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Bob Banfelder

Bob is an award-winning crime-thriller novelist and outdoors writer. "The Fishing Smart Anywhere Handbook for Salt Water & Fresh Water" is endorsed by Lefty Kreh and Angelo Peluso~online at Amazon.

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December 02, 2015

Indian Island County Park

by Bob Banfelder

This is the final report in a six-series installment referencing Suffolk County beach access areas. Indian Island County Park in Riverhead offers RV trailer and tent campsite accommodations, picnic tables, grills, playground, and good fishing. Among angling opportunities, set your sights high for striped bass chasing anything from peanut-size (baby) bunker to nineteen-inch adult-sized prey. Stripers love bunker (aka menhaden). During the height of the season, it is not uncommon to take 40-plus inch linesiders by live-lining bunker, tossing tins, poppers, or any number of lures. Big blues in the 12- to 17-pound category may also be found in the mix. Fluke, although mostly shorts, are caught periodically. Of late, nice weakfish ranging from 3 to 5 pounds for the past three years have invaded these waters. So, too, have blowfish made a nice comeback. Porgies have always been around the area; however, jumbo-sized scup have also been a tasty treat for the past few years.


Bob trying for striped bass or bluefish off the beach at Indian Island on an unusually warm autumn day. The beach overlooks Flanders Bay.


Donna walked down the west end of the beach to fish the marsh area.

Indian Island County Park is a 275-acre gem located at the estuarine mouth of the Peconic River. From the campground, you can carry in your own kayak or canoe and travel these waters westerly, upriver, or easterly to the bays. Directly across from the park to the south is Reeves Bay. Heading a short paddle east will put you into Flanders Bay. Continuing east will take you into Great Peconic Bay. These three bays, including the Peconic River, depending on the time of year, hold the aforementioned species. As Donna and I live on and have fished the Peconic River for over a quarter of a century, we know the area quite well. Admittedly, most of our fishing is done from a powerboat, canoe, or kayak rather than from the shoreline. However, for Indian Island County Park, a small craft such as a kayak or canoe is the perfect vessel for the Peconic River and especially Reeves Bay and Flanders Bay. I should mention that canoe, kayak, and paddleboard rentals are available at Treasure Cove Marina, located next to the Hyatt Place Hotel, 469 East Main Street, 727-8386 and the Peconic Paddler, 89 Peconic Avenue, 727-9895.

It is, of course, not unusual to find folks engaged in other activities aside from—strictly speaking—fishing the park's beach. You'll perhaps see a person employing a seine (net) in order to catch baitfish for a later hour's angling outing, an individual combing the sand for treasure with a metal detector, or a family walking out to the sandbar at low tide, digging up clams.


At low tide, the east end of Indian Island beach reveals a sandbar; a favorite fishing spot.

However, it's not every day you spot a man picking, prodding, and probing the shoreline with a stick, searching tirelessly before carefully selecting several empty conch shells! Donna and I met up with Sean who collects them for his jewelry-making hobby. Sean uses the inner part of the shell to make necklaces—chipping, cutting, sanding, and polishing. Sean says it's a long and painstaking process, but he enjoys it and wishes that he had more time to devote to his hobby. Yes, there is almost always something new to explore and learn while traveling our local Suffolk County beach access parks as covered in this six-series installment: Cupsogue Beach County Park, Shinnecock East County Park, Meschutt Beach County Park, Montauk County Park, Cedar Point County Park, and Indian Island County Park.


Sean displays one of the conch shells he collected for his jewelry-making hobby.


Sean uses a handcrafted walking stick while wading and searching for conch shells.

Within the beach area, you will see a park bench lovingly dedicated to Caroljane Munzel. Caroljane was an avid walker and was often seen strolling the area's Sound and bay beaches. She especially enjoyed walking Indian Island Park and taking in its natural, peaceful environment.


Park bench dedicated to Caroljane Munzel.
Rod & reel setups: Donna wielded a Shimano spinning reel on an Ugly Stik with a Shimano Waxwing lure. For the entire season, I carried and will soon review a Penn Clash Model 5000 reel on a Penn Carnage II rod, spooled with Stealth Blue Camo-Braid SpiderWire.


I hope that you have enjoyed reading the six Suffolk County beach-access areas that I covered. Get out there and explore these waters while the weather is still cooperating. Before long, we all will be armchair anglers via books, magazines, and videos—unless, of course, you're off to warmer climes.

