By Shannan M. North, Licensed Associate Broker and Fishing Enthusiast
Peak fishing season in The Hamptons is from April to November, giving you plenty of time to get a prime catch in what many consider to be one of the premier fishing destinations in the Northeast. As a fishing enthusiast and Hamptons local, I've compiled some tips for those looking to fish in the area.
Prior to the beginning of the season, my husband David and I refresh our knot-tying skills, get our fishing gear ready, and unpack our waders. I use a pair of light waders with rubber soles from White River and a 9’ Lamiglas rod with a Penn reel.
When considering where to fish, read local reports to determine where people are catching. If you are near the bay, pick a spot in Three Mile Harbor. Napeague Harbor in Amagansett and Cedar Point in East Hampton are great options as well! We love to surfcast from the beach, and the ideal location depends on the condition of the beach, the weather and wind patterns, tides, the moon phase, and whether fishing is permitted in the area.
If the wind is blowing from the north, it will be at your back and you will have a better cast at the ocean. The opposite is true for the bay.
The chop/waves and amount of daylight will determine which lures we use; usually a diamond jig or popper but at times a swimming plug or a buck tail. We like action, and I am not one to bait the pole and leave it in the sand!
Before you begin, keep in mind that a saltwater fishing license is required in New York State and can be obtained online for free.
A slot-size keeper striped bass is 28”-35,” which is not an easy feat to carry from the beach! I recommend having at least one person there to help you.
A 28” fish is usually around six years old and approximately 10.5 lbs, which provides about three dinners for us.
I love to be hands-on for the entire process, from the initial catch to cooking! I've found that the best cooking method for striped bass is to steam the fish on the grill in foil with local veggies. You can also sauté. Striped bass is a flakey white fish that, if cooked properly, will melt in your mouth.
During the summertime, the striped bass move north, so I recommend waiting for the fall run—usually around September and October.
Typically, the bluefish arrive at sunset and the stripped bass follow, cleaning up the remnants of the bait fish. Remember this when planning your fishing day.
Bluefish is a "fishier" tasting fish and can be an acquired taste. However, they are great for fish tacos, so I recommend giving them a try!
Tuna, Summer Flounder, and Others
Blowfish have made a rebound in The Hamptons and are often found on Long Beach in Sag Harbor. Fluke—also known as 'summer flounder'—sea bass, blackfish, porgies, tuna, and mako are off Montauk Point, so consider a charter. For gear and general advice, I recommend Tight Lines Tackle on Bay Street in Sag Harbor.
If you can bring the fish to shore, the reward is delicious. And if not, you can say you put up a good fight with nature. Nevertheless, you're bound to create wonderful new memories at our beautiful beaches.
Not Fishing? Not a Problem!
Some people aren't into the idea of catching what they eat, and that is okay! One of our favorite spots for delicious seafood is The Clam Bar on the Napeague stretch in Amagansett.
For those who don't want to travel that far east, Bostwick’s Chowder House in East Hampton is another great option, as well as The Seafood Shop in Wainscott, which offers prepared foods or freshly caught fish for you to experiment with.