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Old 02-26-2012, 10:34 PM
Angler Paul Angler Paul is offline
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Default Fluke Meeting/Why We Should Support a Longer Season

The next meeting of the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council will be held on the Thursday, March 1,2012 at 4:00 p.m. Toms River Township Meeting Room, LM Hirshblond Room, 33 Wahington Street,Toms River, NJ 08753. Fluke and sea bass regulations will be set at this meeting and public comment will be accepted. The NJMFC request that those who speak, do so on behalf of one of the options that have been approved as no new options will be considered at this point. Also, at the NJMFC advisors meeting, it was pointed out that this is not a vote, rather the council is accepting input from the public. Therefore, it will be beneficial for those who speak to give their opinions on why they support a particular option. I intend to testify in support of the longer season as stated below though I am not certain exactly which groups, if any, that I will testify on behalf of. I would like to assure you that our NJMFC is a group of dedicated individuals who do their absolute best to accommodate the majority of our fishermen while also doing what is best for our fisheries. Remember that their hands are often tied by quotas that are set by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Regardless whether you agree with me or not, if you are serious about fluke fishing, I encourage you to voice your opinion at the meeting.


Ten Reasons to support the fluke option that will allow us to fish for fluke from May 5th – October 21st with an 18” size limit and a bag limit of 8 fish.
by Paul Haertel


1.) Having a longer season is most beneficial for our various fisheries. When the fluke season is closed many fishermen are forced to target other species. On the front end of the season when the fluke season is closed, I now see party and charter boats that rarely used to fish for stripers fishing for them on a daily basis. At times they absolutely hammer them and stripers cannot sustain this type of pressure for too much longer. Then on the back end of the season when fluke season is closed and particularly when blackfish and sea bass seasons are also closed, many boats are fishing offshore wrecks, targeting cod and pollock, two species that are just starting to make a nice comeback. Again, it is doubtful that these species can withstand this added pressure.

2.) It is imperative that we have a fluke season that will extend well into October because the other species that we normally fish for then will be closed. More specifically, blackfish will be closed from 9/1 to 10/17. Then from 10/18 to 11/15 we will only be able to keep one blackfish. Compounding the issue further it the fact that fishing for sea bass is expected to be closed from 10/15 to 11/1. In recent years stripers have not been arriving in force until November so if the fluke season is not open into late October there will be virtually nothing for surfcasters and inshore fishermen to fish for. If there is nothing to fish for in our state at that time, some of us will fish in others states or not fish at all. It is particularly important for surfcasters to be able to fish for fluke late into the fall as many of us believe that our best chance of catching a couple keepers occurs during the fall mullet run. The Governor’s Cup Fishing Tournament is in October. This tournament usually attracts approximately 1000 fishermen who pay $25. each to enter. The proceeds go towards important issues such as providing how to fish seminars, kids fishing events and purchasing special handicapped wheel chairs that are capable of riding on the beach. It is sad that in most recent years, fluke had to be removed from the tournament due to the season being closed and now for the first time since its inception blackfish will not be eligible because the season is closed.


3.) The fall is a time when many of those who target doormats have a good chance at success. The big fish have fattened up over the summer and are on the feed as they stop at wrecks and rough spots as they migrate offshore. As is the case with surf fishermen, this traditional fishery has been taken away from the trophy fishermen for a number of years.

4.) Keeping the size limit and bag limits consistent from year to year will result in more accurate statistics. We have been fighting for better fisheries science and this is one way that will help.

5.) Keeping the size and bag limits the same is better for law enforcement. Changing size
and bag limits virtually every year confuses many of the more casual fishermen. Our conservation officers end up spending a lot of time explaining the new regulations to those individuals. Our C.O.s try to be fair with everyone which is why they take the time to do this. However, with the limited number of C.O.s that we have it would be better if they had more time to track down poachers and other violators rather than having to take the time to explain new regulations.

6.) A longer season is better for the economy simply because it gives everyone regardless of whether they are surfcasters, private boaters or charter boat fishermen more days to fish. For example consider the impact it might have on tackle stores, who cater to surf fishermen, if their customers are left with nothing to fish for in October.

7.) Weather is more of a factor when the seasons are shorter. A sustained period of bad weather can be disastrous during a shortened season. A longer season provides everyone with more of an opportunity to reschedule trips that had been cancelled due to bad weather.

8.) Higher bag limits are better. Dropping the bag limit to 5 fluke might hurt participation somewhat. People spend a great deal of money for gas, bait and tackle. Though the days where people catch their limits of 8 might be infrequent, many realize that after a number of slow days they might have a really good day when they do in fact limit out. Also, once the bag limit is dropped it becomes difficult to raise it again in the future.

