Long Island, New York Scuba Diving

Our Long Island Scuba diving adventures and events

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Not Too Deep For Tidal Stripers

When most Spearfishermen think of big fish, they usually associate the quest with a long boat ride and deep water. Not so with the Striped Bass. Stripers are tidal migrants and will move into the shallows with any incoming tide. They will also move out of the shallows on the outgoing tide and hold up in a deep hole waiting for prey to float by them in the current. Also, Stripers are creatures of habit and will usually do the same thing on the same tide day after day with the exception of a change in season. And did I mention that stripers are lazy. They will take every opportunity to position themselves so the food will come to them. On Long Island you can use this knowledge to hunt them on any of the shores or back bays. The North shore of Long Island is dotted with harbors and harbor channels and channels that lead to back bays and even smaller tributary. When the tide comes in the big Stripers will work their way into the smallest tributaries to hunt eels, shiners and crabs. At this point it might sound like a good idea to get in the back bays and start diving for whoppers but you'd need to cover a lot of water. At high tide the back bays can increase to 4 times their size so the fish are spread out over a greater area. The trick is to find concentrations of them. This is even more crucial when you are freediving. How do we find those concentrations of fish? Follow those tributaries out to choke points where there is a hole that the Stripers might wait in to take advantage of prey as it floats by on the outgoing tide. Did I just say fish at low tide? Yes I did and it felt great. I have found that on the north shore these choke points are most productive 2 hrs before low tide and right up to a slack low tide. They are even more productive if there is an ambush point like a jetty or a rock pile for you to blend in with. The underwater structure will also shield you from the current, which can get pretty hairy, as most Long Island watermen know. How did I discover this? As a young freediver, I was diving in a tidal pool for eels when it started to get too shallow to bother with as the tide went out. The tidal pool was part of a small creek channel that lead to a main branch of a harbor channel. At this time the creek channel was only about 1 ½ feet deep. But being a skinny young man I decided to snorkel to the main channel rather than taking my gear off. As my chest scraped mussels and rocks a surprising flash went by me, then another and then another still. A fourth one came past me and I damn near swallowed the whole creek. It was a huge Striper with all his friends and they were on a mass exodus from the ever shallower back bays. As I reached the main channel, which bordered on a jetty there was a hole about 12 feet deep in comparison to the six-foot depths in the rest of the channel. To my surprise the Stripers were lined up in that hole waiting for food to float to them on the current. As I drifted the channel I found a 20-foot hole with the same instance going on. I have produced more large fish from those holes on a single day at low tide than most fisherman can catch in a month. So there it is, a way to spearfish forStripers in the shallows and be productive. Every North Shore harbor has a couple of spots like I just described. Have fun finding yours and when you find it keep it hush hush. I've kept my secret spot for over 15 years now.Happy Hunting
There are a few good spearfishing and striped bass pictures on http://www.spearfishingextreme.com

Saturday, April 23, 2005

It's April, It's Been April, When Are You Going To Start Diving

April is a great time to break out the gear and get into the water. Lot's of ambient light as we approach the spring equinox and the water is clear and free of algae. In addition, there is little to no boat traffic on the water, meaning you can dive some docks and channels that would mean certain death in the summer time. I particularly enjoy diving under floating docks where boaters who trailer their boats load and unload their boats. You can find all kinds of things in those concentrated spots. The other day I went to one of my favorite North shore spots which is located right next to a boat ramp. It's easy access with a giant stride right off the floating dock and the vis was easily 20 feet. I immediatley started rumaging along the bottom under the floating dock as people drop all kinds of things there. In the first 10 minutes I found these items:
Fishing pole and reel
Brass nuts
Cell Phone in case
3 fishing lures
.22 cal bullet
2 .308 cal bullets
watch band (couldn't find watch)
Many bottles

Not bad for a quick salvage run. I continued on swimming parallel to the bulkhead and zig zagging out into the channel. As I did this I would blow some of the sand away with my hand to expose some nice clams. I picked up a bag full this way in no time. As I neared the end of my dive I headed for an 82 Mustang that sank off the boat ramp several years ago. It used to be nice and shiney red but it has deteriorated quite a bit and it is sunk in the sand up to the middle of the doors. The engine compartment is known to hold lobsters so I lifted the hood and was amazed to find a very large anenome. I'll have to remember that one as I expect to setup a nice fish tank this year. All around it was a great dive and I urge you to take advantage of the clear water and quiet diving available to you in the early season. The water temps range from 45- 52 degrees this time of year. so a good 7mm suit will do it. On my dive it was 48 degrees and I was using my trusty Diving Concepts dry suit. I was toasty warm.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Getting Your Kids Into Diving

