As a day of fishing comes to a close, it’s always good to “leave ’em biting.” The same goes for a season.
New Jersey fluke anglers will collective call it a season on Saturday as the state’s open season on summer flounder comes to an end at 11:59 p.m. But the bite remains hot, providing everyone with the opportunity to catch a few for the freezer until next spring arrives.
“There are still some nice keeper fluke being caught off the Mantoloking pipe in 40 to 70 feet of water, and in the structure on the Sea Girt and Axle Carlson reefs,” the folks at the Reel Life Bait and Tackle in Point Pleasant Borough said in a report. Fluke are also being caught in the Manasquan River near the Route 35 bridge, the report said, a potentially good option as seas are still forecast to be a bit on the high side following the coastal storm that blew through on Thursday.
“Plenty of fluke” remain in the suds, the folks at The Dock Outfitters in Seaside Heights said. The best bet is Berkeley Gulp baits on a bucktail for surf fishing. For those fishing from the beach, it may take a few casts to get the optimal weight of your sinker correct since the surf will likely still be churned up a bit, but after one ensures there’s enough to hold bottom without overdoing it, the fish should follow.
The Dock’s staff said there are also plenty of blues around in the suds, as well as daily reports of short striped bass being hooked by surf anglers who are using small swimmers and thin metals.
On another note: We will do a larger story on this topic sometime this weekend or early next week, but it appears as if there will be a significant reduction in striped bass quota for both the recreation and commercial sectors along the Atlantic coast. (Keep in mind that there is currently no commercial striped bass fishing allowed in New Jersey, though it is allowed in neighboring states.)
We heard from the Recreational Fishing Alliance Friday morning, and they are supporting a plan to set the legal limit at a bag limit of one fish at the current 28-inch minimum size.
“According to the science, there’s a better than 85 percent chance that striped bass will be considered an overfished species within the next three years, and that’s not an option for RFA or our members,” RFA Director Jim Donofrio said. “We’ve talked to a lot of individuals and business owners up and down the coast, and it would seem one option in particular, one fish at 28 inches, is perhaps the fairest, most efficient, and most productive option of all in terms of sustaining this fishery through to the next stock assessment.”
The “one fish at 28 inches” limit would reduce the annual coast-wide harvest by 31 percent and would also effectively cut the number of broodstock fish harvested during the spring migration.
As I mentioned above, we will have a larger story on this topic soon, but that’s just an FYI.
As always, have a great weekend fishing, and don’t be shy! Send those catch photos to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.