Long Island and NYC Fishing Report- November 30, 2023

The blackfish bite holds strong in the Sound and the NY Bight, bluefin crash through bait schools near shore and offshore wreck trips yield a mixed bag of cod, sea bass and more.

Long Island and NYC Fishing Report

Western L.I. and NYC

The Western L.I./NYC Fishing Report is written and compiled by NYSDEC licensed kayak fishing guide, Nick Cancelliere (@li_kayak_fishing).

  • From the entire crew at OTW – We hope you had a great Thanksgiving! 
  • The North shore quiets down, but bass are still biting in a few corners of the back bays. 
  • Blackfish continue to chew North to South, keepers aplenty.
  • Bass, blues, and bluefin continue to bust along the South shore.
  • Herring is on the radar.

Jamie from Bay Park Fishing Station in Oceanside reports:

“Striped bass are still pressed up against the beaches with the bunker pods. Bluefin run-offs are more and more common while targeting bass, and many anglers are marking bluefin in as shallow as 30 feet of water! Topwater plugs and live-lined bunker have been the go-to for both bluefin and bass. Bay Park’s holiday sale is on! 15% off all rod and reels, 20% everything else in the store!”

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

“We weighed a couple of 12 pound bluefish this week. There’s been a lot of gators still around mixed in with the striped bass. Things have pushed out a little deeper around 40-60 feet from what our customers tell us. The bite is still decent but we’re definitely past the peak. Bluefin sightings continue!”

Paul McCain from River Bay Outfitters in Baldwin said:

“It’s been quiet on the salt front, but there are guys out in the bays catching schoolies here and there. I plan to go out in the salt one more time this season, weather permitting. We have some warmer days ahead that should accommodate any fishing plans. 

Most of what I’ve been doing is freshwater on the Connetquot and in ponds across the island. The Connetquot River is high right now, which makes for great fishing in that spot. I spent an entire day there recently and had 20 to 30 fish on a wide array of flies – nymphs, mop flies, and streamers. 

If you’re planning on steelhead fishing upstate, know that with the recent snowfall (and soon, snowmelt) the rivers are extremely high. Conditions will be very challenging. The rain forecasted into next week will make things worse.”

Captain Josh Rogers of Gypsea Charters in Brooklyn reports:

“Plenty of action on the last few ocean trips. We’ve had a good mix of shorts and nice keepers making their way into the boat. Quite a few limits have been taken on each trip with fish to 7 pounds. The bite should continue to get better and better as water temps continue to drop. We are blackfishing daily by reservation only from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call or text (516)659-3814 for info and availability!”

Anglers aboard the Gypsea are catching tog to 7 pounds on both jigs and rigs this week. (@gypseacharters)

Captain Adrian Moeller of Rockfish Charters in Queens reported that they had just returned to the dock from their last trip of the season. They had bluefin tuna busting all around the boat while they were catching stripers. The skipper wishes everyone a happy holiday season and off season!

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


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A post shared by Brian (@bsprex)

On the North shore, I opted to launch the kayak one more time, hoping to find pockets of bait and bass on them in a corner of a back bay. Instead, I trolled through the entire bay seeing nothing but flat water and a handful of floating birds. Whereas last week we had schoolies blitzing the shoreline, this week the bays looked like a graveyard. The trees, once vibrantly orange, yellow, and red were now mostly bare. It was overcast and grey, and the waters were still with nothing but a cool breeze to stir them. 

I parked my kayak by an estuary, casting shads on the bottom and glide baits near the surface, but dozens upon dozens of casts were fruitless. I threw on a peanut-bunker-patterned shad and opted to troll the entire bay, hoping to find a stray bass somewhere. Ultimately though, it was lifeless. There was no bait I could see, no blitz activity, and the few birds that were around were either floating in the water or taking off to drop a clam on the parking lot pavement. 

A lot of anglers have had their last trips of the season this week, myself included. But there’s still fish out there to be caught. Some party boats and private charters are still sailing. Most of the bass may have moved on, but the blackfish are still chewing, herring will arrive soon if not already, and the freshwater fish have nowhere to go. 

