Surf Fishing on Long Island: 4 Top Spots for the Ultimate Reel Adventure in the Empire State.

Last updated on February 15th, 2024 at 04:46 pm

Welcome to the captivating experience of surf fishing on Long Island, where surf fishing enthusiasts unite with the ocean’s rhythm to cast their lines and reel in remarkable catches along the sandy beaches, where the sun kisses the waves, and the sea breeze dances with your senses.

I’ve been surf fishing for over half a century now and I am always looking for new destinations to explore. Long Island New York just happens to be one of the world’s premier surf fishing destinations. So, today we’re delving deep into the who, what, when, where, and why of Surf Fishing on Long Island. A surf fishing destination where adventure and angling unite to create unforgettable memories.


The Four Top Spots for Surf Fishing in Long Island Are:

  1. Jones Beach State Park – located in southern Nassau County on Jones Beach Island.
  2. Montauk Point State Park – a heavily-wooded tundra leading to the eastern tip of Long Island.
  3. Fire Island – the longest barrier Island guarding the south shore of Long Island.
  4. Robert Moses State Park – an 875-acre state park in southern Suffolk County, New York.

Come along as we discover the ins and outs, prime spots, and must-know strategies for a reel adventure like no other. We’ll also take a look at some of the gear you’ll need and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about surf fishing on long Island. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a novice looking to dive into this immersive experience, we’ve got you covered. So, buckle up those waders and get ready to ride the waves of excitement!

Surf fishing on Long Island New York - Google map with the top 4 surf fishing locations on Long Island
Credit: Google Maps

Surf Fishing on Long Island: Riding the Waves of Excitement

Long Island is an expansive, densely populated island in southeastern New York State, stretching east from New York City and just down the coast from Maine. Along its Atlantic coast are Jones Beach State Park, Fire Island and Montauk Point State Park, the latter home to the late-1700s Montauk Lighthouse. On the east end, the North Fork is home to wineries, and the Hamptons are towns characterized by upscale homes, trendy restaurants and antiques shops. In the midst of all of this, is some of the best surf fishing in the world.

If you’re in search of a fishing experience that’ll leave you breathless, Surf Fishing Long Island is your ultimate ticket. Surf fishing on Long Island is a thrilling pursuit that combines nature’s beauty with the excitement of angling.

The serene shoreline and crashing waves create an idyllic backdrop as anglers cast their lines into the surf, hoping to land a fish of a lifetime.

With the right knowledge and preparation, you can turn every outing into an unforgettable adventure. But, nature sometimes has a sense of humor, doesn’t it? One minute, the sun’s shining, and the next, a storm is brewing.

Surf fishing on Long Island means navigating the twists and turns of the weather. Get ready to embrace the elements, from battling gusty winds to dancing in the rain. Remember, it’s all part of the wild, salty adventure.

Surf Fishing on Long Island - Lady angler holding up a nice striped bass caught while surf fishing on Long Island

Surf fishing on Long Island is more than a casual hobby, it is a serious passion with several surf fishing tournaments held throughout the year like the South Shore Surf Fishing tournament and the Montauk Classic Surf Fishing Tournament. Visit for more information on surf fishing tournaments and other events and activities on Long Island.

Understanding Surf Fishing on Long Island

Benefits of Surf Fishing:

Surf fishing on Long Island offers an array of benefits beyond the thrill of catching fish. It’s a chance to reconnect with nature, find solace in the rhythmic waves, and bask in the coastal breeze. As you cast your line, you’re not just angling; you’re immersing yourself in a truly memorable experience that rejuvenates both body and soul.

Getting Started: Essential Gear:

Before embarking on your surf fishing journey, it’s essential to gear up properly. Your arsenal should include a sturdy surfcasting rod, a reliable reel with sufficient line capacity, a selection of lures and bait, tackle box, fishing line, leader material, and comfortable waders. Don’t forget sunscreen, a hat, and polarized sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun’s rays.

