Around The Island: June Striper Spotlighting - The Fisherman

Around The Island: June Striper Spotlighting

Montauk is a consistent hot spot for the month with striped bass. Captain Savio bucktailed up this overslot with light tackle.

Touching upon Long Island’s June striper hot spots.

Fishing for Long Island’s favorite sportfish kicks into high gear this month, and excellent inshore fishing for striped bass can be had in many places. In some of these areas the fish are already “in,” but the month of June just raises their activity level and another plane. If you haven’t already, it’s time to go out looking for bass.

Long Island Sound

Different places will be “hot” from year to year and you have to wait to see which ones develop that particular season. Years ago all areas had good amounts of fish – from shoreline out – but with the decline in the striper population you have to do more pinpointing. Regardless, you can find good and even great striper fishing.

Try inside harbors and estuaries, river mouths, salt pond outlets, and points from Little Neck all the way out to Orient. And from City Island out to the CT River and onto the Rhode Island State line. You can do well fishing from shore, but you have a better chance of “connecting” by boat or watercraft simply because you have better access to the fishing areas.

Perennial hotspots are along the Mamaroneck, Rye, Greenwich CT, Hempstead Harbor, Bayville, Lloyd Neck, and Huntington shorelines, as well as the Norwalk Islands, all of Smithtown Bay, Cranes Neck going east past Port Jefferson out to Mt. Sinai, and then from Mattituck out to Orient. On the somewhat central CT shore, Westport, Southport, Fairfield (including Penfield Reef), Charles Island, and Stratford Light can be productive. You can have some stellar striped bass fishing from Clinton, CT, all the way out to the Rhode Island border, too. Old Saybrook (mouth of CT River), Groton, around Stonington, Fishers Island, Napatree Pt., and the Watch Hill reef and rip are certainly hotspots, too. The rips around Orient, including around Plum Island, the Race, and the Ruins can be great too.

Very big bass (25 to 50 pounds) will show up in the middle of the Western Sound in May, and fishing for them will carry over into the first two weeks of June. They’re on their northern migration and will stick around here for about three weeks. You’ll find them in and around the bunker schools in deep water (40 to 100-plus foot depths) from Bayville to Cranes Neck (Rye to Westport, looking at it from the other side). Remember, migrating bass move progressively east, so take this into consideration when trying to locate them. The Middle Grounds can be excellent at times, too, as can be the area around 11B off Northport. Catch them on Doc plugs, big poppers, large swimmers, Super Snacks, big swim baits, flutter spoons (like Nichols), live bunker, and “pop n drop” bunker, too. Some anglers troll Mojos effectively. If you’re a bucktailer try a bucktail with curly tail trailer. Tie a large bunker fly on a leadhead (fly/jig) (1-1/2 to 2 ounces) and try that. You can nail your biggest bass of the year right here in June!

In those rips and reefs around Watch Hill, eastern CT, Orient, and the Race, bass and big bass will be looking for squid. Throw Docs, other big “walk the dog” plugs, Super Snacks, big Sluggos, Hogy lures, and bucktails with curly tails or artificial “rind” at them. When fly fishing try big bunker flies, Flashiceivers, big squid flies, and big Deceivers.

You have endless options during the month of June around Long Island when it comes to striped bass. Every corner has potential for them.

Shallow Water Flats

We’ve got classic shallow water “sight fishing” on light-colored bottoms in a few places on Long Island, too. One productive area is the flats of Peconic Bay, where Capt. David Blinkin specializes in this type of fishing. Although most flats bass are small (4 to 8 pounds), big fish are now and again spotted in the shallows here. Other good flats locales are the perimeter of Gardiners Bay (the historic haunt of the “flats master” Capt, Paul Dixon), Shinnecock Bay, Moriches Bay, Great South Bay inside Fire Island Inlet, and the shallow flats of Smithtown Bay towards Porpoise Channel. Wait for a sunny, cloudless (or almost) day and go have at them on the fly or lure. Keep that sun behind you for better sighting. Try sand eel imitations and clousers when using fly and Sluggos, Hogys, Albie Snacks, soft plastic crabs and small bucktails with your spinning gear.

