by Tommy Kampa

The Blackfish season started off very well for the Moonlight Lady; I had an eight and a half pounder and my limit of keeper Tautog on opening day! We all caught many fish with a few nice keepers mixed in for everyone on board. I concentrated on shallow water spots; our crew fished with quarter ounce Tidal Tails Blackfish jigs, tipped with Asian Crabs or Green Crabs cut in half. It didn’t seem to matter which Crab you used, both were very effective.

In early November the water should still be warm enough to find quality Blackfish in shallow waters; but they will be spreading out into deeper water as the month goes on. I love to ‘jig’ for Blackfish and the Western Long Island Sound is the ideal location for this method. If you haven’t tried this method yet, what are you waiting for? In everything we do in life, we must be open to new ideas to succeed; to grow, or just have some fun and fishing isn’t any different! This being said when the Blackfish move into water forty feet or deeper I switch to more conventional fishing methods. I will use a conventional setup, my reel spooled with fifty pound braided line attached to four feet of fifty pound fluorocarbon shock leader; a single hook (4/0 – 5/0 ) and sinker. When on some of my “nasty sticky” pieces I will use eighty pound leader.

Blackfish are difficult to catch; you must be able to anchor your boat right on top of them for you to catch. In many instances you will need to use two anchors in order to keep the boat from swinging too much. A lot of rigs, sinkers and fish will be lost in whatever structure you’re fishing over unless the boat is anchored correctly. A spread of two anchors off your bow, if done correctly will enable you to keep the boat from swinging and will allow you to adjust yourself over the piece until your dialed in as to where the fish are holding on it at any given time in the tide.

Blackfish are tricky and can be difficult to hook unless you are patient, let the fish “walk away” with the bait before setting the hook on one. These fish will peck at your bait a bit before taking it in. I like to use a half of Green Crab when fishing these deeper spots in the Western Sound. Go on YouTube and look for Blackfish feeding videos and you will understand what I’m saying. Once you do hook a fish, you must get it up out of the structure or it will break off your line. Keep your rod tip up and reel the fish away from the structure. If you get a really nice keeper fish I would net it just to be on the safe side. I like to bleed my fish, so I cut the fish’s throat with a pair of scissors immediately and throw them in ice water; the fillets are snow white then. In New York State the legal size limit is sixteen inches and each angler is allowed four fish.

Everyone has their favorite spots; unfortunately many of us have the same favorites, be respectful of the other guy, yes sometimes it is very hard to accomplish this, but no one is worth ruining your day. There are so many spots that hold fish in our area; think for yourself, try different spots, always be watching the sonar machine as you poke around, Mark structures that look interesting on your machine, make a drop on them. I guarantee you will find that “double digit” tog on one of them someday!

The weather can change very quickly on the water in November, so be prepared. Boots will keep your feet warm, bring extra layers, they’re easy to get on when you need them, a good hat. A good set of foul weather gear will keep you dry and help if it’s windy. You will still need a cooler with some ice to keep your catch in and get it home to the family.

WARNING: Blackfishing is addicting! Becoming a Togaholic is a possibility!

Captain Tommy Kampa holds a USCG 100 TON MASTER’S LICENSE; he runs a 29’ Dyer custom bass boat, the MOONLIGHT LADY. We are booking Charters now for the season. Captain Tommy can be reached at capttommykampa@gmail.com or 347 203 5087 to book a charter or express a comment or suggestion.

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Catch ‘em up!!!!