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John Skinner

John Skinner is the author of Fishing the Bucktail and A Season on the Edge. He’s the creator of the fishing log software FishersLog. He’s a consistent producer of trophy striped bass and holds the current New York State false albacore record.

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September 25, 2014

Cupsogue Still Closed

by John Skinner

As many here know, the Cupsogue beach pavilion burned to the ground on the night of September 13. As many here also know, this sad event is irrelevant to the many surfcasters who use the beach and the inlet access road for fishing. Nonetheless, the park has been closed entirely since the fire. When I asked why a few days after the fire I was told "It's a crime scene." I agree, but the crime I'm thinking of is locking taxpaying, permit buying residents out of the park. Many of us only use the outer beach aspect of the park to get to Moriches Inlet, and we don't go anywhere near the pavilion, or where it once stood.
I called the County Parks Department and was told "It's closed, that's all we know." I then asked to be transferred to the person responsible for the decision. I was happily transferred to the office of the Parks Commissioner, Greg Dawson. The person answering his phone said the commissioner is "on vacation". That person knew nothing about Cupsogue, but thought he knew someone who did. After a brief period on hold, I was told the potentially knowledgeable party was not available. My name and phone number were taken, but I was not called back. At least I was still given more accurate information than The County's website, which said the following for Cupsogue: "Access to the Outer beach is open to the inlet.". How difficult is it to get this stuff right?
Next call - my Suffolk County Legislator, Albert Krupski. His assistant was very helpful. She found someone who had fielded a similar call days earlier and was able to find an email from 9/24 from the parks commissioner stating that the park would remain closed until all of the debris was removed, and that they were expecting that to happen in about a week. We'll see.
In the meantime, anyone interested in Cupsogue access, or those not wanting displaced Cupsogue anglers where they're fishing, should contact the Suffolk County Parks Department at 631-854-4949 and ask why we still can't drive through the parking lot to get to the inlet and how much longer will we be locked out of a beach that we all own and pay for with our taxes and permits.

September 13, 2014

New Tactical Angler Clips

by John Skinner

Before I get to the new clips, I want to pass on some beach access news. It's a rare day when Piping Plovers and environmentalists team up to actually preserve beach driving privileges, even if inadvertently and maybe only temporarily. The issue involves Fire Island's federal dune rebuilding project, which would involve a massive dredging operation to rebuild dunes to a height of between 13 and 15 feet along a 19-mile stretch of the barrier island. The first phase of this was supposed to start on the Smith Point beaches between the main park and Moriches Inlet in late September or early October. The dredging had the potential to shut down the 4-wheel drive access during the heart of the fall run. However, according to a story in Saturday's Newsday, the Smith Point work has now been put on hold thanks to a lawsuit. Apparently the group, Audubon of New York, has sued the Department of Interior, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service over the project. The Audubon of New York complains, among other things, that the rebuilt dunes would be too high for newly hatched plovers to climb so that they could forage in the ocean. In response to the lawsuit a federal judge has granted a temporary restraining order and suspended the work that was to begin soon in Smith Point Park. The next hearing isn't until October 8th. It's just a gut feeling, but I'm betting the attorneys can tie this one up at least through the fall run. A potential downside for anglers would be if the lawsuit had an impact on the restoration of Burma Road, which is the dirt track that runs down the barrier island from Smith Point Park to the west side of Moriches Inlet. Since Burma Road was washed out in Superstorm Sandy, the only way for anglers to drive to to the west side of Moriches Inlet has been along the beach, and that access was shut roughly from June until August for Piping Plover nesting the last two years. For now, enjoy the access.
I'm a big fan of Tactical Anglers clips for attaching lures to line. They have recently developed a new 75-pound-test clip that is the perfect size for a wide range of fishing applications. This fills a somewhat large size gap between the small 50-pound clip and the substantially larger 125. This is a good move. I've always felt the 125's looked a bit large, but the fish didn't seem to care and these provided the best connection to lures in terms of convenience and strength. I've been using the new 75-pound size for a couple of weeks now and can already tell that these will be the ones I'll fish with most of the time. The exceptions will be that I'll still use the 125-pound clips with heavy bucktails when inlet fishing, and I'll stay with the 50-pound clips for light bay fishing. Below is a picture of all 4 clips. From left to right: 50#, 75#, 125#, and 175#. The new 75-pound-test clips should be in tackle shops soon.

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