9.) A 17 ½” – 18” fluke is really hard to catch. I was out on the water many days last year and in fact logged in 182 trips for the NJ anglers survey. I might have caught 5 or 6 fluke between 17 ½” and 18” the entire season. I would much rather be able to keep 8 larger fluke on good days rather than keeping a few extra small ones during the season. In reality there are a lot of short fluke around but there are not too many in the 17 ½” – 18” range, rather it is public perception that there are. Many fishermen return home from a fishing trip and might honestly believe that the bulk of their shorts were 17 1/2” to 18” but in actuality many were much smaller. I guarantee you if we drop the size limit to 17 ½” then these same fishermen will be saying all they caught were 17” – 17 ½” fish. Ok, so you think I am wrong on this and there were really an abundance of 17 ½” to 18” fish around last year? That would be even better because by this year they will be all 18” plus fish and we will be able to keep them anyway.

10.) Enacting the option with a 17 ½” size limit will not only result in us having to reduce the bag limit from 8 to 5 but will reduce the number of days we are allowed to fish from 170 to 147. It is simply not worth losing 3 fish from our bag limit and 23 days of fishing just to be a able to keep a few more 17 ½” – 18” fish during the season.
  #2  
Old 02-26-2012, 11:48 PM
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Default Re: Fluke Meeting/Why We Should Support a Longer Season

8 fish bag limit.. and 18in.. I agree.. The longer season is worth the extra 1/2in and bag limit.. loose 23 days and 3 fish just to keep only 5, 17 and 1/2in fish is crazy.. Last season was one of the best.. There is no need to drop size limit..
  #3  
Old 02-27-2012, 07:05 AM
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Default Re: Fluke Meeting/Why We Should Support a Longer Season

Personally, I think 8 fish is a lot. 6 fish with a lower size limit would be fine as very few people limit with 8 anyway. People would still pay to keep 6.

Almost all of our "options" are 8 at 18" with various different season lengths. How were these season lengths determined? I don't understand how size and bag can remain the same under such varying season lengths.

Go ahead and keep the season long but how about this: up until around Memorial day limit the bag to 1 fish at 17". This will cover incidental catches. (Like doormats trolled on Stretch plugs) From then on 6 fish at 17".

There are a lot of 17-18 inch fish out there from my experience working deck.
Also, there is no law against releasing big fluke...something to consider in non-pool, non-tournament situations.
  #4  
Old 02-27-2012, 07:42 AM
Capt. Lou Capt. Lou is offline
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Default Re: Fluke Meeting/Why We Should Support a Longer Season

Smaller size limits will probably cause us to overfish our allotted tonnGe, which would in turn limit future seasons. Early slots are to confusing to keep track of,stausquo 18" fish, plenty around.
I'm not for giving up season length for shorter fish , you may fish yourself into a corner, look at NY!
  #5  
Old 02-27-2012, 08:11 AM
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Default Re: Fluke Meeting/Why We Should Support a Longer Season

Well said Angler Paul. You can speak for me and many others.
  #6  
Old 02-27-2012, 08:21 AM
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Default Re: Fluke Meeting/Why We Should Support a Longer Season

Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt. Lou
Smaller size limits will probably cause us to overfish our allotted tonnGe, which would in turn limit future seasons. Early slots are to confusing to keep track of,stausquo 18" fish, plenty around.
I'm not for giving up season length for shorter fish , you may fish yourself into a corner, look at NY!
I will be present on Thursday at the meeting and am in favor of the 18" May5 -Oct 21 season for this reason plus we are very close to having rebuilt this fishery. Personally my I only log 18" keepers and haven't tracked shorts. I know my numbers would go way up. Tackle shops in my area seem to favor this one too.
  #7  
Old 02-27-2012, 08:50 AM
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Default Re: Fluke Meeting/Why We Should Support a Longer Season

Paul- very well stated, especially the part about putting pressure on other species when fluke season is closed. Thank you.
  #8  
Old 02-27-2012, 08:58 AM
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Question Re: Fluke Meeting/Why We Should Support a Longer Season

Wouldn't a longer season and a bag limit of 8 fish put a lot of pressure on the fluke and hurt future size and bag limits.
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  #9  
Old 02-27-2012, 09:01 AM
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Default Re: Fluke Meeting/Why We Should Support a Longer Season

Paul, well said thank you I will be @ the Metting on Thursday
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Old 02-27-2012, 09:35 AM
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Default Re: Fluke Meeting/Why We Should Support a Longer Season

Taking Weather into consideration I would like to have the most possible time on the water . But I'm afraid that if they go with the larger size we will never get back to 17 1/2" in following Seasons .
 


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