Caution on bluefish as locals see red on Long Island
We’re back to fishing for our favorite foursome: porgies, striped bass, bluefish and fluke.
In Long Island Sound, those focusing on porgies are enjoying lots of action, particularly if they are heeding advice to maintain a good chum area.
As for fluke fanciers, their frustration continues since it’s hard to tempt up the minimum required size of 21 inches. Many figure the ratio of success is still only one or two fluke for every 20 or even 30 that have to be tossed back.
It’s become harder to catch a big striped bass, at least in the western Sound. But search for them sunning in really shallow – five to 10 feet – of water. Fresh bunker is certainly their meal preference.
Stepping Stone Light and Big Tom at the south end of City Island have been good hunting grounds for the blues, which are mostly in the 8- to 10-pound range.
On the other side of Long Island, the Brooklyn VI will start up again Monday, following engine trouble, with her six-day and night blue fishing schedule. The exception is Mondays, when Capt. Andy Nazzaruolo takes customers fluking from 7a.m. to 2 p.m., before turning around to jig for blues and striped bass from 3 to 8p.m.
The Sheepshead Bay area’s Flamingo III is well-known for diamond jigging for blues. So I turned to the Flamingo family’s third-generation skipper, Bob Wiegand, for his take regarding a recent DEC bulletin cautioning women of child-bearing age and children about eating too many big bluefish a month.
Wiegand pointed out that party and charter boats aren’t fishing city rivers. Some of his favorite stalking grounds, for example, are Raritan Bay, the Tin Can Grounds, 17 Fathoms and the Mud Hole. All are five to 10 miles from his Brooklyn dock off the Belt Parkway. He underscored that by saying, “The fish our boats go after are migratory and not in stagnant water such as the Gowanus Canal.”
Rich Johnson, a longtime local angler and host of “The Fishing Line” radio and TV show, strongly agreed, pointing out this area’s popular saltwater species come in around May and exit around Thanksgiving. He noted that they have been feeding on other fish with no recognizable amount of PCBs or mercury. Johnson feels that proposed posting of signs at local city piers and rivers is some sort of political grandstanding that merely resurrects a similar caution that has been known for years, meaning nothing has changed. He stressed that the fish being caught – certainly by party and charter-boat anglers – “are not dangerously contaminated fish.” Johnson also echoed Mayor Bloomberg’s reaction that it’s common sense not to eat fish from obviously contaminated inner-city waterways.
My own opinion remains that those blues taste mighty good grilled in foil with butter, celery leaves, tomatoes and onions.
By Alexandra Kenney