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Wrecks and Local Resident Fish

2036 Views 7 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  matt04
Was just curious about how long it takes for a newly sunk wreck to start rusting away and attracting resident fish. Just how exactly do fish like tog, cod sea bass, conger eels (the long black ones with the whitish belly, not ocean pout) or ling choose a nook or hiding place to hang out inside the wreck?? And how exactly do you tell whether your rig is on a certain part of the wreck when you drop your line/bait down? And if anyone has any great underwater shots of some sunken wrecks in the NY area, that would be nice. If sure some of you have dived in or around these wrecks. Let me know.
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As one of the most famous hook and line commercial fishermen told me, 'there's no such thing as a good or bad fishing wreck, but there are wrecks that are kingpins...always consistently producing, no matter how bad the fishing may be'.

So what makes a good fishing wreck?

How long does it take a wreck to have fish on it?

Depending on where the wreck and at what time of the year, will determine how fast a wreck will have the fish life that you mentioned.

Wrecks that sink in the channels or along on contour edges fill in the quickest. The reason for this is that fish travel along these lanes during the season. Thus a wreck sinking in the shipping lanes in the NY Bight will fill in much faster then a wreck sinking in 80 feet of water off Moriches or Shinne****.

Wrecks that sink during the summer months, fill in rather quickly since there is more bait around which attracts fish. Wrecks that sink during the winter do not see as much fish life during that time of the year, thus it takes on till the later spring before fish start filling in on them.

Wrecks that sink in areas that have hard rocky bottom tend to fill in quicker then wrecks that sink in sand or mud bottom. The rocks have attracted sea life such as crabs, thus attracting fish like tautog, sea bass, scup, ling and cod.

If you have to rate the best wrecks, this is usually how they 'stack' up-

1- Broken up Wood wrecks with large debrie fields that sink in the channels are by far the finest wrecks.

2- Wood wrecks that are rubbled out in deeper water are much better then big one piece wood wrecks that have more relief off the bottom.

3- Metal wrecks that are busted up in pieces. Metal wrecks that have been wire dragged.

4- Barges and Drydocks...and it depends if they sink rightside up, or flip and land so that the bottom of these wrecks are one flat solid piece.

5- Newer metal wrecks that sink in one piece.

6- Fiberglass boat type wrecks, especially sailboats.

Again with any wreck, it is more important to where they sink and at what depth, then the type of material that the wreck is made of. A wreck may sink in nice mushy mud bottom which will make it a good ling wreck, like we see out in the mudhole and other areas, but a lousy wreck for catching blackfish.

Wrecks can sink in areas which have flat featureless bottom, and were fish killers years ago, now tend to be dogs because few fish migrate through these areas, and the fish life never builds up on them.

Wrecks that sink in the deeper waters closer to the canyons usually shine maybe one to two months out of the year at most, while a similar wreck sinking in water depths of 45 feet will be good from May through November off of Long Island.

And how exactly do you tell whether your rig is on a certain part of the wreck when you drop your line/bait down?

You don't. Experience wreck fishermen tend to feel the bottom around a wreck by bouncing their sinkers around...they may lose rigs but they also tend to find areas where the fish will take their bait.

This question is more dependent on the captain, placing you over the best parts of a wreck. Wrecks such as the Coimbra, which run a few hundred feet will have areas where fish such as cod and pollock build up. It may be on the lee side of the wreck out of the current, so that a good wreck captain will circle the wreck and look for readings and anchor of the readings instead of just dropping a anchor to get over any part of the wreck.

Captain Desi of the Celtic Quest fishes wrecks in Long Island Sound which are extremely silted up. It is key for him to put the boat right over the wreck so your bait lands right in the wreck, while on the south shore, many times it is best to fish the wash or the rubble field right next to the wreck, then being hard on the wreck itself.

If you fish party boats often enough, many times a good wreck captain will reposition his boat after a few minutes, because he may be to 'hard-on' the wreck, so he may let out on one cable and pull in on another to catch a corner, or pull up on his anchors when the tension gets set in the anchor line, or let back to fish the back end of a wreck.

The hardest part of wreckfishing is not the angler actually catching the fish, but a good wreck captain positioning the boat over the right part of the wreck! Remember this when you are fishing on a party or charter boat.

This is also why some wrecks have a 2,3,4,or even five sets of GPS numbers for the same wreck, especially those that are bigger then 100 feet long. Thus you have a number of spots to reposition the boat over where the captain caught fish on. This may be to areas where the wreck is broken up, or has some type of structure which attracts fish.

Wrecks that are twisted piles of metal and wood make for great fishing wrecks...wrecks that sink in one piece like a barge and drydock many times will not attract the amount of fish that you would think would inhabit these larger wrecks. But, there is one wreck that comes to mind when I talk about metal wrecks that sink in one piece, being poor fishing wrecks.....

Off the top of my head would be the Regal Sword which sunk off the Cape in June of 79. It was a 19 year old, large almost 600 foot steel freighter that sank in one piece. I personally know the dragger captain who ran one of the first dragger nets over this wreck just a few weeks later and had a incredible catch of codfish on it.

It was such a great wreck to catch cod off of that he continuously made tows around it, bouncing his doors off the hull of the Sword (it lays to one side) because of the great catches of cod he made when he hauled back. He ended up removing the bell of the Regal Sword, and finally tore up his net after a few passes. Mind you that the wreck was down on the bottom for barely a months time, and that it is all it took to become a legendary cod wreck.

Sadly it cannot be fished by anyone for groundfish since it is situated in the Georges Bank Closed area, just right off the western corner boundary!

One last thing to remember about deeper wrecks anywhere off our coast, is that most are covered with dragger nets, some having two or three sets covering the wreck. These wrecks are tough to fish, and are known more as 'tackle eaters' then fish catching wrecks.

There is also another wreck that comes to mind that cannot be fished, even though it sits in a productive area in the Gulf of Maine. It's the EMPIRE KNIGHT, a newly built British freighter that was sunk in World War II off of Boone Island in Maine.

This is a Klein Side Scan of the wreck sitting on the bottom and the second one in which is a closeup of the wreck laying on it's side-:

The Empire Knight which sank in approx. 250 feet of water in the GOM would seem like a very fishable wreck for anglers, but it cannot be fished. The Coast Guard has established a permanent safety zone around the wreck site since it still contains large amounts of mecury in it's wreckage, which is deemed as hazardous to human health.

If you want to see some other excellent pictures of various wrecks, take a look at some of my articles within the CLUB section of NOREAST on this site. I have also posted a number of shots taken off the Lowrance bottom machines that Mike Togmaster uses. You can see them if you scroll through some of my articles about wreck fishing. Both Mike and myself over the year, have posted a number of incredible shots of wrecks in this area.

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Hi Matt.....please post something on this might have insight about wrecks that I would like to hear about!

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