Hot Spot: The Steeplechase Pier - The Fisherman

Hot Spot: The Steeplechase Pier

pier
The pier provides ample fishing space along with shade from the sun and plenty of bench seating.

Many moons ago, anglers would line shoulder to shoulder at the Steeplechase Pier during the winter months nearly around the clock in hopes of filling a bucket of tasty baseball bat length whiting also known as frost fish. While the days of exceptional whiting fishing is long gone from this pier and most of the inshore waters along the Northeast, the restructured Steeplechase Pier stands stronger than ever catering to fishermen both day and night throughout the entire year.

Located at the footsteps of Coney Island Amusement Park, the Steeplechase Pier is surrounded with guarded railing extending several hundred feet into the Atlantic Ocean ranging in depths from five to 30 feet of water. Throughout the decades, the Steeplechase Pier withstood many storms and hurricanes until 2012 when Super Storm Sandy took her toll on much of piers structure. However, once all the dust settled, the reworking of this pier gave an opportunity to rethink the pier’s identity to meet current and future needs, while acknowledging its historical legacy.

When it was originally built, the three-football-field-length pier accommodated ferry boats bringing customers to the amusements of Coney Island. In recent years, with the ferry connection no longer in operation, the Steeplechase Pier has itself become a destination, serving as a public promenade, fishing perch and tourist destination. As for fishing, the year begins and ends with blueback herring. Actually the prime time for the herring is by mid to late November that peaks in December and begins to slow down by mid to late January. February and March often produces a few shots at the species; however, catches are quite sporadic. Typical herring rigs and small diamond jigs are all that is needed to put a few herring in the pickle jar. April is when things begin to get interesting as anglers soaking fresh skimmer clams begin the spring season with a few school size stripers and possibly a few bluefish by month’s end. May is when the fishing really gets going as stripers, bluefish and fluke play host in the area with fresh clams still the premium choice for the bass while diamond jigs catch the choppers and bucktails baited with Gulp or standard rigs baited with squid and spearing nailing the fluke. The summer months continues to produce the trio of gamesters; however, you can include scup and kingfish to the list which has the duo sticking around until mid to late October. High/low or tandem rigs baited with worms, clams and squid do a swell job of putting a few of the bottom dwellers in the pail. Mid-October to mid-November sees anglers fishing fiddler crabs around the piers stanchions pluck out a few small blackfish. Most of the tog are often shorts with an occasional keeper in the bunch. November and December once again sees consistent herring fishing and anglers who prefer not to pickle their catch may prefer to live line the feeble little forage fish for a shot at a cow bass that often stalk the stanchions for some easy pickings.

Directions to the pier is quite simple by getting off the Belt Parkway exit 6S toward Cropsey Ave and following the signs.

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