Hot Spot: Ponquogue Bridge Fishing Pier - The Fisherman

Hot Spot: Ponquogue Bridge Fishing Pier

PONQUOGUE
The view from the north side of Ponquogue Bridge looking south.

Located in the Township of Hampton Bays, the old Ponquogue Bridge that have become fishing piers along the north and southern portion of Shinnecock Bay was the gateway that took automobiles, bikes and walkers across Shinnecock Bay on to Dune Road where a left turn at the traffic light will take you to the Shinnecock Inlet and the overlook area, or a right at the light would take on to Dune Road, where either of two bridges a few miles west, would cross you back to the mainland in West Hampton. Getting back to the piers, we’ll focus on the north side pier since there is ample free parking and excellent fishing for anyone who knows what they are doing.

Although there maybe a few boats or kayaks fishing near the north side pier, let’s focus all our energy on just pier fisherman. The action kicks off in May with stripers and though I would prefer to fish on the new bridge for the bass, I’m too beat up to keep getting kicked off the bridge by the state Troopers and the West Hampton Police Dept. Besides, done simple and correctly the pier produces lots of slot size stripers to keep things interesting. However it is relevant to follow the following procedures and I’m certain you’ll enjoy very good striper fishing.

First it is paramount to fish the entire outgoing tide at night with the later the better. Fish the east side and as much to the south end as possible. If you plan to fish a day or two, purchase at least one 3-gallon bucket of clam bellies. Two cans would be better especially if you plan to fish the whole ebb tide. As for tackle, a spinning or baitcaster outfit in the 15 to 20-pound class are ideal. Twenty-pound braid tied via an Albright Knot to an 8-foot length of fluorocarbon tied via an improve Clinch Knot to a Fishfinder rig equipped with a 5/0 Gamakatsu inline circle hook will set you right up.

As for bait, a piece or two of the clam bellies would be fine, however if you can get some live spot that would be the bait of choice. Next you need to get the stripers close to the pier. As the tide begins to head out, squeeze the glob over the side and dole out the remainder of the clam at about five every 5 minutes. As the current picks up steam you can continue to squeeze the bellies over the side and dole out the clams or you can switch to a square striper chum pot, especially designed for clam bellies and fish out the tide. This tactic never failed me and it shouldn’t fail you if done just as directed.

As for the bottom dwellers, fluke fishing can be excellent from June to the end of the season in the beginning of October with 3/8 to 1/2-ounce Spro Prime Bucktails in pink, glow, white, chartreuse and spearing (blue/white) tipped with a strip of Fishbites EZ-strip in squid or shrimp flavor. Either moving tide will produce with the edge going to the top of the flood (high tide).

Whether its stripers or fluke you need to land your catch. A large double extension net will reach the water line just fine. Stay away from bridge gaffs. I hate stabbing such beautiful creatures. Bluefish make frequent appearances while porgies and lots of them are more than happy to except you worms and clams from August through the end of September also. Triggerfish, small sea bass, snappers and blowfish are a few other critters that will mingle with the porgies. Learn about this pier and you won’t want to fish anywhere else during the spring, summer and fall.

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