Captree Fishing: The Complete Guide

Aug 1, 2022 | 9 minute read
Reading Time: 9 minutes

A short hop, yet a world away from the hustle and bustle of New York City, Captree promises calm and tranquility as you look out onto the bays and beyond. Captree fishing adventures are legendary. Heck, this spot is home to Long Island’s largest charter fleet! Casting a line here is a must for any visitor – whether on a day trip from the Big Apple, or spending a week or more here.

A view of the lighthouse from Captree State Park

And it doesn’t all take place on boats, either. Captree boasts beaches, parks, and fishing piers that have room for everybody. Meanwhile, the picnic areas and recreational facilities on offer make sure that there’s something for you all. Combine your visit with some crabbing, scuba diving, or a visit to the Fire Island Lighthouse. No matter what you opt for, you’re in for a treat. So, without further ado, let’s see what Captree fishing is all about.

What kind of fish can I catch in Captree?

First thing’s first. Before you head anywhere to cast your line, you’re going to want to know what you’ll be going after. With the rich bays surrounding Captree State Park, your attention will first be drawn to the inshore fishery. But offshore trips are also possible, where a whole lot more awaits! Here’s our pick of what you can catch when fishing in Captree.

Fluke

An angler holds a Flounder caught fishing in Captree

A favorite of inshore anglers wherever they show up, Summer Flounder – or Fluke – are famed for their meat qualities. They’re relatively easy to catch, although you may need some strength to pull the bigger ones off the bottom. And, let’s face it, these creatures were never going to win any beauty contests! Anyway, they provide fun for the whole family when the season hits, and offer plenty of rewards for you to take home.

It may seem like there are plenty of these tasty flatfish in Captree, but that’s only because they’re heavily regulated to make sure there’s enough to go around. Fluke season opens May 4 and runs through the end of September. Visiting in April? Don’t worry, you can always catch smaller Winter Flounder instead. All in all, there’s still plenty of time to get your fill!

Seabass

A group of anglers hold Black Seabass caught on a successful fishing trip from Captree

Another culinary delight in these parts of the world, Seabass can also be found in abundance here. The shallow waters of the bays around Captree make for a hospitable environment for these creatures, and you’ll get to reap the rewards. Actually a kind of Grouper, Black Seabass are very fun to target. They’ll put up a real battle to try to get off the end of your line, making you work hard to land your catch.

Like their reef-dwelling cousins, they just love to hang around structures, feeding off the nutrients and bait fish that congregate here, too. That means that you can go after them from shore or from a boat! You can usually keep them throughout the second half of the year, so you won’t have to worry about missing out on the season unless you’re very unlucky!

Tautog

An angler holds a Tautog caught fishing on Long Island

A real year-round creature in these waters is the smaller but nonetheless exciting Tautog. Known as Blackfish to local anglers, they’re a staple of the Captree fishing scene whenever you come. However, like the other fish, they’re subject to strict seasonality regulations, with a short spring season in April followed by a longer fall season from October.

They’re feisty little fighters, and can be tricky to land. They favor rocky bottoms closer to shore, so you need to be careful not to snag your line once you’ve got one. In winter, you may need to head to the middle of the bays, or even out beyond the inlet. However, it’ll all be worth the hard work, as you head home with some tasty fish fillets to cook up. 

Striped Bass

A group of anglers aboard a fishing charter hold a Striped Bass each after catching them in the bays

Colloquially known as Stripers or Rockfish, the star of the show when it comes to fishing in Crabtree is Striped Bass. All along the East Coast, inshore anglers go wild for these creatures. They’re so popular on Long Island, that we’ve even written a blog post about them! Not only are these creatures popular, but they’re also available to harvest nine months of the year. Chances are, when you’re here, you’ll be targeting this monster.

Why are they so popular? Well, their size, sheer number, the propensity to fight, their taste… Still not convinced? You can target them all over the bays around Captree with pretty much any technique you like. Troll the deeper waters, bottom fish from the piers or surf, or even try fly fishing! Whatever you opt for, we’re sure you’ll enjoy it! And did we mention they promise to yield plenty of meat?

And More!

An angler holds a large Tuna caught in the Atlantic

While we’ve focused on some of the gems of the inshore fishing scene above, it doesn’t stop there. Weakfish and Scup are also popular catches on the bays or from shore. And Captree’s fishing offers more than just that! The largest fleet on Long Island (did we mention?) offers boats of all shapes and sizes ready to take you out to the deep, too.

Speaking of offshore, some true delicacies can also be found beyond the barrier islands. Mahi Mahi are abundant when the season hits in summer, with Yellowfin and Bluefin Tuna also coming quite close to shore. Sharks are always a possibility, with Threshers nearshore and Makos offshore providing an adrenaline rush. All in all, there’s something for everyone when it comes to fishing in Captree, so come and try it out for yourself!

How to Go Fishing in Captree

Of course, it’s not quite as simple as just deciding what you want to target and picking up your rod and reel. The next thing you’ll need to know is how to go about filling your cooler. We’ve spoken enough about the size of the fleet in Captree, so it will come as no surprise to find out that there’s a charter here to suit your needs. However, fishing here can be so much more. Here’s our lowdown of how to get your fish on in Captree.

Captree Surf Fishing

An angler casts from shore in Fire Island, NY

Located on the south shore of Long Island, Captree offers a whole range of options to cast from the surf. The state park itself is a prized fishing spot, with anglers filling up the shoreline all year round. Fishing in this way is cheaper than heading out with a charter, and can be just as productive when the season is in full flow. But come when the fish aren’t biting, and it can be hit and miss.

