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LI Fishing Report

As it always does, summer flew by. It was a fun one and a fishy one. With cooler nights and autumn right around the corner, September is a phenomenal fishing month and a sneak peek to the upcoming fall run.

The arrival of false albacore in our local waters presents one of the best inshore fly and light tackle thrills throughout the season. As these speedsters start to move inshore, they typically first show themselves in Montauk and the North Fork. It’s the most rewarding and frustrating bite around. I know I’m not the only one that’s chased birds working blitzes and just missed them no matter how good a cast I threw. When you do connect though, it makes all those casts that came up with a blank more than worth it. My first albie trip about a dozen years ago, the undisputed time-proven champ of lures to throw was the deadly dick. In recent years the rise of epoxy jigs with a better profile match and action has made a believer out of me. For most of September, I have a variety of small epoxy jigs in various colors with pink and green being my favorites. Throughout the month I primarily use ½-1 oz jigs, and the ones that catch are usually closer to ½ ounce than a full one. The first arriving albies are on the small size, as well as the small bay anchovies the albies are after. Of course, wind and waves may call for heavier offerings, but they usually won’t make it off the bench until October. While you’re at it for albies, don’t ignore the opportunities to catch bonita and Spanish mackerel. They won’t show themselves like blitzing albies but are chasing the same bait and while smaller in size are a lot of fun on light tackle and the fly rod.
If run-and-gun fishing isn’t your style, fluke and sea bass fishing in September is fantastic. One big reason on the sea bass front is fewer people fishing out the reefs and wrecks during the summer. Another plus is the bag limit for black sea bass increasing from 3 fish to 6 this month. The 16.5-inch limit stays as is
Fluking in Montauk is still red hot after a great August bite with plenty of doormats coming up. In the last few seasons, the September bite has been lights out and we should see the same this year.
Offshore and midshore tuna fishing has improved throughout August and September is off to a solid start. Bacardi, Coimbra, Texas Tower have all produced bluefin and yellowfin both on the troll and on jig and pop. For boats heading out to the west, there’s been a solid bite of yellowfin feeding on inshore squid as close as 15 miles from shore. Hudson Canyon, the weather buoys, and both east and west Atlantis have produced bigeye, swordfish, huge yellowfin along with some white marlin and tilefish.
Big migrating stripers haven’t quite made it to our local waters but there’s plenty of smaller fish blitzing regularly from Montauk to Coney Island. Most action has been out front but Jamaica Bay, Great South Bay and Shinnecock have had some nice bites. I always get ahead of myself thinking September is more of a fall than summer month, and typically get let down in hunting for bigger fish. Plenty of bunker pods are still around and while the result is typically a shark or a cobia to the west, there are some larger fish on them if you put the time in.
Catch ‘em up! Talk to you next month when things will be getting even fishier!!