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.
- 39° 24° Dec-Feb
- 56° 40° Mar-May
- 81° 64° Jun-Aug
- 63° 45° Sep-Nov
Top fish species to target in Montauk, NY
Black Sea Bass
Susie E II
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