Striped Bass Fishing in Long Island: The Complete Guide

Aug 25, 2022 | 8 minute read Comments
35
Reading Time: 8 minutes

With diverse, abundant fisheries that can only be described as “unrivaled,” Long Island should be first on your list when it comes to your New York adventure. Get ready to travel beyond the tourist hotspots of Manhattan, the hipster paradise that is Brooklyn, and even the foodie fanatics’ favorite, Queens. Long Island Striped Bass fishing is something that beats even the most magical of visits to the Big Apple!

Why Striped Bass, and why Long Island?

There are many reasons why Striped Bass, also known as Striper and Rockfish, has remained such a staunch favorite in the Northeast. Let’s start with the obvious: the pure abundance of them!

Thanks to their ability to inhabit salt, fresh, and brackish waters, this species can be found pretty much everywhere in Long Island. But Long Island Striped Bass fishing is most popular in saltwater by far!

This island has a jaw-dropping variety of fisheries, including the Atlantic and the many tributaries that lead into it. There’s also plenty of shallow, rocky fishing grounds that Striper love. To top it off, Long Island is smack-bang in the middle of the Striped Bass annual migration route. Depending on when you visit, your chance of hooking this fish goes from “great” to “won’t go home without one”!

And why would you want to go home without one? Striped Bass here can grow to seriously impressive sizes and are plenty of fun to catch. It’s a grand slam of top angling action!

Who can fish for them?

Although it’s a favorite target among the Northeast’s most hardcore fishermen, don’t be fooled into thinking that Striper fishing is only for the pros. This is a real “people’s fish,” thanks to its history as Long Island’s top market fish, and the variety of ways you can catch it.

Basically, Long Island Striped Bass fishing can be completely tailored to suit your skill level. It can be as simple or as complex as you’d like it to be. This is why this species is so irresistible!

Where to go

Map showing the three main fishing grounds in Long Island: Gardeners Bay, Long Island Sound, and the Atlantic.

Long Island is surrounded by some world-class waters. There’s Long Island Sound to the north, the Atlantic to the south, and Gardiners Bay at the very eastern tip. Think this sounds intimidating? Don’t worry! Local anglers have had plenty of time to discover specific Striper hotspots in these vast fisheries. We’ve compiled them here for you.

Montauk

Picture of Montauk, LI's lighthouse.

Funnily enough, from an aerial view, Long Island looks a bit like a large fish. Montauk is located on the very tip of its “tail,” and is often called “The Last Resort” by locals and tourists alike (tongue firmly in cheek, of course!) When it comes to Striper fishing, there’s plenty of reasons why this resort town should be first on your list. The majority of Long Island fishing charters depart from here, for one!

In New York State, the name “Montauk” has become almost synonymous with saltwater fishing. This is all down to the area’s many state and world records, and direct access to the Atlantic. You’ll be able to reach deeper waters if you’re fishing from a vessel, but the locations below are great options when it comes to shoreline fishing, too!

Map showing locations to fish around Montauk, New York
  • North of the Point. This easy-to-access part of the coastline is home to plenty of fast-sweeping currents, which often lead to huge Striper “blitzes.”
  • South of the Point. Striped Bass love rocky fishing grounds, and can regularly be found inhabiting the wilder waters here, so come test your skills and endurance.
  • The Elbow. This secret spot is home to some pretty turbulent waters, but it’s definitely worth a visit. Striper weighing up to 40 pounds are regularly caught here!

South Shore

Although south shore fishing often conjures up images of Montauk Point, there are some other “can’t-miss” locations we’d like to highlight, too!

  • Shinnecock Bay. Montauk’s inshore waters are world-famous, and Shinnecock Bay definitely helps contribute to this! If you’d like to try out chasing Bass at nighttime, the bay’s inlet is a great starting place.
  • Fire Island Inlet. The waters here are pretty turbulent, which might put off some fishermen. If you’re up to the challenge, Fire Island Inlet can yield seriously impressive results. One thing to note: you’ll need a good boat that can withstand these rough waters!
Fire Island offers up some stunning scenery, as well as first-class Striper fishing!

