40 43.7’ N / 72.53.8’ W
When hurricanes and superstorms such as Superstorm Sandy wreak havoc along the coast of the Northeast, the result is more often than not, devastating. These storms are better known for taking, but sometimes, good emerges from these forces of nature. One example is the breach on Fire Island National Seashore, west of Smith Point County Park, which was formed compliments of Sandy back in 2012. After months of tug of war between local residents, politicians and various agencies over whether to keep the cut open or seal it closed, common sense prevailed and the cut remains open to this day. It has had a dramatic effect on the quality of the water in eastern Great South Bay and Bellport Bay as it flushes the bay water with clean and cooler ocean water twice a day.
The result has been a big plus for both surf fishermen and boatmen alike. Located at the former site of Old Inlet, the cut has helped combat algae blooms and brown tide in the area, resulting in much improved fishing, especially in Bellport Bay, the Smith Point Bridge and a good portion of Narrows Bay. Since the creation of the breach, you are once again able to see the bottom of the bay in many areas. Those who fish the mainland docks and piers have seen good catches of weakfish, stripers and blues on night tides, while fluke and even a few flounder please anglers in the daytime. Porgies have also been abundant in the bay since Sandy broke through the barrier beach.
For the boatmen, the area just inside the breach and nearby waters see a lot of forage baitfish flush in and out producing plenty of mixed size fluke, stripers and blues. The past two seasons have also seen a good shot of weakfish right after the June full moon and lasting well into September. Five-inch Bass Assassins on ½-ounce jig heads will dupe the weakfish as well as fluke and stripers. Colors will vary day to day but I wouldn’t be caught dead without Albino Shad and Albino Red Tails. The flats just north of the inlet are often productive during high tide for all three species, but keep in mind that during the summer months the flats, as well as the pristine waters that surround the inlet, become congested with recreational boats that anchor up to sunbathe and swim. Hit this area in the early a.m. before the fleet of bathers and sun worshipers arrive.
Surfcasters during the fall run will find plenty of white water to cast their plugs into, especially when baitfish are making their way out of the bay. Actually, the entire stretch from the breach, east to Smith Point, has shown much more consistent action from the surf, and for boaters fishing outside along the barrier beach.
Speaking of the outside, the New Inlet is not recognized as a navigable waterway and has no buoys or markers to assist navigation. Therefore boaters beware as this piece of water and its sand bars are constantly shifting. If you decide to cross in or out of the breach, try doing so on high slack tide. Use common sense, as shallow water and numerous sandbars dominate the area.