Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Sunday Sept. 9, 2007: Nice weather -- weird fluke torture tale

Sunday, September 09, 2007: Waves: 3-4 foot medium period swell out of the south; Gabrielle waves not amounting to much. Water clarity: Improving to very good, south to north. Water temps: Mid-70s – after shedding some cooler water that blew in with hard south winds yesterday.

Nice day overall. Light winds and low surface chop allowed many boats to go out to deep water for the next to last day of fluke season. In close, there were some flare-ups of fluking near inlets but pulling out keepers remains tough, especially right along the beach where the flatties are snapping at a huge showing of small spearing but finding one to take home is brutally hard.

Fluke-mail: “REPEAT PERFORMANCE! Started out trying for bass, got one about 16" then the fluke started to hit early close to structure, so I concentrated on them. Got my second 7 pounder in 2 days! About 2 dozen fluke, half on zooms half on bucktails, keepers were 25" 7.0lbs, 21" 4.0lbs. and 19.5" 3.69lbs, weighed by Brian at L&H. Have to smile at all the boats running over these fish to head way out in search of fluke. Usual compliment of bluefish. Last day of fluke season tomorrow, going for the THREE-PEAT!”

Junkfish are making an unusually widespread showing; sharks, robins and skate lead the lowly bite.

Some insanely good chunks sessions offshore. YFT to going nuts, night-long.

Small bass in surf, going for plugs.

Odd tale: Stu D. caught a 16-inch fluke that had a monofilament loop through its entire body, from one fin flap to the other, very near internal organs. The mono had been there quite a while since the penetration points had healed over. The fish seemed healthy, all things considered.

Picture the mono line through-and-through on the right side of the fish and through-and-through on the left side, about mid way between head and tail. It formed an oblong circle – east to west, so to speak. It healed over to where the line could move. Then, attached to this vicious loop was a stretch of flapping leader material.

The set-up was seemingly created to allow the rope fish to swim, to some degree.

Obviously, someone had been livelining the fluke just for attraction purposes since there was no hook involved. The leader had been broken or bitten off, allowing the fluke to swim off.

My guess is someone was using fiercely rigged fluke to swim around to attract sharks. Using a bunch of rigged fluke for chumming purposes would seem the intent of whomever used this technique. The vibrations and blood from the wounded flatties would likely bring the sharks. A hooked offering of some sort was likely somewhere nearby.

Obviously, this fluke meant the fisherman was fully illegal since an undersized fluke was being used. And I’m not wild about this livelining concept even with legal fluke.

Stu cut the loop, pulled out the mono and released the fish.

Does anyone have any insights into this odd chumming process?


Emails and such:


GRAND SALAMI!!! Are the dog days done? Hit the north end to get out of the SW winds pre-dawn this morning. Water was loaded with peanut bunker, grass shrimp and spearing. At first light had 2-4 lb. blues on a popper. Lots of smaller blues chasing bait so I stuck with a larger popper. Decided to see what was under them and switched to a zoom. Got 2 spike weakies, 4 schoolie bass around 16"-18" and when the sun rose the flukies turned on. Got 2 keeper fluke at 19" 3.11 lbs. and 25" 7.19 lb. Weighed by Brian at L&H. The big fluke spit up three 6" weakfish and had another one in its stomach when I cleaned it. Figures the fluke season is ending just when they are stacking up in the inlet. Caught a bunch more blues also on the zooms, then it died when the current slacked off. Sure felt good to see some fish with STRIPES again! Almost time to stop fooling around and get serious! Probably be at the same spot tomorrow for my parting fluke finale before the storm heads up here and

the fluke season ends. Hit Holgate Thursday and had small blues and large herring at the rips until the greenheads drove me off. Tried the surf in a few spots Friday, water was dirty and weedy from the SW winds, one blue on a popper. TJ


Jay -

It's gone downhill again. The SW winds are apparently causing upwelling, the surf is chocolate this morning and down to 72 degrees. All I caught is four plastic bags, and a ton of seaweed. With an approaching front, that will probably not pass us until Monday, I suspect there will be no improvement for the weekend - hopefully I will be proven wrong - then as the new tropical system passes offshore on Monday or Tuesday that will probably keep things riled up till at least midweek.

Bob T


Jay, One of my favorite subjects. Logic.

Let me see, there have been more big fish than have been seen in decades being caught.(even a record)

We are over the limit partly because of the larger fish being caught.

Don't take the smaller fish, leave the ones down to 14" for the professionals. It must be like target shooting, the smaller targets are harder to hit.

Wipe out the 14" and over fish, lets not leave any for those greedy recreational fisherman for next year. What the hell, their limit will be in the toilet anyways.

Stocks aren't back to where they need to be. Who determined what the baseline should be?

I got called by one of those government surveys, they cared about how many times I went fishing and where but NOT ONE QUESTION about how much was taken.

How about the balance of nature?

Many more predator species are in the back bays gulping down the baby fluke, shouldn't they be told about the limits?

If I get a commercial license, is there a limit to the number of people who can come with me and do we all have to be on the same boat? Any one want to chip in?

Yes, I'm just a little crazy but so are the regs.

I really get a kick out of the letters to the editor on the beach issues. Can you spell curmudgeon?


Boating Report

Still some hot weakfish action in the back bay. There are a lot of spikes; however, there are a few larger fish mixed in. The sod bank points on the west side of the Manahawkin & Barnegat Bay have had good catches. Also, reports from the northern areas BI, BB, and Double Creek channels are good. The Weakies love the fresh grass shrimp, but are also going after Gulp and other artificial lures.

Mike cook and his daughter Marrissa tried the 42 marker with nothing to show so they headed north of the Barnegat Inlet and after severeal so-so drifts Marrissa hooked a Threaser that gave the nine year old just about all she could handle and a great day with Dad to remember. Thursday; Moe, Al, and Stan fished a late morning 8.5 miles out of Barnegat Light in about 80 feet of water. Wind started out light so power drift was needed otherwise skates would be the primary catch. After the wind picked up, 10-oz sinkers were needed and the bite was on. Lots of Fluke with plenty of throw back shorts. Biggest fish was 22". The Lopez Family from Pittman NJ always bring back the catch of the day. Fishing 75 feet of water


Hello All,

We stayed at the dock over the long Labor Day weekend to avoid the annual end of season madness on the water, but did make it out twice this past week. Wednesday was a solo run where I had hoped to put a few more fluke in the freezer before the season closes tomorrow. After finding nothing but skates around the first three wrecks, I tried one out in 75' of water and found my biggest fluke of 2007... a fat 28" fish that weighed well over 7 pounds. Lots of shorts as well, but that fish plus a couple of 18" sea bass that joined her will make for several delicious meals over the next couple of weeks.

Yesterday I had regulars George Selph and Bob Keller back for a final shot at fluke for this season, and found several pockets of fish hanging in the rough bottom out past the range buoy. The brisk wind made conditions a little sporty out there, but the guys still finished the morning with 8 nice keepers to 20" in the box. I also had the opportunity to demonstrate a new way to catch bonito without a hook when one of those green speed demons decided to inhale the 10 oz sinker I had on. You can imagine our surprise when I lifted the fish over the side with its mouth stuffed with lead and the hook trailing behind. I guess if you do this enough you'll eventually see everything!

Until next week.

Capt. Jack Shea

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