It’s not just the state park that offers surf fishing opportunities, though. Head across the bay to Fire Island – it’s accessible by car – and you’ll have 31 miles of beaches to cast from, both bayside and oceanside. If you fancy getting up and close to the fish, then the creeks towards South Oyster Bay are great for wade fishing!

Captree Pier Fishing

A view of Captree fishing pier looking towards the water

As with any inshore fishing destination worth its salt, Captree has made the most of it. The state park boasts two regular fishing piers and two built for people with disabilities! Attack the bays from these vantage points, and you can spot, cast, and reel in your favorite fish. All the inshore creatures can be caught from the piers when in season, as they all come close to feed near the structure.

If the piers are crowded, then casting nearby can be just as productive. Many local anglers actually prefer this! These are also hotspots for crabbing, so there’s something for all ages, with the promise of catching enough for at least a two-course meal! Whether on or next to the pier, casting your line will be completely free of charge, so there’s no excuse not to give it a go!

Captree Party Boat Fishing

A large party boat awaits customers in the inshore waters of the East Coast

Wherever you are along the East Coast’s inshore fishing grounds, you’re sure to spot a party boat. A popular option for anglers on a budget, or for team-buildings, celebrations, and parties, these large vessels are as versatile as they are popular. Of course, it’s no surprise that you can find a few in Captree.

There are plenty of options to join a large group or to hire your own monster party boat, here. These vessels are slow, so you’ll only be able to explore the bays. But that’s okay, as the fishing is awesome! The only downside is that the powerful engine and sheer number of lines in the water may scare some of the fish – they’re really not as dumb as they look! However, you’re still very likely to land something tasty.

Captree Charter Fishing

A large offshore sportfishing boat makes its way to sea from Captree

The only thing better than exploring the bay on a boat with loads of people, is doing it with your nearest and dearest – and an experienced captain. Charter fishing in Captree is the best way to get your fish on, as you explore a range of fishing grounds on a trip tailored exactly to your desires, needs, and skill levels. Babylon is your best bet for finding one!

If the fish aren’t biting, you simply head off to a spot where they are! Maxed out on a certain species? Go off and target another. Needless to say, you’ll need a charter to go after the big game species offshore. But it’s also the best way to almost guarantee that you’ll catch fish inshore. Everything you need will be included in the price, so you can just focus on fishing these productive waters.

Captree Fishing Spots

A fishing pier leads out into the Great South Bay with two fishing boats nearby

Whether on foot or on a boat, you’ll want to know exactly where to head to get the biggest bang for your buck. Fortunately, as soon as you hit the water around Captree, you’ll find fish all around you. But, there are a few special spots that you should check out.

  • Captree State Park: With your entrance or parking fee covering everything for your day out, you can take advantage of shore and pier fishing in stunning surroundings. 
  • Captree Fishing Pier: The largest pier is located right next to the parking lot in the northwest corner of the park. It stretches far out into the bay, so you can target all the best inshore fish.
  • Captree South Shore: You’ll find all the best beaches here, right next to the second parking lot. This is your best surf fishing spot, with a long fishing pier running parallel to the shore attracting plenty of fish. 
  • Fire Island: Cross the Fire Island Inlet Bridge and explore 31 miles of beaches. Bayside and oceanside fishing is possible, with plenty to keep the family entertained, too.
  • Great South Bay: The state park looks out onto this great body of water, which offers up all the favorite inshore creatures. How best to explore it? By getting on it!
  • Fire Island Inlet: Where the bay flows to the ocean, the waters get a little choppier, but it’s worth getting your sea legs ready for. Monster Stripers love it here, and you may find a few stray offshore beasts.
  • Atlantic Ocean: So we’re stretching it a bit with this one, but the productive spots offshore change so frequently, that we suggest you follow a professional captain to explore the deep sea fishing grounds. 

Need to Know

A sign displaying the words "bait and tackle, fishing licenses"

So, this is the section where we would usually tell you about fishing licenses, and who needs what. But not in Captree! Whether casting from a boat, from shore, or from a pier in saltwater, you won’t need to spend a penny. If you’re fishing with a charter, you actually won’t need to do anything! However, if you have your own vessel or are fishing from shore, you should enroll in the Recreational Marine Fishing Registry.

As we’ve already pointed out, regulations such as seasons can be strict, but they can also differ depending on whether you’re fishing from a boat or from shore. In addition to that, there are size limits that you should get acquainted with. Head over to the NY DEC website to find out all you need to know.

Coming in summer and fall will give you the best chance of landing a mixed bag. Not only that, but it’s also when most fish are available to take home. With the best weather of the year in summer right through September, why not make the most of it and spend one day in the shallows and one day offshore?

And You’re Good to Go!

A view of the Robert Moses Causeway Bridge that links Captree to the mainland at sunset

It’s as straightforward as that. Hopefully, you now know everything you need before embarking on your Captree fishing adventure. It’s the perfect getaway from NYC and the perfect spot for a mixture of relaxing and having fun, while targeting some prized fish. Whether in or just visiting the Big Apple, Captree has something for you. Come and take advantage of the East Coast’s rich fishery in stunning surroundings!

Have you ever been fishing in Captree? How was it? Let us know all about it in the comments below!

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