40 41’ 76”N / 72 44’ 66” W
Laying on a sandy lair just four miles dead south of Moriches Inlet in 95 feet of water is a mysterious steel schooner known as the Sea Wolf or better known by local divers and fishermen as the South Wreck. With her steel hull facing towards the east, the South Wreck is a large and distinct piece with the bow raising over 10 feet off the bottom while the remainder of the iron clad vessel is resting two to three feet off the bottom. Unfortunately there is a large dragger net that drapes the hull amidships. Fortunately the net isn’t much of an issue for this large piece that affords shelter to many species of fish year round.
Starting in January of some years, there is a respectable showing of market codfish that inhabit the eastern section of the wreck, primarily inside the hull. The codfish will sometimes stick it out well into April, crunching on all of the bivalves and mollusks adhering to the wreck. Some years, January will produce the largest cod of the year, with an occasional soaker to 30 pounds in the mix. As January and February wane, the wreck is over taken by smaller but aggressive cod, but most will be shorts. Ling and even a few small whiting will also mix with the cod.
Although absent the past two decades, it seems as the whiting are on a slow rebound as we get a few here each winter. April and May see ling dominating this wreck, as well as some big,egg bearing blackfish that should be safely released. Even during the open season of April, releasing these big breeders is the right thing to do. Typically, you will find the wreck chock full of mixed size sea bass from May right through the fall. The start of sea bass season sees a lot of nice fish come over the rail and into the pails, but you have to hit this piece within a few days of the opening since local open and private boats will pick this easily accessible wreck clean quickly.
July and August see some good fluke fishing when conditions permit along the sandy fringes. However dogfish can be a burden on the flat bottom here. September through November are prime time for a smorgasbord of bottom species, including porgies, sea bass, triggerfish and blackfish. Big bluefish will also pay frequent visits during the fall and live lining legal size porgies or bunker can produce some true slammers. December is blackfish time on the wreck. Find a decent weather window and you can get in a good last shot or two at tog before the season shuts down on the 22nd of the month. Once the new year kicks off, some cod should again be settling into the wreck.
When fishing the South Wreck during the months of November and December, it is paramount that you fish the high profile of this wreck, otherwise the doggies will have you going bonkers. For all the shark anglers out there, you may want to chum up this area a bit before heading offshore as quite a few thresher and even some small makos have been taken here the past three summers.