Moriches Bay: Summertime Fun - The Fisherman

Moriches Bay: Summertime Fun

richie
Richie had this fluke on one of his favorite combos, a pink Berkley Fusion Bucktail tipped with a strip of mackerel.

Eight species you might encounter while fishing Moriches Bay this summer.

TACKLE SHOPS & BOATS IN THE AREA
Dick’s Bait and Tackle
286 Neighborhood Rd, Mastic Beach, NY 11951
631-281-9070

Shark Bait and Tackle
1498 Montauk Hwy, Mastic, NY 11950
631-578-2690

Silly Lily Fishing Station
99 Adelaide Ave, East Moriches, NY 11940
631-878-0247

King Cod Fleet – Party/Charter
Capt. Joe Tangel/Capt. Ray Curiale
50 Senix Ave, Center Moriches, NY 11934
631-475-1060

Arrest Spot Charters – Charter
Capt. Dave Vlacich
631-335-0754

For the better part of my adult life I have lived within close proximity of Moriches Bay. When I first became editor of The Fisherman Magazine back in ’94, I had The Fisherman’s 20-foot Mako docked at Silly Lily for years. I prowled that bay morning and night in search of weakfish, blues, stripers, fluke and believe it or not flounder! There were also those early forays with blowfish too, before they disappeared for years. Add in the porgies and triggerfish near the inlet rocks and on the buoy chains respectively and you have the makings of one of the best bays on Long Island.

As summer is now in full swing, Moriches Bay is a place you need to hit. This bay is loaded in the summer with blues still active, bass in the inlet area, fluke and sea robins throughout the bay, triggerfish on the buoy chains and you can also grab a few weakfish too.

I recently took a ride with Richie Mazanek of Dick’s Bait and Tackle in Mastic Beach. Richie has been fishing this bay even longer than I, and he also knows the bay and its fishery better than most anglers. In fact, Richie, at the age of 13, was tasked with catching bait for the shop by his dad. On the trip, where Richie and I had several keeper fluke for the table we talked about August and what anglers can expect in the bay.

Fluke & Sea Robins

Without a doubt, the most prevalent fish in the bay are probably going to be fluke and sea robins. Before you go discounting sea robins, keep in mind they fight hard, taste pretty good and if you land a good one, it could garner you more points in the Dream Boat Challenge. Heck, it could even put you over the top and win a boat.

As far as locations go, the entire Narrows stretch, especially the south side in the channel where you will find depths to 20 feet are promising. Work the edges, allowing the boat to drift from deep to shallow as fluke will lie on these slopes. Moving closer to the inlet, the East and West cuts will produce best on the incoming tide as cleaner, cooler ocean water filters in. Typical fluke baits – spearing and squid, fluke belly, mackerel strips (one of Richie’s favorites), small whole squid, killies and of course any of the new soft plastics – Fishbites and Gulp.

tom
This keeper caught by the author was filleted and made its way right into the frying pan.

Triggerfish & Porgies

For triggerfish, August has become a prime month as they filter into the bay and make their way to the buoy chains throughout the bay, and at the inlet rocks. I remember Gary Grunseich from Silly Lily telling me once, the triggers are stacked on the chains, and sure enough, on my next trip he was right. Richie said the buoy chains are always good, but the rocks of the West Jetty, and Mary’s Hole should also be a spot to hit. Porgies are best near the inlet, and at the Smith Point Bridge area, or any sandy bottom in 8 to 10-feet of water. Chumming with clam chum and clam on the hook gets the nod for both. As an alternative, small pieces of squid and Fishbites EZ Baits will also work well.

Triggerfish
On a trip last year, Richie bagged this triggerfish using clams. Moriches Bay is loaded with triggerfish every August.

Blues & Stripers

Every angler I know is infatuated with bluefish and striped bass. For some reason, these two are probably sought after more than the others. They fight hard, grow to 50 plus pounds on the bass side to choppers in the teens for the bluefish.

The summer months can be dog days for these two, but if you focus on the inlet, and just outside, you can almost always find bass and blues. The summer months will see smaller blues, especially on the bars outside the inlet, and at daybreak near the islands at the back of the inlet. Bass will be in the deeper parts of the inlet, and are best targeted with live bait on the beginning of the outgoing tide (current). A well placed live spot by day or live eel after dark are always prime baits. Don’t overlook clam chumming the outgoing tide as well.

FlukeBaits
For fluke, pink bucktails, spearing and squid, and of course Richie’s favorite – mackerel strips is all you need for some quality Moriches Bay fluke action.

Weakfish

Your best shot at weakfish in the summer months would be the deeper holes in the bay. Slack water near the inlet will produce some in Mary’s Hole, but this action is sporadic. Heading east, the hole near buoys 30/31 is another good spot. Although I have not tried west of the Smith Point Bridge since the breach closed back up, there is a hole where the water drops to 17 feet. I would bet some weakfish, and even porgies or small sea bass could be found there.

Weakfish have always been the shy fish where noise and boat traffic is concerned. Fishing the early morning or late night tides will offer the best chance of scoring. Soft plastics will work well, with pink always producing. The 3-inch Gulp shrimp worked great this spring for weakfish where I was concerned. Sandworms, squid and grass shrimp are always good fresh baits. Stay back from your targeted area and make long casts, allowing the bait to drop slowly towards the bottom. Then start a slow retrieve, with quick snaps of the rod tip. Watch your line as most times the weakfish will hit on the fall.

map
From shallow flats to deep channels, Moriches is a broad area that can produce big results.

Blowfish

Last but not least are blowfish, which over the last several years have made a great comeback. Although there are no restrictions on size, if you target these tasty treats – they are not called “chicken of the sea” for nothing – just keep a few for the table, and make sure they are of the healthy size variety – about 6 inches or more.

As far as catching, blowfish can be found in any depression in the bay. If you find a hole that drops off, then anchor up, drop the clam filled chum pot and go to town. There are several nice holes of 10 feet south of buoy 24 heading towards the East Cut.

blowfish
Find a hole, drop down the chum pot and fish with clam or squid for a shot at blowfish.

Hit The Water

Moriches Bay is a great place to fish in August, and throughout the year. With August also being a time of “fun” on the bay by jet skis, pleasure craft and tube boats, I would urge you to get out early or very late in the day, especially on the weekends. There are several party and charter boats, plus a great rental station on the bay, so head out to Moriches this summer, I am sure you will have a blast.

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