40 35.65’ / 73 39.90’
Located at 700 Magnolia Blvd. in Long Beach, Magnolia Pier is an “L” shape designed structure approximately 300 feet in total length jutting out into Reynolds Channel. The Channel drains in and out of Jones Inlet from the east, and Rockaway Inlet to the west, making this shore bound hotspot a year-round pathway for most Northeast species during their respective seasons.
Magnolia Pier is open 365 days a year with free parking. Restrooms are available during Recreation Department hours, Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., and a snack bar at the ice arena located at the south end of the parking lot keeps anglers warm with hot beverages and soups when the wind blows and temperatures drop. The pier and its spacious parking lot are well lit for nighttime fishing, which is open to the public free of charge 24/7 year round. The pier has gone through some much needed renovations ever since Super Storm Sandy caused major damage to the area. Thankfully with a whole lot of TLC, the pier has been rebuilt stronger than ever with some additional perks added that benefit anglers.
Water depth along, and straight out from the pier varies, however the general water depth is approximately 18 feet. With the pier jutting into Reynolds Channel, currents can be swift, which can be a benefit for anglers bouncing 3/8- to 1-ounce leadhead jigs along the bottom in search of stripers and fluke. Sinker bouncers looking to keep baited rigs stationary will find that a 2 or 3-ounce sinker will hold under most conditions, but there may be times when you will need to bump up your payload. At times, 4 or 5 ounces may be needed to hold bottom, particularly during new and full moon phases.
The start of the New Year finds plenty of activity here, as herring become the main attraction this time of year. Actually, sea herring begin funneling through the inlets and into Reynolds by the end of November or early December, with the run normally peaking during January, and becoming more sporadic during February and March before exiting back out to the Big Pond by April. Employing standard herring rigs will do their job, however sabiki rigs are favored by pier regulars who often rack up impressive scores.
Although nowhere near the same caliber of action as years gone by, the pier does surrender a handful of winter flounder during April and into mid-May, but it is the arrival of fluke that really sparks the interest of pier regulars. From the season opener in May, through early June, is when you will have your best shot at nailing a limit of keeper fluke or at least scoring a keeper or two as the summer flatties enter the bays through the channel. The first waves of bluefish, and some school size stripers, also make their presence felt in May, where the usual array of metals and plugs play well on the new arrivals.
Summer brings hot weather and some fine mixed bag action as fluke, bluefish, porgies, kingfish and blowfish vie for tandem rigs baited with sandworms, clam and squid. Snappers are a big draw from August through mid-October, while stripers and bluefish draw attention from some of the pier’s sharpies from October through Thanksgiving, when the fish can fatten up on newly arriving herring.
Every shore bound enthusiast should pay this hotspot a visit at least once in their fishing lifetime, and I can be pretty sure it won’t be their last.