Good Afternoon
Good Afternoon

Blackfish season off to a strong start

Jeff Lomonaco with a big false albacore taken

Jeff Lomonaco with a big false albacore taken on the fly. Credit: Courtesy of Jeff Lomonaco

Blackfish season opened Thursday and for many bottom-fishing fans it couldn’t come soon enough. With fluke season over and black sea bass off limits through Oct. 21 in federal waters, a chance to target the tasty tautog is welcome indeed.

While the water is still warmer than blackfish prefer due to relatively mild weather and the influence of tropical storms, there have already been some caught and released over the past two weeks by boats targeting porgies, sea bass and triggerfish.

“Some nice ones have been mixing in with our usual assortment of mixed-bag species,” said Deena Lippman, first mate aboard the open boat Shinnecock Star, “We’ve had all sizes, but Capt. John Capuano himself stuck a 9.5-pounder on Wednesday. We couldn’t sail on opening day because of the wind, but I think we’ll get off to a good start Friday.”

Capt. Rick Jensen of the Orient Point charter boat Nancy Ann was able to get out on Thursday and his fares limited the boat with blackfish to 10 pounds. The action was all in 25- to 40-foot depths with green crabs as the bait. Blackfish season runs through Dec. 14 with a four-fish possession limit and minimum length of 16 inches.

While the fleet may be ready to test the ‘tog, surfcasters have had their eyes trained on the horizon in search of false albacore. The sporty speed demons have been showing up along North Fork beaches, at Shinnecock Inlet, under the Montauk Lighthouse, and off Port Jefferson.

Jeff Lomonaco of Whitewater Outfitters in Hampton Bays has had good luck targeting the albies at Shinnecock, catching and releasing seven between Tuesday and Wednesday. “I’ve been using size 1 and 2 epoxy flies,” he said, “either working them real fast and tight to the rocks or allowing them to swing across small eddies. The morning has seen the best action.”

Surprisingly, there is still some very good action underway with weakfish. Jamaica Bay has given up the biggest ones in general with fish to 7 pounds while 2- to 4- pounders have been the rule in Noyac Bay and the western sectors of Long Island Sound.

There have also been some tiderunners caught in Great South Bay near Fire Island Lighthouse, in the State Channel, and under the Wantagh bridges. Jelly worms, Bass Assassin soft plastics and live snappers have been the top producers.

If it’s big bluefish that get your blood boiling, head for the Middle Grounds of Long Island Sound. Bruisers to 16 pounds have set up there and are slamming everything from cut bunker to diamond jigs.

South Shore Classic

The popular South Shore Surf Fishing Classic is set for Oct. 13 through 15. Hosted by The Fisherman Magazine and Long Island State Parks, it kicks off at noon on Friday and continues through noon on Sunday. The entry fee is $15. Cash and tackle prizes will be awarded for the three largest stripers, three largest blues and three largest stripers released. Boundary lines are the Jones Beach West End Two Jetty to the east jetty of Moriches Inlet. Sign up at Captree Bait and Tackle, 631-587-3430. The shop will be open 24/7 throughout the tournament. Email:

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