When I see rocks, I’m going to want to fish them. It’s common fishing knowledge that jetties and rocks will attract an array of bait species, which in turn will attract predators that I, as a fisherman, will want to target.
Back in April, I made a trip down to Mt. Sinai Harbor to take a look at the work done to the main channel and the new jetty that was built. If you’re familiar with the old harbor entrance, you’ll remember that you could almost cast across it at one point. After the recent dredging, the new entrance is virtually unrecognizable. Of course, having a love for tog fishing, the sight of a new jetty got my juices flowing. I could only imagine the tog that would set up along those rocks in the fall.
Being curious at the time, I picked up a dozen green crabs. Tog season is open for the month of April in New York, so crabs are available to those who want to try. My hopes weren’t high, as tog fishing in the spring pales in comparison to what we see in the fall. Mix in land-based fishing, and your odds dip lower than a night at a bad casino. Being optimistic is something I preach in fishing, so I made my way out to the tip and casted a jig baited with a fresh piece of green crab. I counted to 10 before my jig settled to the bottom, this new channel is deep. In due time I had a series of nibbles. These fish were cold, but they were around. After a half hour of fishing, I landed two ‘almost keeper-sized’ tog; this was an excellent sign for some fall fishing.
Fast forward to October, and I felt the urge to make my way down to this jetty to try my luck again, this time with higher hopes. The tide and weather were perfect. The spot is only 20 minutes from my house, so I can hit that perfect window of opportunity and leave. When I pulled in and made my way down to the rocks, I was greeted by a sign that said “NO FISHING ON JETTY” posted up in several different locations. This sign was absolutely not here in the spring, and after a quick call to a local resident, my suspicions were confirmed.
These types of things infuriate me. How can you ban fishing from the jetty while anyone else without a fishing rod can walk on these same rocks? The fact that this new sign specifically targeted fishermen, really ticked me off! It may have been easier to stomach if the sign prohibited everyone from walking on the jetty—but excluding only fishermen is shameful. And truth be told, individuals who fish are more familiar with this type of rocky terrain than the everyday pedestrian, potentially and unwittingly putting more people at risk. I called a local shop, and we discussed the issue briefly, and then they also let me know that, during the summer months, the lifeguards were banning fishermen from using the entire beach—even well away from the designated swimming area.
These acts that restrict access to fishermen are deplorable, and they get away with it when we allow them to do it without voicing our displeasure with the situation. If we let these restrictions continue to limit us, I’m afraid the future doesn’t look bright. How would you feel if you took a friend or family member to fish this stretch of beach in the summer and were told to get lost even though you weren’t bothering anyone?
I think it’s clear, that we need to make sure our voices are heard.