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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

August 25, 2007 -- Still sassy out there -- more fluke lady stuff

Saturday, August 25, 2007 Waves: Very persistent wave action via a 4-foot (larger sets) easterly long-period ground swell. Yesterday was honking out there , wave-wise. I was doing volleyball on the beach in Harvey Cedars and the combination of large swell, days of onshore winds and astronomical conditions had set waves washing over the entire beach in many sections of not only HC but the entire Island. It was not conducive to surf fishing -- even the face of a big fishing club affair at the LBIFC – all the tents were up and a slew of folks readying for some get-together.

Another problem was (and is) the increasing south flow of air – and winds from the south – which could muck up the water, though it actually cleaned it up a bit yesterday.

Radio prattle had fair action outside the inlet but nowhere near what it had been pre-blow. The brisk south winds had a ton of drift and the groundswells kept lifting anything too light off the bottom. Lots of larger Spros going out of the shops. I still like that concept: If you gotta put on a huge chuck of weigh why not something that looks outstanding instead of a leaden bank sinker? I had a question on Srpos, mainly the use of both squid and minnows. “Doesn’t that make it too bulky?” was the wondering. It would seem so to you and I but fluke are as ravenous a creature as there is on the briny deep. That flashy is all they need to draw one of their “inhale” attacks.

Weakfishing is holding strong (west side mainly). I had no luck with sparklers last night. Bluefishing down for the moment (though still lots of catching going on). That was all I got throwing spinner in the dark. A lone croaker was taken near Little Egg Inlet but don’t be overly encouraged, the resumption of heavy shrimping in the Carolinas will quickly (again) obliterate that species.

I just want to doubly alert folks – as we see the end of fluking season on the not-distant horizon – that the bandied about 15-million pound 2008 quota is still very much in doubt. The final “advisory” will be made in December and there is easily a better than even chance that number will plummet. That comes from a source close to NMFS who emailed off the record to say the regulators are very much looking into an overages for this year. I don’t like the drift of this and any further reduction will sit poorly with anglers who have never seen so many fluke out there. Again, that’s the double-edged sword thing: All those fish show the stocks seem fine but it indicates huge over-takes of poundage. I have to admit, I personally have no doubt we are over by a mountain’s worth of flatties – and, like others, will say “If they weren’t there we wouldn’t have caught them!”

Always glad to find new folks reading in here. Two quickie emails asked about triggerfish as foodstuff, one going as far as asking if they were poisonous. We have no poisonous fish (jellyfish excepted). Even our blowfish – with poisonous internal organs when living in the south -- have cleaned themselves of any ciguatera by the time they migrate up here. Anyway, as oft noted in here, triggerfish are scrumptious, truly top-shelf. I believe the only true was to prepare them is cooked whole. They fillet very poorly (small portion to say the least) whole coking them in the round (skin is a must for holding in the moisture) allows a single decent-sized fish to fill be – which is saying a lot. In fact, I’d say a rule of thumb is a fish per person is about right. Dip the pure white meat in butter to see just how incredible the species is.

I’m not sure why but I’ve been awash with emails asking about Holgate, many coming from to-be first-timers. I have a SandPaper writer getting the latest info from Forsythe regarding the opening but most of the questions are aimed at the state of the beach for buggying.

IMPORTANT: Speaking of The SandPaper – and this is a kinda important reminder – I am the managing editor of the whole paper (not just the fishing column), along with the managing and news editor of the three mainland Leaders and the summer Beachcomber. I want to re-note that since some emails I get in here are routinely transferred to the SandPaper column – and sometimes the paper itself. While I have never once had a single person object to that, feel free to let me know if you prefer not to go “public” with emails or story ideas you send me in here. I’ll fully understand – and remain grateful for your involvement with this column.

A few more fluke lady emails came in (all highly critical – a bit more than me). A couple I can publish:

Jay, I was willing to give this woman the benefit of the doubt until she threw out the "wild animals ate the fish" excuse and then clammed up. I agree with you about McReynolds - I think he caught that fish -- but whatever you say about him, that 78-lb. bass did not disappear. That was probably the most studied fish ever, at least in these parts. The fact that this woman destroyed the evidence just as people started to ask questions.... well, that stinks to high heaven. This is obviously a fake job.

Just out of curiosity, I saw something online (this was pure speculation, but it's interesting nonetheless). This woman has caught something like three record fish (before the flounder) in the past year or so. What if she didn't want to break the fluke record, but was angling (har!) for many entries in the Fisherman Dream Boat Contest? If she was willing to cheat, and had a steady supply of large fish (say from a relative who's a dragger), she could stuff the ballot box with multiple entries until she won. It's no guarantee, but if you have four or five or six of the 40 or 50 Dream Boat entries every year, then sooner or later you're guaranteed to win a $30,000 boat.

This is all 100% speculation, of course and is 100% unfounded. But I have $500 that I'll bet anyone who thinks this catch is legitimate, and that the IGFA is going to approve the fish.

Keep 'em crying, Chris G.”

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

And a thread sent me: Big doormat fish for ages

Tom Schlichter

August 21, 2007

If you've been dreaming about breaking the world record for fluke, you may need to dream a little bigger. On Friday, a potential International Game Fish Association (IGFA) world-record summer flounder was decked south of Shrewsbury Rocks, two miles off Monmouth Beach, N.J., by Monica Oswald.