Choosing the Perfect Bait:

Selecting the right bait can make a world of difference in your surf fishing success. Natural baits like clams, sandworms, and squid are enticing options for species like striped bass and fluke. And, the age-old bait debate – live or artificial?

Artificial lures such as spoons, plugs, and soft plastics offer versatility and can attract various fish species from stripers to bluefish and more. Long Island’s waters have seen it all, from dancing bucktails to squirming sandworms.

Essential Surf Fishing Gear:

  • Surf Fishing Rods, surf rods are typically longer and heavier duty than standard rods. read more.
  • Surf fishing Reels,larger and stronger with greater line capacity to handle big fish. read more.
  • Surf fishing Rod and Reel Combos, pre-matched rod and reel set ups for surf fishing – read more.
  • Sand Spike Rod holder, holds your rods securely while you wait for that big bite. – read more.
  • Surf Fishing Rigs, terminal tackle for fishing the surf. – read more.
  • Surf fishing Carts, for beaches that won’t allow vehicles you need a way to carry your gear – read more.
  • Rod Racks for Vehicles, carry your rods out of harms way and easy to access- read more.
  • Beach Camping Gear, in case you want to fish all night or for several days – read more.

Reading the Tides and Currents:

Understanding the tides and currents is a crucial skill for any surf angler. Fish are more active during specific tidal phases, such as the incoming and outgoing tides, which bring food sources closer to shore. Familiarize yourself with tide charts and use them to your advantage for optimal fishing times.

Safety Tips for a Splendid Experience:

While surf fishing promises excitement, safety should always be a top priority. Wear appropriate footwear to navigate rocky terrain, stay vigilant of changing weather conditions, and be cautious of strong currents. It’s wise to fish with a buddy, carry a first aid kit, and inform someone about your fishing plans.

Best Surf Fishing Spots on Long Island

Now, let’s talk turkey – or should I say, fish? Long Island is a smorgasbord of prime surf fishing spots, each with its own charm and treasures. From the rugged North Shore to the serene South Shore, we’re breaking down the best locations for reeling in fluke, striped bass, bluefish, and more.

Trust me, folks, Long Island’s got your surf fishing cravings covered. Stay tuned as we dive deeper into each of these premier surf fishing spots, revealing their unique characteristics and the species that call them home.

Jones Beach State Park:

Jones Beach State Park Long Island New York - Surf fishing on Long Island
Jones Beach State Park – Long Island New York

Jones Beach State Park is located in southern Nassau County on Jones Beach Island, a barrier island linked to Long Island by the Meadowbrook State Parkway, Wantagh State Parkway, and Ocean Parkway.

Renowned for its picturesque shoreline and diverse fish population, Jones Beach State Park is a haven for surf anglers. Cast your line from the sandy shores and target species like striped bass, bluefish, and fluke. The park’s jetties and piers offer excellent casting vantage points.

Montauk Point State Park:

Montauk Point State Park, a heavily-wooded tundra leading to the eastern tip of Long Island and the historic Montauk Lighthouse, offers some of the best surf fishing in the world.

Nestled at the eastern tip of Long Island, Montauk Point State Park is a legendary destination for surf fishing. The rocky coastline provides opportunities to hook striped bass, blackfish, and even the occasional trophy-sized fish.

Montauk Point State Park Long Island New York - Surf fishing on Long Island
Montauk Point State Park – Long Island New York

During migration seasons, you can witness spectacular angling action. The view from the park is unique because, when the water is calm, visitors can clearly see the “race” of converging tides from the Atlantic and Block Island Sound. You can also picnic at tables under the pine trees, use the nature trails to hike or cross-country ski, or spend time watching the seals sun on the rocks offshore. You can also climb the Lighthouse’s 132 step tower or visit the lighthouse museum. Montauk Point State Park is a great destination for the whole family, even those family members who don’t fish. 😉

Fire Island National Seashore:

Fire Island National Seashore  Long Island New York - Surf fishing on Long Island
Fire Island National Seashore – Long Island, New York

Fire Island is the longest barrier Island guarding the south shore of Long Island, and a 26-mile long portion of the island is protected as Fire Island National Seashore.

