Time is tick­ing away for last catches of floun­der sea­son

The Phoenix - - SPORTS - By Jim Loe For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

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.

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