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Ask Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is recognized as an authority on surf fishing for striped bass. He is the author of six books and hundreds of magazine articles. Frank is a member of the Outdoor Writers of America and lectures throughout the Northeast.

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  #1  
Old 02-21-2012, 01:17 PM
lagoonguy lagoonguy is offline
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Default Winter Flounder

Frank,
Do you folks on the S.Shore and below catch any Winter Flounder or, is it all Fluke(Summer Flounder) ??

I see that NOAA has doubled the allowable catch of Winter Flounder in the Gulf of Maine but has not changed the recreational limits.

Bill H
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:42 AM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: Winter Flounder

The winter flounder fishery has been dead for a long time. I think there is a closure in force. If not then certainly a very small bag limit. Nobody fishes for the "flatfish" any more. Its not anything like what Jason has in Boston where they catch monster winter flounder.

However, our summer flounder, or fluke fishing, which is a different species, is alive and well.
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Old 02-22-2012, 10:27 AM
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Default Re: Winter Flounder

I suspect we have winter flounder in south jersey, my father in law used to fish for them, but AFAIK no one else does down this way.

Now, central Joisey: Manasquan, Shark River, Shrewsbury and into Raritan Bay... probably have tons... but with a 2 fish limit, few go out for them.
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Old 02-22-2012, 07:59 PM
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Default Re: Winter Flounder

It's true..Going out for 2 flounder is not worth the gas, bait, chum, etc..
I did not go out last spring. By the way, I love flounder fishing..but it's pretty easy to get skunked these days. When I was a kid ..with a heavy boat pole and 60 lb. mono, 6 ou. sinker..dropping straight down off the local dock I used to manage one or two.
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Old 02-23-2012, 09:04 AM
Chris Garrity Chris Garrity is online now
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Default Re: Winter Flounder

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Originally Posted by RobS View Post
I suspect we have winter flounder in south jersey, my father in law used to fish for them, but AFAIK no one else does down this way.
There evidently used to be a viable winter flounder fishery in Ludlam Bay. An old salt in that area told me once that it was common to go out, freeze your nuts off, and chum up a goodly catch of blackbacks. But nobody does it anymore. I don't know whether it's because the regs have made this kind of fishing not worth the time -- winter fishing always has been a meat fishery; there's not much sport in catch and release of these fish -- or whether it's because the population is down, and the fish's distribution has concentrated farther north, leaving few winter flounder left in the area.

I don't have a boat, but if I did, I'd probably be obligated to give it a try, to see if there are any of these fish around, as even lousy fishing is better than sitting in the house and counting the spoons.
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Old 02-23-2012, 11:24 AM
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Default Re: Winter Flounder

Years ago, back when there were winter flounder in Southen New England, our spring stripers were always full of them stacked in bass stomocks. It makes you wonder if good bass fishing, with large populations distroyed the flatties. Where Jason fishes in Boston Habah, striper fishing is off and the flounder have recovered big time. Of course that is an uncle-ism with a shaky attribution quotient. Whisky, Tango, Foxtrot !
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Old 02-23-2012, 11:56 AM
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Default Re: Winter Flounder

All right, ya drew (chummed?) me in!
The flounder fishing we have in Boston Harbor has been steadily improving for the past 13 years or so. Until about 5 years ago the bass fishing was "very excellent" too. Since then the bass have pretty much gone down the tubes while that flounder have gotten better. The better flounder trend was evident before the downtrend in the bass fishing so I doubt they are related. Also, "we could" see much better (hard to imagine) flounder fishing in the future as there are far less bass to eat the juviniles now than a few years ago.
Now if I can convince the public that cormarants taste better than chicken.............JC
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Old 02-23-2012, 02:24 PM
lagoonguy lagoonguy is offline
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Default Re: Winter Flounder

I remember fishing out of Quincy with my uncle in the mid or late 1940s and realy BIG catches of Winter Flounder.

Bill H
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Old 02-23-2012, 02:49 PM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: Winter Flounder

My father and brother used to go to Quincy during that same time and get all the cod, pollock and flounder you could ever want. In a small rental boat to boot!
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:35 PM
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Default Re: Winter Flounder

The winter flounder season down here in South Jersey isn't that big, from what I have heard you can expect to catch an avg of a 13" fluke and your only allowed 2 - so maybe it would be a good idea to try to catch a couple later in the season and use them for Striper bait, not sure if that is legal but as long as the are the length requirement and you don't have more than 2 fluke you should be OK? I don't know what kind of filet your going to get out of a 13" flounder if you chose to eat them...
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Old 02-23-2012, 07:11 PM
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Default Re: Winter Flounder

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Originally Posted by MAD 6 View Post
The winter flounder season down here in South Jersey isn't that big, from what I have heard you can expect to catch an avg of a 13" fluke and your only allowed 2 - so maybe it would be a good idea to try to catch a couple later in the season and use them for Striper bait, not sure if that is legal but as long as the are the length requirement and you don't have more than 2 fluke you should be OK? I don't know what kind of filet your going to get out of a 13" flounder if you chose to eat them...
1. they are not fluke, but rather winter flounder.
2. as I stated, with a 2 fish limit, the fishery is essentially closed
3. the season is limited:
Winter Flounder
The minimum size limit for winter flounder is 12 inches. For winter flounder the open season is March 23 to May 21. The possession limit is 2 fish per angler per day.

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Old 02-23-2012, 09:40 PM
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Default Re: Winter Flounder

Slight digression,..but how is the FLUKE fishing off Massachusetts??
Rhode Island is a great state ..where the larger fluke seem to settle after N.J. and N.Y. gets their licks in on them until mid-summer heat dampens the fishery during most years. Do any head boats sail for fluke ?? I kind of thought Mass. was the northern end of their range..and as a result the fishery peters out up there
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Old 02-24-2012, 07:49 AM
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Default Re: Winter Flounder

There are two very distinct bodys of ocean here that are divided by Cape Cod. North of The Cape we have the Labrador Current that ends it's southward trend by making a 180 in Cape Cod Bay. That cold water influence keeps our waters 5-10 degrees (F) cooler on the average over the waters on the other side of The Cape where the influence is The Gulf Stream. Likewise, fluke fishing tends to be much, much stronger on the waters from Chatham, south.
There are a few "exceptions" in some years: Places like P-Town itself, The Lynn Marshes and Duxbury Bay all have "semi-reliable" fluke fishing at times.........JC
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Old 02-24-2012, 08:56 AM
lagoonguy lagoonguy is offline
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Default Re: Winter Flounder

Having spent a lifetime fishing in the Gulf of Maine and Cape Cod, I knew about the areas north of the Cape.

That's why my question that opened this thread was directed to the South Shore and waters to the south of there.

Bill H
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Old 02-24-2012, 10:01 AM
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Default Re: Winter Flounder

Thanks Jason..interesting..

Quincy Bay must have been quite a scene in the 1970's and before. Allot of people would drive up from N.Y. to fish there.

I had a small boat in the 1980's. Back then with a 14" minimum on fluke and no limit on flounder..there was no need to be an ocean fisherman if you like eating flatfish..unlike these days.

During May, we would try for weakfish in the morning. Then anchor up and chum for flounder. In retropect, limit restrictions were needed back then. Look at the fishery now..
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