72 23’ W / 41 04’ N
Located along the west side of Shelter Island between Shelter Island Sound and Little Peconic Bay is a landmark and fishing hotspot known as the Greenlawns. The name is derived from a pair of mansions side by side to each other with identical size lawns distinguishing the location. While the landscape and scenery may be impressive, it is certainly not the reason why anglers cluster around this area each season. Rather it is the spring runs of fluke, bluefish and weakfish, as well as platter size porgies and jumbo blowfish, that settle here during May and June that draw all the attention.
The bottom contour consists of a gravel and sandy bottom as well as some rocks and plenty of hills and slopes. In turn, this particular habitat attracts a myriad of forage that includes squid and spearing that look to avoid being ambushed by fluke, weakfish and bluefish. Combine the elements and it’s no mystery to why these species of fish see this place as one grand buffet. The water depth varies between 10 and 65 feet with a moderate current at most. Drifting by the “Lawns” require sinkers or jigs ranging from 2 to 6 ounces depending on the stage of the tide, lunar phase, and wind conditions. Therefore, gauge your tackle accordingly.
The season begins here by late April/early May, or once massive schools of squid move into the area with hungry predators following right behind the Cephalopod. When you are on the hunt for big fluke, the proven technique is drifting both the upside and downside of the shoals in 45- to 65-feet of water on either moving tide. Obviously, fresh long strips or whole squid would be feasible using plain standard fluke rigs, which usually producing the biggest fluke in the early going. As the season and the fluke move along, then you can get fancy with your favorite bells and whistles. The fluke action will hang on until early July at which time they will move off towards Gardiners Bay.
Weakfish show up by the first or second week of May followed by an all-out bail job of large bluefish that can wreak havoc on fluke fishermen. Spoons, tins and diamond jigs will pull the wool over the eyes of the blues while hi-lo rigs baited with strips of fresh squid or nice fat sandworms will take care of the weakfish. The rip lines and the drains should hold some quality weakfish. The bottom rigs will also grab the attention of big blowfish and jumbo sea bass.
Porgies are the mainstay during the summer months with either drifting or anchoring being effective. Plan on fishing along the gravel bottom when drifting. The rocky areas located southwest of Buoy 15 are an ideal area to anchor and chum in 15 to 20 feet of water.
Sandworms, clams and squid will work on the hook while frozen blocks of clam chum in the pot will draw scup to the boat. You can also expect visits from blowfish, kingfish and smaller summer-run weakfish throughout late summer and into the early fall. This body of water contains an abundance of forage for all species to feed on. A great thing about fishing here is the diversity that you can find in a single day of fishing, along with the productivity you will experience from spring to fall.