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The shores and waters of Long Island are on fire right now. Everywhere you go, there are fisherman with tight lines, bent rods, and hands full of fish scales. The spring run of large fish that flood into the bays chasing after bait fish is finally here. Folks who love to fish wait for this all year.

Long Island, specifically the south shore, has been known for its abundant saltwater fishing since as far back as the 1700s. As a matter of fact, commercial fishing here used to bring major profit until around 1985 when brown tide rolled in and destroyed much of the abundance, starting with the large crop of scallops we once had here. Overfishing destroyed some of the other profitable species such as clams and oysters. After that much of major commercial fishing here had ceased while smaller, individual fishing entrepreneurs and anglers that fish for hobby or fresh fish for their families dinner table still remain.

Growing up on the south shore I personally can’t remember a summer when I didn’t fish. Bamboo snapper rods, crab traps and drag nets to catch our own bait were permanent fixtures in our shed. We spent days into weekends. Weekends into weeks. Weeks into entire summers and summers into years by the water trying our luck. My grandmother or my mom were even both willing to share a few of their raw chicken drumsticks with us to place strategically into our crab traps hoping for a half a dozen blue claws. I actually never realized how much fishing is a part of the culture of Long Island until my wife, who grew up between both Colombia and Queens said to me, “I’ve never met so many people that love to fish as I have here on Long Island. It’s literally a part of the Island.”

She couldn’t be any more correct. This time of year, I keep my fishing gear and tackle in the car at all times. Thursday, I had a few hours to kill between meetings so I decided to spend the time at a local pier where it just happened to be a right tide for fish moving and feeding. A gentleman, a complete stranger, well into his 70s and myself found ourselves right in the middle of a school of huge and hungry bluefish. We both ended up catching our limit of fish and even throwing a few back. Meanwhile, we also watched everything from groups of guys on small boats, dozens of customers on large charter boats and even individuals in canoes heading into the bay to enjoy Long Island’s favorite past time.

Get out there this season and enjoy our beautiful waters! Fishing is a fun and memorable activity for children, teenagers, and adults alike. It’s beneficial to get some fresh air and time away from the many pressures of life, work and also from social media. Your local bait shop will have all of the gear you need, information on tide times and what fish are running in your specific area. Saltwater fishing in New York State does require a license which is free of charge on their website.

As we often say on the water: “Best of luck, tight lines and bent rods!”

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