Blackfish: a delicious and unappreciated catch

Jimmy Kallenberg

Many people in our area are familiar with bluefish, striped bass, sea bass, porgies, fluke and sea robins, but not many of those same people are not familiar with blackfish. Blackfish (tautog) in our western Long Island sound are found where there are structures in the water.

Rocks and wrecks are common areas to find blackfish.

They love to eat crabs so one of the best ways to catch them is using crabs as bait. The two most common crabs used are green crabs and Asian crabs.

There are many videos that you can find with excellent tips using search terms like “how to catch blackfish” and “how to use crabs for catching blackfish.”

Blackfishing on a boat can be tricky. I’ve been on one side of a 24′ boat catching fish with someone on the other side getting none.

One reason, the other person lacks the knowledge of how to catch this great tasting fish. Another reason is the bottom eating fish will be gathered in a very small, isolated area known as the spot.

Wind and tide can take you off the spot if you don’t double anchor your boat, stern and bow. The spot could be a rock pile or sunken boat.

If your boat and you are on the same side of the structure as the fish, you will catch them.

Several years ago while fishing off New Rochelle I caught the pictured 10 pounder using green crab. The legal keeper length is 16″ and 4 fish per person, per day. The 2017 season is Oct. 5 through Dec. 14.

Last week’s fishing in the western sound saw many different species being caught. Blaise from Duffy’s Bait and Tackle in Glenwood Landing reported big blues and plenty of porgies, schoolie and striped bass with some keepers and a few fluke.

One of the reported fluke was a 28 incher which would weigh about 9 pounds. Most of these fish have been caught west of Hempstead harbor.

Reports from Port Washington’s Atlantic Outfitters and Little Neck’s East Coast Fishing both said porgies and some fluke have been caught at all points along with big blues in the bays and the Sound. 

Please remember that fluke season ends on September 21st. 

Remember: when on the water, always practice safety first. 

Sponsored by Long Island Boat Rentals

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Jimmy Kallenberg

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