North Shore

In general, “North Shore” refers to the entire stretch of Long Island’s northern shoreline, which boasts direct access to the Long Island Sound.

Map of Northwestern fishing spots around the Long Island Sound.

If you’re looking for some literary history to accompany your angling, then this is the place to visit. “The Great Gatsby” was set in one of this area’s wealthy hamlets. You’ll get to take in some seriously stunning property as you cast off from your boat or the shoreline.

We think F. Scott Fitzgerald got it slightly wrong: You don’t need to be a wealthy socialite to fit in here. All you need is a rod, reel, and some determination!

  • Little Neck and Hempstead Bay. Located along western Long Island Sound, these are springtime hotspots for Striper. They also offer up a truly traditional Northeastern fishing experience. In fact, it’s often said that anglers in this area practically fish in each other’s backyards!
  • Lloyd Neck/Cold Spring Harbor/Center Island. This cluster of locations provides Striper action that’s perfect for expert anglers. Generally, fishermen around here pursue Bass under the cover of darkness. You can cruise the boulder-strewn shores for this fish’s favorite hiding spots!

Mattituck Inlet

Map of Mattituck Inlet in Long Island.

Looking for a secret spot that remains relatively untouched by other anglers? Mattituck Inlet is somewhat hard to access, but the pay-off is incredible! It’s nearly impossible to reach these waters by boat, so we recommend fishing from the shoreline at night. Just don’t tell anybody else!

How can I catch them?

So remember when we said that Striped Bass is the “people’s fish?” Here’s why. You can use pretty much any fishing technique to hook them, and with the guidance of an experienced angler, even brand new fishermen will soon be chasing Striper like a pro.

In fact, we think this is what makes fishing for Striped Bass in Long Island so special. It’s likely that you’ll witness hardened, local fishermen casting off alongside tourists who’ve never wielded a rod and reel before. They’re all united by their drive to hook this long-standing American tradition! All you need to do is pick your favorite technique from the options below, and join them.

Before we even get into the technique itself, it’s important to know that Striped Bass are not picky when it comes to what they eat! Herring, menhaden, flounder, crabs, worms, squid, eel…the list goes on! This might be bad news for these bait fish, but it’s good news for you. It really widens up the techniques and bait you can use. Nothing is off limits!

Trolling

If you want to hook Striped Bass from a boat, chances are you’ll usually be trolling. This species is responsive to live bait, rigged baits, jigs, spoons, and plugs. But the real winner is the lowly sandworm! A traditional and popular method is trolling sandworms behind your boat as you slowly navigate your chosen fishing grounds. Not only is it a successful technique, but it’s also a pleasant, relaxing experience, too!

Because of this, trolling for Striped Bass can be an excellent option for newer anglers. However, make sure that you choose to travel with an experienced guide who will show you the ropes. If you’re more experienced, feel free to head out alone and troll to your heart’s content!

Surf casting

If you’d prefer to stay on land, and want a more “hands-on” experience, why not give surf casting a try? This technique is really popular in Long Island, especially near Montauk, which is home to stretches of Striper-friendly shorelines. It’s also the perfect option if you want to venture out to less-fished spots, which usually aren’t accessible by boat!

Surf casting will generally see you using a spinning rod with live, cut, or artificial bait attached. You’ll patrol the beach looking for shallow, rocky fishing grounds, as well as bird activity on top of the water. These signs can indicate if Striper are lurking below! Once you’ve spotted your desired location, you’ll fix your rod into the sand and wait for the Bass to bite.

Fly fishing

If you’re an avid fly fisherman, or want to take the next step in your angling career, give chasing Striped Bass on the fly a go. New York is known as the birthplace of fly fishing in the US, after all, so where better to test your skills?

The most common approach to fly fishing for Bass in Long Island is on foot, in shallow, rocky waters. Bring your best fly fishing gear, and get ready to wade for your Striper!

These hardy, adaptable fish will gladly eat almost anything, and flies are no different. A top tip from local fishermen: use fast-sinking lines and heads to help your fly reach (and stay at) your fish’s preferred feeding level.

Preparing for your visit

When can I catch them?

