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State relaxes regulations for three saltwater fish

The size limit of fluke has been lowered

The size limit of fluke has been lowered from 20.5 inches to 19.5 inches. (Aug. 8, 2010) Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

If you've been waiting anxiously for this season's fluke, black sea bass and porgy regulations to be finalized, wait no longer. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has finally posted regulations for the current saltwater season (www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7894.html).

In the cases of all three species, restrictions have been slightly relaxed compared to last year. Fluke fans will be happy on three counts. The season for the summer flatties runs uninterrupted from Tuesday, May 1, through Sept. 30, the size limit has been lowered from 20.5 inches to 19.5 inches, and the possession limit has been raised from three fish to four.

Sea bass, an especially popular target in recent years given restrictions on other species, have a reasonable size limit of 13 inches, a creel limit of 15 per angler (five more than last year,) and a season running June 15 through Dec. 31.

Scup, known locally as porgy, are managed in two different ways. When anglers fish from shore or private vessels, they are allowed 20 fish each, with a minimum size of 10.5 inches and a season of May 1 through Dec. 31. When fishing from charter or party boats, the minimum size limit is 11 inches with a creel limit of 20 fish between May 1 and Aug. 31, 40 fish between Sept. 1 and Oct. 31, and 20 fish between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31.

"This is all headed in the right direction," said Greg Keegan at Causeway Bait and Tackle in Wantagh, in reference to the latest rule changes. "With the fluke, especially, that extra fish gives anglers hope and the slightly smaller size limit should put a few in the cooler for those fluking in the bays and Long Island Sound. It might also result in more limit catches in ocean hot spots like the McCallister Grounds."

Youth turkey hunt

Spring turkey season opens May 1 in all of upstate New York north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary, and the annual Youth Turkey Hunting Weekend is slated for Saturday and Sunday. This weekend, youth ages 12 to 15 can hunt turkey while accompanied by a licensed adult hunter with a turkey permit, but only the youth may carry a firearm or bow and attempt to take a bird.

The idea is to allow young hunters to spend time afield with experienced adult hunters to learn about safety and conservation first-hand, gaining the knowledge and skills to become responsible members of New York's hunting community. The youngsters need both a junior hunting license and a turkey permit.

While there is no regular spring turkey season here on Long Island, the special youth turkey hunt is open in Suffolk County.

Dominic Villafranca, 14, plans to be in the woods both days. "I love to hunt," said the teenager, who practices archery at Thrill of the Hunt in Riverhead and who is already proficient with a shot gun. "It's very exciting. I've hunted for deer, pheasant and turkey so far."

On last year's youth hunt, Dominic felled a monster 28-pound Tom called in by his father and grandfather.

"We were so thrilled to see him take that gobbler," said Dominick's dad, Chris Villafranca. "We called it in and he waited for a perfect shot. What a thrill just to be involved.Email: outdoortom@optonline.net

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