2017 Fluke Regulations, Sea Bass Rules, & Weekend Weather
Story by Tom Pagliaroli
Fluke regulations for 2017 are oh-so-close being be finalized, but there are still a few hurdles to overcome. Sea bass rules are set and await the DEP Commissioner’s signature. Saturday’s weather is a washout, but Sunday may be fishable.
Here’s the tentative finny skinny when it comes to the 2017 fluke (summer flounder) season: the opening will be May 25th and will run through September 5th. The bag limit will be three fish with a minimum length of 18 inches, the exceptions being in Delaware Bay (three fish at 17 inches) and Island Beach State Park (two fish at 16 inches).
Formal approval has yet to be made by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), but this could come as early as next week. An ace-in-the-hole for New Jersey anglers is that, if the whispers are true, the US Secretary of Commerce will sign off on the above and the state will have met the 30% reductions mandated by the ASMFC. As such, New Jersey will not be out of compliance.
If approved, the new regulations mean a season of 104 days as opposed to 128 days in 2016, and a two fluke reduction in the limit for those fishing in the ocean as well as tidal rivers like the Shark and Manasquan, and Barnegat Bay, Great Bay and Great Egg Harbor Bays and the ICW. It’s a one fish reduction for Delaware Bay. The Island Beach State Park bag and length limits remain the same as last year.
The sea bass season will be in three parts. The first runs May 26th through June 16th with a 10 fish bag limit and a minimum length of 12-1/2 inches. The second part runs from July 1st through August 31st with a 2 fish limit at a 12-1/2 inch minimum, and the third segment extends from October 22nd through December 31st with a 15 fish limit and the same 12-1/2 inch minimum.
A nor ‘easter that blows in today and roars through Saturday will put the kibosh on ocean and bay fishing for sure, but Sunday may present some opportunities as things settle down. If you’re a fan of a particular party boat, by all means call ahead of time to see if it will be sailing Sunday so as to save yourself a drive.
The NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife has announced that tens of thousands of extra rainbow trout will be stocked through the Friday of the Memorial Day weekend in addition to the pre-set numbers (go to www.njfsihandwildlife.com and click on the trout fishing link for the roster of stocked waters and the dates). For local trout buffs, this means that the north and south branches of the Metdeconk rivers, the Manasquan River and the Toms River (including the 1 mile Trout Conservation stretch between the end of Riverwood Park and Route 571) will be dosed with a lot of extra fish.
Turkey hunters, hikers, campers and anglers traipsing the woods to ponds, lakes and creeks beware: ticks, both the wood and black legged (deer) are especially numerous this year and their bites can pose serious health problems in the forms of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lymes Disease. Utilize a quality bug repellent on your clothing and if applicable, any exposed skin, and by all means complete a “tick check” before hitting the shower that evening.
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