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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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  #46  
Old 12-21-2012, 06:56 AM
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Default Re: Winter Flounder

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Originally Posted by RobS View Post
so May is the goto month for flundies up there outa Quincy?
May and June. In 2012 the last "lights out great day" was on July 12th (including the last 4+ pounder of the year)...........JC
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  #47  
Old 01-03-2013, 08:51 AM
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Default Re: Winter Flounder

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so May is the goto month for flundies up there outa Quincy?
Rob- I've come to the following conclusions (that are not "cast in stone"):

1. The flounder spawn in the Boston Harbor area in late March and through April. During that time they do not feed. If we do catch some they are full of roe (or milt) and we snag as many as we get in the mouth (they are there but not feeding).

2. In early May, when the water temps hit 49 or 50 degrees F. the fish start to feed agressivley but they are thin from spawning and not eating for several months. This "condition" is obvious for about a week but they do fatten up pretty quick and by the middle of the month they are both agressive and fat!

3. Three pounders (normal build/19 inches) are a daily event in May but of the over 50 "honest (official scales) 4 pounders taken on my boat in the past 14 years, only 4
of those have come up in May. Four pounders (normal build, 20.5-21 inches) are mostly in June and it isn't so much that the fish are so much longer, it is just that those 3.75 guys that are almost daily in May have gotten fatter.

4. There have been 3 flounder over 5 pounds as follows: June, 11th, 2010 (Ron Powers/5.9), June 26th, 2011 (Shawn Cassidy/5.3) and June 24th, 2012 (Brian Garda/5.4). Why the past three years in a row? I believe that the body of flounder currently in Boston Harbor waters has been "relatively unmolested" by draggers since they were basically wiped out 20 years ago. The few survivors of that once great era had a few successful spawns and those fish from way back then are now fully mature. I strongly believe that over the next few seasons winter flounder of 6 and even 7 (or more) pounds will be possible in Boston Harbor waters. Each year the grandmothers from 10-15 years ago that brought the stock back from the brink will get a little bigger.

5. On January 17th, 2013, I am going to a public hearing (30 Emerson Ave//10 am) in Gloucester where they will talk about doubling the commercial quota on winter flounder. Honestly, going from a 250 lb/day limit to a 500 lb/day limit is not serious at all but the "intent" of the 250 pounds is to not waste dead fish-"bycatch" of dragging for other fish. If the quota is doubled, that will give draggers "incentive" to target something that they havent targeted in 20 years and the "by-catch for that" would be 1000's of pounds of dead flounder/day/dragger - It isn't about 250 pounds!!!

JC
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  #48  
Old 01-04-2013, 02:35 PM
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Default Re: Winter Flounder

We use our friends' house in Provincetown every few years. Last time I was there we went out of P-Town harbor to catch flounder - not a spiecies I usually target. They seemed really proficient at stealing the bait. I always wondered why they are so good at it (something having to do with being flat and having small mouths)?
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  #49  
Old 01-04-2013, 03:23 PM
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Default Re: Winter Flounder

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Originally Posted by dmjvid View Post
We use our friends' house in Provincetown every few years. Last time I was there we went out of P-Town harbor to catch flounder - not a spiecies I usually target. They seemed really proficient at stealing the bait. I always wondered why they are so good at it (something having to do with being flat and having small mouths)?
What setup and bait?

I rarely targeted them in the past either, till I got a 5.5lber a couple years back in Delaware Bay on double SPRO. Dang that was a pretty good fight! And good eatin', too.
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  #50  
Old 01-04-2013, 04:05 PM
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Default Re: Winter Flounder

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What setup and bait?

I rarely targeted them in the past either, till I got a 5.5lber a couple years back in Delaware Bay on double SPRO. Dang that was a pretty good fight! And good eatin', too.
Hi Hugh-

The critter you caught in Delaware Bay was a "toothy flounder" known up here (in the northern states) as a "fluke" (aka: "summer flounder"). Fluke are agressive and quite predatory and hence the Spro Bucktail success.
The flounder up here (also known as "winter flounder" or "black backs") have much smaller mouths and no teeth. As Dmjvid noted, there is a bit more to hooking winter flounder. There is surely "finesse" involved and having the better sized flounder around certianly helps. However there are times when even very large (winter) flounder, fish over 2 and 3 pounds, can "clam up"! On days like that my boat often sees more fish snagged than those caught in the mouth. They are there but they are just not committed to feeding. They respond to the chum and "hang around", nibble here and there but don't really bite.
In Provincetown, was it early in the season? When the water is just transitioning from "too cold" to "just right" there are days when the water can be ok for a bite and they can be followed with a little chill where they shut down for a day or two. Using the right sized hooks and bait is also very important as is "the lift" when you get a bite as opposed to a instant hook set (sure way to lose your bait!). Instead of "setting the hook", when you feel a bite, give the rod a "slow lift" so the sinker comes up about 1 1/2 feet, if you feel the weight of a fish while lifting then give the rod a "quick jab" to drive the point home. When you see that done once, you will have the idea right away.......JC
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  #51  
Old 01-04-2013, 04:12 PM
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Default Re: Winter Flounder

