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LI Fishing Report

Long Island fishing is by far the best in the world. There are so many opportunities to target a wide variety of both inshore and offshore species. From Boat, jetty, dock, or beach with limitless methods of catching your desired species. False Albacore tuna start to show in mid-September and will be available throughout the fall. Fly fisherman and light tackle guys love these speed demons. In October they will mix in with striped bass and bluefish in the rips out of Montauk and along the south shore beaches. September is considered the hi season for hurricanes and tropical storms. September 2021 was no exception. Wind and waves kept most recreational guys tied to the docks. When things laid down and boats could get out conditions were sloppy and hot spots became void of life. Bait seemed to scatter and so did the fish. It would take almost a full week for patterns to develop and things to settle down. Then bam, we would get hit with another storm and it all was stirred up again. Keeping a close eye on both temperature and chlorophyl charts gave offshore guys a starting point. Tuna fish were tough to find, and mahi seemed to be the savior keeping the skunk at bay.

In early September we saw the false albacore invade the 30 fathom spots and work their way towards shallower water. These fish were trolled, hit jigs and chunks. This was great news for surfcasters and inshore fisherman because latter in the month they invaded the bait present all along the beach. Both sides of Montauk point and into the sound saw good action. Surfcasters love these fish as they hit top water plugs like a freight train and put up a tremendous fight. Also, mixed in with them were smaller to mid teen bluefish. Both shores saw a decent showing in September, and I would expect them to be available throughout the month of October. Live lining peanut bunker, diamond jigs and trolling umbrella rigs are all proven methods for bagging fall bluefish and striped bass.
Striped Bass have started to show in numbers on both shores. Finding the feeding birds is key to finding these blitzing fish. All hands-on deck, everyone should be on the lookout trying to spot frenzied bird action. Binoculars are a must. The canals and bays are filled with bunker. Always try to net or snag some to turn on finicky bass. Stripers have fallen to live bunker, mojo trolling, jigging, and popping. Be sure to have a few methods in your arsenal before heading out.
Miss Montauk out of Montauk Marine Basin mentioned that fluke fishing remained consistent. They had plenty of 5 – 7-pound fluke come over the rails. There were a good number of seabass and porgies mixed in as well. Later in the month more bluefish and the fall run of bass really got into full swing. With the large quantities of bait around, October promises to be a great moth in Montauk.
Shinnecock Prime Marina: Michael Dunne sent me the following report: There are very few canyon trips that can be called a massive success and not catch one single tuna, but this past trip aboard the @fv_matador can only be described as nothing short of epic. In the wee hours of the morning, we put a beautiful swordfish on the deck, and then the zebras came out to play (wahoo). Came across an old, warped sheet of plywood out in the deep that was holding some serious life. We got lucky on the first one, which fell victim to a @chatterlures side tracker, and then we adjusted and put out a full wahoo spread and went to town. Ended up going 3/5 on these vicious, delicious missiles… that’s like Florida wahoo numbers! Some big northeast mahi in the mix with them as well. Slammer trip! Days like these are priceless, and make the hard work, preparation, lack of sleep, and physical abuse all so worth it. One heck of a trip, nice work!
Moriches: The Rossie from Center Yacht club switched to a Friday – Sunday only sailing schedule. They did 2 trips each day and did an absolute bail job on the fluke. As the month progressed, they saw more sea bass mix in. Drift fishing baited hi lo rigs was most productive. This a great family boat that has the option of staying inside when conditions don’t allow ocean fishing.
Joe Tangel Captain of the King Cod out of Senix mentioned that fluke was strong with great trips of seabass and porgies mixed. Off course he was able to find cod as well in September.
Captree Laura Lee reported banner trips in September. True mixed bags consisting of; fluke, bluefish, striped bass, trigger fish, blowfish, sea robins, weakfish, and sea bass. Everyday show cased exceptional fishing. Very excited as this pattern should continue into the fall.
Celtic Quest out of Port Jefferson had plenty of action to report for September. The early part of the month saw a good number of fluke, bluefish’ striped bass, and plenty of porgies. The striped bass fishing improved as the moth went on. False Albacore started showing up on the trips to the east. We are expecting great fall fishing in the month of October as long as the weather cooperates.
Tony from Monkfish Charters in Centerport LI Sound Black fishing opens on October 11th. Once again, I will be targeting the shallow boulder fields for some big fish on light tackle. While every season is different, I hope to continue to bring in some of these big ones that manage to fight sideways and don’t appreciate seeing the side of the boat or a net. Early reports on the commercial front (season is open) look promising.
Mark Mcgowan Cow Harbor Bait and Tackle mentioned that presence of bait is off the charts this season. Fishing has been best at Dawn and dusk or during the tide changes. Jigging diamond jigs was your best option for both bluefish and striped bass. Fluking slowed, but the larger fish moved in. The numbers were down but the quality was better.
Mahi mahi continued to be strong this month. 2021 has been one of the best mahi season in recent memory. They started in June and will easily stretch thru October. Not just chickens either. Fish in the teens were commonplace, there were some reports of fish in the low to mis twenties. Kirk Fay from Fish Gaak live lined a peanut bunker after a 45-minute flight landed a huge 32-pound fish. Anything floating held these fish from the edge to beach. Lobster pots, weather buoys and even channel head buoys held these fish. The one good part from all the storms was the number of debris that came from them. Preferred methods were jigging and popping. When the bite slowed using chunks and live bait to turn them back on worked well too. These are fast growing and reproducing fish that can withstand the constant fishing pressure.
The Canyons south of Long Island had a very interesting season. Unlike 2020 it seemed a little harder this season to consistently score trip after trip. Big eyes and yellowfin made an early presence as warm water eddies way to the east and another to the south again. September was disappointing as the weather just didn’t cooperate. For boats with the range to get to Atlantis there were plenty of big eyes, large yellowfin, and this year we saw more albacore tuna.
Heading into October large pelagic fish will start to migrate to their winter homes and give us one last shot. Large makos, threshers and blue sharks will all cruise past the island giving anglers one more chance to tangle with a trophy. We should also see larger and bigger schools of plump bluefin tuna in the 20 and 30 fathom lanes. Sword fishing off the edge is now at its peak, with multiple fish caught on a single boat common. Striped Bass fishing is normally off the hook from Montauk to the Rockaways and all along the North shore too.
If you have any reports, stories, or pictures you would like to share, please feel free to reach out to me at