I took my 3yr old little girl down to the Port Jeff ferry dock today. It was a beautiful sunny day and we strolled out onto the boat dock and enjoyed the warm rays. Hand in hand we gazed at the beautiful calm water and peered over the edge to find we could see very clearly to the bottom which was close to 20 feet in some places. We both got a kick out of that. I swore I would be in the water ASAP and I told my daughter that daddy would be diving the next day. My daughter told me it was too cold. She paused and then as she looked into the water she said she wanted to go diving too. As you can imagine my heart melted. I told her she needed to grow up a bit and she replied she would go on a “baby dive”. I half laughed but then I thought to myself, “She is right”. Why can’t she go on a baby dive? Why shouldn’t I encourage her curiosity. Afterall, it’s what my father did for me.
Our walk had now brought us to the little fueling station at the end of the dock and I decided we should sit down out of the wind and let the sun really warm us up. The ferry happened to be pulling out and my little girl was pretty amazed by the enormous ship. As she watched the ferry I started to think of how I could get her to see underwater. Then it struck me. I remembered an old oysterbox my neighbor had given me. He is one of those original old timer Long islanders and they used to use these oysterboxes in the old days before dive masks were a convention. Essentially, an oysterbox is a four sided wooden box with a glass bottom that is sealed all around to keep water out. You use it by pushing the glass bottom under the water and then look down into the open end as you walk in waste deep water. The glass works just like a scuba mask and one can see very clearly to the bottom and into the water like peering into a fish tank. There is no reason a 3 year old could not look into the oysterbox and watch hermit crabs, minnows and pipe fish as they swim in the shallows on a summer day. In fact, I would call that one heck of a baby dive. I can’t wait to get her in the water this year as we will be adding yet another fun thing to do at the beach.
I guess the point of this was to talk about how to get your kids into diving. But amazingly, diving is just the extension of a curiosity of the natural world. If you can get your children to recognize and appreciate the natural wonders around them in a fun and relaxed way then they are sure to follow you to the next level.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Onboard Sushi- a quick recipe for a fast delight

“Yummy Yum Yum.” I sure do like sushi. And I like it even better when it’s fresh. And by fresh I mean still a bit twitchy. When fish is eaten immediately after it is caught the meat tastes exactly as it should. The oils haven’t begun to break down the sweet taste or the rigidity of the meat. So how do you prepare Sushi on a boat or a beach and take advantage of the freshest fish in the world? Here’s how.
It starts at home before the dive. First you are going to need these ingredients: Rice vinegar, wasabi, soy sauce, pickled ginger and black sesame seeds. Into a small Tupperware bowl place 3 parts soy sauce, 1 part rice vinegar, a god amount of ginger and as much wasabi as you can stand. I like it with a kick as it really accentuates the sweet taste of fresh fish. Place the sesame seeds in a little Tupperware bowl as well. Stow that concoction in your gear bag.
When you complete your dive and come up with some nice fresh fish make sure you get your gear out of the way and you have enough room to use your fillet knife safely. Fillet and skin the fish you want for sushi and then slice it or chunk it with along with the grain of the meet. This usually means from top to bottom on a fillet. A large bass provides you with a sweet belly meat that I would suggest you use for sushi before the side fillets.
Anyway, Lay the chunks on a platter or cutting board and put the sauce you made and the sesame seeds in the middle. Using chopsticks, dip the chunks into the sauce, grab a piece of ginger and then dip the chunk in the sesame seeds. Pop it into your mouth and expect heaven. The sesame seeds provide that carb taste you would normally get from the rice and helps to balance all the flavors involved. Once you try sushi this way you may never go back to cooking fish again.
Some of my favorite Long Island fish for sushi are:
Black Fish
Black Sea Bass
Porgy – Truly unbelievable raw (try it)
Striper belly
Trigger fish

If you are interested in learning spearfishing and underwater hunting please email me at info@longislanddiving.com or call (631) 285-1539

Happy hunting and good eating!

Good luck and good eating