By Tom Schlichter
One of the things I enjoy most about fishing is the opportunity to change things up. Rather than head to the same couple of spots to try for the same types of fish on every trip, I like to head out and explore. The more options available, the happier I seem to be.
Quite simply, I love to fish the back bays, work deep channels and inlets, and give it a go on Long Island Sound or the open ocean in calm to moderate seas. I want the chance to target fluke, stripers, blues, sea bass, porgies, blackfish, tuna, shark and whatever else might be swimming in our waters as the seasons change. And I want to be the one who decides what to fish for, how long to stay out, and exactly where we’ll be headed while on the water.
If having a lot of opportunity ranks high on your fishing requirement list as well, Freedom Boat Club might be worth checking out. With 11 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, the possibilities are expansive. Become a member at one Freedom Boat Club location and you have access to the boats at all 154 Freedom Boat Clubs across the country – including over 110 vessels at 11 locations between Long Island, Connecticut and the Rhody coast.
“Being a member really gives you some expansive options,” says Gaige Simon, Sales Manager for Freedom Boat Club’s Long Island franchises. “Want to target fluke? Sail from Freeport, Marine Max, Lindenhurst or Port Jefferson, NY in June or from Stamford, Bradford or Mystic, CT, or even Newport, RI in July and August. Scup fans will appreciate the Long Island Sound and Rhode Island access in July, August and September, while the fall run of stripers, blues and false albacore allows anglers to actually follow the schools from Race Rock to the New York Bight.”
Because locations are centrally located, each Freedom Boat Club also offers plenty of fishing possibilities within its own local waters. The new Marine Max Lindenhurst location provides a good example. It’s within easy reach for fluke, stripers and some really solid bottom-fishing.
“Our Lindenhurst location is smack in the middle of some of the best fishing on the east coast,” say Simon. Located at the head of Neguntatogue Creek, you have the Copiague Hole just minutes away for catching anything from blowfish and fluke to the occasional striper or weakfish. Head 30 minutes west and you can plug, bucktail or clam-chum for stripers under the Wantagh and Meadowbrook bridges, or live-line bass on bunker in the ocean waters outside of Jones Inlet. Head 30 minutes east and you can cast soft-plastic jigs and swim baits around Captree Bridge and Fire Island inlet for more linesiders. When the bunker, bass and blues shift east from outside of Jones Inlet, you can continue to chase them from Fire Island Inlet.”
Fluke are also a hit out of Lindenhurst, notes Simon, with action in the State Channel, Massapequa Cove, on the flats around Captree Island, up inside Fire Island Inlet, and out in the ocean in 50- to 70-foot depths. If fishing inside Great South Bay you can make long, comfortable drifts from Ocean Beach to the Fire Island Lighthouse with spearing and squid combo baits, or jig a 1-ounce Spro Bucktail tipped with Gulp! Alive grubs up on the flats. You’ll also find artificial reefs a short ride outside both Jones and Fire Island inlets for targeting scup, sea bass and blackfish. To top things off, there is also great crabbing and plenty of snappers to catch just minutes from the marina during July, August and September.
“We just opened the Lindenhurst location this spring and we think it’s going to be a real winner,” says Simon. There are plenty amenities here like a great restaurant with a rooftop bar on the gated premises, showers and a pool overlooking Great South Bay. Even better, this location is as centrally located for dining, fun and nightlife as it is for fishing. A quick run across the bay puts you on Fire Island, Gilgo Beach or Tobay Beach. Freeport’s Nautical Mile isn’t far either. There are plenty of dock and dine options in the immediate area as well and we run a lot of social activities out of here as well so there’s always a chance to raft-up or rendezvous with other club members, meet up for dinner or lunch, or simply relax at the club.
The fishing and social possibilities are certainly a consideration when joining Freedom Boat Club,” explains Simon, but there is plenty more to this deal. With Freedom Boat Club, you get all the free training you’ll need. You also 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. At the Lindenhurst location, for example, this season we’ll host a Hurricane Sundeck 2200, Key West 239 FS Center Console, Cobia 237 Center Console, and a cobia Dual Console. Both Center Consoles are 24-footers which is great for getting thru the inlets.”
Of course, one of the best parts of being a Freedom Boat Club member is the hassle-free operation. All members have to do is call ahead and tell the staff they are coming. The boat will be ready for launch when you arrive. Now just step aboard, turn the key and head off to your destination. At the end of the day you simply return the boat. You don’t even have to stick around for the wash down!
“It really is all the benefits of boat ownership without the hassles,” says Simon, “plus the chance to fish where you want, when you want and the way you want. That’s what boating and fishing opportunity is all about, right?”