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SHINNECOCK INLET WEST, NY

On September 21, 1938, The Long Island Express, better known as the Great Hurricane of ‘38 was classified as the worst category 3 hurricane ever recorded in Long Island history. Only Super Storm Sandy challenges the muscle and the devastation the Express left in her wake.
By Tony Salerno
SHINNECOCK INLET WEST, NY

Yet with all the homes destroyed and lives lost, Mother Nature showed her softer side by revamping Long Island’s 100-mile barrier beach with some fancy carving of breaches along the barrier island, giving the south shore a bit of respite with fresh, clean ocean water that stood stagnant for centuries. Although most of the breaches have re-sealed themselves through the years, one that was created by the storm and has stood the test of time is Shinnecock Inlet, where each season sees myriad sea life entering and departing this piece of water.
Shinnecock Inlet connects Shinnecock Bay to the ocean. The entrance channel is roughly 10 feet deep and 200 feet wide. The inlet from one end to the other is approximately 0.7 miles long, 300 yards wide with water depth averaging 20 to 40 feet to the bottom. Large flat boulders line both the east and west sides of the inlet to help prevent erosion. Although the inlet was dredged in 2010, it sits adjacent to much shoaling just alongside the channel. These elements opened the gates for plenty of top notch fishing as strong currents and tidal clashes blended with the shallow water creating rips that set up the perfect points of ambush for a host of gamefish and bottom dwellers.

What really makes this spot unique for anglers is that its west side is easily accessible by car with ample parking a hop, skip and a jump away. It sits at the eastern end of Dune Road in Hampton Bays, less than a mile east of the Ponquogue Bridge. Striped bass, bluefish, fluke, false albacore, blackfish, triggerfish, porgies and sea bass are all on the menu here at various times of the year. Stripers and blues are common targets from early May right through November. The current can move at 3 knots at the peak of an incoming tide and close to 4 knots at peak on the ebb. Most jetty jocks find some of the best action takes place during the first and last part of moving water. Bucktails fished deep and slowly after dark account for good scores of stripers inside the inlet, while the pocket on the west side of the jetty can be worked with surface plugs and swimming plugs. Poppers and tins account for most of the bluefish action here, and if albies are around, be sure to pack a couple of Deadly Dicks. September is normally prime time for these speedsters. Every season sees some quality fluke taken from the rocks. Bouncing 1-ounce Spro bucktails tipped with 4-inch Gulp swimming mullet on the last part of the incoming should put you into fluke action from May to September.

My favorite fishing here on the rocks is the tog fishing each October. Get in the right spot and action can be excellent with blackfish to 8 pounds. Use single hook blackfish rigs with 2- to 3-ounce sinkers and keep your rig tight to the rocks. The best tog baits here are Asian and green crabs. The west jetty is formed with many large, flat rocks making it very easy to move around. Keep moving from spot to spot until you find a blackfish honey hole. Here again, the best action will occur when there is little or no current so plan your fishing around the change of tides.

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