PSegnatelli

Winter flounder

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I haven't caught a winter flounder since I was a kid in the early 90s.   I used to tag a long with my neighbor.    

I remember using a 2 hook spreader bar, those long hooks with the plastic corn bead and sandworms. 

 

I'd like to try again. I know they're not as abundant as they once were, especially in LIS.    Strictly from shore. 

What size hook?

Those long shank ones still? Ive got quite a variety but not those.  Anything "better"? I know they have smaller mouths than fluke.  I'd like to use something stronger. I've busted quite a few of those hooks on fish besides flounder, and it's why I don't really use them. Kinda a one trick pony in my eyes. But, if thats the only pony going to flounder town I gotta ride. 

 

Any preferred rigs? Still go with a spreader bar?  I'm assuming the plastic corn was a visual aid. But does it work and is it needed?

 

What type of habitat do they prefer?  What water temps should I watch for?

 

I've read chumming is a necessity. Mollusks are preferred. Think I'd get results with menhaden oil?   

I'm ok with other fish too. There are no trash fish in my freezer. 

 

 

 

I also posted this in the CT section, but I'm hoping to glean some info from you northern folks that have a better fishery. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

12 mins ago, PSegnatelli said:

I haven't caught a winter flounder since I was a kid in the early 90s.   I used to tag a long with my neighbor.    

I remember using a 2 hook spreader bar, those long hooks with the plastic corn bead and sandworms. 

 

I'd like to try again. I know they're not as abundant as they once were, especially in LIS.    Strictly from shore. 

What size hook?

Those long shank ones still? Ive got quite a variety but not those.  Anything "better"? I know they have smaller mouths than fluke.  I'd like to use something stronger. I've busted quite a few of those hooks on fish besides flounder, and it's why I don't really use them. Kinda a one trick pony in my eyes. But, if thats the only pony going to flounder town I gotta ride. 

 

Any preferred rigs? Still go with a spreader bar?  I'm assuming the plastic corn was a visual aid. But does it work and is it needed?

 

What type of habitat do they prefer?  What water temps should I watch for?

 

I've read chumming is a necessity. Mollusks are preferred. Think I'd get results with menhaden oil?   

I'm ok with other fish too. There are no trash fish in my freezer. 

 

 

 

I also posted this in the CT section, but I'm hoping to glean some info from you northern folks that have a better fishery. 

 

 

 

 

 

Wow, with your post you reminded me about Flounder fishing... I would make the spreaders out of old coat hangers... The Flounder hooks were called Chestertown hooks and they came in different colors..  Silver, bronze, gold and in red.. And they were all long shank hooks..

Edited by sytheteacher

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14 mins ago, sytheteacher said:

Wow, with your post you reminded me about Flounder fishing... I would make the spreaders out of old coat hangers... The Flounder hooks were called Chestertown hooks and they came in different colors..  Silver, bronze, gold and in red.. And they were all long shank hooks..

Thank you. 

I was thinking of making spreader out of a coat hanger as well.  

I was also thinking maybe a sliding sinker rig would work. 

 

I really enjoyed fishing with my old neighbor like that. We'd sit on a cold empty beach. Thermos of hot coffee and a fried egg sandwhich. He spoke little English, I spoke little Spanish.  So it was mostly silence.   Plus I was the only kid that if he said 3am, I was standing at his doorstep @ 2:50

 

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No reason to change methods that worked in the 80s and 90s.  The key is employing that method where there are some flounder.   I used to use the long shanked flounder hooks, tied as a dropper rig (2 hooks, but no spreader) and a yellow dipped bank sinker.  We used a combination of rabbit food and mussels for chum and roiled up the mud bottom with a plunger attached to a 20 ft pole.  

 

I can remember countless trips in the housie with my grandfather where we never even left the boat slip to catch a nice batch of flounder.  Sadly those days are gone.  

Edited by MikeK
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Thanks @MikeK   

I'm assuming you used the pole plunger from a boat and worked the bottom below. 

I had the thought of using my minnow trap/chum pot from shore.  Whip it out on a handline. Drag it back in across the bottom a few times. Then toss it out loaded. 

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The southern New England/Mid-Atlantic stock of winter flounder has collapsed.

 

Fishery managers saw it coming in the 1980s, but the New England Fishery Management Council never ended overfishing and the ASMFC...acted like the ASMFC and backed off its management decisions when push came to shove (I've been NY's recreational rep on ASMFC's Winter Flounder Advisory Panel since the late 1990s, and watched it happen).  Both the commercial and recreational fishing industries fought needed regulations for years, even in the face of collapse, and got us to where we are today.

 

How bad is it?  

 

Here in New York, recreational fishermen took home over 12 million winter flounder in 1981, more than 14 million in 1984, almost 12 million again in 1985; compare that to more recent landings of 690 (0.000,690 million) in 2017, 36 in 2018, and 407 in 2019 (the figures for recent years are definitely innacurate, with percent standard error of 94.5% in 2018 and 101.4% in 2019, but you get the idea--the figures are so inaccurate because there are too few fish caught to support more accurate estimates).

 

In Connecticut, the story is similar, with anglers harvesting 1.8 million winter flounder in 1981, 2.7 million in 1984, and 2 million in 1985; then estimated landings of 200 in 2017, 1,719 in 2018, and -0- in 2019.  Once againm, those numbers were inaccurate--there were undoubtedly a few caught in 2019--but we're still talking about a collapsed population.