Each year, thousands of people come to enjoy the island’s white sand beaches and seaside communities, as well as the rich variety of coastal wildlife amid the surf and windswept dunes.

With its tranquil ambiance and miles of pristine coastline, Fire Island National Seashore beckons surf anglers seeking solitude and diverse catches. Target striped bass, weakfish, and kingfish while relishing the unspoiled beauty of this natural treasure.

Robert Moses State Park:

Robert Moses State Park is a 875-acre state park in southern Suffolk County, New York. The park lies on the western end of Fire Island, one of the central barrier islands off the southern coast of Long Island, and is known for its five-mile stretch of beaches on the Atlantic Ocean.

A favored spot for surfcasting enthusiasts, Robert Moses State Park boasts prime fishing locations along its expansive beaches. Whether you’re chasing after fluke, striped bass, or red drum, you’ll find ample opportunities to test your angling skills and reel in memorable catches.

Robert Moses State Park Long Island New York - Surf fishing on Long Island
Fishing the surf at Robert Moses State Park, Long Island, New York

Long Island Fishing Information:

The following websites, forums and bait shops are great sources of local Long Island fishing information. When you’re planning your trip, be sure to check them out for the latest on what’s biting and what they’re catching them on.


Tackling the Waves: Mastering Casting Techniques

The Art of Casting:

Casting is a fundamental skill that every surf angler must master. It’s the gateway to presenting your bait or lure in the target zone where hungry fish await. Learning different casting techniques and adapting them to various conditions can significantly enhance your chances of success.

Casting your line into the waves is an art, my friends. It’s like a ballet between you, the rod, and the ocean. Get ready to master the art of casting, whether you’re going for distance or precision. Remember, it’s not just about the flick of the wrist; it’s about that perfect synergy between you and your gear. Stay tuned for more casting insights and strategies that will elevate your surf fishing game on Long Island.

  • Long Casting Techniques: Long casting allows you to reach distant feeding grounds that might be out of reach for other anglers. To achieve maximum distance, utilize the pendulum cast or the off-the-ground cast. These techniques involve generating momentum and releasing the line at the right moment to achieve exceptional range.
  • Sidearm Casting Techniques: When faced with strong winds or limited space, the sidearm cast comes to the rescue. This technique involves casting the line at a lower angle, minimizing the impact of gusts and obstacles. Mastering the sidearm cast ensures accurate placement of your bait or lure.
  • Overhead Casting Techniques: The overhead cast is a versatile technique that’s effective in various scenarios. It allows you to place your bait precisely and cover a wide area. Practice proper timing and control to ensure your line lands where the fish are congregating.
  • Dealing with Wind and Waves: Surf fishing often means contending with unpredictable winds and waves. To conquer these challenges, adjust your casting technique by tilting your body slightly against the wind. Additionally, choose heavier lures or sinkers to maintain stability in choppy waters.

Beyond the Basics: Tips for Seasoned Anglers

Let’s take a closer look at some advanced techniques and strategies for seasoned surf anglers seeking to maximize their Long Island surf fishing excursions.

Fishing during Different Seasons:

Each season presents unique opportunities and challenges for surf anglers. In spring and fall, migrating species like striped bass and bluefish offer thrilling action close to the shoreline. Summer brings fluke and kingfish, while winter calls for targeting cold-water species such as cod and haddock.

Nighttime Surf Fishing:

Venturing out under the cover of night adds a new layer of excitement to your surf fishing endeavors. Many species, including striped bass and weakfish, are more active in the dark. Employ glow-in-the-dark lures and use a headlamp with a red filter to maintain your night vision. The beaches will be much less crowded at night as well, giving you more room to fish.

Strategies for Catching Trophy Fish:

The pursuit of trophy-sized fish requires strategic thinking and meticulous planning. Research prime locations, use larger baits or lures, and be patient. Trophy fish are often older and wiser, making them more discerning in their feeding habits. Big live baits, drifting naturally with the tides and currents, are a great option for fooling trophy fish.

