- The end of the Labor Day weekend sees the rich and famous heading west over the Shinnecock Canal, but there is another species that is crossing in the opposite direction just about the same time, and they're called anglers.
Fishing off the East End, from Hampton Bays to Montauk, is at its finest when most people have headed back to New York City after a long, and this year, not so hot summer.
Striped bass, bluefish, false albacore, porgies and sea bass are plentiful in the inshore waters of the Hamptons. While offshore there is still some good shark fishing to be had, along with the migrating tuna.
While we think of Montauk as THE spot for fishing off the East End of Long Island, there are numerous bodies of water in both Southampton and East Hampton that offer wonderful opportunities to fish.
During the fall months, Montauk draws anglers from all around the metro area as well as up and down the East Coast. Photo by Sportfishing Montauk
In the spring, weakfish, bass and blues migrate through Shinnecock Bay and the Canal into the Peconics. The same is true for the fall when Shinnecock Bay loads up with bass and blues looking to feed before their migration.
Shinnecock Bay was landlocked until 1892, when the first ditch was cut across Canoe Place linking it with Great Peconic Bay. The Canal was built after WWII. When the locks are open and the tide is running it is impossible to fish because of the swift current, but when the locks are closed fish bunch up and are easy to catch.
Measuring about eight miles long and three miles wide, Shinnecock Bay offers excellent fall fishing for stripers and bluefish from the Ponquogue Bridge to the inlet. More than half the bay is six feet deep at low tide and the channel that leads from the inlet to the canal's entrance is where most of the fishing is done. The area in the eastern part of the bay is called 'The Basket,' and offers some decent action on stripers and blues.
The Peconic Bay region is made up of a series of bays that include Flanders, Great and Little Peconic, Hogs Neck, Noyac Bay and Shelter Island Sound. In these waters you will find not only bass and blues, but weakfish as well and a great concentration of porgies.
Gardiners Bay, located between the North and South Forks, is a small place that offers big fishing, especially for light tackle enthusiasts. At the north end of Gardiners Island is The Ruins, the remains of an old fort, which is at the northern end of a shoal that offers great fall fishing for striped bass as well as porgies and bluefish.
At the southern end of the Gardiners is Cartwright Shoals. The long beautiful shoal fans out from Gardiners Island and offers great porgy fishing as well as stripers. The light tackle charters work the eastern side of the island in the fall for stripers and false albacore, which are also called little tunnys.
Knee-deep in the surf, lucky anglers bring home big striped bass. Photo by Sportfishing Montauk
One of the most beautiful spots along the South Fork is Three Mile Harbor, which empties into Gardiners Bay. You'll see small boats drifting along the channel by the Town Dock taking stripers. The inlet is a beautiful spot that offers great late day fishing for bass at the jetties and shore line while watching a glorious sunset.
As we travel further east on our fishing journey we come to "The Fishing Capital of the World," Montauk.
During the fall months, Montauk draws anglers from all around the metro area as well as up and down the East Coast. Jutting 130 miles into the Atlantic, it offers great inshore and offshore fishing as well as some of best surf fishing you'll find anywhere in the world.
Lake Montauk, which was once an actual freshwater lake before it was opened on its north end into Block Island Sound in the 1920s, is the harbor that is home to a giant recreational and commercial fishing fleet.
Out into the ocean, fishing east of the lighthouse, is an area known as 'The Elbow,' and it is here that some of the biggest striped bass are caught.
There are many areas in the deep waters off Montauk that offer stripers, bluefish, albacore, bonito, porgies, blackfish and sea bass through the fall months and is considered some of the most exciting fishing anywhere in the world, especially when huge schools of fish gather to feed on bait fish before they head south or west on their migration. It is a sight to behold on a clear day, especially from the park that surrounds the lighthouse high above Atlantic.
There are three sides to fishing Montauk, the north and south and The Point underneath the lighthouse, which was commissioned by President George Washington
. It is along these beaches that an army of surfcasters comes every fall to be a part of the great migration of fish.
All around Montauk, from Hither Hills State Park, east then north, then west on the north side of Fort Pond Bay, almost every rock that is exposed, every point of land and definable eddy, carries a name. It is where ocean and land meet and where fishermen get caught in the middle.