks are strangers to the sound, but it seems true to this season that there would be more shark activity compared to years prior. 

If you haven’t registered yet for the WICC Surfside Hotel Greatest Bluefish Tournament on Earth you have until Friday the 25th. Registration is $35, and registering at your local tackle shop gets you a T-shirt. The first place grand prize of $25,000 for the heaviest bluefish, and port prizes of $100. 

On the bottom, porgies continue to be abundant on the North shore. Nothing new there, but the bite seems more aggressive than usual as we’ve seen them even hit paddle tail shads. Black sea bass can still be found within a mile or two from shore on rock piles. Electronics and marine charts are a necessity for finding viable structure and wrecks. On Sunday, before the bluefish insanity erupted, I spent some time jigging with my neighbor & friend, Pete, and we both had a bottom-jigging slam of fluke, sea bass, porgy, and large bluefish all within 2 miles of shore. I managed to get my first ever fluke on a slow-pitch jig, which was the highlight for me.  

Even fluke were taking our slow-pitch jigs on Sunday. (@li_kayak_fishing)

Both of us got nailed by large bluefish on the bottom while jigging paddletails for fluke, and on the way in the blues started blitzing in all directions on rain bait. I hooked a pretty fat blue while slow-pitch jigging a 12-gram micro jig for porgy.  At the time, I was unaware that jig perfectly matched the bay anchovies the blues would be blitzing on that afternoon. 

With schools of peanut bunker around, micro slow-pitch jigs have been fooling big gator blues on top of fluke, porgies and more. (@li_kayak_fishing)

When I went back out around 2:00 p.m. with my buddy Josh there were pockets of birds everywhere. We didn’t pay much mind to it until Josh started to holler and point – we both saw huge splashes erupting and bluefish jumping clear out of the water. We bee-lined to the nearest blitz and got to work. 

I opted to use bigger topwater poppers to try and catch a true gator. My buddy on the other hand, was casting an epoxy jig and reeling it quickly on the surface so it skimmed and created a wake. He caught a blue on every cast, ranging from cocktails to 10lb-class fish. I only caught two large blues in dozens of casts of the popper. It was clear they were keyed in on the small bay anchovies and not so willing to hit larger baits.

The next day, I met the sea. 

While this isn’t too relevant to my fishing report for West LI, I was invited to go on my first ever offshore trip Wednesday, venturing 75+ miles south off Long Island.  While I didn’t hook up with a tuna or mahi like I’d hoped, I still got to see whales, porpoises, and sea turtles, including a giant yellowfin breaching between dolphins. I slept on a bean bag as a 27ft CC cut through large swells on the way to different wrecks and locations. Most of my time though, was spent scanning the horizon for whales, dolphins, and birds. Pointing and hollering whenever I saw something and hopping up from my seat or bean bag chair with renewed energy. 

I came back with sea legs. I’ve watched and read all manner of digital content and literature that tries to describe and showcase the enormity, power, and grandeur of the open sea, but there is nothing that can capture the feeling of being out there yourself. If you ever get the opportunity to venture offshore – do it.

What to Expect

It’s a shallow-water bite, all the blues we caught were in only about 15 feet of water at the deepest. If you have a kayak, or are a surf angler on the North shore, you have a great opportunity at scoring some large bluefish just off the beach. Stay mobile and keep your eyes open for birds. Cast deadly-dicks, epoxy jigs, and small soft plastics to imitate rain bait, peanut bunker, and spearing as needed.

Bottom jigging stays strong for black sea bass and fluke in shallow boulder fields. Looks for rock piles that hold bait and maintain a steady, slow drift around 0.5 to 1 mph. Paddle tail shads will cull porgy and dial you in to fluke. You may still get bit by large, aggressive, porgy but you won’t waste time fighting through them or generally have to worry about your tails getting nipped off. Bluefish are another story, obviously. 

With all this bluefish activity, its not a bad idea to jig metals in place of soft plastics. Small, silver or transparent tins with flashy lines can imitate the bay anchovies currently flooding the Long Island Sound. There has also been a great number of peanut bunker and spearing around, so slightly wider jigs can make excellent peanut bunker imitations, while longer, slimmer jigs like diamond jigs can imitate sand eels. Match the hatch whenever possible to have your best chance at getting bit.

It ain’t fall yet but it sure feels like it with all these blitzes around. Get out there and catch some angry fish, and best of luck to all participants in the bluefish tournament this weekend. 

Thank for reading, and tight lines.  

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