I attended the NJ Marine Council meeting where summer flounder was discussed prior to the MiD-Atlantic Commission’s Public opinion meeting tonight
 The NJ Marine Council passed a motion that they will send to NJ DEP commissioner asking to leave the 2017 regulations at 2016 regulations until more data is available
 Unfortunately this is a useless motion in my opinion and while expresses the unhappiness with current proposed regulations for 2017 it will have little effect but that is just my opinion .  But good news is the NJ DEP commissioner is on the record against any changes which can’t hurt
 The meeting following the Council Meeting was  with Mid-Atlantic commission and the 3 NJ reps and it  was a packed house as the room was overflowing with standees all around the room
  Mid-Atlantic Rep presented the 5 proposals which basically had one with 3 fish at 18″ and 88 days   and other 4 with variations of 2-3 fish at 19″ and seasons of 88-103 days
  At the end of the presentation NJ Rep Tom Forte asked if anyone in room was in favor of any of the proposals and there was NO ONE
  So discussion period open where  fishermen could comment for the record which all  comments would go to Council members
   There were over 70 comments made with numerous variations  of proposals with majority asking to hold 2017 to 2016 until more data is presented but also a number asking for size reduction and limiting the take of fish over 18″. It was emphasized by several that 95%plus of fluke over 18″ are female and continuation of the high size will not allow for population increases
    Congressmen LoBiondo sent a Rep who read a much improved letter over the first one I saw  that  he sent to Commission. He detailed the need for more and better data  before moving forward and sighted several examples..Mike Sheppard of AC Press and me found it interesting the letter included a significant amount of info he and I sent the Congressman  2 weeks ago
    I was not going to comment until Tom Forte made a point that in 1990 according to the data we were only catching 15-17″ fluke while the size was 16″… This was in conflict with my data and I was encouraged to challenge it . So I did
  I provided 1990 average yearly size of 14.98″ and 2016 the average size was 14.78″  .I also pointed out April produced the largest fish of 19.8″ in 1990 and 18.9″ in 2016 and monthly size dropped every month following April every year. I also point out the smallest fish of the year is always July and August which was planned to make up the majority of the days allowed in all  options presented by Mid-Atlantic.
   In closing I reccomended an option that allowed 2 fish between 15-18″ and one over 18″ as an option for 2017 while we wait for better data.  This was followed by several others supporting that option
    While NJ fishermen got their points across it will take a lot more effort if we are to see relief in 2017
   THE DEADLINE for PUBLIC COMMENTS IS NOW JAN 19TH      so I would recommend anyone sending in comments to Mid-Atlantic they be put in mail by Jan 14th to assure they get there or email will also work but letters mailed may be more productive in my opinion
email  addrerss to
mailing address-krootes-murdy  at  ASMFC, 1050 N. Highland Street, Suite 200 A-N, Arlington, VA 22201.
  Getting any relief for 2017 will be a long shot and odds  are against us BUT there is a possibility with ENOUGH angry fishermen making contact with commission and Federal elected officials we could save 2017 from a disaster
   The above comments are mine and only meant to provide what info I can to interested fluke fishermen
     The window to get any changes is short and unless something changes will be finalized before March
Bill (bucktail willie)Shillingford



LAST day to send in your comments to the Mid-Atlantic Council is Jan 19th 5:30pm
I can tell you based on feedback I am getting the nettle may be moving in our favor BUT if you haven’t done it yet get busy we can make a difference

few comments on summer flounder

Guys , let me try to clear up some facts #1 All the NJ Marine Council can decide once the Feds set the guidelines is opening and closing dates ,they will have NO input on size and bag. #2 The decision comes from NOAA and NOAA gets the recommendation from Mid-Atlantic Council and Mid-Atlantic Council must followed the M/S act . #3 the meeting in Galloway following the Marine Council meeting will be the start of the 30 day public comment period. Every comment is recorded and all comments from all the meetings gets to Council and NOAA and in my opinion critical if there is any chance of getting any relief #4 In addition to comments in this meeting there MUST be a flood of emails,letters ,phone calls to Council members and finally #5 There MUST be contact with your Congressmen and Senators and make sure you are angry
There is a clause in the M/S act that requires an economic study on any changes BUT this rarely gets done and that is a point that needs to be made to Congress members .
Communication with Congress members can be short and sweet by making 2-3 points and try to keep it to one page if writing
Couple of suggestions
#1-ask your Congressman and/or Senator to get involved.. NJ is in the region with NY and Conn BECAUSE NY fishermen got together and got their congressmen involved while NJ congressmen slept
#2 Put a hold on any changes until better data is available like SSSFF data expected late 2017