Directions:

Take the Long Island Expressway (495) east to Exit 73 (last exit). Continue straight to County Road 105 then make a right. Go approximately a quarter of a mile and exit at the County park entrance. You will see the office parking area to the right. During the in-season, you will need to register prior to driving into the park proper. Maps are available to lead you to the closest parking area for access to the beach.



Robert Banfelder
Award-Winning Thriller/Mystery Author & Outdoors Writer
Senior Editor, Broadwater Books
Co-host, Cablevision TV, Special Interests with Bob & Donna
www.robertbanfelder.com




December 01, 2015

Cedar Point County Park

by Bob Banfelder

Suffolk County's Cedar Point County Park in East Hampton offers camping, boating (boat rentals), picnicking, hiking (with splendid nature trails), hunting (in season) and fishing. Striped bass, bluefish, and weakfish are predominantly the name of the game from the shoreline. Six hundred-plus acres comprise the park with a view of Gardiners Bay. An eight-minute drive from the parking area along a sandy beach trail is permitted with a Suffolk County Park recreational vehicle beach permit. Four-wheel and all-wheel-drive vehicles enable you to reach the park's historic decommissioned lighthouse, originally built in 1839. Now owned by the government of Suffolk County, the lighthouse is presently undergoing renovation. As Cedar Point County Park does allow hunting, access to the beach is limited Wednesday through Sunday until noontime during hunting season. As you drive or walk out to the lighthouse, you will note several duck blinds along the way.




Bob wetting a line while working his way toward the lighthouse at Cedar Point Park.

Enlightening Info:

Lighthouses have fascinated me for as long as I can remember. When Donna and I moved from Queens to Long Island in 1991, I read up and truly appreciated what historical and traditional roles lighthouses played in the area of commerce. The Cedar Island Lighthouse had been a beacon for mariners entering Sag Harbor since 1839, when Sag Harbor was . . . "home port to 29 whaling ships and 20 ships used for fishing and transportation." The original lighthouse was replaced in 1868. Sag Harbor had become one of the most important ports on the East Coast of the United States. Whaling ships and other vessels depended upon the lighthouse when sailing from Sag Harbor to all areas of the world and back again.

The Cedar Island Lighthouse was decommissioned in 1934, having passed through private hands and, as mentioned initially, is now part of Suffolk County's Cedar Point Park since the late 1960s. The hurricane of 1938 created a sandbar connecting Cedar Island to the mainland of East Hampton, which is now known as Cedar Point.


The strip of land connecting to the lighthouse, where you will notice duck blinds along the way during hunting season.


End of strip leading to Cedar Island Lighthouse.


Inside the park, signs lead to various fishing, boating, hiking, and camping areas.

There is a method to my madness for pointing rod and reel at the above County sign. If you have been following my Suffolk County Parks beach-access blogs through these five reports thus far (the sixth and final shortly on the horizon), you may have noticed that I have been toting (and now touting) Penn's new Clash 5000 Model spinning reel paired with a Penn Carnage II 7-foot spinning rod. The reel is spooled with 300 yards of Stealth Blue Camo-Braid SpiderWire. Having spent the entire season fishing with this outfit, working shorelines, jetties, inlets, and bays, the combination is a winner—holding up to a harsh marine environment. I used this setup primarily for casting 1 ½- to 3-ounce lures. Incidentally, yet importantly, the Penn Clash 5000 Model spinning reel won Best Saltwater Reel at the 2015 ICAST (International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades) show. This all-around tool-combo belongs in your arsenal of fine weaponry. I will be talking extensively about this rod/reel/line setup in the near future.

Over the course of time, the Cedar Island Lighthouse's granite facade has been severely weathered. Additionally, vandalism has taken its toll on the structure. In1974 a fire gutted the interior of the lighthouse. Hence, the building was closed as it is currently. As time dragged on, the Long Island Chapter of the United States Lighthouse Society raised funds to restore the Cedar Island Oil House, the small structure next to the lighthouse where oil to light the original beacon was stored. After almost fifteen years, Suffolk County Parks has given the Society the go-ahead to restore and "Relight the Lighthouse."

Directions to Cedar Point County Park:

Traveling east on Sunrise Highway (Route 27), take Montauk Highway east. Turn left onto Stephen Hands Path in East Hampton. Continue straight to Old Northwest Road. Turn left at Alewive Brook Road. Take the first right into the park.




Robert Banfelder
Award-Winning Thriller/Mystery Author & Outdoors Writer
Senior Editor, Broadwater Books
Co-host, Cablevision TV, Special Interests with Bob & Donna
www.robertbanfelder.com







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