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  • 2021-01-15 Ristori Bay Head

    Posted on January 15, 2021 Blackfish still a weekend possibility Though small craft warnings went up at 1 p. m. through Saturday afternoon for east gusts to 25 knots, ocean conditions should improve with a shift back to west winds, The morning forecast is for southwest winds at 10-15 knots before increasing to 15-20 in the afternoon with gusts to 30. On Sunday the winds go west at 20-25 knots with gusts to 30 that should flatten the surf for anyone still seeking stripers along the Jersey Shore.
  • 2021-01-14 Ristori Bay Head

    Posted on January 14, 2021 Jamaica catching jumbo porgies Though the sea bass season is closed, the Jamaica from Brielle is concentrating on far offshore wrecks that hold great quantities of large porgies during weekend trips. Last weekend s trip also produced a few ling and a surprising large bonito as catches ranged up to 30 fish.
  • 2021-01-13 Ristori Bay Head

    Posted on January 13, 2021 Tog were chewing for Ocean Explorer Party boat blackfishing in N. J. has been generally tough recently, but there was a good report Tuesday from the Ocean Explorer from Belmar as they reported limits for all plus releases. The tog ran up to 7 pounds and hit both green and whitelegger crabs.
  • 2021-01-12 Ristori Bay Head

    Posted on January 12, 2021 Canyon Runner almost sold out on canyon trips Canyon tuna fishing is months ahead at present, but the most productive period has been in the spring during the last few years. They recorded over 800 tuna last year, including 44 bigeyes and two giants in 65 trips.
  • 2021-01-10 Ristori Bay Head

    Posted on January 10, 2021 Calm seas coming up Though small craft warnings are up, west winds at just 5-10 knots are in the forecast from Monday to Wednesday. North winds at 10-15 knots with gusts 25 are forecasted for Sunday before dropping to 5-10 northwest at night.
  • 2021-01-08 Ristori Bay Head

    Posted on January 8, 2021 Special trips target big blackfish If you are going to put up with the potential discomforts of a winter fishing trip, you might as well seek a really special fish. As noted this week, the Ocean Explorer from Belmar is running a Super Pool trip Sunday at 6 30 which costs 100 but also requires another 100 for the pool for the biggest tog.
  • 2021-01-07 Ristori Bay Head

    The Elaine B II from Highlands made its last trip of the winter on Tuesday. The fare is 100, and there s a required 100 for the winner-take-all super pool for biggest tog.
  • 2021-01-06 Ristori Bay Head

    Posted on January 6, 2021 NY proposes circle hook requirement for 2021 striped bass season Following is a press release from the NY DEP relative to a circle hook requirement that s already in effect in N. J. RECREATIONAL STRIPED BASS FISHING SEASON Comments Accepted until Mar. 8, on Proposed Regulation for Circle Hooks to Help Improve Striped Bass SurvivalThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today released a new proposed regulation for public review and comment that would require the use of circle hooks when recreational fishing for Atlantic striped bass. The proposed regulation includes all New York State waters where recreational fishing for Atlantic striped bass occurs, including coastal waters of Long Island and New York City, the Delaware River, and the Hudson River to the Federal Dam in Troy, New York.
  • 2021-01-05 Ristori Bay Head

