If they call big flounder "doormats," perhaps this one is destined for the entrance to the Empire State Building.
Angler Chris Weast caught an enormous, 33 inch-long, 13.6-pound flounder fishing the back bay behind Stone Harbor on Sunday. Assisted by mate Greg Welch, Weast's haul on board Capt. Dan Schafer's Insomniac Guide Service out of Stone Harbor capped a successful weekend of back bay fishing for anglers up and down the Jersey Shore.
Fluke hit all over the Manasquan River, which serves as the natural border between Monmouth and Ocean counties. The fishing was better on the river than in the ocean, where the waters were colder, FishingReportsNow.com reported from Dave Arbeitman, owner of The Reel Seat tackle shop in Brielle.
In central Ocean County, kingfish were biting in the suds all weekend with an occasional keeper fluke mixed in, the folks at The Dock Outfitters in Seaside Heights reported. Crabbing in the back bay has also been great, the shop reported. Customers fishing from the shop's dock have walked away with between two to three dozen, and those in boats have picked up about three to four dozen.
The kings were chomping on clam, fishbites and bloodworms on kingfish rigs, while the ocean flounder hit on bucktails tipped with Berkeley Gulp baits.
Barnegat Bay was alive with blowfish showing up near the BI buoy and the area known as the Middle Grounds in the southern portion of the bay off Little Egg Harbor, the folks at Surf City Bait and Tackle reported. The flounder were "a bit shy" in the surf, the shop reported, but the dyke at Barnegat Inlet was stacked with them. Weakfish were around at dawn and dusk in the bay and were hitting on "anything pink."
Ocean flounder fishing was slow all around, it seemed, due to the low water temperatures. It was a slow-but-steady pick on board the Jamaica II party boat out of Brielle this weekend. On board the Miss Barnegat Light, ocean fluking picked up as the water temperature rose into the low 70s. On board the Miss Barnegat Light, a "handful" of keeper fluke were brought on board, along with a nice helping of sea bass.
At Little Egg Inlet, separating Long Beach Island and the northern reaches of Brigantine Island, fluke were hanging in and around the inlet proper.
"Because the fish were pushed back in the bay they wont travel too far back in the bay," said a report from Scott's Bait and Tackle in Mystic Islands. "They are lingering in holes closer to the inlet
with cleaner, faster moving water. Baits with heavier scents to them
will do the trick like mackerel fillets. Gulp and other artificials
will be a must have on the boat."
As proven by the weekend's big catch, fishing in the back bays behind Atlantic and Cape May counties has been excellent.
Flounder have been found in Risley's channel, the barge, and in the ICW around the Longport Bridge, Capt. Corey from Capt. Andy's Fishing Center in Margate reported.
Fish Tale Charters in Ocean City managed to put keepers in the boat on all of their trips over the last week, a report said. The biggest fish was a 19.5-incher, a definite back bay doormat.
Capt. Joe Hughes of Jersey Cape Guide Service out of Sea Isle City fished the back Sunday and his customers landed five keeper fluke that averaged close to three pounds each.
In the ocean on Saturday, a group of anglers on board caught and released 18 dusky sharks.
"We are not running real far for these fish," he said.