Spearfishing in Long Island: All You Need to Know!

Spearfishing in Long Island

Long Island, as the name suggests, has very long shores and a lot of great places with ocean access. This makes it very interesting for spearos looking for a great catch.

Reefs and various structures are located near the shore, so in many cases, you don’t even need a boat to reach them!

Spearfishing in Long Island is very popular among locals, as well as the tourists from other states and even other countries. It is legal, and you can use services from local charters and clubs if you want to do so. Various fish species, and numerous spearfishing sites make it great for both beginners and experienced spearos.

Local community is well adapted to spearfishing tourism, so you can find numerous shops and stores where you can buy anything you need for this sport.

But, before you go, make sure that you are aware of possible dangers of spearfishing, invest in good equipment (like good spearfishing mask), and find a spearfishing buddy!

Here I will tell you more about all of it, including spearfishing license requirements, and best places to go!



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Is Spearfishing Legal in Long Island?

USA has some of the least strict spearfishing laws in the world. Spearfishing in Long Island is perfectly legal, year-round, even with scuba gear.

Of course, you must have a valid fishing license (I will mention the details in the next chapter). With that, comes your responsibility to obey all local laws and regulations that state the details about permissible equipment, closed season for certain species, off-limit protected areas, permitted fish size, and everything else that ensures responsible fishing.

All of this is valid for recreational purposes only, and it does not apply to commercial fishing.

Few years ago, there were some new legislations passed that were “poorly written” where some aspects of spearfishing were not defined and considered a “grey zone”. However, none of that means that it is prohibited or that there is some new law that would stop you from enjoying your favorite activity.

When it comes to freshwater, spearfishing is not allowed with a speargun. Only allowed tools for freshwater are non-powered spears used from above the water surface.

Do you Need a License for Spearfishing in Long Island?

License is required everywhere, including Long Island. However, it is not a “classic” license here. Marine fishing can be done after registering. This registration allows you to fish in saltwater. If you want to enjoy some freshwater fishing too, for that you need a “classic” license.

You can fish with registration document that can be obtained online. This is valid for both residents and tourists. Here is a link that leads to official authorities’ website with more details.

Registration is valid one year from the date of registration.

This covers fishing in marine districts, as well as in federal waters, but not for all species. You need additional permits for species like tuna, lobster, or shark.

Keep in mind that some areas belong to parks, and parks may have additional rules and regulations so check before you go. Using spearguns is of course prohibited within 100 yards of public beaches.

How Much is a License for Spearfishing in Long Island?

Spearfishing in Long Island is completely free! At least if you don’t want to get any special permits. Registration that allows you to spearfish in saltwater is free of charge.

Anyone who is 16 or older needs one, however there are some exceptions. Holders of valid Rhode Island or Connecticut licenses don’t need to register.

Unlike in many other states, there are no special rates for different categories of people like seniors or disabled, at least when it comes to registry. There is no need for that as it is free of charge.

For special permits, you will have to pay, and some are available for residents only. The best example is lobster for which permit cost $10 and you can’t get it if you are a tourist.

In addition to that, there is no lifetime registry, even for locals. You have to renew it yearly.

What Fish Can You Spear Fish in Long Island?

Spearfishing in Long Island - Fish

Long Island is home to numerous fish species, and for spearfishing the most interesting are:

• Fluke
• Flounder
• Striped bass
• Atlantic cod
• Porgy
• Blackfish
• Bluefish
• Cobia
• King mackerel

Of course, these are not the only ones, but are the most common choice among spearos. Keep in mind that many of these have closed season when it is not allowed to catch any.

Be very careful when it comes to various shark species because not all are allowed to be caught and for some you need permits. You can find all the details on official websites for which the link was provided in the previous chapters.

Because there are so many different fish species, Long Island is great for all spearos. From very experienced ones that will go on a boat adventure in deep sea, to those who are still learning and can dive from the shore to catch some of the local pelagic fish.

Where to Go Spearfishing in Long Island? [Best Locations]

Spearfishing in Long Island can be done in many different locations.

And these are the best 3:

#1: Montauk and Block Island

Montauk is located at the very end of Long Island, and it is surrounded by waters full of Striped bass, but also fluke, blackfish, and bluefish. It is a great place to spearfish from the shore.

If you have a boat, you can travel to Block Island that is located just a few miles away.

Both places are absolutely incredible. There is a lot of underwater structures, rocks, and even shipwrecks that hold a lot of fish. July and September are the best months to visit.

Spearfishing in Long Island - Montauk

#2: Smithtown Bay

Smithtown bay is an excellent place if you are looking for fluke, and you want to land a big one, this a place to go. Although there is coast access to the water, the best would be to go with a boat. Boat will ensure that you position yourself to a perfect spot.

Sandy bottom and silt may cause low visibility during certain days (depending on wind, waves and currents) however, the fish will be there. It may not be easy to spot them, but you will test your skills! There are artificial reefs and depths around the bay vary from a few feet to more than 40 feet.

#3: North Fork

Located next to Montauk, North Fork offers similar, yet equally exciting spearfishing opportunities. Waters all around are full of various species, but most often you will catch a porgy or striped bass.

Boats give you better access points, so I would recommend using one, but you also can swim from a shore.

There are numerous small bays, underwater structures, and other interesting micro locations that hold a lot of fish. As a spear, enjoy in locating them and observing behavioral patterns of local fish!

No matter where you go, there is a high chance that you will have a great time! Just be careful of the currents and local hidden dangers if you are a tourist who is not familiar with local waters. Mark your position with a proper diving buoy as Long Island is a popular boating destination too.

Spearfishing in Long Island - North Fork

What is the Best Time for Spearfishing in Long Island?

The best time depends on your preferred fish species. If you are looking to fish for species like striped bass, your only option is April-November. Rest of the year, season is closed.

However, if you are searching for generally the best time regardless of species, that would be May to October. During the summer, many species are present in the area and very active. From already mentioned striped bass to founder and cod, you have a good chance to land a big one.

Of course, it is not just about year time. Marine fishing is influenced by many factors, including weather forecast, time of day, and tidal changes.

Low light conditions, a bit of wind, and incoming tides are definitely the best!

But, if you don’t have a chance to use summer months for spearfishing, good news is that some fish have open season year-round, and the truth is, they can be caught year-round! But, when it comes to winter spearfishing, keep in mind that temperatures can be low and conditions rough, so I would not recommend it unless you are extremely experienced.


Spearfishing in Long Island offers many possibilities for spearos of all experience levels. Numerous fish species and incredible fishing spots guarantee unforgettable adventures.

Those who are less experienced can use services from local charters that will guide you and provide everything you need for safe and successful trip.

Make sure to always obey fishing rules and regulations and don’t forget to register for marine fishing!

About Me

Slo-fishing - About Us


I am Siniša Pintar (friends call me Sina), the guy behind Slo-fishing.si and eBook writer. This site is base camp for fishing enthusiasts from all over the world. I love fishing and want to share all my stories, knowledge and my experience with any and all potential anglers. Read more ...

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