|2012 Fluke - Season Recap - A season to remember!|
We've had some great fluke seasons in the last 10 or so years in our area. Some summers have been extremely tough (2010 coming to mind immediately!), but a few have really stood out and 2011 and 2012, especially, have stood out in my log book and memory as being outstanding fluke seasons. Being a charter boat, and running on a full-time basis through the summer we can really gauge how the fishing is and have a good benchmark to compare our results to other years' results on a seasonal basis.
For instance, 2007, 2008 and 09 were great fluke seasons for us, but we, for some reason, had bigger fish those years with our biggest yearly fish going 9.5# + This year - our biggest fish on the boat was around 8# and wasn't involved in the seasonal pool - so my point is, when you look at a fluke season, or any season in general as a fisherman, you want to look at 2 pieces of the season, a) the #'s of fish caught, and b) the size of the fish caught. For whatever reason, we couldn't get that doormat this season - but the numbers, the numbers were CRAZY good!
The number of keepers CAN BE attributed to the lowered minimum size limit, but the lowered bag limit also limited the keeping aspect which to an extent, was a good thing as we took home what we had to take home, and ended it there.
I tried counting individual limits, crew limits, and boat limits, but there were too many trips where we had "limits" - it's easier to count the trips where we didn't have limits - and there were only 4 of them, all summer long! This accounts for ~500 keeper fluke for the summer - an all-time best for us. There were stretches where we simply didn't fluke fish, because charters were scheduled to fish middle range waters, for bluefish/albies, mahi, and bottom fish so our numbers are a bit skewed there. However, in 15 FTYP marathon trips, all but just 2 featured terrific fishing with lots of keepers.
We had some great fishing locally, both on our north reef and south reef, so we didn't have the need to run "up north" to the usual haunts between Elberon and Monmouth Beach that often, although we did that a few times with good success also. And for once over the last few years, we had good fluking INTO September (we didn't get in on it, but friends did well!).
If I had to sum up the 2012 fluke season in a few words - it would be that 2012 was a great "meat" year as anglers regularly walked away with huge bags of fillets, but the bigger doormattish sized fluke were absent in our catches. We did have dozens upon dozens of 4-6# fluke as we usually do, but the bigger fish over 8# for us were simply absent. Let's hope that 2013 is similar, or even better - and that the policymakers give us a shot again to catch and keep our fish during a season of reasonable length!!!
...And Congrats to our 2012 seasonal pool winner - Larry "The Flukemaster" Valdez!