Fluke (Summer Flounder) Fishing
- Fluke are a summertime visitor to our local waters. While they look like a larger version of our Winter Flounder, they are a different species. Most of the fish caught in our area weigh between one and four pounds, but quite a few Fluke from four to eight pounds are taken. Occasionally, anglers will catch bigger fish that weigh over ten pounds (the current New Jersey state record Fluke weighs about 20 pounds.)
Fluke fishing in our area starts in late May and continues into early September. Early season fishing is done in the shallow waters of Sandy Hook Bay and around the "tip" of
Sandy Hook. As the season progresses the fish spread out through the Sandy Hook and Raritan Bays, as well as into local rivers. By mid-summer Fluke are caught both in the ocean and in the bays. In the late summer and early fall, Fluke fishing centers on the many deep-water channels throughout the New York-New Jersey area. During this time, Fluke congregate on the channel edges, feeding heavily before beginning their offshore migration.
While Fluke look a lot like our Winter Flounder, fishing techniques differ significantly. The most popular baits for Fluke are frozen and fresh spearing, sand eels, squid, Fluke belly and live
Killiefish (a local minnow). We recommend using light tackle spinning or conventional rods and reels, and monofilament line from 10 to 30 lb. test. The typical Fluke rig we use is a one-hook rig with a 2 to 8 ounce sinker. We use a 2/0 or 3/0 size Sproat or English-style hook tied to about 30 inches of 20-25 lb. test monofilament leader. The leader is then tied to a three-way swivel. A sinker clip attached to the swivel
allows you to easily change sinkers.
Like most party boats, we always fish for Fluke from a drifting boat. Anglers let their line down to the bottom and slowly raise their rod tip from two to six inches every few seconds. This action makes the bait look like fleeing prey. When you feel the extra weight of a fish hanging on, count to five before gently but firmly setting the hook, and then have a good time reeling it in. Our mates will net
keeper-sized fish, but we suggest you simply lift small fish aboard before unhooking and returning them to the water.
Please note that for 2013, the New Jersey state recreational fishing regulations do not allow you to keep Fluke that are less than 17.5 inches long and the daily possession limit is five fish. The 2013 New Jersey Fluke season is open from May 18 through September 16.