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Montauk, NY

Photo via Flickr

On the far tip of Long Island, the water teems with tiny fish — and the big ones that come in to feed.

Where Long Island juts out into the Atlantic Ocean, a unique combination of sheltered bays, strong currents and deep nearby water create a mecca for fish — and fishermen. This it home to one of the most fabled "fall runs," when striped bass and other fish congregate as if drawn by a magnet. With a dock that boasts the biggest commercial and recreational fishing fleet in the state and a long list of salty legends, Montauk has earned a reputation as the "Sportfishing Capital of the Northeast."

The tactics here are varied, but most anglers opt for heavy tackle that can handle a heavy bait or jig in strong currents and land the big one. Some outfitters also run skiffs to sheltered, shallower waters where fly-fishing rigs (seven- or eight-weight) can be used to sight-cast to striped bass and other cruising fish. Even with heavy fly tackle, a 24-inch striper is quite a tug. The deep water is relatively close by here, and tuna, sharks and other heavyweights are targeted with heavy tackle. Outfitters typically have a range of tackle to fit the occasion and season.

The best fishing is spring to fall, hitting a peak in September and October during the fall run. That's when baitfish pile up in the inshore waters and the striped bass, bluefish and false albacore line up to feast on this all-you-can-eat buffet before they migrate for the winter. Local anglers get in on the frenzy, lining up under the Montauk lighthouse and casting into the crashing surf.

Just a couple hours from New York City, Montauk is both a quick getaway from the city and a fishing destination in its own right.

Basic Info
  • 39° 24° Dec-Feb
  • 56° 40° Mar-May
  • 81° 64° Jun-Aug
  • 63° 45° Sep-Nov
Block Island Sound, Atlantic Ocean, Fort Pond Bay
Fishing license info here: here

The Catch

Top fish species to target in Montauk, NY

Atlantic Cod

These cod prefer cool water on both sides of the atlantic. They can grow up to 50 inches and have few natural predators.

Black Sea Bass

Large adults have black bodies with slightly lighter bodies and white spots and bands on the dorsal fin.


Blackfish (aka Tautog) are brown and dark olive, with white blotches, and have plump, elongated bodies, with an average weight of 1 to 3 lb and maximum size of 3 ft


Bluefish live in temperate and tropical coastal oceans around the world and migrate seasonally. They are blue-green on the back and silvery on the sides and belly.


Flounder are a group of flatfish species. They are demersal fish found at the bottom of oceans around the world; some species will also enter estuaries.

Striped Bass

Stripers are easily identified by dark horizontal stripes across a silvery body. They can grow to more than 48 inches, weigh over 50 pounds and live up to 30 years.

More Montauk Outfitters

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