End of fab­u­lous floun­der season is fast ap­proach­ing

The Boyertown Area Times - - SPORTS - By Jim Loe For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

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.

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