40.8012° N, 73.7933° W
Spanning between Queens and the Bronx, the Throgs Neck Bridge may be better known for its traffic jams and ongoing road construction, but for anglers the reality is that the bridge and its surrounding waters provide excellent potential for tangling with some of our most popular inshore gamefish. Some of the Metropolitan area’s best fluke, striped bass and bluefish action occurs around the bridge and nearby waters. The combination of deep water, strong currents and a structure-rich bottom makes this ideal habitat for this popular trio.
The season gets underway with the opening of striped bass season in April as the fish settle into the waters around the bridge and nearby Little Neck Bay feasting on bunker and spawning spearing. As water temperatures become too warm for the bass, and the forage baitfish in the shallows of the bay, many of the fish spill out into Long Island Sound, while others migrate into the Hudson River for their annual spawning ritual. By late May and early June, some of the big females drop out of the river after spawning and linger in the vicinity of the bridge until warming waters send them on their way. Trolling Mojos, live bunker and bunker chunks produce some quality bass during that stopover period.
The most popular method to catch bass here is to anchor up tide (current) of the bridge and employ fresh bunker chunks on either a 3-way or fish-finder rig. Since currents are swift here, 3- to 6-ounce sinkers are required to hold bottom. Keep in mind that either side of the tide will produce providing there is a swift current. While the summer and early autumn is sporadic, the bass do return with a vengeance in November where slowly cranking 2- to 3-ounce diamond jigs off the bottom produces best as these fish migrate back up the Hudson River for the winter months.
While bass may become elusive, especially during late summer, bluefish normally pick up the slack. In fact, the blues usually show by mid to late May and some years hold strong into November by the bridge. Employing the same tactics on the blues as the bass through the season produces the choppers as well.
Quality fluke reside in these waters from June through September. Drifting 1- to 4-ounce bucktails tipped with long strips of squid along with spearing or sand eels often sees quality keepers to 8 pounds. The size of the bucktail depends on the strength of the current and the depth of water. Fishing the edges and rips in 30 to 50 feet of water on either tide produces as long as there is a moderate drift. I prefer the ebb tide since much of the forage baitfish flushes out from nearby Little Neck Bay and through the bridge abutments. If bouncing bucktails is not your forte, then standard fluke rigs and bait will also catch their share of summer flatties.