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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    London & SW Wales
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    Default Fall Run fishing for Stripers on Long Island

    I have just had a weekend DIY fishing for stripers on Long Island, just outside New York City, and thought some people might like some of the details to plan your own trip.

    In total, I got three decent sessions (roughly 4 hours each) over a day and a half, and my total bill (including food!), was just under $200, including a hotel and car rental. I could have managed without the car: its possible, even if you are staying in New York, to “commute” out on the Long Island Rail Road, and use a cab for the last couple of miles; in the summer I have done this after work, fished until well after dark, and got back to the city again.

    So the big take-away is that fishing what is, in my view, perhaps the greatest (and certainly most democratic) saltwater fly fishery in the world can be relatively cheap, and certainly easy, even for a visiting Limey.

    I fished two separate spots:
    - The West End of Jones Beach (a c.20-mile long barrier island of the south of Long Island). At each end are c.1 mile wide inlets into the Oyster Bay Area of salt flats and creeks, and the tide comes through these inlets at c.3 knots.
    - Silver Point, the west end of Atlantic Beach (another long barrier island). Silver Point is the southern side of East Rockaway Inlet. Again, easy sandy wading, but an even stronger current mid-tide.

    I was lucky: the tide was coming in both evenings and morning, so I had a strong inflow of water, massive amounts of bait, and the accompanying gulls, terns and stripers. But, interestingly, the advice I got from Paul McCain, who owns the wonderful River Bay Outfitters fly shop in Baldwin, is that he thinks the fishing is best at slack water.

    Either inlets are accessible by LIRR/taxi: best station for Jones Beach is Baldwin. Ask to be taken to “Jones West End 2” car park, and arrange a pick-up for later. Or use your phone, and expect a c.20 minute wait for the cab to arrive.
    Best for Rockaway is Inwood station. Ask to be taken to Silver Point beach club. They have a $20 fishing ticket if you arrive by car, but this seems to be an annual one.

    I took waders and boots, crampons (for use on jetties), a 9-weight (Orvis Frequent Flyer), and a handful of flies. I took floating, intermediate and fast sinking shooting heads, and used them all, the fast sinker being essential in the fast tide at Rockaway. My carry on bag is pretty stuffed and, in retrospect, I could have left the crampons (Patagonia River Tractors) at home. But I was glad of a cap, sunglasses, mittens and an insulated jacket.

    The conditions and fishing were terrific: cold (frost in the morning), but bright sun, and plenty of bait. In the mornings the fish came in quick pulses, closely marked by the gulls, before moving on/away. There had been a massive blow earlier in the week, and the water was a filthy brown/green, with visibility barely 18”, but this did not stop the fish from finding bait (and, occasionally, my fly)! Most important lesson was to fish well into the dark, and start well before sunrise: I was too late one morning and definitely missed the best of the fishing.

    I caught schoolies only, all in the 1-2lb range. But they go MUCH bigger: I wish someone would make a 6-piece 10-weight!

    I lost only one fly, which is an interesting reflection of how benign the sandy bottoms of the inlets are. I took 12 flies in all, being 2 each black Snake Flies (>8” long, representative of eels), white Snake Flies (6” long; squid or sand eels), chartreuse & white Clouser (sand eels), olive Half & Half (bigger bait), and 4 assorted poppers/Bangers/Crease Flies. Only used the poppers at Jones: the light was too bright at Rockaway, where the heavier flies were essential.

    This was a lovely trip: conditions were far better than I expected, especially for early November, and I suspect the fishing will continue at least through the rest of the month: I have certainly caught stripers from a boat in the area into December.

    Perhaps the best bit was the fantastic hospitality of the fellow surf fishermen: who freely offered advice, their own fishing spots, and even coffee. Maybe they took pity on a SWFF Limey?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hampshire
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    5,139

    Default Re: Fall Run fishing for Stripers on Long Island

    Nice report. What was the bait fish down there, peanut bunker?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Fall Run fishing for Stripers on Long Island

    Thank you for sharing this with us. Really interesting, really helpful - and nice to hear how welcoming the locals were!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    London & SW Wales
    Posts
    292

    Default Re: Fall Run fishing for Stripers on Long Island

    Quote Originally Posted by JRT View Post
    Nice report. What was the bait fish down there, peanut bunker?
    Surprisingly, no: it was sand eels and similar c.3” long thin bait. So Clousers and Snake Flies worked just fine: no need for deeper profile flies.
    I was surprised by how many terns were feeding: at times 50:50 with the gulls. And terns really need smaller bait, so they were useful indicators of the sort of fly size needed.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    North East Wales
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    Default Re: Fall Run fishing for Stripers on Long Island

    Nice post, takes me back to the time when my Dad worked in the States for a year and lived at Glen Cove/Oyster Bay and I spent my summer there. I didn't catch any stripers, I'm not sure that they were as common then, but I caught a load of weak fish (locals called them speckled sea trout) and bluefish, mostly on the southern shore.
    “There is no more lovely country than Monmouthshire in early spring. Nowhere do the larks sing quite so passionately, as if somehow inspired by the Welsh themselves. There is a blackbird on every thorn and a cock chaffinch, a twink as they call him there, on every bush...... It moved me profoundly. I had been spared to see another spring, and I thank God for it.”

    Oliver Kite
    “A Spring Day on the Usk”
    A Fisherman’s Diary

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hampshire
    Posts
    5,139

    Default Re: Fall Run fishing for Stripers on Long Island

    I follow the John Skinner channel on youtube and have some of his books. He's a lure guy but fishes LI sound up to Montauk and catches huge cows on eels, bucktails and soft/hard lures as well chomper blues and albies. There looks like some great ground and shore options over there.

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