The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries is seeking public comment on temporarily adjusting its in-season commercial fluke and striped bass fishing limits; including possession limits, open days, and how soon to put any of these adjustments into effect.
The adjustments, which can be found on the website at www.mass.gov/marinefisheries, provide additional flexibility to these commercial fisheries to facilitate the harvest and landing of the state’s commercial quota..
Massachusetts presently has landed only 24 percent of its commercial striped bass quota, and only 33 percent of its commercial summer flounder (fluke) quota. It is important to note that the summer flounder commercial quota was increased 73 percent coastwide.
Written public comment will be accepted until 5 p.m. this Wednesday. Address all written comments to Director Pierce and submit to DMF by email at email@example.com or mail to 251 Causeway Street, Suite 400, Boston, MA 02114.
How to catch larger fluke
Anglers are catching a lot of summer flounder (fluke) but the fish are undersized. In Rhode Island the minimum size is 19”, six fish/person/day, and in Massachusetts the minimum size is 17 inches with five fish/person/day.
“Fluke fishing along the southern coastal shore is tough, anglers are catching plenty of small fish, but not a lot of keepers,” Mike Cardinal of Misquamicut Bait & Tackle said. “It’s about 30 shorts to one keeper.” Michael Callahan of Red Top Sporting Goods, Buzzards Bay said, “Fluke fishing has been difficult in Buzzards Bay, but things are improving a bit for anglers with larger fish.”
Most all of the large fluke we have caught on my charter boat have been on edges or in deeper water this time of year. Summer flounder look into the current to ambush bait fish, and the larger ones like to use edges for cover. What I mean by edges is bottom structure such as reefs, channel edges, flat areas at the foot of jetties, open sandy spaces between bottom structure, the edges of underwater valleys, etc.
Another important factor is water movement. When water is warm in August, fish can often be found in deeper water and/or water that is moving and tossing around bait such as bridge abutments, jetty and channel edges, etc.
I also like to use a large bait to catch larger fluke and often tip my squid rig with squid, silversides or spearing and often add a piece of fluke belly. I do not catch as many fish with this rig but the fish we do catch are larger.
Search ‘larger fluke’ when you visit my blog at www.noflukefishing.blogspot.com for tips from the experts on how to catch larger fluke.
Where’s the bite?
Summer flounder (fluke): “Fluke fishing is improving in Buzzards Bay.” said Michael Callahan of Red Top. Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “The fluke fishing has really been a toss of the coin, good fishing one drift and then nothing on the next. The beginning of the week saw the best action with fluke to 10 pounds.” On Sunday, Steve Brustein of West Warwick caught a 26-inch fluke on the north end of Austin Hollow, Jamestown coming out of the 70 foot trench in 38 feet of water. Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box, Warwick said, “We had a 25-inch fish caught off Prudence Island last weekend.” Mike Cardinal of Misquamicut Bait & Tackle said, “Fluke fishing along the southern coastal shores is tough, anglers are catching plenty of small fish but not a lot of keepers. It’s about 30 shorts to one keeper.”
Striped bass: “Things exploded on the Canal this week with the new moon,” Michael Callahan of Red Top Sporting Goods in Buzzards Bay said. “We had a lot of scup and mackerel in the water. Anglers were landing 20- and 30-pound fish up and down the canal throughout the water column. Jigs, surface lures and swimmers all seem to be working.” “We weighed in a 25- and a 28-pound striped bass this weekend caught in the Gould Island to Prudence Island area.” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle of Riverside.
Fishing at Block Island has been good.
“They are hooking up with many large fish, almost too many in my book,” Mike Cardinal of Misquamicut Bait & Tackle said, “Fishing from shore, particularly at the breachways has been good too. A lot of school bass with keepers mixed in.” Neil Hayes of Quaker Lane Bait & Tackle said, “Striped bass fishing at Block Island is very good. Anglers continue to catch fish at night and during the day with eels and on the troll as well. Shore anglers are catching keeper striped bass too with Brenton Reef yielding fish, but nothing like Block Island.”
Black sea bass and scup: “Scup fishing is good,” said Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box. “Customers are catching 15-inch fish in the Bay and the black sea bass bite has been good. Very large sea bass off Pt. Judith Light.” John Littlefield said, “We have had a lot of scup caught at Sabin Point and Colt State Park with balck sea bass being caught at Colt State Park. For some reason, the black sea bass do not travel to the upper Providence River areas.”
“Freshwater fishing customers are crushing it.” said Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box. “The largemouth bass bite has been very good. Anglers are finding success with top water lures early morning and at dusk, and are fishing a bit deeper during the day when water is warm.” Neil Hayes of Quaker Lane said, “The small and largemouth bass bite has been very good. Indian Lake (South Kingstown) is yielding fish for customers.” John Littlefield said, “We weighed in a 5.5-pound largemouth last week.”