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

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