" Instead of "setting the hook", when you feel a bite, give the rod a "slow lift" so the sinker comes up about 1 1/2 feet, if you feel the weight of a fish while lifting then give the rod a "quick jab" to drive the point home. When you see that done once, you will have the idea right away.......JC"

this technique works up and down the "winter flounder coast"

when Jersey used to have a fishery (now the limit is "1" which essentially means nobody fishes for them) the party boats would be full.

my (then 12 y.o.) son won the pool one day... on the last whistle... because without knowing it, this is how he "set the hook" and pulled up a double header
however, down here they weren't 4 lb-ers!
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  #52  
Old 01-04-2013, 04:25 PM
Chris Garrity Chris Garrity is offline
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Default Re: Winter Flounder

Summer flounder, aka "fluke," are incredible predators. People think that because they are flat they a nicey-nicey fish, but they are in fact incredibly aggressive, nasty attackers. I love them.

I know less about winter flounder, but it doesn't surprise me that they are not as belligerent as fluke (few fish are). Regarding different kinds of flatfish, here's a cut-and-paste from a post that I put up a couple of years ago:

FLATFISH


We have a dozen species of flounders in the waters around Cape Cod but only five of these are plentiful enough to make them economically important. These are yellowtail, gray sole, fluke, blackback and dab. We have listed them in their order of popularity as eating fish. Cape Codders are probably the greatest connoisseurs of flounder eating in the world, and I have taken a poll among my friends to establish this gastronomic rating table. It's just a consensus, mind you, and some have different rating schemes.

- Howard Mitcham, The Provincetown Seafood Cookbook

Here's the rundown of the species:

Yellowtail flounder, Limanda ferruginea
Gray sole, aka witch flounder, Glyptocephalus cynoglossus
Fluke, aka summer flounder, Paralichthys dentatus
Blackback, aka winter flounder, Pseudopleuronectes americanus
Dab, aka common dab, American Dab, or American plaice, Hippoglossoides platessoides

Fascinating reading about all these species is available here: http://www.gma.org/fogm/flounders_soles.htm, where you can peruse the entries of these fish in the Bigelow and Schroeder's timeless classic, Fishes of the Gulf of Maine.

So think carefully the next time you catch a fish and disparagingly refer to it as "a flounder." This is serious business!
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  #53  
Old 01-11-2013, 02:16 PM
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Default Re: Winter Flounder

If anyone wants to catch some of the best of what Boston Harbor offers, BOOK NOW as weekends in May and June ("prime time") are 90% gone already.........JC
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  #54  
Old 01-15-2013, 09:21 AM
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Default Re: Winter Flounder

By the way, in the past three years we have been conducting an un-official but ever growing experiment on my boat with various types of lights on flounder rigs. We have used some with batteries and the ESCA's, which work with immersion in salt water. The jury is still out on which lights work best but they definatly help the catch! What I mean by "help the catch" is likely not relavant to the boat because I believe the boat numbers with stay about the same, lights or not. The difference is that if three guys are standing next to each other on the transom of the boat and the chum is even accross all of them, I've seen the guy with the light on his rig catch two or three to one versus the other guys. I have that guy move to each of the other positions and the better catch rate follows him!
Flounder are curious creatures and will investigate the light as if it is nearby. the fish are there and responding to the chum already but the light brings the fish to your bait quicker and gives you an advantage over the guys next to you.

JC
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  #55  
Old 01-15-2013, 02:42 PM
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Default Re: Winter Flounder

Jason, you must get a lot of eatin fish. Do you freeze them for the off season?And have you gone to the vac-seal foodsaver.

We have gotten so tired of eating striper that we have gone to buying FAS cod or haddock.
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  #56  
Old 01-15-2013, 04:03 PM
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Default Re: Winter Flounder

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Originally Posted by Frank Daignault View Post
Jason, you must get a lot of eatin fish. Do you freeze them for the off season?And have you gone to the vac-seal foodsaver.

We have gotten so tired of eating striper that we have gone to buying FAS cod or haddock.

I eat fish almost every day and I do not get tired of it (and the price is right)!
I still did not get a vac-sealer (even though they are on sale this week at Costco for $149). The issues/excuses I have are many but I can start with the fact that I worked with commercial vac-seal machines and while I could seal 20-30 portions at once, compared to the volume I needed to do back then it was still a very tedious and time consuming operation. I severely doubt that the retail units at Costco or elsewhere for $150 bucks that does "one bag at a time" is going to make me happy. When I bring home a bass or two to freeze up (or a 1/2 dozen big bluefish), I usually have them filleted and bagged and I don't feel like playing with them then.
"When I'm ready" (after a few bourbons), I take the bags of fillets out of my cooler and put them in the sink for a quick rinse and cutting into portions for my family. I usually go for about 1.25 pounds of fillet/package. That consists of wrapping in stretch wrap and laying the fish on a rack in my large chest freezer. When that is "good and stiff" after a couple of days, I take the whole try out and dip the packages into a large pail of ice water (which puts a glaze around the wrapped package) and then right back in the freezer for another day. Then the final step is to bag up the pieces about four to a gallon freezer bag and we are good to go for the winter.
I can picture doing all that with the vac sealer and the 1st step will be the only step but it will take many times the effort. With that much bourbon in me I know I couldn't handle it...........JC
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  #57  
Old 01-16-2013, 07:11 AM
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Default Re: Winter Flounder