The monster doormat measured 38 1/4 inches and tipped the scales at 24.3 pounds. If approved, it would smash the current record of 22 pounds, 7 ounces, taken at Montauk on Sept. 15, 1975, by the late Charlie Nappi.

Scott Christensen weighed the fish at Scott's Bait and Tackle in Bradley Beach. He knew immediately this was a fluke for the ages.

"When Monica walked into the shop," Christensen recalled, "that fish was nearly sticking out both ends of her cooler." Christensen put the huge flatfish on the scale and turned to the lucky angler: "Looks like you have the world record here!" he announced.

In a telephone interview from the shop, Oswald, a nurse at Riverview Hospital in Red Bank, N.J., told me she caught the huge flattie in 60 feet of water. The doormat swallowed a Glo-colored, 4-ounce Spro bucktail tipped with squid and a stinger hook. An Abu Garcia 7000 reel, 5 1/2-foot Lamiglas boat rod, and 65-pound test Power Pro line rounded out her gear.

"I thought I had bottom," Oswald said, "but when the line started to move off slowly, I figured it was a cownose ray. Twice it dove after seeing the boat, but my buddy, Eric Neumaer, scooped it up. The fish pounded the deck so hard I had to stand on it to keep it from flipping back over the side."

Oswald has weighed in several lunkers in the past two years, including an 18.1-pound weakfish, 13.3-pound blackfish, 4.6-pound winter flounder and, just last week, an 8.6-pound stargazer.

Her tremendous success has raised a few eyebrows, however, and concerns about this catch surfaced quickly as they often do when fishing records change hands. Photos of the fish show the gills clearly detached from the body. Oswald claims the separation occurred accidentally as she retrieved her bucktail by sliding her hand under the gill flap from the outside. Christensen added that the flesh appeared ripped, not sliced.

Also begging examination was significant scale loss above the tail. Handling of the fish caused this, Christensen said, and it's possible scales were lost as Oswald stood on the fish to calm it down.

As of Sunday morning, Oswald had stopped granting interviews. Then Sunday evening came word the big fish, left in the cooler overnight outside her home, had been ravaged by animals.

At this point, whether the huge doormat will be certified as a record is up to IGFA officials if, and when, the paperwork is submitted.

I had the pleasure of fishing for fluke at Debbs Inlet with Nappi a couple of years before he passed away. At the time, I inquired how long he thought his fluke record might stand?

"I don't know," he said in a reflective tone. "That 21-pounder, that's a big fish."

He paused for several seconds, lowered his bait to the bottom and then, with a chuckle, added: "Twenty-five or 30 years would be nice."

Whether this doormat moves to the top of the chart or not, Charlie Nappi got his wish.

Tuesday Aug 21

It's a crock of s**t. She has a friend or relative who is a commercial dragger.

DRAGGER

Huntington Station, NY Reply »

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#2

Tuesday Aug 21

TAKE IT FROM ME...A DRAGGER...3 THINGS I'VE GOT TO SAY. 1 GILLS DONT GET RIPPED OUT FROM BUCKTAILS. 2, U CAN NOT EVER IN A MILLION YEARS STAND ON A 24 POUND FLUKE...YOU CANT EVEN STAND ON A 6 POUND FLUKE. 3, ABOVE THE TAIL AND ON THE HEAD ARE VERY VERY COMMON PLACES FOR SCALES TO BE MISSING WHEN FLUKE ARE DRAGGED UP. THEY TOSS AND TURN IN THE NET...I'D HAVE TO SAY THIS IS A HOAX

Nj fisherman

AOL Reply »

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#3

Tuesday Aug 21

This is **** How can someone be so lucky or skillful and catch all these big fish in just 2 yrs. And now the 24 lbd (Halibut)no fluke is gotten . I know few people that saw fish but wasnt allowed up close to see it . I also have heard that her family or BF owns dragger out of belford NJ . This scam will come out soon.She is also in the leader for dreamboat contest. Where is her boat docked ??/ what kind of boat is it ???? when does she fish ????

If it smells like fish its rotten

John Grant

Rye, NY Reply »

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#4

Tuesday Aug 21

Thanks for doing the home work to the reporter.

Sounds very commercially fishy......

I guess if I caught a world record I leave the fish outside for the animals too? May the fishing gods bless your miserable soul if your leakin ......Southbay...

Moriches Angler

Wyandanch, NY Reply »

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#5

Tuesday Aug 21

Yeah and the fish got "raveged" by wild animals so nobody can now view it! That is one of the oldest tricks in the book like the dog ate my homework. This lady catches 3 record fish in about a year or two, Fat chance. Only thing she deserves a world record in is an eating contest!

Frank Lavoine

Bellmore, NY Reply »

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#6

Tuesday Aug 21

Saw a photograph of the fluke. Why does the head appear to be half ripped off? It's a huge fluke. But the head seems to be hanging by a thread. Weird.

mikey ravs

Little Ferry, NJ Reply »

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#7

Wednesday

I got a good laugh today, Thank you monica, Great fish tale. When you see a ufo let me know.

Chris

Oceanside, NY Reply »

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#8

18 hrs ago

I also hear a rumor that her husband owns a dragger

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