Sunday, August 2, 2015

Fluking on a Party Boat

I had been looking forward to this trip for a while... My Grandpa and I had booked an afternoon party boat trip on the Queen Mary. I was hoping to rack up on saltwater lifers like searobins, seabass, dogfish, and fluke.

Unfortunately, the weather forecast said otherwise. Winds were especially strong in Pt. Pleasant that day, and the captain opted to stay inshore in the Manasquan River, to keep everyone comfortable. There are often plenty of people on party boats that have never fished before (especially on the 4 hr afternoon trip), so it is probably best that we stayed inshore, to prevent chumming the water. :)

I can't say that was a bad decision, though. Action was constant the entire trip. In fact, every single person on the boat caught fish! The tactic of the day was to drift spearing and squid combos, moving throughout the day to find fish.

The first spot we stopped at was near the mouth of the Manasquan. I dropped my rig down, and not a minute later, I hauled up my first fluke! Of course, it was small by NJ standards (around 12 inches), but it was only the second fluke brought up on this trip.

The funny thing is, as I was fighting the fluke, it didn't seem to fight that much. Mostly, it used its flat shape and held to the bottom. Reeling it in, it felt like dead weight with a tiny bit of wriggle.

But, Even though it was small, I was stoked to catch my first fluke! That's species #49, the Summer Flounder, Paralichthys dentatus. (sorry for the bad pic)

After that, the action was constant. The boat in total only got about 5 keepers (18"+), but there was a ton of shorts, and like I said before, everyone caught fish.

After catching a short, My grandpa's rod suddenly doubles over. From later experience, Those big fluke fight hard! He brought the fish to the surface, and the mate swung the net and brought up a nice fluke. It was just over 18 inches, so we tossed it in the cooler.
Grandpa's nice fluke

Meanwhile, I was fishing with a searobin strip about 8 inches long. I was just drifting it when the rod went into a deep arc. The fish then took off, even peeling drag in some of its runs! I got it to the surface, and then the hook popped out. I was bummed, because that would've been a keeper, but I continued fishing anyway.

Not 10 minutes later, My rod arcs again and I bring up a nice fluke, my new PB! It was 15 inches, so not a keeper, but it was my biggest!

This one fought pretty hard, but not as hard as the one that popped off.

My PB fluke

At another spot further into the river, my grandpa brings up a monstrous fluke-around 22 inches. Alas, it popped off right at the surface. Well, I guess that's fishing.

Another Fluke  

The action peaked when my grandpa and I got a double on fluke, but both shorts. We ended the day with 11 fluke total, my grandpa with 6 and myself with 5.

I was really hoping for a searobin, but it was not to be today. Only two were caught all day, and they were used for bait.

Even though I didn't get a robin, I feel that the day was very successful and fun, and I'd love to do it again!


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