Hit the Western Sound with Freedom Boat Club

Freedom Boat Club member Gabe Staiano shows off a nice striper caught while sailing out of the Glen Cove location. Photo by Gabe Simon.

By Tom Schlichter

There’s a tendency among Long Island anglers to want to run east. After all, names like Eaton’s Neck Triangle, Roanoke Shoals, and Hortons Point are all synonymous with great fishing for everything from fluke and porgies to blackfish and stripers. “It all sounds so alluring,” says Gaige Simon, sales manager for Freedom Boat Club’s Long Island franchises, “but you’ll be passing up a lot of great fishing in western Long Island Sound if you aim your bow at Orient Point.”

Indeed, the waters of the Sound from Lloyd Point west to City Island and Little Neck Bay offer some spectacular fishing for stripers, blues, fluke, porgy and blackfish among others. In fact, from early May through November, anglers here can find something different on the menu just about any day.

“We really like the opportunities western Long Island Sound presents, both from a fishing and cruising standpoint,” says Gaige. “That’s why this season we added a new Freedom Boat Club to our Long Island roster, Freedom Boats, Glen Cove. It is a terrific facility located within minutes of good fishing, plenty of places to dock and dine, and easy access to waterfront shopping and local attractions.”

If you aren’t familiar with Freedom Boat Clubs, they operate over a dozen different locations within our Coastal Angler coverage area where you can join-up, be your own captain and head out on your own schedule to find the best fishing or on-water adventures. Become a member at one Freedom Boat Club location and you have access to the boats at all 180-plus Freedom Boat Clubs across the country – including over 150 vessels between Long Island, Connecticut and the Rhody coast alone. Freedom Boat Club has also recently opened several European locations for members to utilize at no additional cost!

The new Glen Cove location is set up exceptionally well to take advantage of every opportunity on at this end of the Sound. Located on the east side of Hempstead Harbor in Safe Cove on Glen Cove Creek, Freedom Boat Club, Glen Cove, sits just inside well-protected Mosquito Cove and is just minutes from great fishing. “This is a $300 million marina area with all the amenities,” explains Simon. The Safe Harbor company recently purchased Brewer Yacht Yards here, along with two other marinas, and they’ve tied together the operations of all three facilities, so it really is both expansive and impressive. In addition to yacht yard amenities, there’s a restaurant and pool here, plus showers, bathrooms, laundry, free Wi-Fi, a picnic area, and barbecue grills scattered across the facility grounds.”

From a fishing standpoint, Freedom Boat Club, Glen Cove couldn’t’ be located in a more convenient area. There’s just tons of structure around here; the kind that attracts a variety of different fish species throughout the year and holds them tight during peak seasons.

Porgy (scup) are a favorite summer target in western Long Island Sound. This nice port chop was taken near Hempstead Harbor by Larry Chiavaro. Photo courtesy of Freedom Boat Clubs.

For example, once members leave the dock they enter Hempstead Harbor. Head northeast and you’ll hit Matinecock Point just a half-mile away on the open Sound. This area boasts very large boulders and a rock-studded bottom that attracts stripers, blues, fluke, scup and, occasionally, an outlandish weakfish weighing 8 to 10 pounds. Fluke are the mainstay here during the summer months, with a mix of keepers, shorts and an occasional 7- to 10-pound doormat taken on bucktails tipped with Gulp!, sea robin or bluefish strip baits, or live snappers if you are looking for a real trophy. Scup set up on the slopes in 30- to 50-foot depths on either side of the point and respond best to clam baits, while blackfish take up residence among the boulders in October where they’ll hit crab baits or jigs tipped with crabs.

“You’ll also find plenty of stripers and blues in the spring and fall right around the Glen Cove breakwater and Execution Rock,” notes Simon. “You can troll mojo jigs here for the bass or target the linesiders and stripers with live-lined bunker when the big silver baitfish are around. Casting swim shads works well for the bass, too, especially during the fall run. This spot is only a few minutes from the dock, so be sure to check it out because you might not need to go any further.”

There is also a rocky sea bed area outside of the break wall where scup, stripers and blackfish often intermingle, buoy 21 just outside the inlet which is great if you like to drift for fluke, and the Middle Grounds where anglers use bunker chunks and diamond jigs for bass and blues all summer long. You can also head west to look for stripers around the Throgs Neck Bridge or set up for scup in mid-summer across the way at Rye Beach or City Island, two perennial hot spots.

“Local attractions are pretty neat, too,” continues Simon. “When it’s time to take the family out for a cruise, you are within easy distance of Liberty Island and Rye Playland. Those are both great day trips. As the water warms, all our vessels are equipped for pulling tubes or skies, so there’s no end to the fun.”

Put all the opportunities together, and there certainly is plenty of reason to think about joining any Freedom Boat Club – but there is even more to the deal. You’ll also receive free training and get to choose from a variety of boat sizes and styles ranging from fishing machines to family fun vessels so not only can you change-up the fishing, you can choose different model boats to meet your trip itinerary.

“We’ll have a Cobia offshore center console, Cobia offshore bowrider and a Hurricane Bowrider deck boat at the Glen Cove location,” states Simon, “plus our hassle-free operation. All you have to do once you join up is make a reservation and meet Bruce on the dock. He’ll get you on your way. Just turn the key and go – you don’t even have to stick around for the wash down!

All that, and some of the finest fishing Long Island Sound has to offer, just minutes from the marina.”