Slack tide winter flounderMay 9, 2001 Write an essay on this topic.
The Bottom Line Winter flounder is smaller but tastier than fluke
Whether it is a cool crisp mid-November day or an unseasonably warm April morn, fishing winter flounder from a party or charter boat is hard to beat. With most private vessels still in dry-dock head boats may be the only alternative, this time of year, to filling the freezer. With summer flounder regulations in turmoil year after year this may be the only time of year for many fisherman to catch and enjoy a few flounder fillets.
Recently, it was my pleasure to jump aboard one of the many party boats that peruse the Raritan and Sandy Hook bays. It was a beautiful mid-April day where the temperatures were promising to break into the 70ís. The Atlantic Star, piloted by Captain Tom Buban, has been at the forefront of early spring flounder fishing for many years. This was the first time in nearly three years that I fished these waters close to where I grew up. It was good to see that the water was clean and clear and didnít revert back to the polluted days of the oil spills of the 70ís and 80ís.
We left the dock at 8am sharp with about 20 people aboard. The lack of a crowd permitted everyone to have ample room at the rail. My father and I took up residence in our usual spot near the back port corner of the boat. The captain headed straight for the mouth of the Shrewsbury River. Anchoring up well out of the channel, the mates chummed heavily with freshly crushed clam. Our lines were wet in less than 20 minutes from the time we left the dock.
My gear for this particular trip was a medium action five-foot long conventional rod with a matching reel. My father opted for his home built 5-foot medium action spinning outfit. Both reels were spooled with 20-pound monofilament. A lot of the customers brought light action rods along and this selection seemed to produce the best.
The terminal tackle was simply, store bought winter flounder rigs with about a 3-ounce weight attached. The captain preferred straight hooks; I myself like the English style. We knew we would be fishing in about 20 feet of water and felt that 3 ounces of weight would be plenty in calm seas. It was.
The captain supplied us with clam strips and 1-inch pieces of sandworm but in addition we brought along some small bloodworms. At around $6 a dozen we would tip the chunks of clam with small pieces of bloodworm. Sand worms, however can make a good substitution if bloodworms are unavailable.
Once the boat settled up on the anchor and the chum slick was established it was only a short wait before the first winter flatties made it over the rail. Captain Tom told us to let the bait hit bottom then twitch the rod tip three or 4 inches off the bottom five or six times and then let the bait sit on the bottom for about 15 seconds. He told us to repeat these steps until we could feel the gentle tug of the flounder mouthing the bait. This technique kept us in the fish all morning long. A few of the customers were even bringing double-headers over the rail.
After about an hour and a dozen fish in the cooler the captain pulled up anchor and headed further into the Shrewsbury River to an area near Spermaceti Cove. The fishing tactic remained the same but we lightened the weight from 3 to two ounces. We were now in water around 10 feet deep.
Fishing was a little slower until we hit slack water. Once the current stopped, the boat exploded with fish and well over 70 flounder came over the rail. This frenzy lasted the Ĺ hour of slack tide.
When all was said and done two dozen fish were bagged with dad getting most of the credit. We had a great day with a fantastic crew with no mess to clean up afterwards.
Half day party boats for winter flounder are available all along the Jersey coast. With a sustained fishery in Raritan and Barnegat bays and even some winter flatties being taken in Great Bay the fishing and eating promises to be good for a very long time. With the boat still in dry dock there is no better way to enjoy this fishery.
Remember to consult the most recent regulations regarding flounder in Raritan Bay. Also keep in mind that half of Raritan Bay is in New York waters so you need to be aware of their regs also. Carry and consult a chart if you are in doubt of which regulations take priority. Good fishing.
|Write the first comment on this review!|