Catch and Release: Ensuring Survival:

Practicing catch and release is essential for the conservation of fish populations. Handle fish with care, use barbless hooks, and avoid removing them from the water for extended periods. Minimize stress on the fish by quickly releasing them back into their habitat.

Recording Your Fishing Adventures:

Documenting your surf fishing escapades not only preserves cherished memories but also helps track your progress and learn from your experiences. Create a fishing journal or use a smartphone app to record details such as location, weather conditions, bait used, and notable catches.

The Catch of a Lifetime: Striped Bass Fishing

Stripers, or striped bass, are one of the glamour species of surf fishing on Long Island, and much of the US Atlantic coast. They grow to large size, put up a tremendous fight, and make decent table fare as well.

Striped bass, also known as “stripers,” are the crown jewels of Long Island’s surf fishing scene. These powerful and revered fish are known for their thrilling fights and delicious flesh. Understanding their behavior and habitat is key to a successful striped bass angling experience.

Striped bass have a diverse diet, making them susceptible to a variety of lures. Consider using topwater plugs, soft plastics, and swimbaits to mimic their prey. Experiment with different retrieval speeds and depths to find the presentation that triggers the bite.

Legal Limits and Conservation:

Adhering to size and bag limits is crucial for preserving striped bass populations. Stay informed about the latest fishing regulations and adhere to catch limits to ensure the sustainability of this iconic species for future generations.

A Bounty of Seafood: Beyond Striped Bass

Surf fishing on Long Island offers a wide array of species beyond striped bass, each offering its own unique surf angling experience. The Long Island surf can also produce Sting rays, sharks and even migratory tuna at various times of year.

Fluke Fishing: Techniques and Tips: Fluke, also known as summer flounder, offer an exciting angling experience with their subtle bites and determined fights. Target them using bucktail jigs, squid strips, or live bait. Drifting your bait along the sandy bottom is an effective technique for enticing these flatfish.

Surfside Clamming: A Coastal Tradition: Clamming is a time-honored tradition along Long Island’s shores. Gather fresh clams during low tide and use them as bait to attract species like striped bass, bluefish, and blackfish. Clamming adds an interactive and rewarding dimension to your surf fishing escapades. And, you can steam some up for yourself while you wait for the fish to bite.

Porgy Pursuits: A Rewarding Challenge: Porgies, also known as scup, are abundant and accessible targets for surf anglers. These scrappy fighters respond well to various baits, including sandworms, squid, and clam strips. Porgies are not only fun to catch but also delicious on the dinner table.

Bluefish: On Long Island, Bluefish usually arrive in late spring and will stay around well into October. Most of the larger fish are caught in the fall. They can run as small as 1-2 lb (Cocktails) or close to 20 lb. They are the most prolific fish in the area and for that reason are one of the most popular species to fish for.

Blues are noted for their great fight and fierce appetites. When a blitz occurs, they will hit almost anything. Make sure to use a heavy mono or wire leader. Bluefish have sharp teeth and will make short work of 10 – 15 lb mono and you could lose a lot of gear quick.

Safeguarding the Ecosystem: Conservation and Ethics

With just a little effort, you can be an eco-conscious surf angler and contribute to the well-being of Long Island’s marine environments for future generations of surf anglers.

  • Practicing Responsible Fishing: As stewards of the ocean, surf anglers play a crucial role in protecting marine ecosystems. Use biodegradable fishing line, avoid discarding fishing gear in the water, and pick up any trash you encounter on the beach. By leaving no trace, you contribute to the preservation of Long Island’s natural beauty.
  • Understanding Catch and Release: Catch and release is a vital practice for sustainable angling. Use barbless hooks to minimize injury, handle fish with wet hands or gloves, and release them gently back into the water. Proper catch and release techniques ensure the survival of released fish and contribute to healthy fish populations.
  • Preventing Litter and Pollution: The fight against pollution begins with responsible angling practices. Dispose of trash, fishing line, and packaging materials in designated bins. Participate in beach cleanup initiatives and encourage fellow anglers to follow suit, ensuring a clean and thriving environment for all.
  • Supporting Local Conservation Efforts: Get involved with local organizations dedicated to marine conservation and habitat restoration. Participate in beach cleanups, attend conservation workshops, and support initiatives that aim to protect Long Island’s coastal ecosystems for future generations.

