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MATINECOCK POINT

If you look at a chart of western Long Island Sound, it clearly reveals Matinecock Point as one of the most prominent points jutting into the Sound.
By Tom Melton
MATINECOCK POINT
Every good angler understands the value of structure. Whether it is the edge of a bar separating deep water from the shallows, a hump surrounded by flat, featureless bottom, or a point of land that juts into the ocean, bay or Long Island Sound, all have the potential to generate good fishing under the right conditions.

Matinecock Point is situated roughly 1/2-mile east of Hempstead Harbor. It boasts large boulders and a rock-studded bottom, with water depths ranging from 10 to 50 feet. This combination provides anglers with the opportunity to score weakfish in the spring, large blues in the summer and outsized striped bass throughout the season, not to mention sea bass, blackfish and porgies.

Although I have only fished Matinecock Point a handful of times, two of the trips provided very good action for large weakfish and fluke. The first trip was a weakfish video shoot with captains Rich Tenreiro and Andy Locascio of “Northeast Angling.” We started out in the early a.m. and before noon had weakfish to 10 pounds on soft plastics and jigs. The second was a solo outing with Capt. Rich and we bailed fluke for hours, with fish to 6 pounds netted.

In speaking with Capt. Steve Fallon of the “Swedish Princess” out of Port Washington recently, I learned that Matinecock Point is a hotspot throughout the season. Beginning in the spring, stripers invade the area and hold near the larger boulders while picking off baitfish within the eddies generated by strong currents. During slower stages of the tide, chunk baits and live bunker do their share of damage. As the waters warm and bluefish appear, the predawn hours until around 7 a.m. produce solid action on blues ranging from cocktails to the teens on surface plugs. As the sun gets higher in the sky, bunker chunks are well received by big blues. According to Capt. Steve, the area has the ability to produce big stripers in late spring and again in the fall, with live bait fished during the first hour or two of the ebb the way to go. From May through August, the waters bordering the point can be very productive for fluke. Bucktails, standard squid and spearing rigs, or live snappers produce quality fish ranging from solid keepers to 10-pound doormats. With the approach of fall, sea bass and porgies take up residence among the structure in depths ranging from 15 to 45 feet. Anchoring up and using clam chum and clam baits will produce “keeper” sea bass and porgies, while worms will produce small cunner if you are looking for striper baits. Deeper into the fall, as the waters cool, blackfish will readily take Asian, green and fiddler crabs. Three- to 4-pound tog are fairly common, but don’t rule out the occasional 7- to 10-pounder. The last of the incoming current is prime time for tog.

The weakfish bite usually begins with the full moon in June. These are not small summer-run weaks, but rather 8- to 12-pound tiderunners. Soft plastics, sandworms and live bait offer the best chance at a true tiderunner. A prime manta shrimp locale, weakfish will come in droves to feed on these crustaceans. Keep in mind that the bite is somewhat short-lived, normally lasting anywhere from two to four weeks.

A word of caution is also in order when fishing Matinecock Point. Those same boulders that attract gamefish, some sitting less than a foot below the surface at certain stages of the tide, can also wreak havoc on your lower unit, and possibly your boat. Use caution when approaching these areas, and keep a keen eye out for current breaks on the surface that may alert you to a boulder sitting just below the surface.

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