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CERBERUS SHOAL

Anglers looking for an edge along the very eastern end of the South and North Forks for ground fish and gamesters, will find Cerberus Shoal to be that place, weather permitting, throughout spring, summer and fall.
By Tony Salerno
CERBERUS SHOAL

Only six miles east/northeast of Montauk Point, Cerberus Shoals makes up about a half mile radius of shallow, patchy rocky bottom. Deep water and strong currents surround and flow over this piece of real estate. Small craft day trippers must watch the weather as this spot can put on a Jekyll and Hyde performance on windy days. The bottom rises to 20 feet with a patch of boulders lying on the north end. The seas break on this shoal during heavy swells so it’s a place to avoid during storms and strong wind against tide situations. It is marked by a lighted gong buoy (buoy 9). Near the shoal, tide rips are unusually strong, so when seeking bottom dwellers, two hours before slack tide and the first hour after slack is the time to be here.

Years ago, Cerberus was a dynamite spot for snowshoe flounder during May and June. However as that fishery dried up, jumbo porgies took over the show from late May through the summer and peaking by October. With historical catches of big plump sea bass in recent years, Cerberus scup are in steep competition with the biscuits for living quarters and munchies. Drifting or anchoring should help fill the cooler with pork chops and biscuits when employing clam baits on high/low rigs.
Blackfish join the duo by late October, sticking around until mid-November. All the usual crab baits on an anchored vessel, particularly on the north end of the shoal will keep you on your toes with togs to 8 pounds. Sinkers will vary according to moon phase and the stage of tide. Plan on 6 to 8 ounces of lead under normal conditions, and you may have to increase it to 16 ounces under harsher conditions.

Cerberus is also a great place to be for big striped bass and bluefish from May through November, especially when the winds are from the southwest coinciding with an outgoing tide. Trolling wire and jigging parachutes across the shoal is first choice here, however trolling is not for everyone. Drifting live legal size porgies or live bunker makes for a superior alternative. Late August through October sees lots of false albacore and some bonito frequenting the area, particularly during the early morning hours. Kastmasters, Crippled Herring and Deadly Dicks should have your reel smoking by day’s end.

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