by Rich Troxler
Where surfcasters are concerned, there is no arguing that the Striped Bass reigns supreme in the glamor fish department. It is a fish that inspires devotion and for good reason. It can be tricky to catch at times, fights hard, is beautiful to look at, and can grow to impressive size. Then there is the Bluefish, who is often maligned but always willing to pit its gnarly, never say die attitude against your tackle and stamina. And of course, the Weakfish is right in the middle of the pack also, although their quantities have been sadly lacking as of late.
But after that, the list falls off pretty quickly. Yeah, fluke can be fun and are good to eat, but not a lot of guys really target them from the shore, but other than that, most species rarely get mentioned. Yet there are many shore bound opportunities for other species that rarely get investigated, either due to lack of knowledge, lack of will, or both.
One of my perennial favorites is the Blackfish. The current regs have really cut into my efforts in fishing for them, but come October you can count on finding me doing some day trips to my local jetties in search of Mr. White Chin. Blackfish are probably one of the most difficult fish to catch consistently from shore, but the effort is well worth it for the way they fight. They don't call them bull dogs for nothing. At one point in my life I spent more time fishing for Blackfish than I did for any other species, Bass included.
During the "summer doldrums", catching Porgies can also be a nice way to pass some time. They are excellent eating and the bigger ones are easy to fillet. But the summer species that has really gotten into my blood the last several years is Trigger Fish, so when I heard through the grapevine that Triggers had made a showing, I immediately took a day off from work and bolted to my favorite Trigger spot. I got fishing right about the last half hour of the tide and about 45 minutes before the free divers showed up. In about an hour, I put 9 nice Triggers on ice, including 6 in the jumbo class, before moving on to catching a few Porgies for the grill.
So what is it about Triggers that gets my attention? First and foremost, they have to one of the best eating fish you will catch in our area. They are absolutely delicious, particularly when BBQ'd with a spice rub. Second, being a "tropical" species, they are the coolest looking fish that swims our waters. And thirdly, although they can be hard to locate at times and difficult to hook up with, when you do, they will put a good bend in your rod.
With Trigger Fish, I have found the perfect summer species for me to fish for while waiting for the fall run to arrive. Yes, I know that there are still bass to be caught during the summer, but to be honest, I'm not willing to put in the time for it anymore, and I've really come to enjoy the change of pace that fishing for Triggers provides. In the near future, I'll be doing a piece in my forum on Stripers 247, on tackle and techniques for catching Triggers from shore, but in the meantime I've got to go get the grill started. Blackened Trigger Fish with a light coating of peppered mayo (crushed black and ground cayenne) on a kaiser roll, coming up!