2009-01-09 / Sports

Rockaway Outdoors/Tales From The Wheelhouse

By Captain Vinnie Calabro

The New Year brought with it some cold weather and stiff winds. At times, that made it unfishable. The fishing scene locally is down to the usual winter cast of characters: ling, mackerel, codfish and blackfish for those whom posses a commercial license.

Trips offshore are dictated by sea conditions, and it seems like each week, the window of opportunity is less and less.

My schedule allowed for two trips this past week. Both days, the weather cooperated and we had enough action with the ling mixed in with some codfish to make the trip worthwhile.

The fishing grounds ordinarily are a parking lot of sorts this time of year and are fairly void of boats. The closure of the blackfish recreational fishery in New York has definitely translated into fewer boats.

I think the regulated season will no doubt help the local fishery; albeit painful to those who relish the winter action. The stocks of blackfish have really been hit hard over the past decade. They are a crop that has great market value, yet replenishes slowly.

In the late seventies I can recall being offshore this time of year and seeing a hand full of boats. Fast forward that to the late eighties and nineties, and you couldn't count the armada out there. So, at this point in time, fishing is dictated by the powers that be. As I have said in the past, regression is often times the price of progression.

Water depths of eighty to a hundred feet or so seem to be yielding the most fish. Ling, with an occasional cod, are taking soft baits clams and white crabs. Mackerel have eluded me, but boats from the bay southeast from my point had some good catches. The weatherman holds the key to the next week's fishing. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Until the next tide . . .

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