Press Club of Long Island
Prize Winning Web
Site by Press Club LI

Follow Us On

TV Show On

On All Systems

Western LI Sound:
Spring Flounder & Stripers

By Rich Johnson

A favorite 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! I’ve spoken of the great fishing here on my radio and television shows and the action for both flounder & bass doesn’t get much better than this. City Island and the western Sound has a long-standing history in fishing with all of Long Island’s 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 you’re going to flounder fish the City Island area, you have two choices. You can fish your own vessel or rent a 16-footer from Jack’s B&T. Anyway you look, it’s a win/win situation. Let’s look at where some of this action occurs.

WHERE ARE THEY? Looking at a nautical chart, you’ll 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 you’ll 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.

For bass 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 stripers.

BE YOUR OWN CAPTAIN. If you’d like to explore the local flattie options on your own, you can be captain for a day by renting a skiff and motor from Jack’s 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 area’s 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, you’re looking for mud flats or a mix of mud/sand that will hold heat in the spring. Stay away from rocky bottom areas”    

Mussel beds 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 painter’s 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 it’s 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…!

Copyright May 6, 1995-2020 The Fishing Line

"The Fishing Line" and "The Fishing Line" & Design, are registered Trademarks of Richard Johnson.  They may not be reproduced, copied, represented or used in any manner, shape or form. The contents of this web site are copyrighted by Richard Johnson & RJ Productions and may not be reproduced, copied, reprinted or sold in any manner, shape or form, under penalty of law.