Novices can improve from a shore thing by hooking up with a professional angler

New York anglers moved a step closer to

New York anglers moved a step closer to fluke-fishing equality on Feb. 21, 2013 as a federal fisheries commission voted to relieve the state of restrictions that could have tightened this year's allowable catch. While precise fixes from the vote still need to be worked out, people briefed on the vote said it means New York won't be hit with even tougher restrictions on catching fluke this year, and could even see a reduction in the allowed size of fluke to 18.5 inches. The current limit is 19.5 inches. (Aug. 8, 2010) (Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

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Red-hot fishing continues to be the rule around Long Island. From stripers, fluke and blues to weakfish, porgies and blowfish, all the major players have been in a feeding mood. That point hasn't gone unnoticed by newbie and would-be anglers. Several, in fact, have recently queried about where they might drop a line from shore to sample the action before wading more deeply into the sport.

For anglers such as these, a trio of productive fishing spots comes quickly to mind. Each serves a perfect jumping-off point by combining easy access with a reasonable chance of success and interaction with experienced fishermen who can help slice your learning curve. Even better, each of these locations has seen good catches made in recent days.

"It's hard to beat the Jones Beach fishing piers here at Field 10," said Capt. Ed Walsh at Jones Beach Fishing Station (jonesbeachfishingstation.com). "They've been rebuilt since last year's storms and stripers, fluke, blues and blowfish are being caught on a daily basis with many large enough to take home for dinner."

Indeed, pier regular Jimmy Merola was lucky enough late last week to tally a neat triple when he decked a striper, fluke and bluefish -- keepers all. Other anglers took home fluke to 4 pounds and tasty cocktail blues. The shop, by the way, rents rods and reels for use on the docks.

The Captree piers, specifically the main pier, are another great shore fishing spot. "Fluke are the primary target here," explained Brenden Rutigliano of Captree Bait and Tackle (631-587-3430), "and the most recent action has been simply fantastic. You can't put a squid and spearing combo in the water right now without a summer flattie wolfing it down -- and bluefish have been going wild. Add in an occasional blowfish or weakfish and it has been a whole lot of fun."

For generations, the Shinnecock Canal in Hampton Bays has served as one of Long Island's best known and most productive shore fishing hot spots. With summer flounder, porgy and small bluefish abundant at the moment, and blowfish joining the mix, this is another place well worth a visit for budding piscators. The key here is timing your trip to match when the locks are closed or just starting to open. This approach avoids strong, sometimes overwhelming currents. You can find Shinnecock Locks open/close times on most local tide charts, or simply call the lock tender at 631-852-8299 to remove any doubt.

Once you've made a trip or two on your own, the next logical step is to climb aboard an open boat or take part in a charter trip. Either will relieve you from the responsibility of finding fish on your own while providing the appropriate fishing gear necessary for a fun and successful day. Fishing with a professional also allows for personalized instruction from the mates, which means you can learn more in a day than you might in a month trying to figure things out on your own. Think of your fare as an investment that will certainly pay dividends in the long run no matter the luck on your initial trips.

For information on additional bank fishing spots, or choosing local boats from which to sail, check with your nearest tackle shop, where fishing advice is always free.

Email: outdoortom@optonline.net

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