On August 21, 2008, I departed a dock in Point Pleasant for what I hoped would be a couple of hours relaxing on the Manasquan River in pursuit of some fluke for dinner. A couple of hours before high tide always seemed to work out best for me in the past and my hope was the results would be favorable this time too.
On my way through the Point Pleasant Canal, I thought about past years fishing the river and the size limits, which were easy to deal with a number of years ago. I never had a problem catching enough for dinner. The biggest hassle was trying to avoid all the other boats drifting the channel and sometimes even up on the flats.
Upon exiting the canal and entering the Manasquan River, something seemed strange and very out of place. There was not a boat to be seen while looking up the river towards the Route 70 bridge, and not one boat to be seen looking toward the Route 35 bridge despite the fact that the weather was a perfect TEN. I fished for a couple of hours catching about a dozen fish although none of them were keepers. If the year was 2005, the results would have been a lot different. I should have been able to keep at least six of those fish and what a great dinner it could have been.
Pressure on summer flounder, (fluke) is way down from last year as every tackle shop owner, party boat captain and marina owner will verify. (NMFS will tell you that it is merely antidotal evidence)
Just go down to the ocean on any weekday and look out to sea and count the boats that you see.
Fuel prices, a general downturn in economic conditions, and totally unnecessary size limits on fluke, have all been factors that have led to a dramatic reduction in fishing participation. But, mark my words, the educated idiots at the Pew foundation, will be pressuring the NMFS to cut quotas because, “Overfishing is occurring.”
Another reason to…”HOOKEMANDHACKEM!”