Western L.I. and NYC Fishing Forecast

On the North shore, we still have a little over a week left of blackfish season. The inshore bite never seemed to stop, and both kayak and boat anglers alike have had continued success finding keepers in nearshore structure. While my report above painted a gloomy picture for the back bays, there are definitely holdover bass to be caught for the diehard striper fishermen out there. But they don’t need me to tell them that – they’re probably knee deep in a corner of a bay right now throwing lures. 

The NY Bight blackfish season continues until December 22nd, and the striped bass season ends December 15th. Party boats like the Gypsea out of Brooklyn will continue to sail for both blackfish and stripers until the end of the season, though many charters have already closed the books on their 2023 season. Still, you have plenty of options whether its surfcasting, jumping onboard a party boat, or togging both from shore or from a boat. Not to mention freshwater.

And it’s definitely early, but keep an eye out for herring and stock up on sabiki rigs while your local shop is still open. Herring fishing isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, myself included, but it is a winter option and both deep-fried and (homemade) pickled herring is delicious. Just ask former NY kayak fisherman Elias V. 

Freshwater fishing this past week wasn’t so easy, however. A lot of ponds froze over in the below-freezing temperatures making it impossible to fish some stocked trout holes. Rivers and streams are your best option during freezing weather, and the way winter 2024 is forecasted, they will likely be the only option through the peak winter months. However, we have a warm day ahead of us in the 50’s today, and highs in the mid 50’s this weekend which should make for some relatively comfortable fishing (just bring a rain jacket). 

One more very important thing before I wrap up this report – this Monday, Dec. 4 at 6:30 p.m., the DEC will be having an in-person public hearing at their HQ in King’s Park (123 Kings Park Blvd) for Striped Bass Draft Addendum II. This is your opportunity to give input on the proposed regulations for stripers, and what you say here will have more impact than a text message, social media comment, or forum post. Make sure your voice is heard as a recreational angler by attending. If you can’t make it, a recording will be posted by the DEC afterwards. 

You can find the full list of public hearings for Draft Addendum II and information on attending here.

Stay warm and get tight. Fishing never ends – the season just changes, and that’s why the Northeast has the best fishery on the planet. 

Thanks for reading, and tight lines. I’ll see you in December!

The Western L.I./NYC Fishing Report is written and compiled by NYSDEC licensed kayak fishing guide, Nick Cancelliere (@li_kayak_fishing).

Eastern Long Island Fishing Report

The Eastern L.I. Fishing Report is written and compiled by OTW Field Editor, drone pilot and NYSDEC surf/fly fishing guide, Tim Regan (@southforksalt).

  • Hot ghost bluefin bite not far off the central south shore.
  • Smaller stripers making their way along the south shore… “death rats.”
  • Fallback freshwater fishing is productive. Fish are surprisingly active right now.
  • Awesome bottom fishing available: double digit blackfish on both Forks. Sea bass to 6+ pounds. Cod to 12 pounds.

The Fishfinder of Captree reports: 

“Sunday’s trip was targeting striped bass in the ocean, and we jigged them up nonstop starting at 10am. Slots, overs and under were all taken on diamond jigs, and we even put some gator blues to 15 pounds on the deck. Friday’s trip was similar. On Thanksgiving, we poked around the inlet a bunch, and caught about 50 bass from 22 to 27 inches.”

The Celtic Quest Fishing Fleet of Port Jefferson reports: 

“We wrapped up our 2023 season this week, concluding a fantastic fishing year. Our final day was slower than we hoped, but we managed to cull some nice tog for our clients. Mattituck has been producing a tough bite this past week; skilled anglers have been picking some keepers, and some anglers struggled with the hard currents and heavy lead. We had tautog to about 6.5 pounds this week.” Call them at 631-928-3926 for booking info, or check the website/Facebook for more info.

The Peconic Star 3 of Greenport reports:

“We finished up the 2023 season with a solid bite of blackfish. We had 12 anglers pull up 150 blackfish the other day, keeping about 30 of them to 9 pounds. We also had some late-staying sea bass come over the rail. With a funny (but solid) bite the day prior, it was a good week to go out. We’re already looking forward to sailing again May 1.”

