The Ruins: 41 08’29” N / 72 08’46” W
Gardiners Bay is approximately 10 miles long and 8 miles wide, and sits between the two forks at the eastern end of Long Island. It is bounded on its eastern end, where it connects to Block Island Sound by Gardiners Island, a small island 6 miles long and 3 miles wide. Gardiners Bay is part of the Peconic Bay Estuary, which is rich in shellfish and crustaceans. Blue claw crab, oysters, hard shell clams, scallops and conch are abundant throughout the area, making this piece of water a fisherman’s paradise as the abundance of food attracts myriad bottom dwellers and gamefish.
One of the many hotspots that surround Gardiners is located at its northern tip. It is known as the Ruins and is separated from Gardiners Island by a mile long rip line that at one time was a road to get to and from an old fort located at the northernmost end. Once the fort was abandoned, Uncle Sam designated the area for military target practice, which is why the old road is now a rip line.
Speaking with Ken Morse over at Tight Lines Tackle in Sag Harbor, the rip line consists mainly of broken up old rubble from the blasting that is lying in 3 to 20 feet of water. Ken emphasizes that this spot is a fly fisherman’s and top water angler’s dream thanks to the abundance of bass and blues that frequent this area.
There are some bottom dwellers here but if you are thinking about anchoring in this area think again. There’s plenty of live ammo just waiting for an excuse to make some noise and setting an anchor among the steel tubes may be the last thing you ever do. Ken says a true navigation map is a must as all the danger zones are clearly marked on the charts. Drifting over the rip line is fine and poses no danger.
Ken also mentioned there are plenty of other options within sight of The Ruins. For fluke, Ken suggests fishing the deep water, preferably between 70 and 100 feet, as that is where the squid are during the day, and where you find big fluke on the squid. The area around the Gong Buoy north of the Ruins holds good numbers of fluke during July and August. The key here is to mark bait close to the bottom and fish over the schools of baitfish.
Ken says if it’s big porgies and sea bass that turn you on, head for the rocky lairs in 60 to 80 feet of water southeast of The Ruins. Once again, a quality navigation chart (Capt. Segulls, Navionics) will point out the rocky areas. As for tides, Ken feels that the outgoing produces better than incoming regardless of the species, but then there are exceptions, according to Ken.
As you can see, Gardiners Bay can be an interesting and productive area to fish. For further details on the numerous hotspots that surround the island and all your tackle and bait needs, head over to Tight Lines Bait & Tackle in Sag Harbor where Ken is happy to provide you with the latest info.