Sheepshead Bay

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Fishing in Sheepshead Bay

When planning your city break in New York, you might be surprised to hear how great the fishing is. There are plenty of spots to head to that can offer freshwater and saltwater fishing. A top fishery is Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn. Known for its productive waters and proximity to top fisheries, Sheepshead Bay fishing charters are regaining their popularity and regaining the attention of anglers worldwide.

Sheepshead Bay Fishing Spots

One of the reasons this mile-long bay is so great is the flexibility it offers to continue your fishing trip. Areas such as Sheepshead Bay, Raritan Bay, Jamaica Bay, Sandy Hook, Breezy Point, Ambrose Channel, and Coney Island all combine to make up the New York Bight, and are the best places to fish before heading offshore into the North Atlantic Ocean.

Sheepshead Bay

If you decide to stay and fish in the bay, you’ll want to arrive early to get a space, before the commercial fishermen come in. With widths of 300 feet, you’ll find your hotspot in no time. You can begin your trip from one of the 10 piers here, and fish for Mackerel. Ironically, there are no Sheepshead in Sheepshead Bay anymore.

Lower Bay

The Lower Bay is great in late summer and early fall. Located southwest of Sheepshead Bay, you’ll be able to target Bonito, False Albacore, Striped Bass, Bluefish, Herring, and more. Each species has its preferred season and weather conditions – trips can run late into the year chasing the fish. The best time to fish the Lower Bay is early morning on weekdays when it’s not as crowded

Jamaica Bay

One of the most famous bays to fish, this bay is the closest to Sheepshead Bay. Leave Sheepshead Bay and head east, past the Marine Park Bridge, and you’ll find yourself in the bountiful waters of Jamaica Bay, which offers excellent saltwater fishing. Schools of Stripers head into the bay in spring, chasing the grass shrimp hatch. As the season continues, expect to catch Bluefish, Fluke, and Atlantic Menhaden (or Bunker to the locals) as well as great-sized Bass.

Gravesend Bay

Fish love structures, so it’s no wonder that fishing in Gravesend Bay is so great. By the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge you’ll be able to catch Fluke, Flounder, Striped Bass, and Bluefish. Look carefully, and you’ll probably see a seal or two, and maybe even a whale! Have your camera ready.

Fishing Tips

  • The waters in the bays are murky, so bright colors are best to use for your baits. Top colors to use include white and bubblegum-pink!

  • When fishing for Striped Bass, your fishing charter will likely be very early in the morning or at night. You’ll want a flask of coffee at hand.

  • During the summer and early fall, live eel is the top bait to use in the bay.

Need to Know

Although the waters are cleaner than they used to be, you’ll want to keep your consumption of fish caught in the bays down to 0.5 pounds per week. The New York Department of Environmental Conservation recommends that women of childbearing age and children should not eat the fish caught in the bays at all.

Regulations

You’ll need to buy a fishing license before going on your trip, as well as enrolling in the state’s free Recreational Marine Fishing Registry.

Check the season for each fish, as well as the size limit and quantity that can be kept. Your captain will keep you informed if fishing on a charter boat.

Budget

Prices can vary depending on where your charter is heading. The further the trip, the more expensive. An eight-hour trip will cost around $750, and a four-hour trip between $350–$550. Species-specific trips can cost over $1,000, especially if you’re heading out of the bays to find them.

Getting There

Fly into John F. Kennedy International Airport, and head along the Belt Parkway for 20 minutes to get to Sheepshead Bay.

The Sheepshead Bay fishing opportunities on offer are varied and awesome. A fishing charter heading out of the bay will take you to some top fisheries. Can you imagine reeling in a huge Striper in the Statue of Liberty’s shadow? Well, stop dreaming and make it a reality today!

Sheepshead Bay
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Sheepshead Bay Fishing Seasons

January

Join in the NYS Winter Classic Fishing Tournament. The temperature can drop to 26°F and will feel colder on the water, so wrap up warm.

February

If you’re brave enough to face the cold weather, February is a great month for Cod.

March

March is the unofficial start of the fishing season. Watch the St. Patrick’s Day parade and see the dolphin migration at the end of March.

April

The beginning of April still offers the chance to see dolphins on their migration. NY Bass Nations hosts a “Take A Soldier Fishing” event – register to help for the day.

May

This is an epic month for Striped Bass, lasting in the bays until the middle of June. CityParks SummerStage begins, and lasts until October.

June

Head to Fifth Avenue and watch the National Puerto Rican Day Parade. In the water, Seabass is hot this month.

July

Celebrate Pride with the biggest celebration in the world! Or join in a hotdog eating competition on Coney Island.

August

The last Monday in the month sees the start of the US Open. Now is a great time to target Bluefish in the water.

September

September is a top month for fishing. You can target Seabass, Striped Bass, Bluefish, Porgy, and plenty more.

October

On land, visit the New York Comic Con, or join in the Village Halloween Parade. In the water, target Flounder, Seabass, Bluefish, Mako Shark, and more.

November

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade is legendary and has to be seen to be believed. After the parade, head out fishing for Tautog.

December

Fishing cools down this month, but you can still catch some Bass. On land, watch the famous ball drop on New Years Eve.

Sheepshead Bay Fishing Calendar

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Top Targeted Species in Sheepshead Bay