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PukeNukem

Winter Flounder Tips

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I haven't fished for them before and I see that the season is a starting!  I'm fishing around jones inlet and such.  Is it just like the fluke fishing?  How active and plentiful are they around here?


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The population has collapsed. They're not plentiful at all, although sometimes you can land on a bunch of them, particularly as fish move toward the inlet.

 

Generally, you don't fish for them anything like fluke. You anchor up, chum heavily and fish with pieces of mussel, clam or sand/bloodworm on small hooks right on the bottom near your chum pot. Sometimes, when conditions are right (very light wind and current, headed in the same direction) you can drift during slack periods, and sometimes do better than you can anchored, particularly later in the spring when the fish are moving and you can hit some that are bunched up.

 

Right now, the bay is still cold, the fish are likely scattered on back-bay flats that are easily warmed by the sun, and you'll have to work hard for your 2-fish limit. Later in May, they'll stage behind the inlets, in preparation for their migration out to deep water, and are easier to find.

 

I grew up flounder fishing. Caught my first one when I was three years old, and fished for them faithfully for every year afterward, until about 2005. At that point, they grew so scarce that I decided to leave them alone; the spawning stock is small enough right now, and doesn't need my help to make it even smaller.

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I say wait for fluke to open up. They are like 30x more aggressive than winter flounder! Alot more fun.

 

Cwitek - I believe you when you say flounder fishing sucks. How come they don't moratorium them until they come back to healthy stock? Or is it because some other reason they're declining. I'm sure you've mentioned it in other posts but in just curious. Is it cause the pollution/humans killing their food source ?

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sounds good, but I don't have all that fancy hardware :/  Im just fishing from shore.  Ill try to throw the line out in the bay shallows though you think fishbites work well?


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I say wait for fluke to open up. They are like 30x more aggressive than winter flounder! Alot more fun.

 

Cwitek - I believe you when you say flounder fishing sucks. How come they don't moratorium them until they come back to healthy stock? Or is it because some other reason they're declining. I'm sure you've mentioned it in other posts but in just curious. Is it cause the pollution/humans killing their food source ?

 

We almost got a moratorium a few years ago, although the recreational industry opposed it pretty vigorously. Connecticut was supposed to do the same. When Connecticut backed out at the last minute, New York did, too.

 

Why are the flounder in such trouble? As one top flounder biologist said to me about a year and a half ago, overfishing caused the problem, but overfishing isn't what's preventing the recovery. There is a lot of research being done out of Stony Brook University right now, and it's finding a lot of problems. Only about 1 in 500 young of the year flounder in Shinnicock Bay is surviving from May to November. Predation is part of the problem; stomach content surveys of various species were conducted, and although flounder did not make up a substantial part of any one species' diet, they reached a significant percentage--2%--in only one species, fluke. And while 2% doesn't sound like much, when you compare the number of fluke in the bay with the number of flounder, and the attrition from very low-level predation from other species, it adds up. Add to that the fact that there are multiple stocks of flounder, which historically probably were at varying levels of heath, at any given time (looks like 2 stocks in Shinnecock, and maybe 3). which were always managed under statewide, rather than stock-specific, regulations, the loss of the hard clam beds (clam spat and species of sea worms found in clam beds were historically important parts of the flounder's diet), increasing incidents of very warm summer water temperatures leading to hypoxia in the bays, etc. and the flounder has a very long, very hard road back--if it hasn't crossed a tipping point which will make it impossible for it to recover at all.

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sounds good, but I don't have all that fancy hardware :/  Im just fishing from shore.  Ill try to throw the line out in the bay shallows though you think fishbites work well?

 

Probably best off waiting for the water to warm up and the fish to show up behind the inlets in May. Or wait for a little warmer weather in 2-3 weeks and jump on a party boat. The latter might be the best, because the boats are out a lot and will have a feel for where the fish are at any given time.

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freakin sick!!! I tried around an inlet and did nothing but lost a bucktail on a rock think I had one lil bump of sorts though.

You should not use a buck tail for flounder you flounder are more like bottom feeders than preditors the appropriate way to fish for them is either on a boat or like canals and some times docks and such if you are fishing from a boat you should fish with a light spinning rod and clam chuming will definitely be effective flounder will be at places with mud and structure mud in the bay and a reck in the ocean you should be using mussels and blood worms with either corn or small bright colored grubs usually yellow or pink some bait shops even sell light bright yellow sinkers and you should be anchored I hope that this negative experience will not discourage you for going out for flounder again

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God how sad. I have not fished for flounder in years. When i was kid you could fill a bushel basket with them. Guys took trips to Boston for them. On lite gear they were fun. and good eating. They once were so thick as a kid use to catch them of the docks cross pieces with a crab net ( if you were fast enought ). Now you can only keep two? Not enough there to feed anyone.

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sounds good, but I don't have all that fancy hardware :/  Im just fishing from shore.  Ill try to throw the line out in the bay shallows though you think fishbites work well?

You don't need anything but a small sinker and two flounder hooks tied together, box of sand or blood worms. Mussels work well too. Fish off a pier or even backbay beach. Find a place with a mud bottom. Would say more but it's called spot burning.

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caught 3 today using bloodworms and size 2 hook dropper rig setup

 

You may have done as well as the entire Captree fleet. From some of the reports I saw, one boat caught 3 fish total, and said that it did better than other boats, which appears true, because another seems to have brought home the skunk. Didn't hear anything from the other two that sailed, but it's not looking good.

 

Trend seems to have repeated all around the Island. Party boat reports that I saw out of Sheepshead Bay, Jamaica Bay and the western Sound all franged from 0 to 3 fish for the entire boat.

 

So you did pretty well, considering.

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