NorEast Fishing Forum banner

Flounder recovery?

1296 Views 8 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Gary Sinestra
I've been reading fishing reports during this years early season flounder fishing. The fishing has been disappointing to say the least for most of us. But it suprises me when I hear recreational guys calling for a shutdown of the fishery or more aggressive recreational limits. I feel that the recreational angler is not the problem when it comes to the lack of winter flounder, and I have a theory on what is.

Has anyone noticed that as the fluke fishing has improved, the flounder fishing has declined. As we all know, the marine ecosystem is based on big fish eat little fish. It's been documented many times that if a species becomes too abundant, another species usually suffers. I was fluking last year, catching one short after another in Moriches Bay. I noticed that the fluke would sometimes spit up small bait fish that at first looked like tadpoles. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that the fluke were spitting up baby flounder. I talked to the owner of the fishing station about my experience and he told me an interesting story. He said studies done by fishery biologists usually show that the flounder have a succesful winter spawn, and there are good numbers of flounfer fry in the bay in the spring. But as may and june arrive, the fry start to become more and more scarce. In short, the hordes of fluke that come into the bay, eat most of the baby flounder. And since the fluke are too small to keep, they do it all summer.

The ASMFC, NMFS just don't get it. You cannot effectively manage one fishery at a time. Everything affects everything else. Until these organizations realize this and come out of the dark-ages of fishery management, no real progress will be made. Recreational fisherman have always been too inefficent too put a serious dent in any fishery (saltwater at least).
See less See more
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
I agree that recreational anglers are not now, nor have we ever been, the true problem in the winter flounder fishery. The real answer is to eliminate the inshore and offshore dragging, which we all know isn?t going to happen any time soon.

So in the meantime I suggest we shut down the winter fyke netters and eliminate inshore dragging while the fish are entering and leaving the bay.
I agree with you completely and I believe that every angler who is concerned about the winter flounder stocks should write to their local reps and demand action. However, if the young of the year flounder aren't given a chance to grow because of the predation, I don't know how quickly we'll see the fishing improve.

One more thing. If Florida, California and Texas have all been able to legislate an inshore net ban (with huge improvements in the quality of their inshore fishing) why can't all the other states?


I don't disagree that fluke may eat baby flounder and just about anything it can catch. To say that flounder is a big part of their diet, I don't buy it.

The flounder issue is up and down the whole coast including Mass, NH and Maine. North of cape cod there is little if any fluke and in Maine you don't find any. With no fluke up here and a huge historical flounder fishery, the fluke theory doen't make sense. No fluke in quincy bay mass and that was a huge flounder fishery.

It isn't the fluke, stripers, commarands, great white sharks, or loch ness that is the cause of the decline. before modern fishing methods were developed, everything was in balence.

Capt. Marc
See less See more

I am very outspoken when it comes to the recs getting the shaft on regulations--I GET STEAMED!!

However, it is my feeling that the situation with winter flounder is near critical and I would give up fishing for them for a few years, "IF" there was a commercial mortatorium implemented concurrently.

Capt Marc,

You make a very valid point about flouder further north not having the fluke to deal with. Overfishing or envoronmental changes must be more to blame up there. I was just relating what I've experienced and learned in my neck of the woods. You make the point in closing that it's all about balance, and that was the point I was trying to make as well.
Army corps of engineers were dredging out there..... They were also around the Smith Pt bridge, bay side, dredging. Someone told me it was the Corps Band-Aid fix to make it more navigable until the first nor'easter. Can't help but think it will impact the stripers, fluke and flounder
~~~~ :)}}}}><

PS I think dredging constitutes an "environmental change"
I would like to a reduction in the catch limit all the way around. I have no problem living with a smaller catch limit if it will help. I would rather have a smaller catch limit now then a closed season later
Flouder disintergration

All valid points made here between predation, over fishing, and god knows what else. Might as well throw in gradual warming of our coastal waters inshore and offshore.

I have a simple theory and the operative word is theory as I haven't yet found a way to converse with a Flounder. How about simply a down cycle in Flounder regeneration/birth rates- here is what I mean and I 'll use non glamour species.

As a kid I couldn't keep blowfish off my line what the heck happened to them? Eels I used dead stick every night at a dock in Lindenhurst, haven't seen one on my line since LBJ was President. Northern Kingfish used to get many of them now I run into a handful every fall, by accident.

On the other side the coin: Searobins we are being invaded why so many now? same goes for Skates, and Dogfish jeeze I picked some Dogs up over open bottom Fluking in July, in 35' of water what gives? Are these species at high birth rates, perhaps, Flounder at historical low birth dates, perhaps. Is the data terriblly accurate on fish harvesting whether commercially or recreationally my hunch is it is a wild eyed guess. And the guess about general fish mortality and birth rates i think is less reliable.

Off to make up some more rigs and not Flounder hooks sorry to say, Gary.

Clearly a very complicated siutuation y
See less See more
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.