    All Classes Live and InteractiveAll Classes Videotaped for Re-Viewing By YouInteractive Q A Throughout the Live ClassQ A Follow-Up after Each ClassDates TopicsSaturday, February 6 Core Tuna TacticsSaturday, February 20 Mid-shore TunaSaturday, March 6 Big Fish Saturday RiggingSaturday, March 20 Swords Marlin Tiles SharksThe 2021 Canyon Runner Seminar Speakers combine for 10,000 days in the Canyons, Produced 2,000 Big-Eyes, Millions in Tournament Winnings!TICKETS ON SALE NOW MUST BUY IN ADVANCE ONLY ONE LOGIN ACCESS PER TICKETHuge Upgrade from Year s Past because now we will Cover It All and for the first time you ll be able to See It All. 1) Recon The Art of Finding Tuna How WHEN to Find and Catch Your Quarry Without Fishing the Crowd Fish Earlier and Farther2) Midshore Tuna Game Plan Trolling Chunking3) Midshore Tuna When, Where, Why How Core Class 4) Top Water Tuna Plugging, Popping and Stick Baits Casting for Tuna2) Advanced Big-Eye Tactics Specialized Big-eye Tuna Trolling Techniques3) Offshore Sharking for Monster Makos4) Water Temp Chlorophyll Current Analysis5) Canyon Success Without Targeting Bigeyes (Focus on Yellowfins, Longfins, Mahis, Swords How to Adapt to What WHEN the Ocean Gives)6) Using Your Electronics to Find Fish7) Why 10 Catch 90 of the Fish Top Ten Reasons Same Crews Regularly Outfish the Fleet8) Hi-Tech Bait Rigging for Tuna Swords9) Rigging Tackle Crimping Top Shots10) Small Boat Dredge Fishing Capt. Tim Pickett11) Tuna Trolling Must Know to Excel Offshore12) Day-Time Sword Fishing the Canyons13) Canyon Chunking 101 Core Class Rig Up like a Professional Crew14) Offshore Trolling Chunking from a Center Console15) Winning Marlin Tactics18) Learn How to Truly Run the Pit like the Professional Mate19) Latest Tracking Northeast Yellowfin Big-Eye Tuna For additional information and TicketsCall 732-272-4445Email info canyonrunner.
  • 2021-01-04 Ristori Bay Head

    Posted on January 4, 2021 Big swell spoils a fine winter day Mike Monte took advantage of a calm, mild January morning to cast for stripers in the Belmar surf which had been producing schoolies recently. The fine winter weather continues tomorrow with north winds at 10-15 knots and 3-5-foot seas.

Barnegat Bay Winter Flounder Hot Spots and Techniques

I was introduced to saltwater fishing when I was 7 years old while ishing from my uncle's Boston Whaler for Winter Flounder in Barnegat Bay. Almost 50 years later and I sill remember a couple of things vividly from that first trip.

Winter Flounder

It was cold!

Unless your boat has a cabin or surround, it seems no matter how much clothing you wear it is never enough to keep yourself warm. Needless to say, my uncle's Whaler did not have any shelter. Generally speaking bay water temps (and Winter Flounder preferred temperatures) are in the 40's and 50's in March and April. If you are fishing for winter flounder, bundle up.

It was fun!

It took me all of one trip to realize I loved this. Quite honestly, it was not until I was over 40 could I sleep the night before fishing. Too much excitement and adrenaline pumping. I think winter flounder are underestimated in terms of their fighting ability and overall aggression.  The fishing is done with light tackle at most 8-10 ft of water and everyone of flounder comes up “green”. 

Since my introduction to winter flounder fishing, generations have passed.  And after dozens (if not hundreds) of fishing trips later certain things tend to become clearer as to how to catch more of these fine tasting fish.

 

When to Catch Winter Flounder


Winter Flounder become active in early spring as bay water temperatures begin to rise. My father always said that St. Patrick's Day was the day to mark on your calendar as the unofficial kick-off to the season. The preferred water temperature range for winter flounder is between 48-52 F.  Once the bluefish enter the bay in force, usually late April to early May you can pretty much count on the season being over until the fall.

 

Where to Catch Winter Flounder

Winter flounder prefer muddy bottom where sea worms are prevalent. In addition to providing habitat to the winter flounder's primary forage, the other thing the muddy bottom does is to soak up the warming rays of the sun. Sometimes, just a small difference in bottom temps can really ignite a bite. There are any number of areas in Barnegat Bay that could fit that bill. I am going to cover 3 of them that I have had my best luck at.

Disclaimer:  Maps and locations are approximate.  Not to be used for navigation:

 

Loveladies ICW

Early in the season the fish seem to lie more away from the inlet One early season spot is to the south of the bay toward Loveladies, NJ. The ICW between buoy 44 and buoy 47 marks the area. You can note on the map that shallow water is on the east side of the area so don't go outside the channel on the green side.  The red side is more forgiving as the water is deeper. Until you become comfortable in the area,  just stay inside the red markers and you will be fine. I like to anchor somewhere near the middle of the shaded area.  Thie area has a thick muddy bottom.  This area only seems to do well early in the season.  By early to mid April, the fish have moved on from here.

 

 

Oyster Creek Run Off

To the north, the mud flats direclty in front of the Oyster Creek outfolow is prime winter flounder area. This area really hits the trifecta when it comes to location. It has a mud bottom, the warm water outflow from the Oyster Creek generating station, and the area is adjacent to Oyster Creek Channel.   Oyster Creek Channel is one of only 2 main channels connecting the west side of the bay to the inlet.  The other channel, Double Creek Channel is not officially open since hurricane Sandy.  

