Head 2-1/2 miles southeast from the eastern tip of Plum Island and you’ll come to nun buoy 2 otherwise known a Constellation Rock. Bordering the southern section of the Sluiceway and a portion of The Race complex, Constellation Rock is actually one of many huge boulders that clutter this area of The Race. Some of these boulders are as big as houses, carved out as the glaciers receded during the Ice Age. Needless to say, water depth ranges around the buoy 2 area due to the varying heights of the boulders. Some areas are as deep as 60 feet, and others as shallow as 25 feet, such as over Constellation Rock.
Most of the seasoned charter boat captains that work out of the North and South Forks prefer not to focus attention on Constellation Rock because of its potential for producing huge striped bass and the beloved trio of blackfish, sea bass and porgies. Unlike the popular rocky lairs north of Constellation, such as Valiant Rock, Race Rock Point on the western tip of Fishers Island and other neighboring hotspots in the area, you can often fish Constellation effectively during the strongest stages of the tide. Setting an anchor on the down current side and directly behind the rock allows you to take advantage of the boulder blocking the force of the current. The current is diverted around the boulder, which provides shelter from the current and a good feeding zone for the bottom dwellers that frequent this area that is rich in mussels, crabs and other bivalves. Veteran skippers from Montauk and Orient Point are masters when it comes to fishing behind the rocks and often come back to the dock with a fish box brimming with slob tog, knucklehead sea bass and platter-sized scup, depending on the time of year.
If it’s big striped bass you want, this is the place, especially if you are on the hunt for a 50-plus pound bass. Those anglers who correctly fish the rips and hard currents around the buoy 2 area see a significant difference in the quality of linesiders from this area verses places such as Plum Gut, Pigeon Rip and the northern end of the Sluiceway. Fish between 60 and 70 pounds have been confirmed from there and no doubt many more have been lost to the boulder studded bottom.
Diamond jigging with hammer finished A-series jigs between 8 and 12 ounces, depending on the current, is one way to go at it, but will most likely produce smaller stripers than if you were to employ 2- or 3-ounce bucktails fished on a three-way rig. The key to the rigs is keeping them off the bottom, or it can quickly make for an expensive loss in bucktails and lead. Bluefish and false albacore are abundant in this area during the fall and readily strike thin profile tins and surface plugs. Top to bottom, there are lots of reasons to put Constellation Rock on your list of places to fish this season.