This species is subject to closed and open seasons in New York, so make sure you plan your visit carefully. When it comes to Long Island Striped Bass fishing, visit between April and mid-December, when these fish are abundant and can be legally hooked!

If you’re looking to surf cast, then the spring and fall months are the best times for this. If you’re lucky enough to be visiting during the fall, make sure you head to Montauk to catch the “Striper Fall Run!”

Although Striper can technically be kept for table fare depending on where you’re casting your line, we highly recommended joining local anglers in catching and releasing these fish. Overfishing means that these species are at risk, so why not do your part in ensuring that future generations of anglers can enjoy the thrill of reeling ’em in?

What do I need to bring?

You don’t need to spend a dime to bag a NY fishing license, but you do need to enroll with the Recreational Marine Fishing Registry. This is a simple process that can be completed online.

If you choose to fish alongside a registered guide or charter, you won’t have to do anything except step aboard your vessel for the day. Your fishing license will be covered, as well as rods, reels, a variety of bait, and tackle. Fly fishing gear is the only exception – but we’re guessing that you probably have your own trusty rod you’d like to bring along, anyway!

If you’re looking for a traditional East Coast angling adventure, what could be better than targeting the fish that’s often called the “aquatic equivalent” of the American bald eagle? Striped Bass has already earned a name for itself in Long Island’s history books. Come and make yourself part of the story!

Comments (35)
  • Ian

    Apr 5, 2022

    I live in Long Island very close to the beach 5 min walking to be exact and I have caught some lovely striped bass there.I release much more than I take home for every 10 catches 9 are released always within the limits both large and small .I feed my family of four with the meat nothing goes to waste and it last for days even the head is used to make fish soup high in protein . Nothing wrong with catch and eat.. Like everything else simply do not abuse ..No need to catch and take home one everyday for the entire season..

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Marko

      Apr 5, 2022

      Hi Ian,

      Thanks for getting in touch. I agree with you, fishing’s been a way for us humans to put food on the table since the dawn of time. Nothing wrong with it, as long as we give nature enough room to replenish what we take. And if you ask me, there aren’t many things out there that can beat a good fish stew!

      Hope you enjoyed the article.

      Tight lines,

      Marko

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Hi Ian

      May 23, 2022

      Really nice to hear that.
      I do fish on the freshwater and most of the time I do release the fish.

      I would like to start fishing for the striped bass. I did buy some lures, lines and all the stuff I believe will need.
      But no experience fishing on saltwater, especially from land/shore.
      Would you suggest me any location in Long Island I’m planning to go in this weekend.

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • John Mignone

    Apr 1, 2021

    As a fishing boat owner out of City Island, NY, I was happy to read your article on Long Island striped bass fishing. As a child growing up in the Bronx fishing under the Throgs Neck bridge, (size limit back then was 16 inches), early spring and late fall fishing for stripers was a way of life.
    I thought the article was very informative and covered the concerns from all sides.
    The only thing I would add is that the New York size limits for striped bass change frequently… From early to late season and from the Hudson river to the Long Island sound there are different regulations. Your advice to fish with or consult a guide is good advice. To anyone coming to New York who loves to fish I would not want to overlook the fantastic blue fishing, fluke and abundant porgy populations which allow many different types of fishing during the summer months as well.
    Remember…. we need less podcasting and more rod casting!!!!

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Katie

      Apr 2, 2021

      Hi John,

      Thanks so much for your positive comments on the article. We’re also really happy that you shared your perspective as a local fishing boat owner! This kind of feedback is invaluable and is always appreciated.

      Your advice regarding Striped Bass size limits is very helpful, and something that I’ll add into the article. We agree that, although Striped Bass often steal the spotlight when it comes to fishing in this area, casting a line for other species like Bluefish and Fluke is also extremely awarding. Less podcasting and more rod casting is also something we can definitely get behind! Great catchphrase!