Brooklyn Girl in Orient reports:

“Tautog fishing has been nuts this week! One or two days saw a tougher bite, but when the bite was on, the fish were hungry and they were big! We saw a few double digits come over the rail this weekend. We also saw a ton of sea bass on Saturday, then none on Sunday; we picked a few cod both days. The “off day” we had saw 53 keepers come over the rail to 6+ pounds, with Dennis and Jordan putting 7 each on the deck. Keith Senior picked two double digits on Sunday, at 10.15 and 10.5 pounds.”

Judging by the catch from the Brooklyn Girl, there’s still some great blackfish action off the North Fork of the island in the Sound.

Bill at Chasing Tails Bait and Tackle in Oakdale reports:

“It’s ghost season, and I definitely don’t mean Halloween. There are tuna of all shapes and sizes (mostly big) ripping around very close to the shore. Jigging and popping is working very well, or rig up a nice, tasty ballyhoo for ‘em! There are some monsters lurking out there. Striped bass action has slowed down quite a bit, the last reports were from the inlet. A wide open blitz, but mostly smaller fish. Still lots of fun on light tackle and fly gear. Tog action is non stop with monster fish still coming up from the bottom. They’re deeper and finding their rock piles and wrecks to hang out on. 

If you’re heading to a local lake, the bass and pickerel action is much hotter than the weather. Jigs, Senkos, and jerkbaits are the go-to’s for this time of year. In-line spinners can be very effective this time of year as well. Yellow perch and bluegill are schooled up tight and love pulling down a worm and bobber rig whenever possible. White perch are starting to show their faces as well! They love curly tail jigs, marabou jigs, small swim baits, and a juicy nightcrawler on a hook. This little cousin of the beloved striped bass is a ton of fun to catch on ultralight tackle and fly gear. Trout are active later in the mornings, and they’re chewing nymphs hard! A solid streamer bite can be produced as well.”

The Hampton Lady of Hampton Bays reports:

“This past weekend’s wreck trips all came back with a lot of meat. We sailed Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and picked full boat limits each time. Giant sea bass over 6 pounds were flying over the rails. As a bonus, we reeled in some cod, pollock and weakfish that won pools, and some hubcap scup and ling were in the mix.”

Big sea bass were chewing alongside cod, weakfish and more during the Hampton Lady’s offshore wreck trips this past weekend.

Chris Albronda from Montauk reports:

“The focus this past week was on bottom fishing. Big Black Sea bass, tautog and cod were the quarry, with some ling and pollock in the mix. Up until the full moon, the jig bite for tog was excellent, producing some double digits. Black sea bass have fattened up, making for thick filets and epic battles on light tackle. Cod have been on the smaller side, but those specifically targeting them have been putting together some great catches of fish to 12 pounds. Stripers seem to have departed our area, as the reports and sightings of bass and birds has grown slim. The false albacore have definitely moved offshore.”

Bill Wetzel of the Surf Rats Ball reports:

“My season may be over, as it’s been my best fall in the past ten years and the east end seems quiet. There were reports of a gill net bringing in 150 fish about 5 days ago, so that is promising. I worked an evening tide on the north side for a few hours to keep it honest. No hits, and all I saw was one peanut bunker wash up. Peanuts would suggest that daytime is the best bet, but I was hoping for a herring bite.” Subscribe today at www.longislandsurffishing.com.

Montauk’s Viking Fleet reports:

“Sunday’s trip to Cox’s Ledge saw some outstanding sea bass action with some nice cod in the mix. There are big porgies, big cunner and some ling for the picking as well. Frank Daskalakis picked our pool-winning cod, at 9 pounds. Chen Hang from Brooklyn took the sea bass pool with a 6 pounder. The rest of the weekend went quite similarly. Recently, we’ve had some stud blackfish come over the rail when targeting them. The bottom fishing is top notch right now!”

Eastern L.I. Fishing Forecast

It’s been really quiet on the ocean side this week. A few days of huge surf put most anglers out of the game. I disappeared to some freshwater haunts and deep estuaries on those days to target anything willing to chew. The saltwater spots were still holding some stripers and the freshwater spots were productive on the panfish front.

