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The Great South Bay is a large and very rich environment. To "fish the bay" is a tremendous understatement since covering all its diverse areas and resident fish populations could probably take more than the average lifetime. Many newcomers to the sport of fishing and even quite a few that have been at it for a while, take the "whole bay" or "any specie" approach. This tactic, I have found, is not very productive nor rewarding. It mostly produces frustration and probably very few fish to show for the effort. The problem in this approach is a lack of focus. Fish are not overly abundant anywhere these days and fish have never been accused of being stupid. By this I mean that a scattergun tactic of trying to catch any kind of fish, in any spot that seems to be convenient, just will not work. In order to have some success in fishing this great bay, one must concentrate his efforts and focus upon one target specie at a time. To be more diverse than this will come later, with more experience. Concentrating upon one specie means to learn whatever it requires to outsmart your quarry. What I am basically saying is that education will bring you success in fishing as it will in all life's other pursuits. What are the things that should be learned in order to be successful? The following is a list of what I believe to be basic knowledge required for success:

1. Some understanding of the life history, feeding habits and basic behavior of the fish you will pursue.
2. Bottom configuration of the bay, including location of deep channels and underwater obstructions.
3. Tidal flow, including the relationship between high and low tide and current changes for the area you will fish.
4. Basic fishing tackle requirements best suited for the fishing you will do. Things such as what rod, reel, line and terminal tackle configurations would be appropriate.
5. Bait and/or lures that are most productive for your target fish and whether or not they are easily available.

To expect success on a regular basis without this basic knowledge is to invite disappointment. Maybe you are looking at my list and thinking that you'll never have the time to learn all of this. That is a possibility. However, it will really not take that long to gain a fair understanding of the basics. A trip to the library and a look at McClane's fishing encyclopedia will provide you with a good natural history background of any of the fish that frequent the Great South Bay. This is a great source book for all kinds of fishing information and a great starting point. A trip to a local tackle store might be the source of everything else you need to know. I suggest you try a tackle shop and not a tackle supermarket. The smaller shop owner or worker will generally have greater knowledge to share with you and more time to do so. Pick a time of day or evening when business is slow so that you do not interfere with them doing business. Purchase your needs from the same store as much as possible. This will be greatly appreciated and much information will be gladly shared with a regular customer. Information about local tide and current conditions, bait, lures, tackle and probably a chart of the bay will probably be readily available.

Many tackle shops are affiliated with local fishing clubs which are another great source of fishing information. Many clubs offer fishing schools which you might attend to learn more about all types of fishing. A number of organizations such as the New York Sportfishing Federation, offer seminars and lectures related to fishing our local waters. In fact, at this years Federation Fishing Forum, I will be lecturing on basic techinques and strategies for fishing the Great South Bay. Attending events such as these provides access to a wealth of information which will all be helpful in making your fishing experience more rewarding. With a fair background of knowledge such a I have described, you will have the ability to concentrate your efforts in a most productive way. You will be able to make a fishing plan that will probably incorporate the best area, time, tide, bait and tackle suited to the fish you want to catch. With this type of planning and preparation, your chances of success will be great. It may not be enough to catch a lot of fish every day as I can well attest to, but it will provide you with the edge needed to enjoy catching your share!

Good Fishing, Capt. Al Lorenzetti Al Lorenzetti 1991


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