Long Island Striper Fishing

Long Island and striper fishing are almost synonymous in my mind, and Long Island striper fishing is simply fantastic, ranging from famous spots like Montauk at the extreme tip, to places you've never heard of. With the nearby Hudson River (discussed below), a major spawning ground, how can fishing be anything other than excellent?

I have found much of Long Island shore fishing access to require a bizarre mix of permits for access, at least at night. Fortunately there are rules that are usually easily figured out, although beach buggy access is more difficult and often only available for locals, just like many other places.

My introduction to Long Island fishing was in the late 80s when I spent a few days working in the city, and a few more days living in my car (a small 2 seater Mazda RX7) in the Montauk Lighthouse parking lot and "fishing my ass off." It was late September and fishing was hot, with plenty of bass and bluefish, and a blitz or two each day. I wasn't fly fishing yet, that was a few months off, but I have returned and the fly fishing opportunities are pretty awesome too! The incredible variety of fishing locations at Montauk amazed me, from "combat fishing" of the rocks in front of the lighthouse, fighting both surf and especially crowds, to fishing off rocks on both the north and south side, and sandy beaches.

The Montauk regulars are hardcore and often wear wetsuits and swim to rocks to fish. Two fisherman I had talked to a couple of times were joking & giving me a hard time one night as the fish were out of "non wet suit range," so I striped to my skivvies, swam to a rock, caught a decent fish, and then swam back to shore all within 10 minutes. A week later back in Maine, well connected Captain Cal Robinson, founder of Saco Bay Tackle, had already heard of my antics. Before I had kids I fished really really hard!

The North Shore and South Shore, considered by most regulars as very distinct from Montauk, can be considered different regions, just like in Cape Cod, although with significant similarities.

The South Shore is ocean facing, has lots of beaches, inlets, and bays. Some of the parks have excellent access and fishing, including Captree State Park, Caumsett State Park, Sunken Meadow State Park, and Wilwood State Park. Jones Inlet and beach, Fire Island, Moriches Inlet and Shinnecook Inlet are also well known areas that hold lots of bait and bass.

The North Shore is Long Island Sound, and offers quite a variety of fishing terrain, including rocky coasts, marshes, beaches and back bays.

Stripers show up in very early April and fishing for cows starts gets good in May and especially June. The fish stick around a long time, even longer than most fisherman. I once had a great night in December off the lighthouse rocks in Montauk and the place was almost deserted. Just myself and one other fisherman, whereas 6 weeks before I was sharing the rocks with a couple hundred of my closest friends. And yes, there were still big fish around.

You know, I wouldn't mind living on Long Island!

Hudson River Striper Fishing

New York striper fishing includes not only Long Island, but also the Hudson River and surrounding areas. The Hudson River is a major spawning ground for striped bass, spawning occurring in May and early June, and fishing in the river can be quite good with river fish showing up usually in late March, and  reaching the upper limit of the Federal Dam in Troy by the end of April.

There is both shoreline and boat access, and fish in the 20-25 lb range and up to 40+ pounds are not uncommonly caught in the Hudson. March to early June are considered the prime and most popular months, and the fall run from September to November is also popular. Because of PCB pollution and contamination, you may not want to eat Hudson River stripers, although the bass ignore the PCBs and thrive.

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