All signs are pointing to an early season this year. The water temperature is rising, small juvenile Striped bass are showing up off Hither Hills beaches, and the weather is finally starting to straightening out!! Raritan Bay has come alive with Striped Bass, which means good news for all of us on the East End!
They're coming!! The water temperature is rising quickly, bait fish are already showing up in the bay and down the beach. One baitfish that's very important this time of year is squid. There was good numbers of squid offshore this winter due to the milder conditions, and these squid will be moving inshore chasing the small fry that feed on the plankton. While waiting for the larger "keeper" Striped Bass to arrive the first species up to bat this 2019 season sure seems to be the Fluke (summer flounder). The Fluke will be right on the squids' tails coming in from offshore, which always makes for a fun start to the fishing season. Fluke season opens on May 4th and the best part is there is a New Moon at that time and there will be Flood tide in the morning on the South side. I can't think of a better way to kick off the season than with a few fresh Fluke fillets on the supper table! Remember,
presentation is the key with any fishing outing. Play the wind and tide correctly and your chances will greatly increase.
Wind against tide is a no-no, Fluke love a good moving bait, wind against tide will not allow that. If the wind is blowing Southwest on opening day, that will be ideal for the Flood tide on the south side. Position yourself along a slope in the bottom, or ahead of a slope so you will drift up one side and down the other. Don't be afraid to steadily jig your bait, Fluke love the sudden movements, because they are aggressive ambush predators. Fresh squid strips, boston mackeral strips, spearing, killies, all work well. Double hook rigs or single hook rigs both work well, it's basically up to your personal preference.
Fluke love to hang around the outskirts of rock piles, so look for those structures and make sure your fishing line is in good shape. Always best to start fresh each season, after all this isn't a golf game, we don't need any handicaps!!!
Good luck on May 4th, 4 Fluke @ 19 inches is your 2019 regulations
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