In what amounts to a surprise decision, the NJ Marine Fisheries Councils decided last night, after weighing comments from an across-the-board segment of the fluke fishing public, from individual anglers, charter and party boat captains, bait and tackle shop owners, and representatives from fishing clubs during the virtual hearing, to set the summer flounder season to run from May 22-September 19 for a total of 121 days. This basically mirrors the 2020 season.

The second option was a May 28-September 28 season spanning 124 days which, if approved, would have cut the “nothing to fish for” gap from the fluke closure from 18 to nine days before the re-opening of the sea bass season. This would have had a far less financial impact to the party and charter boats, and tackle shops. In addition, the last few days would have given anglers final cracks at the bigger fluke that are rapidly departing the inlets and moving out front along the beaches, then farther off to the wrecks and reefs.

No doubt there’s sure to be a lot of head shaking going on, but the decision is final. The bag limits remain the same as last year and are as follows: three fish at a minimum of 18-inches for the ocean, coastal bays and tidal rivers; three fish at a 17-inch minimum in Delaware Bay; and two fish at a 16-inch minimum from surf fishing in Island Beach State Park.

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Virtual Trout Stocking Meeting 10am on Saturday

Tom Pagliaroli
Tom Pagliaroli

Lost in the flounder season sauce is the rapidly approaching trout season. As with last year, there will be a couple of significant changes to the spring stocking procedure as the NJ Bureau of Freshwater Fisheries deals with the ongoing COVID situation. Meeting topics will include the 2021 trout production at the Pequest Hatchery, adjustments to the stocking program and, as with last year, a “Two Opening Day” start to the season. There will be a comment/Q&A period after the presentations. This is a GoToMeeting format (you can download the app) that will require a smart phone, tablet or computer. You can also get involved by using a regular phone and calling 571-317-3122, with the access code 862-315-381.

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