End of fabulous flounder season is fast approaching
Flounder fishing here in New Jersey remains very good.
But — and it is a big but — the season will be closed next week.
So, if you are a fan of the flat fish, my recommendation is to get down the shore now. I have noticed an apparent pick-up in fish law enforcement, so I would think twice about keeping flounder after the season is shut down.
From here, the battle will resume over what the 2018 flounder season will look like for New Jersey.
We already know the management agencies have it in for the state for going over their heads to the Secretary of the Interio,r who over-ruled the draconian reduction we would have seen this season. Hopefully, the Secretary will remain on the Garden State’s side.
As noted, the flattie fishing remains good, both inside and out in the ocean.
Many of the fish I have seen coming back to the cleaning stations are impressive in size. And, you do not have to be a veteran angler to catch flounder.
Let us take eight-yearold Keira Comfort of Boyertown. She topped all of her family members with a three-pound fish she pulled out of the bay behind Margate recently.
And she is not alone when it comes to excellent catches by the juniors. Eleven-year-old Carter Thatcher of Quarryville, in Lancaster County, landed a five-pounder fishing in that same back bay as Keira.
If you are tired of fishing the back bays and their abundance of greenhead and black flies, the offshore reefs and snags also are being productive. The Ocean City and Wildwood reefs have been good, but so have some of the other areas, such as the Breakfast Table and Coral Bottom.
Before we check out the offshore fishing, let’s finish up the inside stuff by saying there still is good action on kingfish, snapper blues, spot and occasional smaller striped bass. The rocky areas also have been good for triggerfish. And don’t forget the excellent crabbing.
There have been a couple of big offshore tournaments and the results are coming in. The biggest is the MidAtlantic, running out of Cape May and Ocean City, Md. This brings out fishing teams from all over the country, most manned by professional anglers who really know their stuff.
Almost two dozen boats are here from Florida with others from Texas and Alabama, plus all the boats from the northeast. Then again, they are fishing for over $3 million in prizes.
This is a week-long event, and the final tally won’t be made until after the deadline for this week’s column. The results will be here next week, although so far there are no locals in contention at this time.
Most of what has been recorded are white marlin, but there are several blue marlin and plenty of tuna. From what the organizers of the event say, about 90 per cent of what is caught is released.
Another popular offshore tournament was the 40th Annual Ocean City Marlin & Tuna Club Overnighter. Again, there were no area residents on the leaderboard, and the results mainly were white marlin, with a few blues and some good sized yellowfin tuna.
The partyboats all have the same story to tell. Their favorite spots have been very good for seabass, triggers, occasional flounder and tailor blues.
ACROSS THE BAY
Since many of the boats in the big MidAtlantic came out of Delaware and Maryland, there is no use to repeat the offshore report in the Jersey section.
There was one big flounder tournament in Delaware and a boat called the Katy-Did sailed off with a megabuck jackpot. I don’t know what the boat’s total catch amounted to, but it only matters that it was sufficient to win the prize.
Out at the Old Grounds the reports are there is very good fishing for flounder and seabass. Inshore, there continues to be a mixed bag.
At fishing areas like the Indian River Inlet, the Point and the beaches, you can expect to bring home anything from flatties to seabass, taug, triggerfish and kingies. Some very small blues also are around taking your bait before the less voracious species have a shot. The more successful anglers are using sand fleas and cut mullet.