Gone Fishin' : Amid growing numbers, fluke limits are cut back
The tenth annual VFW Fluke Tournament is this weekend. It is a fun event and this year roughly coincides with the opening of the recreational fluke season on July 1.
As a tune up, on Sunday Ned Casey and I headed out early into Vineyard Sound in my Tashmoo-18 skiff hoping to get in a few hours of fluke fishing before the wind picked up. Wishful thinking and a sense of bravado inspired by hours of watching reruns of the Deadliest Catch on the Discovery Channel were no match for the gusts already howling across the sound.
I wanted to fish the deeper holes off Seven Gates, but once off Paul's Point we realized that the sea conditions would not be pleasant. There was also the drift to consider.
Fluke, also known as summer flounder, are ambush predators. When a strip of squid, or another bait choice, floats by where the fluke lies in wait, it pounces.
Fluke fishing is all about the bottom and the drift. Under ideal conditions the tide carries your boat through a productive area as you bounce a lure off the bottom.
The amount of weight used to put the lure on the bottom depends on a combination of water depth, tidal flow and wind direction. I have used four ounces to stay on the bottom in 90 feet of water and have had to use 12 ounces.
Sunday I would have needed an engine block (I hear GM is giving them away). The tide was running west and that factor combined with the wind out of the west-northwest made for a very fast drift that would have caused our squid strips to whiz by any fluke.
I was actually grateful for the speed at which we were moving back in the direction of Tashmoo Landing. I had underestimated the amount of gas in my two six-gallon tanks and not counted on the gas we burned up plowing through the waves.
I mention my stupidity as a lesson. Do not leave the dock without an ample supply of gas.
We had enough gas to get home but not enough to remain off Middle Ground and fish for fluke. Luckily, Peter Cox happened by in his Lund, a boat that has earned a sturdy reputation in Alaskan waters, and he had a small tank of gas he was carrying just in case.
As it turned out we did not need the gas, but it was reassuring to have the extra can in the boat just in case. We arrived back at the dock just before noon with six eating size fluke in the cooler.