Now is the time of year to start searching for striped bass in the backwaters rather than out front. (@southforksalt)

Small presentations worked the best; plugs and jigs both got the job done. Move that lure really slowly, hardly at all. These fish are slowing to a crawl when we get those overnight arctic blasts. They’ll have you thinking the water is completely lifeless if you don’t tone down your tempo.

This overzealous white perch took a swipe at one of my plugs that was half its size. (@southforksalt)

I’ve had carp on my mind this week, so I’ll incorporate them into my routine moving forward. Sometimes they’ll take marabou flies/jigs in the cold water, but that’s kind of a tall order. I like doing one of three things once we get to these cold months and I’ve got carp on the mind. I think the easiest approach (and the one I do least) is baiting and waiting. Wrap a hook with a worm or two, so it’s just a big hunk of meat laying on the bottom; or do the same with corn, bread, shrimp, some combo of those, or some secret ingredient you came up with yourself. Personally, I’ve had some awesome luck with shrimp. Once those fish get feeding, you’ll be catching.

My favorite approach is doing the ol’ bait-and-switch with bread & marabou flies. I like to squeeze bread into little balls that sink, and throw ripped-up, unsqueezed slices of bread out there like a frisbee to float on the surface. Once you get the carp feeding in a certain area, toss a white marabou fly into your chum. The uninitiated probably can’t imagine just how exciting it is to get a carp to eat a surface fly. Carp are smart and discerning, with outstanding senses of taste, sight and smell, and they are very adept at spitting the hook. As a carp rises to a floating fly, it moves slowly and inspects as it ascends. That slow rise causes this tidal wave of energy to rise up inside me, and it becomes very difficult to stop myself from setting the hook prematurely. It is electric. Often I’ll go fishless the first day, due to lack of self control, as I whiff over and over. When I wait, though, and that fish sucks the surface fly into its mouth… tightening that line puts me on cloud 9. Even if the fish is no larger than 16 inches, I’m ecstatic. Sometimes, the carp won’t eat those surface slices, though, nor your surface fly for that matter. They’re going to eat the bread though (or something else is), so I use a sinking white marabou fly instead. You don’t see the extremely exciting surface-eat, but it is riveting when the line comes tight. Those fish can hit pretty friggin hard too!

The third way is the most genuinely satisfying, and that’s feeding the carp a fake version of what the carp wants to eat. Fly-wise, I reckon the squirmy wormy works like half the days I use it, making it my most successful presentation. Sometimes the carp only want bugs, and sometimes they only want certain types of bugs. Nymphs get the job done pretty darn well. I’ve hooked my largest carps on wooly buggers in the spring, when the damselfly nymphs abound. Tiny perdigon nymphs are a regular offering of mine too. I short-strip them across the bottom, or dead drift them in current. One time I stumbled upon the light tackle legend John Paduano as he keyed into a solid carp bite. Lord knows what these carp were eating, but John’s stonefly presentation was not getting refused at all! 

Carp are amazing, and I suggest you give them a try this coming year. There should still be time to make it happen before 2024. You won’t regret it.

I expect more stripers to roll by the south shore. I’ve got a good feeling about some biggins passing by, so I’ll stay vigilant on the ocean side, and keep my fingers crossed. Don’t forget to bring your blue lures if you’re going to fish the surf this time of year.

It’s that time of the season for shop specials, so contact your local vendor to see what they’ve got going on. Many of your favorite shops, captains, rod builders, lure makers, guides et cetera are doing the same, so check in on them soon!

We’ve got some warm nights ahead, and thus some solid potential for good bites in the next week. I don’t think the striper run is over, but it’s ending. This week could be your last chance to get a migrator, and potentially a big one, so keep your head in the game!

The Eastern L.I. Fishing Report is written and compiled by OTW Field Editor, drone pilot and NYSDEC surf/fly fishing guide, Tim Regan (@southforksalt).

1 thought on “Long Island and NYC Fishing Report- November 30, 2023

  1. Pete E.

    The Herring should have arrived a week before thanksgiving. Once again it’s December and no arrival. Another collapse of a fishery.

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