Hotspot Of The Month: Cerberus Shoal – Montauk - The Fisherman

Hotspot Of The Month: Cerberus Shoal – Montauk

N 41.10.372 / W 71.57.369

Anglers looking for an edge along the very eastern end of the South and North Forks for groundfish and gamesters alike, will find Cerberus Shoal to be that place weather permitting throughout spring, summer and fall. Only 6 miles ENE of Montauk Point, Cerberus Shoals makes up about a half mile radius of shallow, patchy rock bottom. Deep water and strong currents surround and flow over this piece of real estate. As a result, anglers fishing from small crafts must watch the weather as this spot can provide a Jekyll and Hyde performance on windy days. The bottom rises to 20 feet with a patch of boulders lying on the north end. The seas break on this shoal during heavy swells making it a place to avoid during storms and strong wind against tide situations. It is marked by lighted gong buoy number 9.

Near the shoal, tide rips are unusually strong; therefore when seeking out bottom dwellers, two hours before slack tide and the first hour after slack is the time to be here. Years ago Cerberus was a dynamite spot for snowshoe flounder during May and June. However as that fishery dried up, jumbo porgies took over the show from late May through the summer and peaking by October. With historical catches of big, plump sea bass in recent years, Cerberus scup are in steep competition with the biscuits when it comes to living quarters and munchies. Drifting or anchoring will both fill the cooler with pork chops and biscuits when employing clam baits on high/low rigs. Bucktails and leadheads tipped with Gulp will work wonders on both species when light tackle is applied around the slack water stages of the tide.                                                                                                                            

Blackfish join the duo by late October, sticking around until mid-November. All the usual crab baits from an anchored vessel, particularly on the north end of the shoal, will keep you on your toes with tog to 8 pounds. Sinkers will vary according to lunar phase and the stage of tide. Plan on 6 to 8 ounces of lead under normal conditions, while you may have to increase the lead up to 16 ounces under more extreme conditions.

Cerberus is also a great place to be for striped bass and bluefish during their seasons, especially when winds from the southwest coincide with an outgoing tide. Trolling wire and jigging parachutes across the shoal is usually the first choice here, however trolling is not for everyone. Other anglers prefer drifting live legal size porgies or live bunker while hunting for a trophy cow around the summer moons.

Late August through October sees lots of false albacore and some bonito frequenting the area, particularly during the early morning hours. The albies have been drawing plenty of attention the last few seasons, and light tackle anglers tossing Kastmasters, Crippled Herring and Deadly Dicks have had their share of fun with these drag burning speedsters.

Anyone interested in trailering to Montauk to cash in on this fishing should check in with West Lake Marina which has access to the town launching ramp, along with being able to fulfill all of your bait and tackle needs.


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