From Field 5 through Field 2, and out to the tip of Democrat Point, the stretch of beach that falls within Robert Moses State Park can provide excellent fall surfcasting opportunities. Quite a few catches of striped bass in excess of 50 pounds have been recorded along this shoreline through the years. The park is conveniently located at the southern end of the Robert Moses Causeway and is made up of nearly five miles of a fisherman’s paradise.
The fishing on this stretch of beach in the fall can be nothing short of amazing. One of the deciding factors on how good the bite will be is the type of baitfish coming down the surfline at certain times during the fall. Different types of bait dictate what to use and typically run at the same times every season.
All fields on the Moses stretch have the potential for good fishing. As with any type of sand beach fishing, the name of the game is finding the troughs and bars which will hold baitfish and in turn attract bass and blues. Sand beaches are considered soft structure and what I can recommend before checking out a location like this is to make a trip during daylight hours and scout out the structure during low tide for the higher stages of the tide. Take note of the areas that will attract bait and mark them on a map or make mental notes of where they are. Return during that ideal tide stage and work them thoroughly. Also, keep in mind that any sort of storm can change this structure and make it almost unrecognizable to the pre-storm layout.
Some portions of the beach seem to develop the same structure every year. This is due to the same currents coming down the beach year after year. While it is considered soft structure, it can very well be considered hard structure at the same time. One prime example of this is the structure east of Field 5 by the Fire Island Lighthouse. To access this area you must walk from the parking lot.
Sometimes fishing after dark along these beaches can produce epic nights that will be remembered for years to come. For those looking to head out after dark in search of stripers or blues, keep in mind you are allowed to park in Fields 2, 3 and 4 after dark with the state night fishing or four-wheel drive beach access permit, which doubles as your night fishing permit. Remember that no 4×4 driving is permitted, except west of Field 2 at Democrat Point. Four wheel drive access is at the west end of the park’s main road. From Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, you can access the beach before 7 a.m. or after 5 p.m. There are no restrictions after Labor Day. Night Sportfishing ($35) and Beach Vehicle ($80) permits can be purchased before the end of March and again beginning the day after Labor Day at the park office.
Rod and reel selection for this stretch depends on the surf conditions and size of the fish on the beach and bait present. If the surf is kicked up I recommend getting out a 10 or 11-foot rod. The added length will help you cast over the waves and reach prime structure easier. Also, if larger profile baits like bunker are in front of you, a longer and heavier rod will allow you to deliver larger and heavier payloads with ease.
As the fall progresses, sand eels will situate themselves along this stretch. Big fish at times will feed on these sand eels and throwing heavier diamond jigs and needlefish lures will be the ticket to success on certain days. The size of the fish will usually shrink as the season progresses and this is always a good time to get out a 6 to 8-foot rod for light tackle fun with the schoolies. On calm days, throwing small bucktails or tins can rack up catches of up to 30 or 40 fish on a single outing.
With proper tackle, this fishing can be a blast. Don’t be caught off guard though—a stray 30-pound bass can be mixed with the schoolies and put your fish fighting skills to the test. Luckily the sand beach lacks structure to get cut off on and with a properly set drag, landing a larger fish on light gear is not out of the question at all.