A Hot June Could Mean Tons of Tasty Plates Throughout South Jersey
Finally! Some consistency with the flounder bite, especially in the back bays, ICW, rivers and inlets from Manasquan south through Hereford.
Limits and near limits are common, with a surprisingly good toss ‘em to keeper ratio that seems to be something like %:1 down to 3:1 with the legals anywhere from 18 to 22 inches. Throwbacks vary from 10 to 14-15 inches, but from what we’re hearing and seeing, there is a noticeable, sometimes glaring paucity of 16 to 17 inch flounder. A year class missing or just a “fluke”? Who knows for sure. Anyway, out front on the reefs, wrecks and rubble has yet to really light up, and a lot of this has to do with the less-than-optimum drifting conditions, particularly this past weekend with the solstice full moon. Too strong a current, not enough wind for a drift, variable winds, winds against tide…these all made targeting flounder on the structures no easy task. While there are some big (read: five to seven pound) flatties in the back, it’s on the out front waters that offer the best shots at cleaning doormats and area rugs.
We enjoyed an early morning 7 to 11 Sunday sortie with Capt. Scott “Catch ‘em All” Newhall aboard Time Out Charters, and we did the bait and bucktail thing down by Absecon Inlet and in the ICW. A ton of light tackle fun with nine flatties from 17-3/4 to 21 inches going in to the livewell, along with a 16 inch weakfish. Minnies, fluke belly, Fishbites and Gulp! all played a role, as did a 3/8 ounce SPRO. Not too many throwbacks, maybe seven or so, and the lovely Denise Marie Theiler briefly engaged what all indications suggested was a spiked butterfly ray. After five screaming minutes, the 10 lb. test Nanofil parted as the ray zipped around the front of the boat, rubbing the line along the bow ring. Earlier she released a cownose that was estimated to be 30 pounds. Last year in the same location I hooked and eventually brought boatside a spiker, thanks to some deft boat handling by Skipper Scott. A passing center console tossed a gaff, and between me and the captain we dragged it over the gunwale, wings flapping and tackle flying. At the Absecon Creek dock, we guesstimated the weight to be 125 pounds. We winged it (approximately 40 pounds each…after filleting, perhaps 30 pounds of meat per), and enjoyed the rich white flesh that tatsed like a cross between scallops and crab.
Get out and hit the water for flounder NOW! It looks to stay hot right into July.