Sea bass, porgies, triggerfish in the mix

First mate Deena Lippman shows off a black

First mate Deena Lippman shows off a black sea bass taken about the open boat Shinnecock Star. (Dec. 24, 2010) (Credit: Tom Schlichter)

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The season for black sea bass finally arrived last Friday and anglers who enjoy catching the tasty wreck dwellers in the ocean waters off Jones and Fire Island inlets have been icing plenty of fillets ever since.

"We've gotten off to a really strong start on the sea bass front," revealed Steve Kearney, captain of the Point Lookout open boat Super Hawk. "We expected there would be plenty of sea bass around to start the season, but we've been surprised at the added bonus of big porgies and a lot of triggerfish as well. With such a great mix of species, the rods have been bending all day long with keeper-class fish accounting for roughly half the catch."

Kearney said this is the earliest he has seen such numbers of triggers on the South Shore wrecks. He suspects many of them chose to stay in local waters rather than migrate down the coast toward Virginia during the warm winter, thus allowing them to show up earlier than usual. The South Shore mixed bag action right now is hot, and ideal for taking the kids or enjoying a family fishing day on the water.

"This fishing is straight up and down," explained Kearney. "Drop your 5-ounce sinker to the bottom in 45 to 90 feet of water, tighten the line, wait for a tap and set the hook. It's uncomplicated and it's fun."

While the lion's share of the triggerfish have come from waters off Jones and Debs inlets, captain Neil Delanoy of the Captree open boat Laura Lee noted that the Captree fleet has seen plenty of porgies and sea bass, along with a smattering of triggerfish. Also hot in this area has been fluke fishing in Great South Bay where, Delanoy said, the fleet has seen more keepers than it has in several years. Again, this presents ideal conditions for family fun with good numbers and the likelihood of taking home some tasty fillets.

North Shore fluke and stripers

On the North Shore, striped bass action has been super for boats trolling umbrella rigs or fishing bunker chunks anywhere from in front of Huntington Harbor on over to the Eaton's Neck Triangle. Captain James Schneider of the Huntington open boat Capt. James Joseph said that the fluke action has been solid with flatties to 7 pounds being picked, especially around Buoy 15. Fluking has also been good out of Mattituck Inlet while bass fishing has been solid in Plum Gut.

On the offshore scene, sharks remain the primary target and a big one found itself on the scales at Bay Park Fishing Station on Tuesday. That's when Captain Nick Sevene of the Oceanside charter boat No Time put Paul Mohan, Bart Finkel, Howie Davidson and Chris Dannenfelser on a 587-pound thresher that took a whole fresh bunker just 25 miles south of Jones Inlet. The huge whiptail took an hour and 45 minutes to bring to the boat.

Free fishing weekend

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has designated tomorrow and Sunday as a "Free Fishing Weekend" in New York State. For these days only, no license is required to fish state waters. All other fishing rules and regulations remain in effect.Email: outdoortom@optonline.net

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