I Fish Jamaica Bay/ Spring primer/Karen Ann Charters
Captain Vinnie Calabro
Jamaica bay is nestled within the heart of New York. Flanked to the south by Rockaway and the north by Queens it is a true hidden treasure for anglers from shore or boat. It begins up towards Five Towns here the waters become somewhat brackish. This backwater nestled in the cove provided by Inwood Golf course is an early season hot spot. Usually the first bunker schools show up around Good friday you'll see them flapping around Inwood park and adjacent to the old Lilco plant. The park has a great ramp for boats as well as structure in the form of rock piles and small islands for surfcasters. These flats lie close to the channel on the east end providing a runway for fish cruising in and out. The shallows also warm early hosting a variety of food for arriving bass. If your'e wading from shore be in stealth mode because often the fish will be in tight enjoying the warmer shallows and ambushing any baitfish moving about.Herring tend to winter over at times and this is probably your best bait for catching a quality bass. Small tins or sabiki style rigs will do the job. The herring generally leave a telltale swirl on the surface which reveals their location. Cast nets also work well. A trick we used as kids was to float a peach basket in an inflated tire tube which was our live well back when we strictly fished from shore.
Lure selection is simple: 1/4 to 1/2 ounce bucktails , small shads and paddle tails and I would keep some small poppers pencils, spooks or similar just in case fish start surface feeding.
I recommend buying a chart then you can see the shoreline and access points. You'll see that this part of the bay has some interesting twist and turns stemming from the Rockaway side around and up toward Rockaway turnpike. Along this stretch of road you'll see stores and malls as you head south. From Argo boats to I Hop water will be on both sides and shouldn't be overlooked. My next column will continue to explore the bay.