#3 recommend allowing smaller fish like 2 fish between 14-19″ and one over 19″ to
REDUCE the number of dead fish being thrown back. The number of dead fish going back will increase if 19″ size holds
Keep it short and sweet to get the right attention on the problem
UNLESS there is a lot of noise from fishermen there is NO CHANCE OF SAVING THE SEASON
Following the June 5th meeting there will be a 30 day public opinion period BUT you don’t have to wait to contact your Congressmen regardless of where you live,PA congressmen and others outside of NJ will all need to be involved
The BALL is in the fishermen’s court,clearly fishermen don’t always win but neither do they catch a fish every time they drop a line BUT if you don’t have a line in the water I doubt you will catch a fish and the same is true about getting some relief on summer flounder


I want to wish all of you who have followed this site all year A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and GREAT NEW YEAR with tight lines on every trip
Fluke fishermen are in for some tough times UNLESS there is enough momentum in writing comments when the 30 day Public Opinion opens up next month
Current proposal passed by Mid=Atlantic Council is 3 fish 19″ and 104 day season.
The data is flawed and Council admits it but it is all they have to work with
Your Federally elected officials need to hear from you NOW and you need to comment when Public Comment opens which I will put out
The recommendation should be at very least to leave 2017 same as 2016 and let the SSSFF organization complete it’s work and submit to Council late next year . Preliminary data from SSSFF indicates very high percentage over 18″ are females and 18-24″ are the most productive spawners …. My limited numbers from the few I keep and looking at fish being cleaned at my dock indicate 99% 18″ and over are females
Getting politicians involved and commenting during Public Opinion period is critical otherwise if you want to eat flounder you may have to go to fish market as finding them over 19 is tough in Cape May County



I got an invite from Pat to fish with him on his boat the Retainer and along with another fishermen Ted we headed out with 2 hours of incoming tide in Egg Harbor River. 2 hours of incoming and NOTHING, We made a move as tide started out and found a small patch of fish that looked like bass. Well,over the next 3 hours we caught 16 bass from 24-34″. A helleva nice way to close out 2016
NOW I’m sure I am done for 2016 as weather forecast is COLD and WINDY for next several days


I hooked up with Pat Martin on the Retainer and we headed up River looking for bass on a cool and windy morning .We search all our normal spots seeing nothing on top of the tide . Tide started to move out and we found a pod of fish ,Pat hooked up and landed a 27″ bass . We went back to same spot and drifted same line and found nothing, bass disappeared . We searched all over and never saw another sign of a bass and called it a day as wind picked up a little more given us a drift of over 2mph

Bucktail Willie is now out of the water and done for 2016 .2016 will go done as worse year in 60 plus years of fishing Corsons Area. One short bass on last trip
I will be recapping the year a little later with some insight on different things that did work in this strange year and will recap by month
I may get out once or twice more with friends but it appears the only inshore bite is for a couple of hours on top of tide as there is little bait to be found.
If you can find some herring breaking water good chance for bass and there might be a bite around bridges at night which I may look into  . The bite will be offshore for next few weeks BUT the bass will be moving fast south


I got an invite from the Retainer to fish with him in Great Egg this morning and we left dock under cover of darkness just as tide started out. Water temp had dropped to 43 but we managed to find 5 bass before tide dropped out. Nothing big all 5 between 25-27″. Wind came up as tide bottom out making it tough to drift so we call it a Turkey day and headed home


Wind finally let up and I went out on start of incoming tide.Little cool with air of 41 and water 43 but as tide came in water temp climbed to 48 .I hit all my favorite spots and never saw a fish ,no bait and no fish.Listening to radio there appeared to be a bite offshore but nothing for me inside
My try tomorrow of outgoing if I can stand the cold


What difference a day makes ,I left dock on a beautiful morning and went to same area I got 8 yesterday and today NOTHING,never had a touch and only heard of one short bass being caught out of 12-15 boats ..Weather will turn nasty so don’t expect to get out again until Wed for my last week of fishing in 2016