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WHAT THE “HADDOCK” IS GOING ON?

Two veteran Montauk skippers say they have never seen haddock in the numbers present off the East End on Friday and Saturday.

By Fred Golofaro  |  December 4, 2018
WHAT THE “HADDOCK” IS GOING ON?
Haddock easily dominated the mixed bag action on Friday’s trip aboard Fin Chaser II.

Haddock have been considered a by-catch by Long Island anglers targeting cod and mixed bag species on offshore wrecks for many years, and it is not uncommon for a few to be scattered among the catches of party and charter boat anglers. For those looking to target haddock, a drive up to New England has long been the surest way to add a bunch of fine eating haddock to your cooler.

So what happened last week when a couple of Montauk open boats landed on the mother lode of these fish while probing Block Island waters for sea bass, porgies, cod, pollock, ling and white hake? As Captain Keith Williams of the open boat Fin Chaser II reported, “What absolutely stole the show was the incredible number of haddock decked on Friday’s trip.” The boat did not sail on Saturday due to family obligations. The skipper added that he has never seen haddock fishing like they had and called it an absolute bail job. He noted that haddock are even better eating than cod and there is no issue with worms, which sometimes plague cod fillets. Needless to say, he couldn’t wait to get back out once the winds subside on Wednesday and Thursday.

Captain Steven Forsberg Jr. aboard the Viking Fivestar, labelled the haddock action on Saturday’s trip “incredible.” He added that they have never seen the kinds of numbers of large haddock that they saw on that trip, and that’s coming from a Forsberg, a fishing family with a long history of fishing the waters off Long Island’s East End. Captain Steven Forsberg Sr. was talking to his dad, Captain Paul Forsberg, about his catch of haddock as well as his son, Capt. Steven Jr’s fantastic report of haddock on Saturday. Captain Paul responded, “The last time that this amount of haddock was landed and brought to Montauk was during the 1950s.”

A solid run of haddock could add an exciting new dimension to the winter fishing scene for Long Island anglers. Was last week’s influx of these flaky, white meat fish a flash in the pan or will they provide consistent and reliable action this winter? The next week or two should go a long way toward answering that question.

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