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HOG NECK BAY

When anglers talk about fishing the Peconics, you hear locations like Robins Island, South Ferry, Jessups, Greenlawns and the Brickyard. These are all bonafide hot spots that produce a variety of species throughout the season.
By Tom Melton
HOG NECK BAY
But there is another little known hot spot called Hog Neck Bay, located between Nassau Point and Jessup Neck, and due north of Shark Hole and Middle Grounds (Capt Segull’s Chart #108).

The bay has several feeder creeks, all located on the north end and west side of the bay. The largest creek – Richmond – is the main source for baitfish, although the two smaller ones will contribute to the mix as well. The bay itself has a depth range of 10 to 25 feet. Along the shoreline, the bottom drops from less than 2 feet to 10 feet quickly, creating a perfect “edge” for stripers and blues to ambush baitfish. Add in the feeder creeks that flush bait into the bay, and you have the makings for a solid producer.

I reached out to Capt. Craig Cantelmo of Van Staal and “Shallow Minded Charters.” Craig knows the area well due to many years of guiding light tackle anglers in the area. Craig fishes the area from shore and boat and has had weakfish to 17 pounds and stripers well over 25. Craig feels this is a prime spring area, but the action quickly winds down by the beginning of July due to lower than optimum oxygen levels in the bay.

According to Craig, Hog Neck is a prime area even before the azaleas bloom in early spring. Richmond Creek warms quickly and as it filters into the bay, you will find some of the warmest waters of the spring. The creek warms quickly due to its shallow nature and a dark muddy bottom that soaks in the sun’s rays. Secondary creeks with the same features add to the warming effect.

The first stripers and weakfish of the season will set up outside the creeks waiting for baitfish to be flushed into the bay. Craig’s 17-pound weakfish inhaled a small hand-tied clouser as it was cruising the shallows with its dorsal and tail fins completely exposed.
For the shorebound angler, walking the shore on either side of Richmond Creek is best on an afternoon ebbing tide. Craig feels that a sunny day where the rays warm up the creek is what you are looking for. Once the creek begins to flow into the bay, the action can be non-stop for the entire ebb. Topwater spooks or any other plug you can work fast, and 7-1/2 -inch white Slug-Go baits with a 3/0 Owner tarpon hook glued into the head are his go-to lures. “Using a short-shank hook allows the bait to swim enticingly,” said Craig.
“There is nothing like working a Slug-Go or topwater and seeing a wake pushing towards your offering,” stated Craig. He also went on to say he has had solid weakfish action before most anglers even have their boats in the water.

The variety of bait in the forms of worms, shrimp, crabs and most importantly mantis shrimp are what attracts stripers and weakfish. Anglers are always amazed at how many of these creatures will be in the belly of a large bass or weakfish. “There were times when I had fish so packed with mantis shrimp, they were sticking out of their gullets when I caught them,” said Craig.
Craig has found that the best producers are light colored plugs and plastics. Use a faster than normal retrieve on both the topwater and Slug-Go to draw reaction strikes.

Years ago, Hog Neck Bay offered a solid flounder population, and I am sure if you put out a chum pot and worked the 10- to 12-foot depths outside the creeks, you may still find some. There are also several shoals and drop-offs, which could bode well for porgy action as the season progresses.

If you have a boat in the area, give Hog Neck Bay a shot, you might be pleasantly surprised. For shore bound access, you will have to be creative due to parking in most of the area somewhat restricted to residents. The best option however, especially if you are new to the area, might be to give Craig a call (631-365-7983) and book a trip.

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