      Tight lines,

      Katie

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Frank Geremia

      Apr 17, 2021

      When I was 16, my buddy and I went fishing in Mamaroneck in our 14 foot speed boat.. we knew that we had to troll for the striped bass. My friend had one if those lures that went up and down.
      I caught a fish that we estimated at about 18 lbs. I had nothing to keep the fish in, so I released it. A few days later, i spoke about our adventures. The older folks didnt believe me and called me a liar. Thats bothered me ever since.

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Stymie

      Jun 19, 2021

      You can get past it Frank. I promise you. You’re stronger than you know.

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • East Hampton

    Mar 16, 2021

    Please be more educated and not kill the stripers.

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

  • Douglas Bauer

    Feb 19, 2021

    Just another idea, please take care when releasing theses fish. Don’t throw them back in the water. Hold them by there lower lip until they swim away on there own.

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Katie

      Feb 22, 2021

      Hi Douglas,

      Great tip, thanks for sharing it with us!

      Tight lines,

      Katie

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • Rodman

    Jul 7, 2020

    Thanks for this great overview of LI striper fishing! I thought it struck a nice balance between letting outsiders know about these amazing fishing grounds but also to act responsibly with special consideration for local concerns and standards.

    For those reading these comments, I would add that visiting the local bait and tackle shop is always a must for up-to-date info on locations, times and the best lures/baits.

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Katie

      Jul 7, 2020

      Hi Rodman,

      Thanks for reading and for your kind comment, we’re really happy you enjoyed this blog. Acting responsibly when fishing in this area is definitely something we wanted to place importance on. After all, we want to make sure these amazing fishing grounds can be preserved for generations to come!

      Your tip about visiting the local bait and tackle shop is a great one, and we agree that it’s one of the best ways for anglers to make sure they have all the up-to-date information they need. Thanks for sharing!

      Tight lines,

      Katie

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • John

    Jun 17, 2020

    KATIE IS SO RIGHT!!!!!!!!!! WAY DO YOU THINK THE LIMITS GO DOWN AND HAVE EVEN BEEN CLOSED. THANKS FOR WAKING PEOPLE UP KATIE

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Katie

      Jun 17, 2020

      Hi John,

      Thanks so much for reading the blog, and for your kind comments! I’m really glad you found it informative – our focus is on making sure people are equipped with all the information they need in order to make the best decisions about their angling adventures 🙂

      Thanks again for reading, and tight lines!

      Katie

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • steven

    Jun 11, 2020

    many people here are concerned about catch and release and survivalist so i thought I would weigh in . Some good tips would include

    1. Use heavy tackle . light tackle will exhaust the fish to death
    2. avoid using the snag and drop method . snag the bunker and they put it on A barbless circle hook of appropriate size.
    3.revive the larger fish by trolling at A slow speed holding striped bass lip until it is ready to swim away on its own.

    I hope these tips are of help to newer anglers.

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Katie

      Jun 11, 2020

      Hi Steven,

      Thanks very much for sharing these tips! They’re very useful for new and experienced anglers alike. Sustainable fishing is something we really care about, and we strongly encourage anglers targeting Striper in LI to follow any relevant catch and release regulations, as well as the helpful tips you’ve shared in your comment.

      Thanks again, and tight lines!

      Katie

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      John

      Sep 30, 2021

      Not everybody has a boat. We catch them on the pier and all you can do is literally throw em back in. They’ve always swam away thankfully

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • Anthony Cavaliere

    May 28, 2020

    I agree that we should catch and release. to many times i see inexperienced anglers playing around. keeping the fish out of the water too long and generally killing the fish. catch a couple keep one if your hungry and move on.

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Sean

      Jun 1, 2020

      Hi Anthony,

      Thanks for sharing.

      Absolutely, anglers should always educate themselves on best catch and release practices before wetting the line.

      If you’re not keeping the fish, snap a quick photo if you need to, and return the fish unharmed.

      Thanks again for sharing, and tight lines!

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Joe

      Feb 6, 2021

      Agree 100% Anthony. People picking stripers up by the gills which destroys their ability to breathe, holding them out of water where fish are going into shock because of the sudden temperature change and exposure. It’s traumatic for a fish to be out of the water. Every second matters.

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • Greenimonster

    Apr 24, 2020

    The article was great and the follow up was too.
    Thank you.
    Have fun and be safe and respectful out there everyone.

