MAGNOLIA PIER, LONG BEACH, NY
Tucked safely out of harm’s way nearly dead center between East Rockaway and Jones inlets, Magnolia Pier is one of Long Island’s most popular and productive shorebound fishing hotspots. Protruding from the north side of Long Beach Island at the end of Magnolia Blvd., this 300-foot long “L” shaped structure parallels productive water that varies from three to over 25 feet deep.
Winter anglers know this spot as a prime location to ambush sea herring from November through April. In fact, you’ll find winter anglers fishing here just about any time the dock is open between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m. in of search herring to cream or pickle. Standard Sabiki rigs account for the vast majority of the herring action, although a few also fall to small bucktails and tiny tins as well.
In warmer weather, you’ll also find plenty of fluke, bluefish, snappers, school stripers, weakfish, kingfish, blackfish and, in recent years, blowfish, caught from these planks. Be aware, however, that currents can push hard through the area as the tide floods or drains Reynolds Channel. As such, you’ll need two or three ounces of lead to hold bottom if baitfishing, and four or five ounces on full and new moon tides. If casting bucktails, 1/2- to one-ounce sizes will suffice most days.
“There’s a good mix of action on the pier” said Mark Keller at Bay Park Bait and Tackle in Oceanside. The fluke arrive as the season opens with the first wave or two offering your best shot at keepers. Anglers who cover a lot of water using lightweight SPRO bucktails in the ½- to one-ounce size generally score best. The secret is to keep your line moving, slowly probing the bottom until you cross paths with one of the summer flatties. Tip your bucktail with a four- or five-inch red, white or chartreuse Berkley Swimming Mullet, a single spearing or a strip of squid.”
Next to arrive are school blues. They form a decent run starting in late May and continuing through Independence Day and beyond. Mostly one- to four-pounders, they’ll hit small tins and poppers and raise havoc at dawn and dusk. A few weakfish, along with an occasional striper will also work the pier, especially after dark. Fish quietly, and cast around the lights with pink, olive or black Tsunami Split Tails for best results.
Snappers are the mid-summer highlight at Magnolia, and the fall wraps up with another shot of small bass, blues and weakfish. If you want to give blackfish a try, expect to find them tight to the pilings as the season opens in October. Be quick to get on the tautog, however, as it only takes a cold snap or two to send them heading for the inlets east and west of this fishy location.
Magnolia Pier and its spacious free parking lot are well lit for nighttime fishing and are open to the public free of charge on a year-round basis. There is, however, a posted stipulation allowing use of only one rod per angler. On a busy and productive pier like this one, that seems fair enough.