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What do we all think of it, in its truncated new form?

Was it as good as last year's off-the-hook July/August bonanza?

In our case, here off JI, I'm told by those that participated in the early part of the run, it was just excellent fishing. Many 19.5 - 20.49" fish, with keeper's o'plenty to 6+ pounds. And most of that fishing was over clean sand, with jiggin' rigs of one sort or another.

I personally was involved with the bass 'til Aug 1, so I missed that early fluke fishing. But I did get to fish the entire month of August on the flukin' grounds local to JI.

It was kinda weirdly schizophrenic, if that term can be applied. One day we hammered them, a day or two later, very picky fishing. And it happened over and over again. I'd go out and knock their jocks off, next day a friend would hit the same numbers for a very meager catch. Or vice-versa. Same difference.

This was very much unlike last season, in which the squid stayed deep thru August and we caught well thru the entire month over the sand in depths to 85'. I felt that this season was unusual in that the bait tended to stay in the 45 - 58' range much later than normal - which especially included the three reefs in my area, the ABR, FLR/McAllister, and the Hempstead Reef. All three of those areas were hot and very well advertised this August and most people headed to one of them to at least begin their day's hunt. Including me, most trips.

It must have been pretty fair fishing early on in August, because some of the better-known Sheepshead Bay charter boats were right there in the middle of the ABR, pretty far from their usual home waters, fishing alongside the boats out of Jones and Debs. I can't recall the last time I saw such an occurance.

But even so, with all the local excitement, we on the Lep failed to put a fish over 6lbs on the deck. I take this as something of a personal disappointment. After all, its my job to run the boat over the fish, the crew takes over from there. We did catch enough good keepers every trip to enable a healthy fishfry for each of my crew. But big fish? Not this season. I found it even more frustrating after speaking with Bobby at Causeway B&T here in Wantagh last weekend. He reported that in the previous 10 days his shop had weighed in 14 fish between 7 and 11.5lbs.


And it wasn't just me. Several of my closest fishin' buddies, who have much experience fishing this area, and who do have some significant-size fluke in their resume, they also reported how tough it was to crack the 6lb mark. Further East, say east of FII, O.K., there they had a good shot at a jumbo every trip. Not by me. Not by most of the guys I fish with.

It might also well be that my going head over heels overboard with the jigging thing cost me some shots with the biggies. Time doing that type of very addictive fishing takes away from time spent dragging big meat baits thru known big fish lairs. But the jigging this season was so much fun, what with my new Capt. Neil fluke jigger/Curado 200 combo, that I just couldn't put it down.

Plus, this season I discovered GULP! ALIVE! - which increased the "coolness" factor of jigging. Imagine - heading out without any fresh or frozen bait whatsoever. What an innovation! Just use something that modern science has produced that relieves you of the inconvenience of bait storage/carriage. Great Stuff!!!

Even though I continually read the reports of big fish caught on bucktails and GULP!, it wasn't a result that I was able to duplicate. My very best jig fish was a mere 5lbs, and my best fish overall was just 6lbs. A comparative pigmy, relative to years past.

For us on the Lep, though the fish tended to be off their feed as often as they were slammin', most trips we did still put together a decent catch. Though in fact I do not believe we ever limited the boat, not with true NY keepers, not one time this past August.

So how did you find it? And I'm especially interested in contrasting the fishing in other areas to my home base off JI.

best, Lep

This post edited by Leprechaun 09:58 PM 09/01/2008

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Flukin' 2008

Hi Lep,

I did my share for fluke conservation! I was able to chose the wrong boat to go on, the wrong port to fish out of, the wrong day to go fishing, the wrong side of the boat to be on and anything else you can think of. Even the day I analized everything to the enth degree, out of nowhere an east wind arrived to kill the drift and catching.

bottom line---- I had a great fluke season!!! I enjoyed myself, fished with great anglers on excellent party boats and had a tremendous amount of fun bringing The MAXIMIZER Series to reality.

I have been fishing on and off for over 60 years. Fluke is my passion and to my chagrin BUBBA is still out there!!! Is that to be my legacy??? If so I can live with it.

Life is very good.


This post edited by Captneilf 09:44 PM 09/01/2008

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It was a good year but differant then some we've encountered of late. I, too, did not pay much attention to fluke until things really picked up steam in August, but what a month. The best fish were defineately found around hard structure, and this year is proof that they were always there, and likely always will be. In these days of 20.5" size limits, I think we all learned to put the time in, and deal with lost rigs, etc, it will pay off ...

