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ROBERT MOSES BACKSIDE SURF

There are several miles of shoreline stretching from the Fire Island Lighthouse to the backside of Democrat Point, and most of it has the potential to produce fish at one time or another.
By Fred Golofaro
ROBERT MOSES BACKSIDE SURF
For many anglers, Robert Moses is synonymous with the open beaches of parking fields 2, 3, 4, 5 and Democrat Point. Far fewer surfcasters ply the quiet backsides of the oceanfront beaches, where access is a bit more difficult, but the rewards are sometimes worth the extra effort.

The stretch from the lighthouse to the boundary of the Coast Guard Station property is ripe with structure in the form of rips, drop-offs, flats, wreckage and submerged pilings. It is also the most difficult to access for much of the season, especially for those looking to work night tides. Without question, the most productive tides along this stretch occur late at night when boat traffic is minimal, at dawn, and dusk – and in that order. Parking is available at Field 5 throughout the season, but only between sunrise and sunset. Field 4
is closed to the public in the spring and fall, and opens when summer beach crowds require the additional parking. Holders of the State Sport Fishing Permit or Beach Vehicle Permit are allowed day and nighttime access to the field in the fall. For the first time, beginning this spring, Field 4 will be open to permit holders from April 1 to May 20 with the same access available as in the fall. A short walk across the roadway from Field 4 will put you in some prime backside territory.

Working our way west, the shoreline adjacent to the south end of the Robert Moses Bridge can be productive for those working around the current changes. The last of the incoming and start of the outgoing are my first choice, but the last of the ebb has its moments, providing weed is not an issue.

While the fishing piers may not fit the mold of a surf fishing location, they can be productive for stripers and blues. I’ve caught schoolie bass inside the basins late at night on swimming plugs, and have caught bass into the teens on metal lips and pencil poppers tossed parallel to the boulder strewn shoreline from the corner of the easternmost pier.

The stretch from the superintendent’s house to the west end of the pavement opposite Field 2 is accessible from that field throughout the season for those holding the state permit. To the east, a substantial flat extends out from the beach before the bottom drops off rapidly. Just about opposite the entrance to Field 2 are the remains of the old construction dock, which was actually a barge before it disintegrated. A lot of rubble remains on the bottom, and a well defined rip makes it worth putting in some effort here. West of there, deep water lies tight to the steep shoreline. Local bass sharpies pull lots of fish from this stretch, yet it gets little play from shore-bound casters, other than those probing the bottom for sea bass, blackfish and porgies.

Beyond the end of the road is the domain of 4x4 permit holders and those willing to cover a lot of ground on foot. Easily accessible to both is the Sidewalk Jetty, a line of relatively flat rocks that parallels the 4x4 access road before it turns south to the oceanfront. The jetty has its moments and is a good location for working plastics or bucktails in a running tide, or metal lip swimmers around the high turn when bass tend to leave the deeper rips and prowl for a meal tight to the rocks.

For anyone willing to do some walking and exploring, this long stretch of backside shoreline can provide new opportunities throughout the season.

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