Western LI Sound:
Spring Flounder & Stripers�
By Rich Johnson
spring flounder and bass area of mine is certainly no secret to LI Boating World
readers. The western neck of Long Island Sound and the City Island area is a hot
spring fishery! Ive spoken of the great fishing here on my radio and television
shows and the action for both flounder & bass doesnt get much better than this.
City Island and the western Sound has a long-standing history in fishing with all of Long
Islands species available here. The great thing about flounder and bass fishing this
area, is quick access to shallow water flats where winter flounder seek warmth and bass
can find forage in both flounder and worms. Places like Rat Island, Green Flats, the High
Island Bridge & Rodman Neck all produce good catches of quality spring flatties.
DECISIONS, DECISIONS. If youre going to
flounder fish the City Island area, you have two choices. You can fish your own vessel or
rent a 16-footer from Jacks B&T. Anyway you look, its a win/win situation.
Lets look at where some of this action occurs.
WHERE ARE THEY? Looking at a nautical chart,
youll see the area around City Island is shallow water with quick drop offs. Small
islands like Rat Island, High Island and the eastern side of Hart Island all see the same
kind of gradual contour, before hitting the edge to much deeper water. Moving north of
City Island, you can fish inside Orchard Beach Lagoon, again looking for the same bottom
contour and consistencies. Looking at a decent nautical chart, you can pick and choose
where to fish and the depths youll want to sinker bounce flatties. Another great
place to drop anchor is a small hump in the middle of Eastchester Bay called
Cuban Ledge. Cuban ledge rises to a depth of three to six-foot at high tide. You might
find winter flatties catching a few rays
here on a sunny day.
anglers seeking catch & release action prior to the May opening, these same areas hold
plenty of stripers, some to 50 pounds with most falling to bloodworms this time of year.
Small bucktails and shad baits on light tackle will provide tons of fun.
Another great place for spring stripers is the area around the Throgs Neck and Whitestone
bridges. Actually bass can be caught from this area year round and bloodworms fished on a
high low rig or fish finder rig is the best option for baiting stripers.
I use a
Fenwick rod model STG708M-7. This seven-foot conventional rod with medium action can
handle both flounder and bass. With this I use an Abu-Garcia Ambassaduer 5600 UC or 6500
UC conventional reel spooled with 15-pound test Berkley Big Game line. This outfit is
perfect for sinker bouncing worms to catch flounder & bass or casting artificials for
BE YOUR OWN CAPTAIN. If youd like to explore
the local flattie options on your own, you can be captain for a day by renting a skiff and
motor from Jacks B&T on City Island (718-885-2042) or just stop in for fresh
bait. John offers a free map/chart of the area and will sit with you to plan a successful
strategy. John, along with the help of expert staffers in the shop, will put you on the
fish by pointing out the places to, and not to fish.
When I asked
John his opinion on the areas flounder, he too expressed confidence in a good spring
season for the City Island region, including Orchard Beach. John passed along a few tips
and hot spots for successful flounder fishing here in the early spring. Whether your
fish your own boat or my rental skiffs, the key is to work shallow, he said.
Once the tide floods the flats, work three to four-foot depths and gradually move
down off the flats as flounder retreat to the edges of channels with the ebbing tide. By
the way, youre looking for mud flats or a mix of mud/sand that will hold heat in the
spring. Stay away from rocky bottom areas
surround some of the smaller islands in the area, and are prime places to start. Both
sides of the High Island Bridge have large mussel beds and the water here is shallow,
leading to Green Flats. This is a great place to anchor and chum them up using a
painters extension pole. Taking the pole or heavy sash weight, just jab at the
bottom, crushing mussels as you go. This brings flounder running every time! John also
suggested its a good idea to drift a few of these places. Once you find a fish or
two it then pays to drop anchor and go to work. See
you on the water