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How to Properly Net a Flounder (Fluke)

Experienced Fluke Fishermen all will tell you that you need to net your fish. Whether you be fishing from a Bridge, Pier, Jetty, or Boat if any part of landing that flounder involves lifting it out of the water, well then you better use a net to land that fish if you want to keep it.

Fluke notoriously have a soft mouth that tears easily. Frequently after hooking and fighting a flounder it's mouth will tear a bit making it very easy for the hook to back out causing you to lose your fish. barbed style hooks help but it is criticallyimportant to always keep a tight line while fighting Fluke to the surface. Not keeping a tight line to the top is surely the number 1 reason people lose Fluke on the way up.

So now keep in mind, tearing at the mouth is a big concern for losing flounder when the fish is IN the water. Well, physics aside , things 'weigh' more in air than in water. So as soon as you try to lift that Fluke out of the water you can count on any tear in the mouth to get larger.

 

The Netman's Job

Summer Flounder

Get in Position

Ok so first things first. Someone yells 'fish on' and/or calls for the net. Common sense says, get the net in hand and go stand next to the person fighting the fish so you are ready. Depending on the angle the person is fighting the fish, you should position yourself on the side of the person where you cause the least interference to the person fighting the fish.

Use 2 Hands

While I am waiting I like to hold the net by holding one hand on the net handle and the other holding the net. Why hold the net you ask? Because until you get that net in the water catching the netting on something as you try to is always a possibility. Whether your on a party boat, private boat, pier etc there are usually any number of obstructions around and holding the netting keeps control in your hand until it enters the water.

Lower the Net

I believe most people wait too long until putting the net in the water. Is it a BIG deal?  Probably not but what we are talking about here is the difference between being pretty good at netting fluke and being a pro. Kind of like free throw shooting in basketball. Repetition is how you build great technique. So get the net in the water with ample time for adjustment.  Get Ready.

When you do put the net in the water to wait, you want to have the net deeper than you expect to land the fish at. You want the entire net basket to be submergered.  Because it is much easier to lift the net then to dive the net into the water.

Depending on how deep you are fishing, it seems reasonable that you should have the net in the water and waiting whenever the fluke is within the upper 1/3 of the water column. How do you know this? Judgement and it comes in time. But the exact specifics are not that important. What is important that you be ready but not be in the way.  Lets review 2 extremes on what you don't want to do to emphasize the point.

Scenario 1

You are deep fishing for Fluke in 90 ft of water and as soon as someone yells fish on you go stand next to them with the net in the water and just totally be premature.

Scenario 2

You are fishing for Fluke in 30 ft of water and you lollygag and wait til you see 'color' and end up rushing and losing discipline and lose the fish.

 

Head First

Supposing we are now next to our best fishing buddy as he is reeling in a big flounder. The most important part of the whole deal. Net the fish HEAD FIRST. Fluke can not swim backward. So if you net the fish head first, it can not swim away from the net. Easy as that.

 

The Fisherman's Job

The fisherman needs to assit the person netting the fish if you want to be successful. He can do that by following these 3 simple rules

'Swim' the fluke into the net

Never lift it or even only it's head out of the water

Keep the line tight at all times

Just a final note that given NJ's 2016 regulations of 18” Fluke you really need to have a large net. 18” Fluke are not small and you really don't want to lose the fish of a lifetime because you were using the wrong net.

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address description owner Nearest Cam
Margate Fish Pier
121 S Exeter Ave,
Margate City NJ
08402
(609) 823-9846
Atlantic Ocean

Pier is open for 2016.
Must be a member of Angler's Club to use the pier.
Angler's club cost $400 one time initiation fee and $425 per year which includes a locker.


The Angler’s Club
Ventnor City Fishing Pier
Cambridge Avenue & the Boardwalk
Ventnor City NJ
08406
609-823-7944
Atlantic Ocean



Ventnor City
Ocean City Fishing Club Pier
14th and Boardwalk
Ocean City NJ
08226
609-398-9800
Atlantic Ocean



Ocean City Fishing Club
Keansburg Fishing Pier
275 Beachway
Keansburg NJ
07734
732-495-8842
Raritan Bay

The Pier is approximately 2000 feet long. You have an amazing panoramic view of New York City, along with awesome sunrises and sunsets.


Private
Lavallette Pier
Magee Avenue
Lavallette NJ
08735

Barnegat Bay


Lavallette
Keyport Fishing Pier
1 American Legion Drive
Keyport NJ
07735
(732) 739-3900
Raritan Bay



Wildwood crest
Sweet Briar Rd. and Park Boulevard.
Wildwood crest NJ
08260

Atlantic Ocean



Mantolooking Bridge Fishing Pier
30 Mantoloking Road
Brick NJ
08723
1-877-OC PARKS
Barnegat Bay

With great views of the Barnegat Bay, this is sure to be one of the best fishing or crabbing spots in all of Ocean County.


Ocean County Parks
Berkley Island County Park
399 Brennan Concourse
Berkeley Township NJ
08721
1-877-627-2757)
Barnegat Bay

Park is Closed for Construction


2016 Opening TBD
The Pier is 285‘ long x 24’ wide. We provide landing nets, a fish cleaning station, picnic area, and toilet facilities. It is well-lit at night, family-friendly, and produces some of the finest catches of Flounder, Striper, Bluefish, Weakfish, Croakers, Kingfish and Blue Claw Crabs!!! Also the occasional Trigger Fish, Sheepshead, Drum Fish, & Almaco Jack. The Crabbing is Excellent!


