MORICHES INLET HISTORY
As an angler who enjoys maritime and weather history, I wanted to provide a little background as to how this magnificent place came to fruition. Moriches Inlet is not a man-made inlet created for navigational purposes but was created naturally by a powerful Nor'easter in 1931. Between 1931 and 1938 the inlet continued to widen as passing seasonal storms pounded the eastern seaboard. The Great Hurricane of 1938 then came along and put the finishing touches on creating the inlet. The same hurricane also punched a hole in the sandbar near Shinnecock Bay, and Shinnecock Inlet was born. These two new inlets allowed water to flow freely in and out of the bays of Moriches and Shinnecock, creating the fishing grounds that we love today. Initially, local interest groups installed and maintained the east and west jetties of Moriches Inlet and at some point the federal government stepped in and took control of them.
Moriches Inlet is an ever changing marine environment. The sandbars shift regularly, predicated by the last storm that blew through. The inlet is occasionally dredged, but not long after the US Army Corps of Engineers completes the process, it only takes a few good Nor'easters to effect the navigation channel. Since we all want to enjoy fishing the inlet, my first piece of advice is to put safe boating skills to practice. Take your time to learn the area and be prepared to repeat the process every year. The last thing you want is a change of inlet conditions to ruin a great day of fishing. Besides the ever changing inlet conditions, be smart and pay attention when drift fishing with your boat. This especially holds true to when the ebb has a wind-against-tide scenario where in this case the mouth of the inlet can be a very treacherous place. It is your obligation, as a captain, to watch out for other boaters, so I recommend that when you enter the inlet, free drift without fishing to understand your surroundings. Also, ensure everybody has a Personal Floatation Device (PFD) on, and if they refuse then make sure they are within reach of one and your crew knows how to use them. Another recommendation to improve your safe boating skills is to join your local Coast Guard Auxiliary or United States Power Squadron, (USPS), and sign up for the Local Notice to Mariners, (LNMS) automated email service (this will give you regular updates on navigational changes and warnings for the area).
US Coast Guard LNMS Website
FISHING THE INLET
Inlets are synonymous with fishing, and Moriches Inlet is no exception. Fishing the inlet on the ebb has proven most productive for me, but don't ignore the flood. There are several ways to fish the inlet, but I choose to drift or anchor. Many people like to troll the area at slack tide. Drifting and dropping the hook can be done at night, so ensure your navigation lights work properly and are turned on to let other boaters know you are moving even if you shut the motor off. When at anchor, only leave the white anchor light on and keep a spot light within arms length because you never know when you will need it. Also, it is common courtesy and respectful to keep a good distance from other boaters to avoid any problems. The inlet has both an east and west cut, along with the primary inlet channel itself. The tidal conditions determine if I set-up deeper into the channel or back into either one of these very productive cuts. These are all prime fishing areas and I recommend some experimenting to determine a strategy for any given day.
When drifting Moriches Inlet for bass, I prefer live eels from dusk to dawn and fresh chunks of bunker in the daylight hours. Both of these baits are striper candy and are very effective when kept about 1 to 2 feet off the bottom. When it comes to any bait, the fresher the better. If you can learn to master a cast net, you will find the brackish water coves and rivers in the back bay usually hold pods of peanut or full size adult bunker. If a cast net is not something you are comfortable with, then use a medium action spinning setup and add a weighted treble hook to snag a few live baits. If you have a live-well, then load it up and drift the live bunker. For those who do not have a live-well, then get those bunker on ice and chunk them up. When all else fails, your local tackle shops will regularly get fresh bunker. I recommend you call in advance and wait for it to arrive because it can go pretty quick.