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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It is great to finally get some reports of some flounders now biting in the Raritan Bay area, and Captain Anthony of the charter boat BARBARA ANN out of Great Kills Staten Island was nice enough to foward me a few pics of the fishing he had the last few days.

Limits were very easily made, and fish up and over 2.5 lbs were brought to boat. As you will see from the pics, the average size of the fish are very nice.

Now I should point out that the weather has finally started to cooperate after last weeks rain storms and the wind which gusted to over 40mph on one day (I happened to be out in that mess!).

The key here to remember:

1-Go to the early season productive areas and set up-
2-Don't go jumping around if the fishing is slow-
3-Bring Worms, use LOTS OF CHUM-
4-Fish through both sides of the tide (you never know when they will turn on, with each day seeming to be different on the part of the tide they feed)-
5-Use two anchors to limit your swinging-

It has been reported that the fish have bit some days near the middle to the end of the ebbing tide, while yesterday it seemed incoming water was more productive.

Again don't get jumpy and start playing anchor drills because you have only a handful of fish for a few hours of fishing. If you have the right bait, your chumming and pounding the bottom, and you are fishing at one of the known productive areas, GIVE THE FISH TIME TO MOVE AROUND AND COME TO YOU!

As important, don't go anchoring up right next to another boat. Spread out, there's enough room in the ocean for a number of flounder boats to find there own fish without having being close enough to hear the other boats fishermens conversations. If you see a party boat anchored up, leave them alone and find your own patch of bottom.

We have spoken about how flounder fishing has been extremely tough the last few seasons, and that the run of fish basically lasts about a month. The bottom water temps have been cooler from what I have been told, and few striped bass have been caught. But that can change as the weather seems to be warming up during this week.

So here, let me post the pics for the last few trips.

Good luck to you guys who are going out there the next few weeks!


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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

Well it seems like the bite is picking up as the weather settles in. Todays fishing was even better!

Now to a question I was asked:

'how do I know what productive early season bottom looks like'?

If your not sure about what good flounder bottom looks like in the Bays in this area, one simple thing you can do is drop your anchor, drag it, and then pick it up. Look at the sediment on the flukes of your anchor. It may look dirty and brown, but as long as it is not muck it should be decent bottom. Good flounder bottom like we see off in Raritan Bay will have small worms and other life in the mud. You probably will not see any mussels in this type of bottom so you know that worms should be the preferred bait. You might also see what looks like white flakes in the mud sediment which is also a very good sign.

It is not to hard to figure out, and if you see boats regularly flounder fishing a certain area, it usually has good bottom. Yes there will be areas which are more productive which may have slight depressions (holes), more worms, and just the right bottom texture that holds more fish then other areas. Experience will help you figure out what is good bottom and what is just another patch of bottom.

If your still not sure, then you are going to have to experiment and watch what the other boats do. Don't start moving ontop of other boats that are fishing and getting in the way of their chum. Get off to the sides and set up your up chum to draw the fish to you. It is work sometimes and flounder fishing is no longer throwing a anchor, putting a little chum pot down and the fish will be running right up to your baited hooks.

As I have stated a number of times, take your own mental notes where other boats set up. There will always be another day. Pay attention to the times when the flounder bite during the tides...this will also add to your knowledge base.

Anyway here are some shots Captain Anthony forwarded me today. It is good to see the fishing starting to open up. Limits like this have not been seen much this year, but paying attention to the details and working for these fish adds up to a great catch like this.

If you are still having trouble zeroing in on good flounder, look for one of the charter boats that specializes in this fishing and make a trip. The learning experience from a skilled flounder captain will payoff down the road when you run your own boat.


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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
TAX DAY- 4/15/08-

It has been pretty decent flounder fishing during the last week, even with a few days of gusting southerly winds making it a little bumpy on the water. So far it seems the flounders towards the west off of Staten Island/New Jersey, are holding tight to the same early season areas from Belfort west towards Keyport.

