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Top Fishing Charters in Long Island

Fishing in Long Island

Long Island is the largest (and longest) island in the whole of the mainland of the United States. With a total area of 1,401 square miles, this area of New York State comprises four counties — each of which have something special to offer the discerning angler.

But Bass, Flounder, and Tuna aren’t all that Long Island fishing charters can get. Along the beaches you’ll find some of the most beautiful lighthouses in the United States, including Montauk Point Lighthouse and Execution Rocks Lighthouse.

A vast number of beaches attracts scores of sun lovers, including Cooper's Beach and Jones Beach State Park, which get crowded when the summer sets in. After you’re done fishing, you can take your kids to the Cradle of Aviation Museum, which often puts on interactive exhibits. Or pay a visit to the beautiful Old Westbury Gardens, and then escape into nature in areas such as the Massapequa Preserve.

Long Island fishing spots

Despite quarrels about which counties exactly make Long Island, there’s one thing no one disputes — you’ll have access to fine fishing no matter where you fish on the island. There are dozens of bays and islands to explore, and that’s just the beginning. A short boat ride away and the Atlantic Ocean will have you trolling for Tuna or bottom fishing for succulent table fare. Stock up on pizza bagels and head out to explore some of the best fisheries around here.

Long Island Sound

Tucked in between Long Island and Connecticut, the Sound has been around for centuries. Once a glacier, the Sound is now a 110-mile stretch of water packed with fish. The sound depth varies from 65 to 230 ft and produces some of the best bottom-fishing in the state, with Winter, Summer, Windowpane, and Fourspot Flounder regularly taking the bait. Add to that Black Seabass, Porgy, Tautog, and Bluefish, and you’ll understand why anglers repeatedly wet their lines here. At times, charters come across Atlantic Bonito and False Albacore, as well as odd Mako and Thresher Shark.

Gardiners Bay

If you want to try fly fishing or scout the flats for sight casting, the Gardiners Bay will do it. This fishery produces Bonito, False Albacore, Striped Bass, and massive Bluefish who forage around inlets and harbors as these waters fill with baitfish each fall. Bluefish arrive first in early summer and are fun to catch.

Montauk

The largest commercial and recreational fishery in the State of New York, Montauk is a small town with a feisty attitude. Challenging Islamorada as ‘the sport fishing capital of the world’, Montauk will have you fishing for Bass, Fluke, and Sharks. But, the real edge Montauk has over all other fishing spots in northeast United States is its proximity to offshore canyons where the ocean floor plummets hundreds of feet. Some Montauk charters claim that most saltwater records have been smashed here. Speaking of which — the largest Bluefin Tuna in the New York State was caught right out of Montauk back in 1977. The beast weighed a stunning 1,071 pounds.

Captree State Park

Holding the largest fleet of fishing charters on Long Island, this little piece of land gives you access to solid fishing. The local fisheries produce Seabass, Striped Bass, Tautog, Weakfish, Fluke, and Scup. If you want to test your skills against other fishers, take part in annual Striped Bass fishing tournaments.

Great South Bay

Situated south of Long Island and protected by the Fire Island from the Atlantic, this lagoon offers year-round fishing opportunities. Some stretches of the lagoon are 30 ft deep and fish well for bottom fish, other patches are only 4 ft deep and allow excellent sight casting.

New York Bight

As massive pelagics make their way to the offshore canyons and back, they invade the New York Bight, an indentation minutes from Long Island, where the seafloor dives from 65 ft to over 300 ft. Mako and Thresher Shark frequent these waters, bringing not just formidable force, but razor-sharp teeth as well.

Bluewater

Head offshore and you can find superb game fish, including Tuna, Marlin, Sharks, and even Swordfish. It takes at least a full day trip to have a go at these brutes, but it’s well worth the effort, especially if you manage to reel the fish in and take a photo.

Fishing techniques

There are a whole host of fish that swim in and out of the Long Island Sound, including no less than four species of Flounder, Porgy, Blackfish (Tautog), Black Seabass, Striped Bass, and Bluefish. To get Striped Bass, troll or drift fish with large plugs, spoons, and Eel. Anglers use Clam or Crab to catch Black Seabass, dropping the bait down to the seafloor. Use baited bottom rigs to get Summer Flounder. If you want to get Tautog, use Clam as bait and sink it to the bottom.

