Hot Spot: Greenport Railroad Dock - The Fisherman

Hot Spot: Greenport Railroad Dock

Throughout the season the Greenport Railroad Dock is open and filled with shore-bound fishing opportunities.

Located in the pristine waters of Greenport Harbor in the Town of Southold, the Railroad Dock is widely known by anglers for its exceptional run of squid during the early spring. However what many anglers may not be aware of is that this “Diamond in the Rough” location is the base for some exceptional fishing throughout the course of the season.

Starting with mid to late April, massive schools of squid move into much of the Peconic Bay Estuary in order to spawn, with Greenport Harbor being a major stopover. Unfortunately, each spring sees commercial fishing exploitation take its toll on the Peconic Bay run of squid as countless amount of draggers head off the calamari in the Long Island Sound before they have their chance to spawn between the North and South Forks.

Before the days of commercial exploitation, anglers would line the entire dock on any given night from April through May equipped with personally owned generators placed in front of the dock with extension cords long enough to power their source of artificial lights in order to attract the squid to their jigs. It was common to fill one or two 5-gallon buckets with the tasty little critters. These days, filling a bucket or two is still possible, but you’ll need to have the luck of the draw to determine which nights will be most productive. Although consistency may have slacked off in recent times, nighttime squid fishing from this dock is still popular and well worth the effort. These days, generators are no longer necessary as there are many manufacturers you can google that manufacture many types of battery-operated lights specifically designed to attract a myriad of baitfish, including squid, for under $50. As for jigs, I find that the Yo-Zuri jigs in pink and glow are the most consistent in producing. However, don’t cut yourself short; be sure to have green, blue, and white on hand in case those colors are what they are craving the night you plan to fish.

May and June and the Railroad Dock equates to fluke and some truly hefty ones to boot. Quite often, you will find several private, charter, and party boats, including the Peconic Star Fleet, drifting right out in front of the dock to the Greenport Jetty just to the west in search of a double-digit fluke. The railroad dock has produced many fluke in the 8 to 12-pound range over the years; therefore, be sure to include a long handle net in your gear as the odds are good that you are going to need it. Since the current is often swift and the water off the front of the dock relatively deep, 1 to 2-ounce Spro Prime Bucktails in Pink, Glow, White, Spearing Blue, Chartreuse, and Crazy Chartreuse tipped with Fishbites squid and crab scented strips in both pink and natural. Berkley Gulp will produce; however, I find that the Gulp is a bit buoyant, which restricts the lightweight bucktails from staying on the bottom when retrieving and jigging in the strong current. The Gulp produces rather well as the tide slacks, but while the tide is in motion, the Fishbites strips have the advantage. As for the tide, I find outgoing water produces the best.

The heart of the summer into autumn will produce porgies, weakfish, bluefish, and an occasional fluke. Hi/lo rigs weighed down with a 3-ounce sinker and baited with squid strips, sandworms, clam and Fishbites strips in clam, squid and clam flavors also work well. If you fish inside the basin of the dock, snappers and blowfish are taken in August and September.

October produces quite a few keeper blackfish, which weigh up to 5 pounds. Any of the posts that support the dock will produce; however, if you poke around and cast from the head of the dock, you will find some sticky bottom consisting of old traps and pipes trashed by the commercial boats that are tied to the dock. These spots may be sticky, but they produce some impressive togs from mid-October to early November. Green crabs will catch the tog; however, hermit crabs are primo if you can obtain a few. Asian crabs are also widely accepted by the tog.

As long as you clean up after yourself with any trash you may accumulate, you can fish the dock hassle-free 24 hours a day with plenty of parking right in the LIRR parking lot. Directions are easy: Take Route 25 east to 3rd Street in Greenport to the very end of the road and where paradise begins.



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