The Snappers of Summer
By Rich Johnson
With the dog days of August upon us, it wont be long
before the kids are back at school and Im sure many of them are already counting the
days till summer vacation is over. I can still remember those days gone by where wed
stay out late sitting on the stoop or curb with friends, wondering where the time went by
and how we would make the most of the few days left till the school bell rings.
My favorite way to pass those days was to hit the local docks
and go snapper fishing. Juvenile bluefish or snappers as we call them are easy to catch
and fun for the whole family. Snapper fishing has always been a fantastic way of
introducing children to the sport of fishing. You can find them around any of the local
docks, piers or pilings of the entire tri-state area as these mini-eating machines wreck
havoc on anything that moves or they can fit into their mouths. They are easy to please,
easy to catch and very interesting to look at with bright yellow eyes and lots of teeth.
Just the sort of creature little kids love to
look at. Snapper fishing allows youngsters at the age of interest to wet a line in what
could become a passion for life.
The tackle to catch these fun fish is very inexpensive and
easy to use. A simple cane pole, bobber and hook is all that is really needed, but using
small spincasting reels or setups is a great way to teach them casting coordination. Just
a small snapper hook with a piece of spearing or squid and cast it into the water.
Snappers seem to know where any bait appears and they will come running and fast. Even
adults get in on the action with ultra-light spinning tackle and small shiny spoons or
tins. If you choose small tins, the best Ive come across is the Snapper Zapper by
Dolphin Fishing Tackle here on Long Island. Theyre available at all local bait &
tackle shops along with a host of other Dolphin Tackle products designed just for
All over Long Island there are many Snapper Derbies where kids
get involved for free and learn a few lessons in life. Besides casting and catching, they
learn some fun competitive skills and they learn sportsmanship and how to mingle with
others. I have included a few of the well known snapper derbies I have been associated
with over the years. These derbies are free to all, supply many prizes for kids and have
been around a long time so they are run correctly. Take the kids to a few of them and
enjoy the last few days of summer vacation they have left and remember, anglers must
follow the same regulations as bluefish
only 10 snappers per day
Mastic Beach Yacht Club
Derby. Saturday, August 19 and is for children ages 6 to 12 and cost $2
which includes bait, a hot & soda with prizes and trophies in four category. Info call 631-395-5432.
Captree Snapper Derby.
This runs two days, usually the last weekend in August before the kids head back to
school, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. The event is free and open to kids from 2 to 102.
There are five places for prizes and they are awarded each of the two days. For info call 631-661-0049.
Babylon Tuna Club
Derby. The last Saturday in August and starts at 9 a.m. This free derby is for
children age 12 and under with free prizes, hot dogs and soda. They supply bait and all
you have to do is bring you own tackle. They have trophies and refreshments at the Babylon
Village Dock. For info call 631-586-0540.
Derby. This event gets under way Sunday of Labor Day weekend, Sept. 3. The event is
free and children from 4 to 16 are invited to attend as are the adults who bring children
and they have a contest for adults too. Trophies and prizes are awarded with ice cream for
the children and a large barbecue. For info call 631-728-1860.
This is all done with cane poles with at the dock with free bait and tackle.
Derby: This derby takes place on Saturday, September 8 and is slated to start at 11
a.m. to 3 p.m. There are two divisions, under 16 years of age or 16 and over. Meet in the
Peconic River parking lot and the fee is $10 for adults and $5 for juniors. Free T-shirts
to the 100 registrants and they can register in advance or the day of. Rod and reel and
combos the first place in each division and trophies and awards for the rest of the
winners. There are raffles available for further prizes. There will be vendors for
refreshments. For info you can call the Riverhead Recreation Dept. at 631-727-5744.
Glen Cove Snapper
Derby. September 15 at the Hempstead
Harbor Park Pier in Port Washington. Ages 16 & under and this event is free. It runs
from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and all entrants receive a free T-shirts. Prizes are given to
boys & girls for most snappers and the first caught snapper. For info call 516-676-7120