 

If you still want to hunt unicorns givin that information, the righ that I always liked was two #6 Sproat hooks with yellow beads on the snell, with the snell of one hook looped into the middle of the snall on the other (the hooks/snells should form a lopsided "Y" shape).  Slide an egg sinker onto the line, followed by a small bead (not strictly needed, but it keeps the sinker from hitting the knot and perhaps damaging the line where it is tied) and finally a barrel swivel.  Then use the remaining snell loop on the hooks to tie the hookes into the swivel.

 

Sandworms are probably the best readily-available bait, although bloodworms, mussels and clams will also attract some fish.  Drop a chum pot filled with clam chum, and then fish your rig right next to the pot, to best take advantage of the chum.  Lift your sinker off the bottom and let it drop back, to stir up some mud, which can attract fish.  

 

Good luck if you try.  Catching a 2-fish limit is not an easy thing to do.

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38 mins ago, CWitek said:

The southern New England/Mid-Atlantic stock of winter flounder has collapsed.

 

Fishery managers saw it coming in the 1980s, but the New England Fishery Management Council never ended overfishing and the ASMFC...acted like the ASMFC and backed off its management decisions when push came to shove (I've been NY's recreational rep on ASMFC's Winter Flounder Advisory Panel since the late 1990s, and watched it happen).  Both the commercial and recreational fishing industries fought needed regulations for years, even in the face of collapse, and got us to where we are today.

 

How bad is it?  

 

Here in New York, recreational fishermen took home over 12 million winter flounder in 1981, more than 14 million in 1984, almost 12 million again in 1985; compare that to more recent landings of 690 (0.000,690 million) in 2017, 36 in 2018, and 407 in 2019 (the figures for recent years are definitely innacurate, with percent standard error of 94.5% in 2018 and 101.4% in 2019, but you get the idea--the figures are so inaccurate because there are too few fish caught to support more accurate estimates).

 

In Connecticut, the story is similar, with anglers harvesting 1.8 million winter flounder in 1981, 2.7 million in 1984, and 2 million in 1985; then estimated landings of 200 in 2017, 1,719 in 2018, and -0- in 2019.  Once againm, those numbers were inaccurate--there were undoubtedly a few caught in 2019--but we're still talking about a collapsed population.

 

If you still want to hunt unicorns givin that information, the righ that I always liked was two #6 Sproat hooks with yellow beads on the snell, with the snell of one hook looped into the middle of the snall on the other (the hooks/snells should form a lopsided "Y" shape).  Slide an egg sinker onto the line, followed by a small bead (not strictly needed, but it keeps the sinker from hitting the knot and perhaps damaging the line where it is tied) and finally a barrel swivel.  Then use the remaining snell loop on the hooks to tie the hookes into the swivel.

 

Sandworms are probably the best readily-available bait, although bloodworms, mussels and clams will also attract some fish.  Drop a chum pot filled with clam chum, and then fish your rig right next to the pot, to best take advantage of the chum.  Lift your sinker off the bottom and let it drop back, to stir up some mud, which can attract fish.  

 

Good luck if you try.  Catching a 2-fish limit is not an easy thing to do.

Friggin shame they allowed that to happen.  This is what I fear could potentially happen to the striped bass and bluefish if more isn't done when needed.

 

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Those "flounder" hooks are designed to bend as you rip them out before you throw the mortally wounded fish into your bucket, fix the bend and go back to fishing. Useless for catch and release, the bend before backing out.

 

I've come to like a kahle pattern in about #4 (not 4/0). The bend in the hook is smaller than the bend in the shank, which is a speed bump on the way to the flattie trying to swallow the bait. You either lip-hook them, or find the wide part of the shank in the front of the mouth, just turn the hook over and it's out with minimal trauma. They are dumb as a screen door on a submarine, so there's no loss in effectiveness. 

 

I've always used a basic hi-lo, with the weight between the hooks. Leader is about 8", tied so the hooks can't touch if the rig is pulled from the swivel and weight. I've used it with and without the beads, doesn't seem to matter.

 

They love canned corn, which is a dirt cheap chum. Throw in a handful every now and then. Don't try to thread the worm onto the hook. Break them in half, use one piece on each hook, leave 1/2 or 1/3 of the worm dangling. Again, these fish are idiots, so they'll grab the wiggly end and Lady and the Tramp right up to the hook by the time you know they're there. In fact, if you increase the #4 hook to a 1/0 or 2/0, they'll still jam their mouths over them.

 

You can cast and wait, or if you have no snags or muck around, you can slowly hop the rig as a retrieve. They are excited by movement, so you don't need to wait long between hops if you're retrieving, they'll pounce. If you're stationary, give the rig an occasional little lift and drop. Sometimes you'll hook one that just sits at the buffet rather than biting and running when you're doing this.

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5 mins ago, PSegnatelli said:

Thanks!   But seriously corn??

Absolutely!!  My Dad thought I was nuts too, but when we came home with a full bucket, many moons ago, he became a believer when every single fish had corn in its stomach.

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Thanks for the tips Rocco!  

 

Maybe it'll pan out for me. 

 

Any idea when they go back to deeper waters?

 

The size 4 kahle hook. If I was to hook a tog or a something, think it's strong enough?

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Posted (edited) · Report post

1 hour ago, MikeK said:

Back in the day, some people would tie a baited hook or two right off the chum pot.  Not sure about the legality of that nowadays.

It should be legal, as long as you only fished one other line.  It’s essentially a handline.

Edited by CWitek

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19 mins ago, PSegnatelli said:

 

The size 4 kahle hook. If I was to hook a tog or a something, think it's strong enough?

Depends on the model, the structure, and your drag.

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