Hot Spot: Montauk Radar Tower - The Fisherman

Hot Spot: Montauk Radar Tower

Captain John Paduano holds up a 10-pound fluke he snap-jigged from the Radar Tower.

Established in 1917, the Montauk Air Force Station was a US military base at Montauk Point surviving the elements of World War I and II. It was decommissioned in 1981 and is now owned by the New York State Office of Parks and Recreation.

The station was known as Fort Hero and upgraded to Camp Hero which is now known as Camp Hero State Park. Camp Hero grew to cover 278 acres and included four surplus 16-inch naval rifles, originally intended for battleships which were installed in two concrete bunkers. Aside from these cannons, a radar tower was included at the station, which can be seen from the ocean, and Long Island Sound for better than 270 degrees. The guns, bunkers and Radar tower remain intact as part of the New York State preservation project.

For years, the captains and sailors used the tower for land ranges when steering their ships around the treacherous waters that surround Montauk Point.  Today the Radar Tower, also called “The Guns,” is known as a landmark for its exceptional fluke and sea bass fishing along Montauks south side.  The spot called the radar tower (41.066.958/71.857.200) is a large gully with many depressions situated just west of The Elbow in 40 to 45 feet of water. What makes this area such an attraction to fluke is its mini roller coaster ride through a gully with swift currents that clash with outgoing water leaving the Sound and with the currents coming in from the ocean. The area also hosts some rocky bottom which often produces big sea bass.

Because of its layout and the myriad of baitfish that are attracted to this area, this area gets a new shipment of fluke and sea bass on a daily basis during the summer months. The fluke range from shorts to well over 10 pounds. The local party and charter boat captains that know how to fish this area properly, often do very well.

As for bait, nothing beats a strip of sea robin belly applied to a bucktail large enough to hold and bounce along the bottom. A teaser or a smaller bucktail put through a Dropper Loop 18 inches above the bucktail also with a piece of sea robin strip will work wonders. Ocean fluke love sea robin meat – especially the big fluke. The best part is, it’s tough to rip off the hook and will stay firm until it gets beat up by raging fluke or hard-hitting sea bass.

Throughout the season you can also find blitzing and staging schools of stripers and bluefish in the vicinity of the spot finding the same bait schools that the fluke and sea bass are keyed in on. Trolling, parachuting, jigging and popping will all do the job in getting hookups at this spot.

When all else fails, a stop under the guns or by the radar tower is a must as more often than not the area usually saves the day if your “Plan A” fails you.



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