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SALTWATER FLYFISHING EASTERN LONG ISLAND

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The eastern end of Long island has limitless fishable coastlines, with the Atlantic ocean on the south side, and Block island sound, gardeners bay and peconic bay on the north side, the tip of long island harbors some of the most diverse fly fishing opportunities in the world.

The "eastern end" of Long island might begin for some at Moriches bay, which is a marsh, and barrier beach complex that includes Haven's Estate and Cupsogue County Park.. Moriches inlet, 53 miles from Montauk point and about 60 miles from Manhattan, was formed in 1931, after a massive tropical storm. The inlet separates the eastern tip of Fire island from the Westhampton beach barrier island. Moriches bay is a meandering series of flats, channels and cuts that harbor some of the best striped bass fly fishing around during April and May. Squid pour into the bay in droves, and using some of the areas well know fly tyers, like Mark Gustavsons' Pearl Squid pattern, can prove to be devastating to bass.

Stripped Bass

A BEAUTIFUL STRIPER

Outside the inlet along the near shore beaches of Moriches towards West Hampton, there is a migration of hungry stripers following the bait along the northerly migration. West Hampton fishing is accessed through the beaches although you need a Southampton beach permit. Still further east is Shinnecock bay.

Shinnecock fishes very well in the early season all the way through the end of the fall in to early winter. Inside the bay there are expansive flats where the clear water provides prime sight fishing possibilities. The flats there can be tricky because there is an enormous amount of current, so while wading be aware of the incoming tide. The Ponquogue bridge is a favorite for anglers of all types. This area fishes well at night in the day and all throughout the year.

The Inlet was created 1938, during the great hurricane, and now Shinnecock bay is an anglers paradise with swift currents and cool water flushing in with the tides. Shinnecock inlet also has a wonderful jetty where many fly fishermen await the arrival of the false albacore. This is one area where fly fishermen can catch these rocket-like fish from the rocks. It is tricky place to catch them due to the difficulty of landing them. The fish trap the bait up against the jetty and travel in patterns up, down, and around the jetty. Glenn Mikkelson, a local shore guide and renown fly tier is considered the master the Shinnecock jetty. He creates some of the most effective flies for fishing this area.

Stripped Bass

ANOTHER NICE STRIPER

The sandy beaches from Southampton to Montauk are considered to be some of the most productive striped bass and bluefish fishing grounds in the Northeast. There are a series of freshwater ponds that either open up by force of mother nature's overflowing and the water creates a small river through the burm of the beach, or the town will send in a tractor to facilitate the process. When the freshwater ponds start pouring out bait into the surf, you can be sure that the migratory fish find them and there can be fabulous fishing opportunities when it all comes together.

There are also a series jetties from Southampton to East Hampton that can be fished all summer long. This is a great place to fish if you aren't too familiar with the layout of the beaches.

Montauk Point is known for its fall blitzes and false albacore fishing, but Montauk has great fishing all year round.

In the early season, Montauk has a great early run migration of stripers. They are on shad, and later sand eels and spearing. In June and July you can practically have the waters to yourselves. You are going to need to get permits to drive on the beaches, but you can park at the lighthouse and walk to the north or south side of the light, depending on what tide you are fishing.

Tides factor in heavily when fishing the south side from shore, so be sure to check the tide table and take in consideration the currents. The south side has many coves and points that are worthy of giving a try. Turtle cove, browns, the sewer pipe, the radar, and Caswells are just a few. The north side is fished on opposing tides, and knowing when to be on what side can during what wind at what time of year or key factors in cracking this fishery.

Flats Fishing Long Island

ON THE FLATS

The Bay side of the Eastern end of Long Island has so many fishing opportunities that sometimes it can be daunting. The beaches from Montauk Point to Montauk harbor are fantastic from about June till December, but the farther west you go, the earlier in the season you can start fishing.

Peconic Bay is the first area that starts to fish well from a surfcasters and a flats fishermen's perspective. The waters have started to warm up here first and the bait has started leaving the estuaries smaller creeks. Alewives have started their spawn, and the bass have started their search for food. The big bunker also starts to show up in the back bay, and big bass start showing up on the flats. Sometimes big flies work really well on the flats, and even poppers can prove to be devastating. Try Joe Blados's crease fly along the shore line on foggy, cloudy days. You wont be disappointed.