You will want to anchor somewhere in the area shaded on the map.   As a reference you want to stay north of the 'BI' buoy and Oyster Creek Channel entrance.

As the season progresses the flounder migrate toward the inlet. Fish to the north migrate out of Oyster Creek Channel. Fish to the south migrate out of Double Creek channel. I prefer not to fish directly in Oyster Creek Channel because just too much boat traffic goes by for a comfortable day. Double Creek Channel can be good at times and is not nearly as busy with boat traffic but that channel is not open at the moment so unfortunately we miss the ability to 'follow the migration' . 

 

Meyers' Hole 

At the tail end of the season (early May) , Meyers' Hole can hold a large number of flounder. The hole lays right off the main channel toward the inlet and acts as a staging area for flounder before they make their final push offshore. 

 

 

How to Catch Winter Flounder

Not too much disagreement exists on advice on how to catch winter flounder. Commonly, everyone agrees what you need to do to be successful.

 

Anchor Up

Unlike it's summer cousin, the fluke, winter flounder are more sedintary and you can not successfully drift for them. So you need to anchor your boat in a prime winter flounder zone and sit tight. Some (most) would agree it is best to double anchor to reduce swing when possible.

 

Chum Heavily

You will not put together a nice catch of winter flounder unless you chum and heavily at that. Types of chum vary though your choice may be limited to what is available in your local bait shop. The 2 most popular types of chum are clam and mussel. These come in frozen quart size logs in plastic bags which are lowered to the bottom with a chum pot. You should make a couple of slits lengthwise in the plastic bag the chum log is in with your bait knife. This will facilitate the release of chum from the log into the current and start drawing the winter flounder to you. It is best to tie off your chum pot as much up current as possible onto your boat. Periodically, bounce the chum pot on the bottom to help stir things up and get the chum flowing. Using 2 (or more) chum pots is advisable.  The chum pots are weighted so they drop easily to the bottom. You should not have to spend more than $20 - $25 on a chum pot.

In addition to frozen clam and mussel chum, there are a number of other things you can chum with to supplement your chum pot. Any kind of fresh shells such as mussels, clam, oysters et can be cracked and dropped to the bottom. Many old timers mix toghether cat foot, rice, and other ingreditents into a home brew. Grass shrimp are an excellent chum as well.

 

Bait

I have always had the best results with bloodworms for bait. Sandworms would be second best and mussels third. It is important to keep the baits small. You should cut your worms into pieces no bigger than 2 - 2.5 inches. Winter flounder have a very small mouth.  You do not want your worm balled up on your hook but rather dangling freely.

Gulp! Bloodworms are an excellent to use in addition to live bloodworms. It is best to try both live and Gupl Bloodworms while fishing for winter flounder and determine on that day which one is working best.

 

 

Tackle

This is definitely a light tackle fishery. Fish rarely weigh more than 2.5 lbs and you will be fishing in shallow water so heavy sinkers are not required.  You will want to have a rig with 2 or 3 hooks. I like to rig my hooks with small yellow grubs or buy hook sets with corn beads. Yellow is winter flounder's favorite color so I try to give them as much of that color as I can.  I even spray paint my sinkers yellow.  You can get ths rigs you need for Winter Flounder for just a little over $2.

 

 

Technique

2 basic schools of thought here. Dead stick or don't dead stick. This is an easy answer to me. Don't dead stick. Rather I prefer to lift my sinker slowly off the bottom and back down in 3 bounce increments with each increment a couple of seconds apart. Then take a 30 second break and repeat. I believe this light jigging action will help you to put many more fish in the box than simple dead-sticklng.

The 'best' time to winter flounder fish is on a nice warm sunny late morning on the very last of the incoming tide through slack, through the first couple hours of the outgoing tide. Now, those conditions may not coincide with when you can fish but that would be my description of when is the best time. One thing I can tell you, winter flounder is one of the few fish that I don't really try to get an early start. You need the sun to be your friend with this fish. The outgoing tide is key because in the Spring the ocean temps are colder then the bay. The incoming waters therefore tend to shut down the fishing. Once the water starts flowing out, the warmer shallows start draining through the channels and the fish start to feed.

 

 

 

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