The Great South Bay in New York, is located between Long Island and Fire Island. By definition, the Bay is actually considered a lagoon since it separates Long Island and a barrier island (Fire Island). The Bay is approximately 45 miles long and extends to the Atlantic Ocean through the Fire Island Inlet. The Great South Bay is a home to many boaters of the south shore and provides entertainment such as fishing, boating, crabbing and clamming.
The bottom of the Bay has areas covered by mud and sod banks which provides a fantastic environment for baitfish. This means that larger fish are attracted to these waters and create an opportunity for recreational fishermen to catch big fish without needing to travel far out to the Atlantic Ocean.
What type of fish can you catch in the Great South Bay? There are many different types of fish that live in the Bay. A fisherman could catch Sea Robbins, Skates, Fluke, Flounder, Bluefish, Weakfish, Sand Sharks, Dogfish, Sea Bass, Striped Bass, Porgies and much more.
Fluke (Summer Flounder)
Fluke, as known as the Summer Flounder, is probably the most popular fish in the Great South Bay. According the New York State’s Recreational Saltwater Fishing Regulations, Fluke season ranges from May 4th to September 30th. The minimum size to keep the fish is 19 inches and the maximum amount of fish to keep is 4 per person.
A Fluke lives at the bottom of the Bay and likes to stay close to the sand. They are abundant in the Long Island waters and provide a great experience for any angeler wanting to cook and eat their catch. The fish remains an integral part of both the commercial and recreational fisherman. Party Boats are a popular tourist attraction when fishing in the Great South Bay and provide trips throughout the Fluke season. Most often, the best bait to use for Fluke is live bunker or squid. Fluke also happens to be a very popular and delicious fish option for locals. Please check out our article about the best fishing reels for fluke.
Bluefish (Blue Snapper, Cocktail Blue)
The Bluefish is considered a popular fish and their are plenty of them swimming around in the Great South Bay. According to New York State’s Recreational Saltwater Fishing Regulations, there are no size limits for your first 10 Bluefish, and the next 5 fish have to be at leach 12 inches. You can catch up to a total of 15 fish per angler per day and the fishing season is all-year round.
Bluefish tend to swim around the Bay is loose groups where they like to hunt on schools of bait fish. The adult Bluefish can be a very powerful and aggressive fish with quite an appetite. Bluefish will go after most bait as they are frequently caught when fishing for something else. The way that Bluefish chase bait is often referred to as the “Bluefish Blitz”. The United States has roughly 25% or 1/4 of the total distribution of Bluefish in the world. Given that statistic, it is great to know that the bluefish can be eaten, but may sometimes turn off an eater who dislikes a more “fishy” taste.
Porgy (Scup, Sparidae)
A Porgy is a very popular fish that is known to many people in the United States under a different name. Porgy is popular fish to catch is mass amounts. According to New York State’s Recreational Saltwater Fishing Regulations, the length limit is 9 inches and you are allowed to catch 30 fish per angler per day. Just like the Bluefish, the season lasts all-year round.
Porgies live in shallow marine waters which makes them a very popular fish during August-October in the Great South Bay. When the water is warm, the Porgies will bite. For bait, they tend to prefer clams, worms and squid. Many regard the Porgy as a good fish to eat, particularly the dented and the gilt-head bream. The largest a Porgy grows is around 18 inches and will probably not weigh more than 5 pounds. When fishing for Porgies, many anglers use two, sometimes three hooks on a line in order to catch more than one Porgy at a time.
Striped Bass (Atlantic Striped Bass, Striper, Linesider, Rockfish)
The ultimate trophy fish of the Great South Bay is the Striped Bass. It happens to be the state saltwater fish of New York, New Jersey, Virginia and even New Hampshire. According to New York State’s Recreational Saltwater Fishing Regulations, a Striped Bass must be 28 inches long (south of the George Washington Bridge). 1 fish per angler and the season ranges from April 15th to December 15th. Also check out our other article if you need to learn more about how to eat striped bass.
The Striped Bass is a unique fish as it spawns in fresh water and it finds itself migrating throughout its lifetime. As an adult fish, they generally travel alone from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great South Bay, to feast on baitfish. Striped Bass are a popular catch around the Robert Moses Causeway Bridge from October-December. Many Long Islanders have caught large Striped Bass around the Bay in the Fire Island Inlet. From my personal experience, the best bait to catch a Striped Bass or a Striper with is the Blue Water Candy Umbrella Rig. This method should be used when trolling between the Fire Island Lighthouse and the Fire Island Inlet. Striped Bass also like live bait such as live bunker, live eels and clam bellies. When it comes to fishing in the Great South Bay on Long Island, there is no other fish like the Striped Bass.