This metal ship lays on a piece of flat sandy bottom just four miles dead south of Moriches Inlet in 95-feet of water. It is known to be a mysterious steel schooner originally known as the Sea Wolf; however she is better known by local divers and fishermen as the South Wreck. With her steel hull facing towards the east, the South Wreck (40.41.760/72.44.668) is a large and distinct piece with the bow raising over 10 feet off the bottom while the remainder of the iron clad rests 2 to 3 feet off the bottom. Unfortunately, there is a large dragger net that drapes the amidships. Fortunately, the net isn’t much of an issue from this large piece of shelter for many species of fish nearly year-round.
Starting with January, there is a respectable showing of market codfish that inhabit the eastern section of the wreck, primarily inside the hull. The codfish will stick it out well into April crunching on all sorts of bivalve and mollusks stapled to the wreck. Depending on how cold or warm the water may be, there is always a chance at a few big tog that have yet to hibernate to the deeper waters just yet. January will produce the largest cod of the year with an occasional soaker to 30 pounds in the mix. As January and February wanes, the wreck is over taken by smaller but aggressive cod, although most will be shorts. Ling and even a few small whiting will also mix with the cod. Although absent the past four decades, it seems as the whiting are on a slow rebound as we get a few here each winter.
April and May sees ling dominating this wreck as well a big pregnant blackfish that should be safely released. By the end of May, the wreck is chock full of mixed size sea bass that are usually plucked off this piece of metal by pin-hookers, leaving mostly shorts for the June 23rd opener. If you do hit this wreck looking for some keeper sea bass by the start of the season, you have to hit it within a few days of the opener as the Moriches open boats pick this wreck clean quickly.
July and August sees some good fluke fishing when conditions permit along the sandy fringes, although dogfish can be a burden on the flat bottom here as well. Using live baits around the piece could potentially produce a doormat if the dogfish aren’t numerous.
September through November is a ground fish paradise hear as porgies, sea bass, triggerfish and blackfish keep rods bending all day. Big bluefish will also pay frequent visits during the fall and livelining legal size porgies will produce a steady dose of bluefish. December will see some small sea bass lagging while blackfishing is at its peak early in the month and as we come up to the Christmas Season, codfish will once again begin settling in.
When fishing the South Wreck during the months of November and December, it is key that you fish the high profile of this wreck, otherwise the doggies will have you going crazy. As an added bonus for all the shark anglers out there, you may want to chum up this area a bit before heading offshore as quite a few thresher sharks have been taken here the past few summers.
The wonderful thing about a piece like this is that you can fish it the entire season and experience some sort of good fishing on it. With technology like Minn Kota’s Riptide Terrova Spot Lock you can probe every foot of the piece for optimal fishing results.