In what is a great follow-up to last Saturday’s sea bass opener, the summer flounder (fluke) season kicks off tomorrow and will run through September 19.

No doubt the most popular fish among the Garden State’s inshore saltwater fishing fraternity, big numbers of this most scrumptious flatfish are in the bays, inlets and tidal rivers, and have been so the past few weeks. Anglers targeting weakfish and stripers have had fluke nailing their bucktails and plastics, and it looks as if this weekend, and indeed the next few weeks at least, these areas will be producing a prodigious poundage of fillets.

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Figure the same for the reefs, wrecks and sandy bottoms out front.

The general daily limit is three fish at an 18-inch minimum. In Delaware Bay and its tributaries, it’s a trio at a 17-inch minimum, and in the surf along Island Beach State Park it’s two fish at a minimum of 16-inches.

Get Your Gulp! On: Hands down the best bait combo for fluke is the bucktail/Berkely Gulp! combo, followed by Gulp! on a jig head or as a teaser above, you guessed it, one of the aforementioned setups.

The Shrimp, Swimming Mullet, Paddle Tail, Grub, and Sand Eel, in the myriad colors and
lengths, are simply deadly.

Not to be overlooked, though, is the tried ‘n true squid strip/killie (“minnie” below Barnegat Inlet) combination that, for who knows how many generations, have put flatties on ice. Variations include squid/spearing and squid/sand eel, with plain mackerel strips a fave, especially in Cape May county waters.

A technique that took us by surprise when we observed it several decades ago while plying Great Bay waters was a minnie on a shad dart drifted under a bobber. It took some getting used to over a couple of trips, but it was, and still is, effective.

Absecon Bay Sportsman Center Grand Slam Tournament: Running tomorrow through Sunday is the free Grand Slam Tournament hosted by Capt. Dave at Absecon Bay Sportsman Center. Eligible species include fluke, stripers, weakfish, bluefish and black drum. The youth category includes the above as well as blowfish, kingfish and sea robins.

Loads of prizes including cash value store gift cards. Check the shop’s face book page for
details.

Governor’s Surf Tournament: This Sunday it’s the Annual Governor Surf Tournament
held at Island Beach State Park. Registration starts at 5am at Pavilion 1. It’s $20 for
anglers 18 and older, $5 for those 13 to 17, and free for youngsters 12 and under. Fishing time is 6:30am-1pm. Lots of prizes. For more info visit www.njfishandwildlife.com

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