The open bottom spots had some moments, but were not where the 5 lb plus fish were being caught on a regular basis. The additional time spend on the hard bottom payed off handsomely, with many so many 5,6,7, and some 8 lb fish caught by myself and colleagues, and appearing in the reports, that it is safe to say the bar has been raised as to what should be considered a "big fluke". This year, 5 pounders did not raise an eyebrow.

To say if jigging worked well or not, we need to define jigging. In general, it pays to jig for fluke, no matter what rig or bait you present.

To me, "jigging", is when you use a high/low rig, with shorter leaders and some sought of teaser or small leadhead, or only a bucktail or leadhead, with a smaller bait and strike the fish instantly the moment the hit is felt. Conventional rigs with larger baits, longer leaders, can still be jigged, but require that you feed some line back to the fish when a pickup is felt. On my boat, and from what I heard from many others, the latter technique accounted for most of the big fish.

Read throught the reports, so many big fish were caught on "Peruvians" with a strip bait or whole rigged squid, not "jigging", per se.

This would have been a great year to fish live peanuts, unfortunately they were scarce in my area (JI). Snappers, too, were scarce until very recently.

So, the season is a wrap. Most, I think, would say that despite the limits the season was satisfying overall. There are plenty of fluke, let's hope the regulations stay in check with the population and the needs of the users.

This post edited by paulh 12:44 AM 09/02/2008

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I have to say it was probably my best fluke season ever. There were an amazing amount of fluke around. Days with 60+ fish were common, with three to four keepers per trip. Three or four 21+" fish make for a nice bag of fillets, that's for sure. I have to say, I though July was actually better than August, especially late August. I stinks that they are still there and we CAN'T fish for them doesn't it.

As for the GULPS!, I can't wait for the fall bass run, I think those things are going to be awesome bass magnets, also weakfish. Time for some bucktailin'.

And Neil, I have that 10ft pluggin rod all ready do go for the fall beach run. Anytime you wanne hit the sand, let me know. I keep asking Lep to join me on the beach, but he's afraid of getting sand between his toes!!

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My season was off from last year keeper wise, as it should be with that size limit though there were quite a few good days in the mix. The early part of the season in Peconic Bay was very good for me with several boat limits for me and my crew and a couple of very nice 7+ pound fish though not at the end of my rod. As the waters warm, I move south to Shinne**** Bay and the Ocean. We had a slow start here. Things really didnt get kicking for me until later in July. Inside the bay I had a couple of crazy trips with well over 100 fluke for my son and I on a tide though most were in the 15-18 inch range and only a couple of keepers were landed with none of them big enough to be memorable. Then the numbers settled down a little and the ratio of keepers increased though again no big fish to report.
In August the ocean lit up with all the familiar haunts outside Shinne**** producing keepers to 5 pounds or so and some nice sized shorts in the 19+ range. Winding it down this weekend we lost 2 very nice fluke Sunday on live snappers :( I don't think either were officially in the doormat class but I dont think they were any smaller than 8 pounds either.

Its too bad the season ended so early as I'd love to be chasing the bigger ones around for a while longer... I guess its back to bassing until the tog start chewing.

This post edited by reelfisher 05:38 PM 09/02/2008

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We had a great fluke season up until last week, now the fish are moving out and going to be tougher to find. Days o 7 fish per man were relatively common even with the 20-inch limit. Maybe next week I can catch them off the south end of Block Island?

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Spotty fluke season

Personally, I had a late start here on the north shore and kept close to home. All told, I figure I had about a dozen fluke trips. Overall, I caught fewer fluke with early July producing larger fish. Very first fluke was the largest at 24" @ almost 7#. Only a few keepers after that and always a slow pick. No "insane" days like last year.

Hoping that the high size limit will mean a nice season next year.

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Well, I put the bass fishing behind me early when they left in droves after one hot week in June. The JFK area was void of fish and I started to target fluke with jigs. By that time we had more than enough great days of livelining the bass with fish up to 35 lbs. Bass fishing in the JFK area is like shooting fish in a barrel so it gets old quick.

Just like last year, the jig bite was great from mid June through mid July. The keeper ratio was OK but the bigger fish (over 5-6 lbs.) were hard to come by this year. Even after we started to do the live bait thing, the bigger fish seemed scarce. I personally managed a few fish up to 8 lbs. and saw (2) fish in the 10 lb. class caught, so it surely was not a total bust. Plenty of fillets were brought home to eat throughout the season, so I have nothing to complain about.

My one hope for the 2009 season is that they come down by at least an inch to 19.5" and maybe even keep the limit at (4). There is NO shortage of fluke in our NY waters. We all saw that first hand with TONS of 17-20" fish on just about every trip.

This post edited by Savvy18 10:36 PM 09/02/2008
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