Over the years a lot of anglers have fished the Yankee Wreck in search of cod, pollock, ling and other winter bottom dwellers. However, for those that trek to the Yankee, did you know just a short hop away is another wreck, and a good one? The 59-Pounder, although a small wreck able to accommodate one party boat or two smaller boats is a true hot spot.
The 59-Pounder is located near the 20-fathom curve, approximately 18-nautical miles south of Fire Island Inlet. Years ago while talking to Capt. John Raguso – one of the best wreck and offshore guys I know – he said he stumbled on the 59-Pounder 35 years ago, while anchored up over the Yankee. Off in the distance he saw a larger party boat anchored up. That boat, which turned out to be the old “Capt. Al” was bailing sea bass and other bottom dwellers for his fares. According to a boat close to John, Capt. Al Lindroth had been fishing this wreck for quite some time. In fact, he always made a stop there when returning to his home port after a day of fishing farther wrecks and secret pieces.
The wreck is definitely a small one compared to some, and lies in about 110 feet of water. It comes up off the bottom about 6 to 7 feet, with the majority of the debris, rubble and other pieces keeping a low profile. Although the structure may not be large, species can still seek shelter from current and wait for an easy meal to slide by.
Capt. John also said that the 59-Pounder appears to be a wooden barge or small schooner, based on the strength of its return signal on his electronics. The wreck incidentally got its name after being discovered by Capt. Jay Porter, and after an angler landed a 59-pound cod from the piece. A handful of years ago, the ship’s bell was recovered by a diver but unfortunately, no name was on the bell.
The wreck plays host to a good supply of cod, ling, blackfish and sea bass. For real offshore aficionados, anglers have also wrestled with thresher sharks and giant bluefin tuna close to 1000 pounds! This 20 fathom area, with its wealth of concentrated shipwrecks, makes for extremely fertile fishing grounds for both bottom dwellers and migratory species like sharks and tuna.
For winter fishing, bottom gear is the tackle you will need. Anglers can figure on beefier gear in the 20 to 40 pound class with average sinker weights from 4 to 16 ounces depending on the moon phase and current. Braided line will allow a slightly lighter sinker and rod and reel set-up as well. On the bait side, fresh whole skimmer clams are the way to go. Cod, ling, blackfish and sea bass will all readily suck them up.
Although the wreck is small. It still might pay to jockey around a bit if the bite is slow. A simple drop-back on the anchor line 10 to 15 feet or even moving laterally on the wreck could make for a great day. I have been out on wrecks where a move as little as 5 feet made a difference. Don’t be shy if the bite is slow, but also don’t be impatient and give the anchored spot some time to get going. Although very deep, a heavy chum pot loaded with clam could make a huge difference.
The 59-Pounder is surrounded by a plethora of wrecks so don’t be surprised if other boats in the area are close by. Work this somewhat unknown piece thoroughly for a fun day on the water this winter.
The wreck was not listed on the original Capt. Segull chart yet, but if you look at chart ONY59, find the Yankee and head east to where the Gunboat would intersect it if you went south from its location that is where you will find the 59-Pounder.
The 59-Pounder is located east of the Yankee and south of the Gunboat and Skippy wrecks at a location of 40-20.400 and 73-12.600.