Long Island and NYC Fishing Report- December 14, 2023

Small stripers are caught in the surf out west, white perch run the brackish creeks, and the south shore tog season winds down while freshwater activity ramps up.

Long Island and NYC Fishing Report

  • Last call for stripers – Friday, December 15th. Marks the end of the 2023 Striped Bass Season. 
  • Blackfish (Tautog) season ended in the Long Island Sound Dec. 9th, but the South Shore/NY Bight season continues until Dec. 22nd. 
  • Good white perch bite taking place in the brackish streams. 
  • Saturday’s warm temps made for topwater opportunities in freshwater, with similar weather forecasted this weekend!  

John from Freeport Bait and Tackle says: 

“Bass are still around in the surf but the big fish have definitely moved on. Blackfishing remains decent and boaters are still finding keepers. Some have moved on to freshwater and are having fun catching trout and bass across the island. There’s a lot of freshwater to explore on Long Island so give it a shot this winter to avoid cabin fever!”

Brandon Weitz from Causeway Bait and Tackle in Wantagh told me: 

“It’s been quiet around the shop with the recent bad weather and the season winding down. Saturday was nice though, and a few die-hard surfcasters got into some small striped bass but were tight lipped about where, when, and how they caught their fish! It was a great season this year, many thanks & happy holidays to all of Causeway’s customers!” 

Paul McCain from River Bay Outfitters in Baldwin said:

“There’s fish out there in saltwater, you just gotta get out and brave the elements. I’ve been hearing of white perch in the brackish streams and that’s what I’ll be chasing this weekend. The Connetquot, as always, has been pretty good. Even after all the rain resulting in the river being 6 to 7 inches higher, and muddy as heck, there was a great dry fly bite that went on. Stop by the shop and sign up for our newsletter for upcoming events!” 

Petey Trovato from Lindenhurst Bait and Tackle told me: 

“Johnny Fish has been on schoolies up to 20 inches from the surf. Him and another buddy have been hitting the Robert Moses area around sunrise. Joe Biscardi and his son had 12 keeper-size blackfish up to 6 pounds this week. Party boats have started catching cod too. If you want to catch fish this winter without resorting to freshwater or white perch, think about going on a party boat for an offshore trip.” 

Captain Josh Rogers of Gypsea Charters in Brooklyn reports:

“Blackfishing continues to provide loads of action, with enough keepers to maintain interest from our anglers. We have only a week left in the NY blackfish season and hope to capitalize on the bigger fish with the recent temperature drop. Pick a nice day and come on out! Call or text (516) 659-3814 for info and reservations, which are required.”

The Gypsea continues to put anglers on quality tog, and they hope to stick a few true biggins in their final week of the NY blackfish season! (@gypseacharters)

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


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This past weekend I purchased a CT fishing license and hit the sweetwater for smallmouth, largemouth, pike, and the occasional schoolie bass. While Saturday was forecasted to be in the 50’s and sunny on LI, it sure wasn’t that way on the river I was on. Fog, overcast conditions and temperatures in the 30’s to low 40’s made for some brutal fishing. There were more than a few times my buddies and I had our hands in our pockets just trying to stay warm before committing to a few more casts. 

We cut our trip short and were crossing over the Throg’s Neck by 2:30PM. As I prepared mentally and physically to merge onto the most lovely road in NY state–the Cross Island Parkway— a thought popped into my head; I wonder if the chain pickerel are biting? 

It was warm and sunny on L.I., and I had a hunch that a topwater, walk-the-dog like lure or surface-swam crawfish would be well-received by whatever lurked in the freshwater ponds. After sitting 30 extra minutes in traffic for what should have been a 10-minute detour, I reached the lake and got to work casting. 

Immediately, I had small hits one after the other on an Albie Snax lure, but wasn’t hooking up. I switched it up to a spook-style lure and repeated the process. Immediately I hooked into a small pickerel. “Hell yes.” I said out loud. “Topwater in December!” 

The one thing I love most about the fish in the Esox genus is their aggression. You can count on species like pike and pickerel to be the freshwater equivalents of bluefish and provide exciting topwater action without having to worry too much about what you’re throwing and how you’re fishing it. They make fast and furious runs, too. 

This weekend my plan is to give the slime darts a rest and focus on winter bass fishing with jerkbaits, drop shot rigs, and more finesse tactics. It could lead to more skunkings than it’s worth, but it will go a long way in shaking the cabin fever that, despite my best efforts, is starting to sink in.  

Long Island and NYC Fishing Forecast

Contrary to what felt like the entire Summer the weather has been pretty cooperative for the weekend. At least for the past few Saturdays. We have clear skies and highs in the 50’s forecasted Friday & Saturday, which should make for less miserable fishing weather by the afternoon. You won’t have to worry about your guides icing up yet unless you’re fishing the very early mornings. 

Your freshwater options are vast – ponds, rivers, lakes. Smallmouth, largemouth, walleye, perch, pickerel, and of course trout. On The Water has a whole freshwater section and lists of Long Island’s freshwater to help you get started. 

If fishing for freshwater bass – jerkbaits (preferably suspending or slow-rising to avoid snagging bottom branches and weeds), lipless crankbaits or blade baits, finesse jigs with soft plastic trailers, or the venerable casting spoon weighing ¼ ounce or less, are solid bets. Look for downed trees, weedy areas, and drop offs that can hold fish. I prefer crankbaits and jerkbaits when I’m fishing new water, with a slow & steady retrieve. 

In the salt, there are still bass to be found on the beaches. Slim soft plastics, tubed diamond jigs, and minnow plugs would be my choice of lure right now. Party boats have been hitting the wrecks and catching bounties of black sea bass, tautog, and cod, and some diehard boaters out there are still on bluefin not far from shore. 

White perch are around and great fun on light tackle. Perhaps the most difficult part is finding a brackish stream with a consistent bite. The universal curly tail grub, small hair jigs, and lightweight Kastmaster spoons are all effective white perch baits. Look for brackish streams and estuaries. If your drag starts screaming, you may have hooked a carp. 

To quote Winston Churchill – “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” – of winter fishing, that is. Don’t succumb to cabin fever. Get out and catch ‘em up until the trees bloom and the pollen fills the air. And then catch a few more. 

Thanks for reading, and tight lines.  

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