Surf Fishing on Long Island: FAQs

What’s the Best Time for Surf Fishing?

The optimal time for surf fishing varies based on factors such as tide, weather, and species. Generally, dawn and dusk are prime feeding times, while an incoming tide can bring fish closer to shore. Research local tide charts and consult fellow anglers for insights.

Do I Need a Fishing License?

Yes, a fishing license is required for anyone aged 16 and older who wishes to engage in recreational fishing in New York waters. Licenses can be obtained online or at designated outlets. Be sure to familiarize yourself with state regulations before casting your line.

frequently asked questions sign

How Can I Handle Fish Safely?

To handle fish safely, wet your hands or use gloves to minimize stress on their protective slime layer. Avoid touching their gills or eyes, and support their body when lifting them. If using a net, choose one with rubberized mesh to prevent damage to scales and fins.

What’s the Ideal Rod Length?

The ideal rod length for surf fishing depends on various factors, including the target species, casting distance, and prevailing conditions. For general surf fishing, a rod between 9 to 12 feet in length provides the versatility needed to handle different scenarios.

Can I Bring my Family Along?

Absolutely! Surf fishing is a fantastic family activity that can be enjoyed by anglers of all ages. Teach your loved ones about the joys of fishing, spend quality time together on the beach, and create lasting memories by sharing the excitement of reeling in catches.

What’s the Role of Moon Phases?

Moon phases influence fish behavior, particularly in relation to tides and feeding patterns. During the full and new moons, tidal movements are more pronounced, creating optimal feeding conditions. Consider fishing during these lunar phases for improved angling success.

What fish can I expect to catch on Long Island’s shores?

Get ready for a delicious variety! From fluke and striped bass to bluefish and weakfish, Long Island’s waters are teeming with tantalizing catches

Surf Fishing on Long Island Closing Thoughts

So, fellow adventurers, it’s time to embrace the call of the sea, the rhythm of the tides, and the thrill of the catch. Whether you’re a seasoned surf fishing guru or a novice dipping your toes into this watery world, Long Island’s shores are waiting to welcome you with open arms – and schools of fish just waiting to be reeled in. And, no matter where you choose to fish, remember to do the following.

  • Embrace the Adventure: Start Surf Fishing: Venturing into the world of surf fishing on Long Island is an invitation to connect with nature, challenge your angling skills, and forge unforgettable memories. The rhythmic sound of the waves, the thrill of a sudden bite, and the camaraderie among fellow anglers create life long memories and experiences that will enrich your life.
  • Connect with Fellow Anglers: Join local fishing clubs, online forums, and social media groups to connect with a community of passionate surf anglers. Share your stories, exchange tips, and learn from one another’s experiences. The bonds forged through a shared love for surf fishing are enduring and uplifting.
  • Cherish the Memories: Each surf fishing excursion is a chapter in your personal angling journey. Whether you’re battling the waves for striped bass, reeling in a fluke, or simply relishing the tranquility of the shoreline, these moments are treasures to be cherished. Document your experiences, capture the beauty of the coast, and savor the joy that surf fishing brings.
Lady angler casting from the beach while surf fishing on Long Island

As the sun dips below the horizon, casting a warm glow over the endless expanse of water, we find ourselves at the end of this angler’s odyssey through Surf Fishing Long Island. Till next time, keep those lines tight, those lures irresistible, and those memories unforgettable. Surf Fishing Long Island awaits, my friends, and the adventures are yours for the taking.

As always, stay safe, enjoy the journey and please try to leave it cleaner than you found it. If you have any comments, questions, ideas or suggestions please leave them in the comment section below and I’ll get back to you asap. You can follow us on Facebook: Rex The Beach Angler, Instagram: thebeachangler7, Twitter: @AnglerBeach, and YouTube: Man Art Creations.

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