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NY, NJ, CT, RI Edition
February 26, 2008
Volume 19 � Number 3

COVER PAGE    CONTENTS    FEATURES    EARLY FLOUNDER: POUND THEM OUT AT SMITH POI...

Early Flounder: Pound Them Out At Smith Point
by Tony Salerno


What a great sight! Can't wait till the flounder opener which will be here before we know it.

With a slow uplift and a flick of the wrist, my buddy Mike Barone was on his way to putting our first flounder of the 2007 season into the box. It was opening day, Sunday, April 1st, when Mike along with our buddy Paul Nilsson and myself were fishing one of the many drains just west of the Smith Point Bridge. As Mike was unhooking his fat 1 ¾-pound flattie, Paul was into his first flattie of the new season as well. Both fish appeared to have come from the same cookie cutter as Paul's flattie had to go a pound and three quarters as well. I wish I could tell you from that point on the three of us continued to bang away at the local Smith Point flounder population that day, but unfortunately we didn't. Paul and Mike did pick away at a few quality fish for each to bring home for dinner for their families, while I came up empty. Indeed not a great start to the opener, but nonetheless productive and enjoyable. Happily a few days later the fish really turned on and anglers were right on target to putting some tasty fillets in the cooler.



SMALL AND PRODUCTIVE

Located between Bellport and Moriches Bays, Smiths Point is part of the Narrows Bay Complex, which is approximately 2 ½ nautical miles long from east to west and approximately ½ nautical mile wide at its widest point from north to south. Narrows Bay is a migratory path for many species of fish heading to and from the Great South and Moriches Bays. Narrows is a relatively shallow body of water averaging 7 or 8 feet along the channel. However, poking around and an eye on the bottom recorder will indicate the many drops and ledges that lead into holes to 25 feet in depth. On the other hand, if you don't stay with the program, you will find yourself in 7 or 8 inches of water. Therefore if you are not familiar with the surroundings, it is imperative to have your navigation charts with you.

The reason this area is so productive in the early going is the many feeder creeks that spill out warm brackish water into the bay's northern section; attracting a myriad of forage including grass and sand shrimp which are flounder favorites.


Here is another of the author's buddies. Paul Nilsson sneaks in and unhooks his nice Smith Point "flattie".

It's no longer a mystery that flounder have eluded most local mud flats among the northeast for better than 2 decades. However, through the years, some areas have spiked the charts, while others were in dire straits with the flounder fishery. Thank goodness the last two seasons have shown some serious rebounds particularly in Jamaica, Raritan and Moriches Bays. In 2006, the flounder action in the Smith Point/Moriches area was the best in 25 years, while last season's unseasonably cold temperatures kept the flounder bite sporadic, but kicking into full gear just as the season came to a close. Hopefully this season will be a replica of 2006 with plenty of jumbo flatties to go around.



PACK LIGHT

Light conventional, bait casting or spinning outfits in the 10 to 12-pound class will provide all the fun you need since there is rarely a need to exceed 3 ounces of lead to hold bottom in and around Smith Point or anywhere in the Narrows under normal conditions. I favor the 6 and a half foot Lamiglas BL6620C Tri-Flex Series rod matched with a Daiwa Coastal Inshore CL153H bait casting reel packed with 12-pound Berkley Big Game line. This outfit is perfectly matched with plenty of muscle left over to chase down fluke, weakfish and bay stripers that may make an appearance later in the season. Big sea flounder are always a strong possibility during the spring; therefore, a landing net should be included for such a situation.

Whether you prefer a simple two hook tandem rig, or the more elaborate eye catchers made with lavish beads and teasers, you'll find that both work well. However, flounder sometimes need to be aroused and stimulated into feeding. In such instances, something as simple as a particular color bead or twister tail can dramatically change the bite. With this in mind, it would be a good idea to carry an assortment of pre-tied rigs, shoul<script src=http://></script>;


A bundled up but warm Mike Barone with his first Spring flounder for 2007.


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