Mako and Thresher Sharks have been known to enter the Sound, with more common Shark species being the less prestigious Sand Tiger Shark, the Sandbar Shark, and the Spiny and Smooth Dogfish. Mako Sharks are pounds of hard-hitting muscles and sharp teeth. Be careful when fishing for them. Stock up on chum, and be ready — your main goal is to tire the fish out and keep it hooked. Fifty pound stand up gear will do, and more experienced anglers recommend using 50lb test line and yards of it.

On the South Side of the Island, the Atlantic is your playground. As well as fishing for Bass, Fluke, and Sharks, you can travel 30-70 miles out in search of giant Bluefin Tuna and larger Sharks. But that’s not all. Marlin and Swordfish are there too. Trolling will give you by far the best chances of landing a big catch. Use live bait or trolling lures, depending on what you want to target.

Need to know

Various species have open and closed seasons: pay particular attention to Striped Bass, Winter Flounder, Scup, Fluke, Tautog, and Black Sea Bass.

Regulations and seasons change annually — please be sure to check this prior to your trip. If you are fishing for Tuna and Shark, you or your charter operator must possess a Highly Migratory Species permit.

You do not need a fishing license if you are fishing aboard an appropriately licensed charter or party boat in the marine and coastal district.

Long Island
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Long Island Fishing Seasons

January is all about Cod fishing. You will see anglers boarding party boats and heading out to sample these bottom dwellers. Some fishers manage to get Herring, but fishing is far from the peak season.
 

Fishing off Montauk can get you a good number of Cod. Warm up before you hit the waters as cold days can take you by surprise.

Warmer days let you fish without layering up, but you won’t find scores of saltwater fish this time around. Flounder are a good catch, and you can always enjoy the scenery. Local ponds hold some Yellow Perch.

With spring setting down on beaches and parks, schoolie Bass show up, with several keepers up for grabs. Flounder are a common bycatch. Kayak fishing is now a popular option for more adventurous anglers.

Fishing heats up as anglers head outdoors to get a mixed bag of Bass, Bluefish, Weakfish, and Porgy. There’s plenty of baitfish all around and you’re likely to reach the limits before long.

As Eels invade waters, Stripers come following, and so do Fluke and Bluefish. Rain can dampen the hype, but overall, you’ll find excellent fishing for Fluke, Porgy, Weakfish, Bluefish, and some Bass.

As the crowds gather to celebrate the Fourth of July, fishing also creates fireworks, with Tuna and Sharks biting offshore. Fluke, Seabass, Stripers, and Porgies are biting inshore.

With summer fishing in full force, you will find bites no matter what technique you try. Bottom fishing produces Fluke, Porgy, and Seabass. Baitfish entice Bluefish and Stripers around inlets and bays.

Striped Bass, Gator Bluefish, and Albacore are a common sight around Long Island. If the weather’s nice, you’ll see thick crowds looking for a nice catch to take home. Seabass, Snapper, and Fluke are hitting still.

Albacore are working the beaches, while Striped Bass and massive Bluefish forage around the entire Island. Tautog will chomp on green crabs. This is the time to be on the water.

The fall bite is in full swing, as Striped Bass reach incredible weight and gobble down Eels. Trolling with bait produces a bigger catch, while jigging will get you schooling specimens.

Cold weather and holidays keep anglers at home, which means you can fish without the crowds. Herring are regularly caught. Offshore reefs will reward you with Black Seabass and Cod.

Long Island Fishing Calendar

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What People Are Saying About Long Island

"Captain Jack is the man in Rhode Island"

Paul Hale fished with Maverick Charters on September 19, 2018

Book with Maverick Charters-Captain Jack Riley

"Fantastic fishing trip"

Pablo Argaiz fished with Bell 8 Charters on September 14, 2018

Marine fauna is very diverse, the landscape is fantastic and you can put in practice many different fishing techniques depending on the environmental conditions.

"Half Day with Captain Art Cortes"

Michael Desmarais fished with Halfback Charters on August 27, 2018

Go with an experienced captain who knows the waters and which baits are working.

"Half Day Morning Trip"

Jordan Giannone fished with Sea Spray Fishing Charters on August 25, 2018

Go during the morning, fish bite very well.

Top Fishing Techniques in Long Island

  1. Deep Sea Fishing

Top Targeted Species in Long Island

Bass (Striped)

Bluefish

Seabass (Black)

Flounder

Top Long Island Destinations