June also brings big bass (and all sizes, really, too) into Peconic Bay in the rips, channels, and drop-offs here, such as Jessup’s Neck, other points, and around Shelter Island. Very often, there are schools of menhaden nearby when the big fish show up, as it’s what draws ’em.

Western Reaches

The New York Bite, Sandy Hook, Raritan Bay, North Jersey, Jamaica Bay, Breezy Point, and the far LI Western South Shore are traditionally the best and hottest in May, and then again in Oct./ well. But in recent years, bass of all sizes (to very big) have been sticking around in these places much longer than in the past, so those May haunts may still have some fish in June. It can also be a time when the big and giant stripers coming up from the Chesapeake Bay pass through areas like the Shrewsbury Rocks and Sandy Hook. Keep your eyes and senses open, and check your social media.

The author loves soft plastics for striper fishing during the month of June. One of his favorites is the Striper Snax.

At The End

Now, June is usually red hot for one of the world’s great striper spots, none other than the iconic Montauk, NY. We’re so lucky to have this place right here in our region. The fishing will generally be hot all month long, with perhaps some peaks and valleys as you go. The bait will usually be lots if not legions of squid and schools (“carpets” at times) of sand eels. The hottest fishing and most activity will be out in the famous rips and their vicinity. Some years, like in 2023, the hotspot is along the South Shore from the lighthouse, going down a few miles from there. The bass will usually be in and over deep water – often literally from the surface all the way down to the bottom in 24 to 70 feet of water. When feeding, you will see them rolling, exploding, swirling, waking, and dimpling, and you’ll mark them on the finder too. These can be fish of all sizes, running from 5 pounds to 15 and 20 pounds, all the way up through 30, 40, 50, and even 60 pounds! Hey, it’s Montauk! Some days, you may literally see lots of 25 to 35-pounders and even 40-pound bass right there in front of you on and just under the surface.

The famous rips are Phelps Ledge, the Elbow, Great Eastern, that rip going straight south from the light (and, of course, their general surrounding area) On the south side try off Turtle Cove, the Sewer Pipe, Radar Tower, Caswells, and even further west.. Last year this south side held tons of 4-inch sand eels and plenty of 25 to 40-pound bass.

Best feeding is early and late in the day, and on cloudy days, but it can still happen at any time and on any type of day. Check to see when tides are best. This often changes at Montauk from year to year and even as the season progresses. Be aware of it. This is mostly a boat fishery. If you want to be a “lucky” surfcaster, plan to do your fishing at night. This is when both bait and bass can invade the shoreline.

Almost Long Island

Sand Eels:  Try bucktails, bucktails with curly tails, Zara Spooks, poppers, stick baits, and diamond jigs with surge tails. Many thin lures can work. A “killer” for me in the last two seasons has been a white Albie Snack. Give that lure lots of action. Fish shallow if fish are shallow, deep if they’re deep. If deep, sometimes the Albie Snacks and Super Snacks on leadheads are excellent too. For flies, a sand eel-size Flat Wing is excellent. You can also try Clousers, thin Lefty’s Deceivers, and 4-inch Rabbit Strips.

Squid: A Doc plug is excellent. So is a 9-1/2-inch Super Snacks. Work those things and make a commotion! For flies, try a big bunker fly, large Flat Wing, big Deceiver, large Flashiceiver, Flashy Profile Fly (FPF), or big squid fly.

Although it’s not Long Island, or even NY or CT, Southwest Ledge, off Block Island, is close enough to be considered “almost” Montauk, and it will be producing big fish all month going on into July. Most of these big bass will be holding deep, in 27 to 70-foot depths. If sand eels are in the area in big numbers, there should be lots of “slot size” fish around in them, including ones 36 inches or so in size. You’ll often find them feeding on the surface, which makes for exciting fishing. Most activity occurs early and late in the day, but as in Montauk, it can happen at any time. There will be times when 20 to 35-pound bass join their smaller brethren.

The month of June offers perhaps the finest striped bass fishing of the year when you take into consideration all of the inshore areas across Long Island, including its close neighbors and environs. It’s the equitable month for bass, as you can get them essentially all over. You may have to go out and look some, but if you do, you won’t have to look far. And the fishing can be good, at times even stellar, and ultimately, memorable. So go out to Long Island’s “bass grounds,” create some of those memories, and have some fun, too. There’s no better time than June.


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