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GREEN ISLAND, NY FOR THE SURFCASTER

The Green Island Access Area was a longtime coming. Its development was initiated by the need for legal parking to provide access to the maze of productive waterways in and around the second and third Wantagh Bridges.
By Fred Golofaro
GREEN ISLAND, NY FOR THE SURFCASTER

Initially, it was meant to be just a parking area, but when additional funding was made available, the NY Department of Transportation expanded the project to include a fishing pier/walkway parallel to the shoreline under the north end of the third (southernmost) bridge.

For hardcore surfcasters, this was too much of a good thing. The pier attracted a much broader spectrum of anglers, resulting in sometimes crowded conditions, and making it difficult to properly fish the north end of the bridge effectively for stripers. As it is, following the re-construction of the bridge, stanchions set away from the bridge on the east side make it impossible to work a bucktail or plug along the shadow line. On the west side of the bridge, the one small section of the pier that would allow one to effectively work the shadow line is often occupied by sinker bouncers, even during late night tides.

But who is complaining? The pier has provided access to some excellent water for those who prefer walking on wood, and more importantly, access to miles of shoreline that prior to Green Island, was difficult to access, or worse, could result in a hefty summons for illegal parking, or worse yet, having your vehicle towed. Savvy casters know how productive the back bay waters in this area can be.

For those who don’t mind walking, Green Island provides access to miles of productive shoreline. Walking across the bridge, the south shoreline east and west of the bridge are worth exploring. Shallow flats border some of the shoreline on both sides, requiring you to wade out to where you’re able to work the channel edges and drop-offs, but there are times, especially in the spring, when you will find stripers rooting sand eels out of 2 feet of water. Back on the north side, you’ll find some very productive water along the east shoreline of the island, with deep water and a good rip within easy casting distance. The west side is also worth exploring. You can learn a lot by watching local striper sharpies work these areas, often with live bait. Note where they make repeated drifts, or where clam chummers set up, and return to these areas after the sun goes down.

Parking at Green Island also puts you within fairly easy walking distance of the second Wantagh Bridge that straddles Goose Creek. This has been one of my go-to striper spots for many years, albeit with frequent interruptions caused by hassles with parking and bridge construction. We’ve taken many stripers, some topping the 40-pound mark, by working the corners of this bridge from shore. Although every corner has produced fish for us at one time or another, the northeast corner has by far been the most productive over the years. Providing there are no boats anchored up along the bridge, catch the very beginning of the outgoing and cast 1-1/4 -or 1-1/2-ounce bucktails tipped with pork rind between 10:00 and 11:00 and allow them to swing along the shadow line.

The shoreline east of the bridge on the north side of the channel can also be very productive, as can the point east of the bridge’s south end. And if you’re feeling adventurous, the first bridge hugging the mainland has provided us with a few good nights on stripers to 20 pounds while working darters across the channel. Walking is not an option, but if you tote a bike along, the bicycle path that borders the east side of the parkway is a good option.

When working deeper water along the banks, live eels, rigged eels and plugs like the Super Strike Darter, Daiwa SP Minnow, Bombers and metal lip swimmers can be very effective on bigger fish. First light is the time to throw pencil poppers or surface hugging metal lips.

Serious surfcasters will find Green Island to be much more than a fishing pier. Take time to explore and wade some of these areas in the daylight so that when you return in the dark you will know where to focus your efforts, and be able to do so in a safe manner. Also, be sure to leave your state sportfishing or 4WD permit visible when parking at Green Island – day or night.

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