40° 50′ 38″ N / 72° 30′ 3″ W
“Go where the locals go,” and when the going gets tough, the locals head for a little known area called Rampasture, which often produces some exceptional fluke action when other local areas fail. Tucked into the northeast corner of Tiana Bay and west of the Ponquogue Bridge lies Rampasture. This pristine, shallow section of the bay shelters myriad baitfish when many other areas are void of baitfish. It is this bait supply that draws good numbers of fluke to the area from May through the end of the season.
Water depths in the area vary between 5 and 8 feet at high tide with a bottom consisting of a mud/sand combo with plenty of vegetation. This provides shelter for the baitfish, as well as an abundance of juvenile sand crabs. Currents are mild, which means you will often have to rely on a steady breeze for ideal drifting conditions here.
The fluke action here gets underway toward the end of May as the combination of warm water from several tidal creeks spilling into the bay, and crystal clear ocean water flooding and ebbing from nearby Shinnecock Inlet makes Rampasture ideal fluke habitat. The fluke will linger in the area until dropping water temperatures send the baitfish and the fluke scurrying for deeper and warmer waters, normally by the end of September.
Leave your standard fluke rigs at home. This area is for light tackle jigging with 3/8-ounce bucktails or soft plastics tipped with either squid strips or spearing. Remember, a steady drift is imperative to successful fluking. In fact, it is more crucial to concern yourself with the drift than the tide. Winds out of the south and east are ideal as it pushes a lot of bait into the area, which will generally trigger a good fluke bite. Speaking of tides, two hours before or after low slack is prime time early in the season. As the fishing swings into summer mode, two hours before or after the flood tide will produce the best results.
Fishermen interested in testing their navigational skills in the shallow waters of Rampasture, or for that matter, Shinnecock Bay, can do so by launching their vessels from the Ponquogue Bridge Ramp located in the southeast corner of the big bridge. Non-residents of the Town of Southampton can obtain an annual ramp permit from the town for $90. For more information call 631-728-8585. For updated info on fishing in the area, visit or call (631-728-1744) Scott over at East End Bait & Tackle located on the south side of Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays, west of the Shinnecock Canal.