Time is ticking away for last catches of flounder season
Hurry, Hurry, Hurry! The 2017 New Jersey summer flounder season now has just hours left. The abbreviated season comes to a close Sept. 5, and it is anybody’s guess what will happen in 2018.
Unfortunately, most of this past week offered up very little in terms of fishable conditions. Very persistent winds were the culprit. And, even after the winds finally subsided, water conditions were far from ideal.
It is a shame the season is just about done, because the flattie activity was really heating up ... even in the back bays.
Normally, by this time in the summer, the vast bulk of the flounder would have moved outside toward the artificial reefs. But, this year a huge abundance of bait gave them very little reason to leave the comfort of the bays and inlets.
So, with the flounder season coming to an end, what is left to catch?
Black seabass also are now on the “do not catch” list. Well, perch are doing their best to fill the gap.
These tasty fish are schooled up in most of the coastal creeks and rivers. The Egg Harbor and Mullica Rivers, the Absecon and Patcong Creeks all have perch.
I got this bit of information from a friend who is a kayak fisherman down in the Wildwoods, and his reports normally are accurate. He says he has been catching good size redfish inside Hereford’s Inlet. He also says they are in very shallow water, just 3 to 4 feet. That may be ideal for anyone in a kayak, but it could be a bit dicey if you have a boat of any size. He told me he is using buck- tails and Gulp.
The previously noted strong winds along the coast really put the kibosh on the offshore fishing. But the winds began just about the time the big buck MIDATLANTIC Tournament was finishing.
An incredible $3.24 million in prizes was up for grabs. No area residents were into the really big dollars.
One boat out of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. took better than $1 million back to the Sunshine State. Part of that award came from a 680-pound blue marlin that, by itself, earned over $580,000. The same boat also took another half mil for the largest yellowfin tuna.
The largest single fish payout went to the crew of a More head City, N.C. sportfisherman. Their 75-pound white marlin was worth almost $800,000.
Among the contestants from eastern Pennsylvania, Denny Howell of Malvern earned $80,000 for the second heaviest tuna. He also took home another $6,000 in mahi money.
Michael Chase of Villanova got the top wahoo prize of over $37,000. **** The Jersey shore lost a well know avid salt water angler this past week. Jack Thomas passed at the age of 65.
Jack was the proprietor of Charlie’s Bar and Restaurant in Somers Point. On the water, you may recognize him as the operator of his boat, Pair-O-Jacks.
Also this past week, word went out a popular tackle shop is up for sale. The Absecon Bay Sportsman’s Center is on the block, but the owner says he would like to sell it to someone who will keep it as a tackle shop.
ACROSS THE BAY» The “Vic- tory At Sea” ocean conditions of this past week also kept the big Delaware and Maryland boats secured to their docks, but there still was plenty of action.
Summer flounder abound from the A and B buoys to the Old Grounds and Reef Sites 10 and 11. Triggerfish are being found in the Cape Henlopen State Park and around the Outer Wall and the bluefish, which were tiny just a few weeks ago, are growing up fast and now seem to be averaging 16-to-18 inches.
You can find some croakers but they generally are small.
Remember the Delaware tautog season is closed until the 29th of this month. So even though there seem to be a lot of them, they are off limits for most of this month.
Then there is the crabbing. Oldtimers say they cannot remember a more productive crab season. I even had another fellow tell me he now is releasing any that are just over the size limit minimum, because there are somany very large crabs around.
I close with a tip of the hat to the Indian River Coast Guard Station and the Delaware Division of Natural Resources. These two agencies came to the aid of a 20-foot boat that was taking on some serious water in Massey’s Ditch.
The Coasties got an auxiliary pump aboard the boat, but even that was unable to keep up with the flooding. The two persons aboard then were taken off the floundering boat before it went to the bottom. Neither person was injured, and the boat was eventually raised.
Next time you are on the water and see a USCG or DNR boat go by, give them a wave. They deserve it.