Stretching from the west side of the Robert Moses Bridge to the Sore Thumb Pocket along the northern shore of Fire Island Inlet, on the barrier island separating the Atlantic from Great South Bay, lies the sleepy community of Oak Beach. While most of this stretch is made up of private homes, there are several areas that provide good fishing access for shore bound anglers, including hard core surfcasters.
Beginning at the east end of this stretch and bordering the north end of the Robert Moses Bridge, surf fishermen can work tight to the bridge’s abutments for stripers on night tides. There was a time not long ago when this spot was a solid producer of quality stripers, but those fish have become a rare commodity for casters in recent years. Throwing darters up-current of the bridge on late night incoming tides paid off handsomely on fish to over 30 pounds with bigger fish more often than not cutting you off on the bridge. These days, it’s mostly schoolies with an outside chance at connecting with fish into the teens.
When bluefish are roaming the inlet, especially in the spring, they are frequent visitors along the stretch west of the bridge. Casters working their way out on the bar also find good fluke here at times, especially those who push off to the southwest and work the cut between this bar and the Oak Beach Bar, which runs the length of Oak Beach. Stripers will also prowl this natural pathway for bait and fish. A quick glance to the right when driving over the bridge will give you a clear picture of the layout of this structure. A State Beach Vehicle or Sport Fishing (Night) permit allows you to park in the Captree Overlook lot, putting you within comfortable walking distance of this area.
In the middle of this stretch is the Oak Beach Fishing Pier, located on the former site of the Oak Beach Inn, which is open to the public during daylight hours. It can produce good numbers of fluke at times for those tossing bucktails tipped with Gulp. Bluefish will make passes through this stretch of water nestled between the Oak Beach shore and the north edge of the Oak Beach Bar. Stripers also frequent this area, and I have caught some decent bass here by casting poppers or pencil poppers to the edge of the sand bar and working them back across the edge of the channel. Long casts are required to reach the bar so 10- to 11-foot sticks are in order here. At the east end of the parking lot is a small rock pile overlooked by most surfcasters. In past years, this was a regular stop on my night forays as quality stripers found the base of the rocks easy dining for the small blackfish, sea bass, bergalls and porgies that sinker bouncers sought during the day. The current lack of big bass inside the bay and inlet makes this old news but you might want to file it away for future use.
At the west end of this stretch are a series of groins, one of which serves as a small parking area for up to a dozen cars or so. These groins, and the pockets of water between them always seem to hold good amounts of bait that at times draw stripers, blues, weakfish and fluke. During September when mullet are working their way out of the bay and through the inlet, the baitfish tend to hug this stretch of shoreline, where bass are able to ambush them. If you are lucky enough to come across this scenario, swimming a Super Strike popper slowly along the surface or tossing a shallow running swimming plug should result in a hookup.