I don't want to make this a private onversation but anyway .... you apparently know how to freeze fish effectively without the vac-seal. In that case why bother to vac-seal. Much as I like well preserved fish, vac-seal is very expensive and even the bags are a quarter apiece. Sort of an after market thing whre they could give you the machine and get their money back selling you the bags. (Like my printer.)
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  #58  
Old 01-16-2013, 08:19 AM
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Default Re: Winter Flounder

This year I am going to experiment with "outlandish rigs". Literally: "lights, bells, whistles, beads, flashy stuff, grubby tails, painted hooks and colored sinkers" , all at the same time! Have that person stand next to someone with "no anything" other than "plain hooks and sinkers" (which is the way I usually like to fish). Every 10 minutes I will have those two guys change positions, we should get a good idea if the success of one person is related to the rig or the spot as often I see one area of the boat out fish another due to the way the fish approach the chum into the current/the angle of the boat in the current due to the wind, the strength of the wind in relation to the strength of the current and other variables that I notice all the time and most people never even think of.
I hope I got you all thinking now!

JC
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:12 PM
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Default Re: Winter Flounder

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Originally Posted by fishinglsister View Post
This year I am going to experiment with "outlandish rigs". Literally: "lights, bells, whistles, beads, flashy stuff, grubby tails, painted hooks and colored sinkers" , all at the same time! Have that person stand next to someone with "no anything" other than "plain hooks and sinkers" (which is the way I usually like to fish). Every 10 minutes I will have those two guys change positions, we should get a good idea if the success of one person is related to the rig or the spot as often I see one area of the boat out fish another due to the way the fish approach the chum into the current/the angle of the boat in the current due to the wind, the strength of the wind in relation to the strength of the current and other variables that I notice all the time and most people never even think of.
I hope I got you all thinking now!

JC
Jason, I used to paint my 2 & 3oz sinkers bright red and bounce 'em up and down on the bottom every few minutes. I also had either red or yellow beads on my leader...two hooks on a spreader rig. There was one guy I knew who made a contraption that was 3 of those old beer can rings gently spinning around the main line a foot up (off bottom) from the spreader. I'm convinced the bouncing of the weight in the mud/sand brings fish around. I've snorkled and SCUBA dived near small anchor chains that were bouncing up and down as their boats on the surface moved with the waves. I've frequently seen small fish attracted to the commotion...mostly in fresh water though. I don't know if they still do this, but years ago we used to buy "clams dyed red" for winter flounder fishing...and they worked.
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Old 01-17-2013, 06:18 PM
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Default Re: Winter Flounder

To Mr. Paul J. Diodati:



Today, January 17th, 2013 I attended the fishery meeting in Gloucester. The 1st item on the agenda "for public comment" was the proposal to double the commercial quota on winter flounder from 250 lbs to 500 lbs/day. It's funny how this "public hearing" is at 10am on a weekday when most recreational anglers are working, it was held in a "commercial fishing town" and aside from myself and Ron Powers, was attended solely by commercial fishermen....This is what I said:

__________________________________________________ ______________________________________



Over the past 12 years I have seen both an excellent comeback to our flounder fishing in Boston Harbor and a similar return of fishermen from NY, NJ, Ct, and other states that bring money into our state. They book hotel rooms, buy bait and tackle, eat in restaurants and their spouses shop while they fish. In our short 8-10 week season, thousands of local and out of state fishermen participate and on a give day, 1000's of flounder can be caught in our harbor. In one tow, a single dragger can kill far more flounder than the whole fleet of rod and reelers can catch in a week of effort! All to sell 500 pounds???



It has somehow been forgotten that the job of our government, first and foremost, has always been to "pass and enforce" "rules and regulations for the common good". To further enrich a few dozen at the expense of thousands is insane! Where is the common good?



Virtually every specie that has been managed in this way is either currently in trouble or headed for trouble. The only rule your guys should use as a guideline is you can only increase quotas when a species is "fully recovered across it's entire range". Boston Harbor is "ground zero" for winter flounder and while it is showing signs of recovery there is still no fall fishery, which used to be spectacular. That means the recovery still has a very long way to go. It also means that the depleted stocks of virtually all other coastal areas on the east coast of the United States are dependant on our stock of flounder to keep the species alive enough so they can come back to those areas eventually. Would this action be fair and responsible to them?



Let the fish win one for a change!
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