You can start fishing Peconic Bay as early as April, but generally the fishing in the shallow water gets going around the first of May, depending on the weather. There are so many creeks and estuaries that harbor bait, like Sebonac creek, north sea harbor, and fresh pond where at many points of the incoming and outgoing tides, there are sure to be stripers patrolling inside as well as out of these estuarial paradises.

As the water starts warming up and the bait begins to vary in species, the bay opens up with new life. The areas where you can find fish become abundant and most shores and effluents will produce some sort of fishing reward. All around Shelter Island, along the shores of the north and south fork, the flats awaken and the rips explode with the arrival of the bass. Northwest Harbor and Gardiners Bay are now warm enough in mid may and early June that fishermen can spread out and find their own watering holes. Many of the beaches at low tide can be waded and treated as "flats" because the water is shallow and if you find areas with sandy or lighter bottoms, you'll, no doubt, run into grazing striped bass on your watery walk.

While the flats are on fire, the rips and islands throughout the bay, and into Block Island Sound are simultaneously alive and kicking. Plum Island, Great and Little gull and Fishers Island are fantastic fisheries.

During the warmer months of the summer, The fishing gets a bit more tricky for stripers, but the bluefish are everywhere. All around Gardiners Island , you will find mad, roving schools of bluefish, with the occasional Spanish mackerel. The Mackerel are much harder to land because they rarely will take a fly with a wire leader. The bay gets really warm and you have to search for cooler water and stronger currents for better fishing. This is a good time to fish the Gulls, Fishers and Block Island if you have a boat. When fishing the Gulls try using a small white bunker pattern, one inch. They are feeding on micro-bait out there in the summer and can be tricky. These flies have worked wonders for many fly fishermen in the past few years. If you are on foot then the time of day makes a huge impact. The bay fishes much better early morning and late afternoon during the hotter months. Again, inlets and mouths of harbors are great locations. Three Mile Harbor, and Lazy Point are two great places when you fish them on a moving tide not too bright, but early in the morning. Using a sinking line can be deadly for the bass.

Bluefin Tuna

BLUEFIN TUNA

From Montauk to Block Island we are sometimes blessed with an invasion of football sized bluefin tuna. These fish can be well spread out, and you can spend the greater part of the day just searching for these fish, but when you finally find them, you are in for the time of your life. Look for frothing, white foamy water, and you have either found bluefish or juvenile bluefin tuna.

The fall and early winter are the months that people salivate over. The waters from Plum gut to Montauk point are boiling with rain bait, and bring in blitzing bass, false albacore and bluefish. If you are a shore fishermen, then the drill is to fish the spots where you know holds bait, and be consistent. Some of the better known spots to fish during the fall season, are on the south ( Atlantic Ocean ) side, and the very tip of Montauk, along the north side. Shagwon rip, stepping stones, north bar, scotts hole, all the way around the point to all spots westward toward shinnecock are all wide open at any given time, so knowing a whole bunch of reliable cell phones numbers comes in handy as well. The Albies usually can be found around Plum gut, Gardiners Island, the race, and between fishers and the point, going all the way west to Shinnecock. They arrive at the end of August and stay until they feel like moving out, which is usually around the end of October. One of the best Albie flies to fish during the fall is Richard Regan's Albie whore. Fishing for Albies from the shore at Montauk is tricky and usually lucky. The quarry is generally striped bass. The Bass are there all year round, but show up in huge concentrations in the beginning of September.

Flase Albacore

A FALSE ALBACORE

The fish are easy to spot. Look for a frothing white and red-brown mass of water and then throw your fly into the middle and strip slowly. Not very challenging fishing, but the spectacle alone is worth witnessing.

November and December are spectacular times to fish Montauk and the sandy beaches down to Southampton. The hoards of tourists have thinned out and the hard core, cold hardy fishermen have remained behind to catch the big cows as they migrate through following the twelve inch long herring. Montauk point is magical then, very few boats, and huge fish, any flyfishermens dream. The surfcasters are in heaven because the bait gets pushed up on the shore, trapped in the trough between the outer sandbars and the shore and the bass slaughter the trapped bait as the patient shore fishermen reap their long awaited rewards. Eastern Long Islands fishery dies when the bait leaves, that can be as late as late December. The rule is that once you have fished for seven consecutive days, fishless, you are obligated to turn in your fly rod for the season.