Ocean Count Department of Parks and Recreation
Grassy Sound Marina Pier
13 Old N Wildwood Blvd
Wildwood NJ
08260
(609) 846-1400
Grassy Sound
The Pier is 285‘ long x 24’ wide. We provide landing nets, a fish cleaning station, picnic area, and toilet facilities. It is well-lit at night, family-friendly, and produces some of the finest catches of Flounder, Striper, Bluefish, Weakfish, Croakers, Kingfish and Blue Claw Crabs!!! Also the occasional Trigger Fish, Sheepshead, Drum Fish, & Almaco Jack. The Crabbing is Excellent!


Grassy Sound Marina
Bayshore Waterfront Park
719 Port Monmouth Road
Port Monmouth NJ
07758
732-787-3033
Sandy Hook Bay

Enjoy the maritime shrublands, tidal creeks, salt marshes, dunes, mile of beach and scenic views across the water. The park offers a fishing pier, access to Raritan Bay, and beautiful views of the NY skyline


Monmouth County Parks
Waterfront Park
Waterfront Fitness Trail
Carteret NJ
07008
732-541-3885
Arthur Kill
Carteret Municipal Government

Pier Fishing Tackle Reccomendations

 

If you are new to Pier fishing, then there are a few things to keep in mind with regards to having the correct tackle. If you are on an Ocean or open bay fishing pier where Bluefish and Striped Bass are known to run, your not going to get by on light tackle. Still, you don't want anything too heavy to slow you down from casting and retrieving is in order.

 

Fishing Rod/Reel Requirements for NJ Pier Fishing

 

  • Fishing Rod Must Be At least 7.5 ft tall

Additional length means better casting and leverage. You want a pole longer than you typically would use on a boat. Don't go too tall though because taller rods are also clunkier to operate so you really want to stay in 7.5 – 9 ft range with your pier fishing rod.  This size rod will allow you to handle almost all types of fishing opportunities that will avail themselves while you are pier fishing.

Rod Must Have Plenty of Backbone

In addition to the possibility of big fish, the ocean is a challenge on your equipment as well. You need something that will handle dropping several ounces of lead as required on occasion.  You do NOT want a light action rod for pier fishing.   A rod with a MH (Medium-Heavy) designation is best to get started with.

 Spinning Variety

It just makes so much more sense to use a spinning rod for pier fishing. They are easier to cast and operate for experienced fishermen and newcomers alike. If you are looking specifically for a rod to fish on piers with, make it a spinning rod.

Quality Matters

It is worth noting that saltwater is really unforgiving. Whatever you can afford, buy the best spinning reel you can. If you take care of a good reel, it can last you for you years. However, some of the lower end models will last you 1 year and you will need to replace it. The quality of the rod is important also, but even the low end rods will last you a while, unlike the low end reels.

Our Best Pier Fishing Combination Value Reccomendation

Penn Pursuit II 6000-2 Piece Spinning Combo, 8-Feet/Medium-Heavy

Penn has been a well known name in saltwater fishing for decades.  This combination is a great starter outfit for pier fishing and can also be used for surf fishing.  And it won't break the bank.  You can get this for less than $75.

 

Additional Tackle You Will Need for Pier Fishing

 

Telescoping Landing Net

You should make sure you have a long handle or telescoping landing net when you are pier fishing. Most fish of any size will be lost as you try to land it on a pier if you don't net the fish.  Telescoping nets make it easier to travel. 

 

 

 

Quality Aluminum Fishing Pliers

No fisherman can go without fishing pliers. It pays to have a decent pair of pliers in your box for your pier fishing adventure. Remember, saltwater is unforgiving so make sure you get a pair of pliers made for saltwater use.

 

Stainless Steel Fishing Hooks

Of course you will need to have a variety of hooks and swivels at your disposal. You can save some money over the course of a fishing season by buying hooks in bulk, but be careful because if they are not Stainless steel they will rust quickly just being exposed to salt air. So, either buy small packs of hooks and leave packs closed until ready to use or buy stainless steel hooks. In either case you will need a a variety of sizes.

Saltwater Leader Spool 40lb Test

You need to have a just a few different sizes of leader spools here. You MAY want to also add some flouo to your mix but it is pricey

 

Berkley Gulp! Alive! Curly Tail Swimming Mullet

If you are a saltwater fisherman, you need Gulp. They make many varieties and most are quite qood. For pier fishing, 2 most haves are Curly tails and Shrimp.

3 Way Swivels

Nothing complicated here, just make sure you have 2 way, 3 way, and snap swivels in a few different sizes. Most pier fishing is done with a very simple set up of a 3 way swivel, a leadered hook with bait and a sinker.

Bank Sinkers

You will need an assortment of lead sinkers with most in the 2-5 oz range. You will save much money by buying in advance online as mark up on sinkers at piers and other tackle shops is high.

 

Diamond Jigs

You need bucktails, diamond jigs, and swimmers. Your set.

Marine Cooler

Much like surf fisherman, many pier fisherman get coolers on wheels. 

Fillet Knife

This is another area where you want to buy the best you can afford. Cheap knives loose there edge quickly, rust and will not give you satisfactory value for your money over the long haul. Handles of something other than wood is preferable as wood never really comes clean and it acts as a germ hangout on your knife.

 

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