Long Island saltwater fishing is beginning to come alive with the arrival of schoolie bass as well as a few looking to break through to keeper size. Flounder have also had a good week, not that many anglers have been crushing them, but most are coming away with a couple each trip out. Bait fish seem to be stacking up well in all waters and with the warm weather streak we’ve seen this week, it should be any day now that the bite breaks out.
At Stella Maris, Stretch reports that anglers have been picking up flounder off the Plum Beach Flats as well as near the Crossbay Bridge. Clams have received the best response here. Off the same bridge, bass have been coming into play as well, hitting live bunker. In Great Kills, the stripers are hitting live bunker from shore and the always popular Mojo rigs for any boats looking to work a little trolling.
In Oceanside, at River Bay Outfitters, Paul is excited about the way things are shaping up in both the saltwater and fresh. Out of Jones Beach, there have been some decent bass showing up with nearly keepers outside the inlet and quite a few schoolers inside. Friends of the shop have found fish using fly rods from shore and off a kayak. On the fresh water side, a local pond offered up four bass to an angler this week with the biggest fish weighing about three pounds. Trout are stocked and on the prowl in the parks and the perch and pickerel bite continues to improve each day as well.
At Sea Isle Custom Rod Builders, Robert has been receiving reports of schoolie bass on both sides of the Island in the bays. The bigger fish have been showing up in New Jersey and should be making their way north any day now. Small plugs and soft plastic grubs or paddle-tail shad have had no problem producing results and should only get hotter as we move forward.
Brendan from Captree Bait Shop has had schoolies in locally and hears there are bigger bass to be had in the Fire Island Inlet. The flounder fishing has also picked up here after a slow start to the season as the boats continue to make the trip out when not focusing on the early bass bite. Clams are the way to go for the flatties and although the fishing isn’t what it was in years past, it seems to be one of the better years in recent memory so it’s best to get them while it’s good.
In Wantagh, at Causeway Bait and Tackle, there has been a mix of flounder and schoolies working the local bait schools and flats. Great South Bay has been the most targeted waters and hasn’t disappointed. The fishing has yet to really take off but the early signs are promising and as we know from recent years, these waters always have a way of producing high quality fish and never wasting a day on the water.
On the North Fork, at Miller Place Bait and Tackle, Jim reports that the back harbors have been offering plenty of small bass with the biggest coming in at 22 inches thus far. These fish have fallen victim mostly to the soft plastics. Smith Point Bridge has begun to get hot as well with a mix of bass and blues working their way through.
In Hampton Bays, at White Water Outfitters, Bryce has seen lots of local bass under the 105 Bridge and Quogue Canal. These fish still seem to be the winter holdovers but a bite is a bite at this point in the season. Flounder fishing has been decent in the Quogue Canal also.
Ryan Schlichter blogs for On The Water magazine. Visit www.onthewater.com for the full version of this report, including the fishing forecast for our waters and other regional fishing news.