More than a decade ago a well-respected surfcaster turned me on to a seemingly insignificant spot that a surfcaster could tuck into when the jetty at Quonny Breachway was too crowded to fish. Personally, I’m not a big fan of fishing the breachways anyway – I don’t want to wait in line and I’ve seen how gnarly the seas can get out there on the wrong night. But the boulder-strewn beach east of Quonny, heading toward Fresh Pond Rocks, has turned out to be a pretty productive little spot, and has saved my night more than a couple times when fishing South County.
When the breachway is dumping, the bait that is purged into the sea has to go somewhere, and they typically make a beeline for the shallows. When the wind is favorable, you can bet that a sizeable percentage of that payload will end up along this beach. The stretch I’m referring to is barely a quarter-mile long, but packs in several attractive surfcasting features. From the first big rocky outcrop east of the jetty, you can fish the cove formed between it and the jetty itself, this might not be a wise choice if the breachway guys are hooking up regularly as many of their fish will be landed on the cove side of the jetty or even on the beach in the cove. But my experiences fishing there in the daytime have shown me how much bait can collect there, and bass, blues and albies regularly charge into this little cove to feed. The boulder field that extends from here to the next prominent rocky feature will produce fish on needles and plastic swimmers on calm nights and bottle plugs and lead-headed soft plastics when it’s rough.
The next rocky feature almost appears to be manmade, albeit dilapidated over many, many years. This L-shaped rock pile makes up the western side of a rocky bowl where I have had some good success in daylight on metal lips with a decent surf pounding into the bowl. This setup almost mimics a classic sand beach feature of a bowl with an outer bar. When waves are crossing these rocky boundaries, an undertow will set up, exiting through the gap and striped bass, along with other predators, will lie in wait for the mini current to sweep something out to them.
When the surf allows, wading out to either side of this bowl will put you on the edge of a run of deeper water. Surfcasters can throw practically the whole surf bag here, with mid-depth metal lips, leaded soft plastics, heavy needles, bottle darters and, of course, live eels doing a lot of the catching.
This stretch is not just for the surfcasters though, a dumping daytime tide with favorable wind, will bathe the same shoreline in panic-stricken baitfish. Blitzes are common here in the fall as thick schools of peanut bunker attempt to find refuge in the boulders. A few years back my friend Christian and I found several pods of feeding albies 70 yards off the beach that were happy to eat Exo Jigs and Ron-Z’s, the guys on the shoreline were hooking into stripers ranging from schoolies to approximately 36 inches on topwaters and tins intended for albies.
This spot is not one of those places that’s going to become your new secret weapon, but it is the kind of place that hold pretty consistent action and can save a slow day or night.