I was asked a question concerning a statement I made here about picking a spot and just 'gutting-it out' for the whole day....the question boiled down to 'when should I move when I am not catching any flounders'?

Excellent question, and there has always been a pretty hard fast rule and that is 'never leave biting fish in search of finding more fish'. This is a tough call, and even the most experienced captains at the end of the day will Monday morning quarterback themselves and say 'I shouldn't of moved the boat, and stayed put in the spot where we had a few fish'.

It goes back to another rule I made about flounder fishing....go to the productive areas, set up, and wait out the bite. With flounders, you never know when these fish will turn on during a stage of the tide....will it be at the top of the outgoing, or will you see the bite during the middle of the incoming tide? This is something that is very hard to predict accurately with flounder fishing these days.

Unlike years past and I should put a disclaimer in, that I am talking about the good ole' flounder days of the seventies and eighties, you could always get away with a slow pick since there were so many flounders around. These days with flounders being as scare as Indian head nickels in the Bays around Long Island, the game plan should be:

1-Pick the most productive spot you know and anchor up-
2-Chum...lots of chum along with pounding the bottom-
3-Patience, and that may mean committing a whole day to one small area-

If the spot is a total clunker, with few or no fish after a couple of hours, pick up the hook and make the move. Always take a look at what stage of the tide it is if you are going to do this. Is it slack, or coming towards the end of the outgoing or incoming? Pay attention to what the other boats have been doing during the day. Ask yourself, 'are many of the other boats jumping around and doing anchor drills'? Or maybe, 'is the bite off due to some condition like strong winds, muddy water pouring out of the rivers and bays, or the fish having moved to another area during the last week'?

Experience is your own best teacher and preperation for flounders trips these days means pulling out charts, making phone calls, and yes, chasing some reports on where the fish have been biting.

Just remember that we are coming towards mid April, and the fish will start moving from the early season areas enroute to the ocean. This is a good time to do a little prospecting on your own.

If your fishing in Jamaica Bay, maybe take a shot off the Ramp area at Floyd Bennett Field, or on the Rockaway side of the Gil Hodges Bridge. On the Raritan Bay side, make your way east along the beach, or take a shot off of Round Shoal in the Princess Bay area which seems to be a staging area for these fish in this area. Romer Shoals MAY be a possibility, but I feel it may still be a little early yet.

Flounder fishing unlike in the past, cannot be taken for granted by just randomly running out to a area with little chum, and leaving home either the mussels or the worms.

Do your homework, put in the time, have all the baits possible along with LOADS OF CHUM, and most of all have patience. When the bite comes during the day, TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT! This could be as short as 20 minutes or last as long as 45 minutes to a hour. This is the time not to move but to work as hard as possible at trying to catch a limit of nice blackbacks.

As I stated earlier in the thread for you private boaters, if you really want to learn the little tricks about flounder fishing, fish on one of the various charter boats and party boats within the NY Bight area. Many of these captains work as hard on catching flounders as they would do when they would target blackfish later in the season. There is a great deal to learn from watching these guys who do this everyday.

Here are some more shots of guys loading up on some flounders during the week on the Barbara Ann out of Great Kills.

If I get the chance, I am going to post some interesting comments made at the last MRAC meeting concerning winter flounder. Much of it has been talked about on NOREAST, but it is interesting to see the so called 'experts' saying the same thing about why flounder stocks have collapsed around Long Island.

Good luck out there on the grounds....


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Some good eating there. Nice to see a comeback of them. With the proposed fluke regs you might be fishing for them up to the closure.

Close to home, easy on fuel, and makes one **** of a meal.

This post edited by baywatch 09:49 AM 04/16/2008

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Got a nice bag limit yesterday in a 1/2 tide. Self imposed size limit of 13.5" or so. Largest 17.5". Looking to beat the 19.5" once from last year. Greedy fish. Were pouncing on the fist sandworm on the tandem rig then sucking in the other hook and worm. Had to go to a 1 hook rig :) Left them biting for next time.

Stuffed for fried is my tough decision tonight.


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