When the Northeast cools as summer slips away, that means striper action is about to kick up. The fall migration of striped bass is perhaps the most awaited fishing season of the year on Long Island, when anglers flock to its favored saltwater surroundings.
The length of the season is limited, though, so choosing a productive spot is imperative. You’ve likely heard of the unofficial surfcasting capital of the world at Montauk. It’s not the only honeyhole. With an estimated 1,600 miles of coastline wrapping around Long Island, nearly every drop of saltwater that laps on its shore is potential striped bass territory. Still, there are certain spots that stand out for improving your chances. Here are a few of Long Island’s best hotspots for fall striper fishing.
Extending like a finger off the North Fork of Long Island, Orient Point reaches into three bodies of water: opening up north to Long Island Sound, east to Block Island Sound, and to the south, where Orient faces the mouth of Gardiners Bay.
Anglers fishing Orient Point County Park have the unique opportunity to fish for striped bass that caravan south, splitting between two available paths: Long Island Sound or the Atlantic Coast. Even better, beaches littered with erratic boulders make for prime striper-fishing terrain. The tip of Orient Point continues out to the lighthouse across a half-mile of the Rocky Oyster Pond Reef. The tidal current flowing over this shallow shoal creates the perfect place for stripers to feed—and a peculiar New England feel that won’t disappoint.
To reach Orient Point County Park, take state Route 25 east until it ends at the Cross Sound Ferry terminal. There is a parking lot on the left for northern beach access. Or anglers can continue straight down Point Road a half-mile to the small fishing-access lot directly on the point. A free NYS Recreational Marine Fishing Registration is required at all times. If you plan to fish at night, a Suffolk County Night Fishing Permit is required.
Robert Moses State Park
Meanwhile, on the southern shore of Long Island, masses of stripers pass along the Atlantic beaches of Robert Moses State Park.
Surfcasters have room to spread out over this park with about 5 miles of sandbar-combed beaches. But the gem is out on the western end of the park, at Democrat Point. The park’s paved roads and parking lots end, and a wild landscape returns for the last 2 miles to the point, which is only accessible by four-wheel drive or foot as the spit bends toward the Fire Island Inlet.
If the beaches are crowded, the inlet is no slouch for striper action itself as baitfish exit the Great South Bay. Anglers can access rocky outcrops along the inlet from multiple pull-offs along the Robert Moses State Parkway.
To reach Robert Moses State Park, take the Robert Moses Causeway south to Fire Island, then the Robert Moses State Parkway west. Unless you have a Beach Vehicle Access Permit, the best way to reach Democrat Point is parking at the Field 2 lot and hiking in. A vehicle day-use fee is required. Anglers must also have a valid NYS Recreational Marine Fishing Registration, and, for fishing after dark, a state Night Fishing Permit.
This shallow island-laden bay is a one-of-a-kind escape where anglers can enjoy a productive marine estuary in plain view of the New York City skyline. It’s also a nursery for young stripers preparing to join the fleet out at sea. The shoreline provides access to anglers near go-to areas like Floyd Bennett Field Field, Canarsie Pier, and Cross Bay Boulevard. But the real action Jamaica Bay has to offer is found via kayak.
Using a fishing kayak opens up serious angling opportunities across a variety of aquatic terrain within the 39-square-mile bay: marshes to prowl, mud flats to sight cast, and channels to jig. Depending on your approach to Jamaica Bay, there are numerous access points, with one of the best launch sites at Floyd Bennett Field in the Gateway National Recreation Area.
To reach it, take the Belt Parkway toward Flatbush Ave/Marine Parkway. Turn left on Aviation Road into the entrance for Floyd Bennett Field at the Gateway National Recreation Area. Because the park is a former airfield, the crisscrossing runways can make finding the launch site confusing. Follow Aviation Road and signs for the Seaplane Ramp. Though no day-use fees apply to access Floyd Bennett Field, a valid NYS Recreational Marine Fishing Registration is required, and if you plan to fish after hours, you’ll need a Gateway National Recreation Area Fishing Access Permit, too.