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Katie

      Apr 27, 2020

      Hi Greenimonster,

      Thanks very much for your comment! We appreciate hearing this and agree that having fun, being safe, and being respectful are the three most important rules to follow when it comes to fishing. Hopefully we’ll all be back out there casting lines soon!

      Tight lines,

      Katie

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • Gina

    Apr 16, 2020

    According to the Atlantic Marine Fisheries Commission 2020 more damage is being done to the population of striped bass by catch and release
    Boats will go and catch large numbers of fish and even if they are released the fish are not surviving
    Best to catch what you plan on eating, stop there and enjoy a day on the boat

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Katie

      Apr 22, 2020

      Hi Gina,

      Thanks very much for your comment. We agree with you that targeting a limited number of Striper is a great way to conserve this population! We also think that anglers can greatly reduce the stress that their Striper may experience by using barbless hooks and carrying hook-removal devices, as well as landing their fish quickly to prevent exhaustion. If you have any other tips, we’d love to hear them 🙂

      Tight lines,

      Katie

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • Steve

    Apr 8, 2020

    Catch and eat ?!

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Katie

      Apr 9, 2020

      Hi Steve,

      Thanks for getting in touch. It’s great to hear from people who are passionate about sustainable fishing.

      We strongly encourage releasing any fish, especially larger Stripers. At the same time, they’re an important food fish and we didn’t want to ignore that. I hope you understand.

      Thanks again for bringing it up. I’ve updated the article underneath the “Preparing for your visit” section to be a little clearer. Let me know what you think.

      Tight lines!
      Katie

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

  • Kenneth Dunkirk

    Jan 2, 2020

    I agree, the striper population is being depleted,hence slot fishing regs for 2020. This is definitely not going to be good for tourism. PLEASE catch and release.

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

  • Long Island Sound Fisherman

    Nov 8, 2019

    You should be ashamed of yourselves trying to entice folks to come kill Stripers. Those of us who’ve lived and fished here for years revere them and while I can’t say no one keeps one during the season, most of us would be embarrassed to carry a cow like you show in your pictures up the dock. Very embarrassed.

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Katie

      Nov 8, 2019

      Hi,

      Thanks very much for letting us know your thoughts on this post. It’s great to see that local anglers care so much about the conservation of this species. I’d like to assure you that we always support releasing fish, especially the large breeder females.

      If you are happy to share, I’d be really interested to know what you think we’ve overlooked or missed out. We can even add some extra info on conservation to help people understand the importance of releasing big Stripers safely.

      Thanks again for reaching out, and I hope to hear from you soon.

      Katie

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Heck

      Nov 15, 2019

      This comment is garbage. Of course people fish to eat!

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Matthew

      Aug 22, 2020

      Recreational fishermen taking 1 fish/day maximum are depleting the fishery???

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Mark

      Nov 17, 2020

      You serious ?
      Although I revere this beautiful fish,
      I always make sure everyone in my boat takes home a beautiful meat fish…
      I fish on the Hudson upstate on my boat and grew up fishing on LI….
      Embarrassed to eat these fish?

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      PJE

      Nov 19, 2020

      Ridiculous comment. It is commercial fishing that is killing the species and the recreational fishing. If I catch it and its legal it feeds my family. Get off your high horse.

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Mark Tennant

      Mar 12, 2021

      Stocks of stripers lowest they have been in 26 years. Wake up!!!! There will not be a striper fishery in LIS if we carry on the way we have been. Commercial or recreational we all have a responsibility for conservation of the species. I would like to see one or two years of restraint to allow this amazing fish to recover and start to rebuild the population. The 8 plus year old breeding females should be left alone/ released unharmed. I have fished LIS for the last 16 years and the sea robins are the only species that seems to be getting more prevalent.

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    • Reply icon

      Gloria C.

      Dec 5, 2021

      For sure PJE! Why does Commercial fishing get to catch and keep undersized fish and we can’t? That baffles us

      Leave a reply
      NameRequired *
      Your comment Required *

    Leave a reply
    NameRequired *
    Your comment Required *