Big blackfish likely a state record

Breezy Point, N.Y. – A Brooklyn angler caught – and released –
what’s believed to be a new state record blackfish last month while
fishing in New York City-area waters.

Yakov Elkin of Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, boated a 20.65-pound
blackfish Nov. 11 while fishing in about 45 feet of water four
miles east of Breezy Point Jetty.

The catch is awaiting certification from DEC and, if approved,
will rank as the new state record, topping the 19-pound, 12-ounce
brute decked by Jim Burgon of Riverhead back in August of 1992.

Elkin’s behemoth measured 30.25 inches in length and had a
22-inch girth. It ate a green crab and was officially weighed at
Michael’s Bait and Tackle in Staten Island on a certified
scale.

Elkin’s son, Ilya, who piloted the 25-foot Parker, said the big
black put up a vicious fight.

“We knew it was a beast right away,” said the younger Elkin, who
joined the big fish parade by landing a 13-pound, 10-ounce
blackfish Dec. 7. “It took two serious runs, one lasting about
eight seconds. That’s a long time for a blackfish to be taking drag
and not get hung on bottom.”

Dick Biglew, who weighed the huge tautog, as blackfish are also
called, noted that it was kept alive in the boat’s livewell and
then released.

“I’ve put many a 10- and even 12-pound blackfish on the scale
because the Staten Island charter fleet is really sharp when it
comes to ‘togging,” Biglew said. “But I’ve never seen a blackfish
like this one. It was double the size of mounts we have hanging on
our walls.”

Although not quite a match for Elkin’s potential state record,
another monster blackfish was taken from the New York Bight area on
Dec. 4. This one, a huge 17-pound, 7-ounce brute, fell for a green
crab aboard the Point Lookout open boat, Super Hawk II. Victor
Place of Deer Park was the lucky angler.

If certified, Elkin’s blackfish would be the fourth state record
catch this year in New York. The state’s walleye, fallfish and
brook trout records were broken earlier this year by freshwater
anglers.

Elkin’s catch capped what has been a fine blackfish season in
the New York City-area waters. Limit catches were the norm for
skilled anglers at many ports, and numerous double-digit fish were
reported in Long Island Sound, Block Island Sound, and over
near-shore ocean wrecks.

The fall portion of the split New York blackfish season ended
Dec. 20, but reopens on Jan. 17. Regulations allow for a four fish
limit with a minimum length of 14 inches.

The current world record for blackfish is a 25-pound lunker
caught off Ocean City, N.J., in 1998 by Anthony Monica.

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