The Largest Fluke Tournament anywhere in 2021 is happening in New Jersey! Here’s everything you need to know!

Saturday July 10th at 5am from Cape May to Keyport, New Jersey boaters will be on the prowl for the biggest summer flounder in our local waters. “The right fish could net the captain and crew north of $50,000”, says club president and founder Matt Sorrentino! The NJ Fishing Club’s inaugural Beat the Fleet Fluke Tournament is kicking off this year and the club is holding nothing back! With the cancelation of the Rhode Island and Delaware tournaments this will effectively be the largest Summer Flounder Tournament ANYWHERE!

Fluke Tournaments along the Jersey Shore are not uncommon. In fact most weekends between Memorial Day and Labor Day anglers have a multitude to choose from. There are a few things however, that make the NJ Fishing Club tournament stand out. For starters, the prize pool is guaranteed! Oftentimes you’ll see an advertised prize for first, second and third but when it comes time to collect, those numbers magically shrink. That’s because most tournaments advertise their prize structure based on the number of boats they think will enter… more often than not these numbers are simply a fabrication fo the tournament committee.

As advertised!

This time, the prizes will be paid out as advertised. $16,000 total across three regions to the anglers with the largest Fluke in each North, Central and South Jersey. With the largest fish in the state taking home the lions share of $4,500. There are prizes from 1-4th in each region and 1-3rd overall for the largest summer flounder. With a $1,000 bonus to the boat with the biggest fish who registers prior to June 28th!

Thats without even getting into the Calcutta’s (where the real money is made in any fishing tournament). These winner take all categories bring in big bucks and stiff completion. They also offer a multitude of ways to win. For this tournament, we’re looking at single fish, 3-fish bag, and a bycatch category. Entry into each Calcutta puts you in for the chance to win both regionally and overall. We mentioned earlier about a $50,000 fish. Let us explain how we came to that number, assuredly it’s not a fabrication like previously discussed.

Since this is the first year the tournament is running we can’t go off of last years statistics. However, we can look at other tournaments to gain some perspective. In the last 5 years similar state run tournaments have seen participation in around the 200 boat range, for a much smaller pay day. We also looked at regional tournaments like the Duke of Fluke, Flukeamania and the Bass River Classic which all see paticpation from 40-80 boats.

Based on this information, we’re shooting for what we believe to be a conservative goal of 180 boats. If we break these entries down based on the data we have available into our Calcutta options (40% going all in, 30% selecting option 2, 10% selection option 1 and 20% fishing no Calcutta’s and just attempting to win the advertised prizes and youth prizes) we arrive with a Calcutta prize pool of around $90,000. If a team is able to sweep both the single largest and 3 fish Calcutta categories, they’re payout could potentially be anywhere from $30-50,000 depending on the breakdown of signups. This thing could break down countless ways. Actually this thing could breakdown with potentially 36 different teams cashing in.

In addition to our prizes… each weigh station is offering a $100 gift card to the largest fish weighed at their location!!!

Let’s get into some questions we’ve had so far.

Is there a youth division?

There is not a separate entry for youth participants. Thanks to our sponsor Tsunami, there is a youth prize package in each region. This is awarded to the angler 16 and under in each region who catches the largest summer flounder. You will certify this on your weigh slips and include the anglers name and age. If weighing in for a youth, they must be present at the weigh in.

Is there a women’s division?

No! Women can do anything men can do. Stop asking this question.

How do the Calcutta’s work?

For those of you who don’t know, the Calcutta is basically a winner take all tournament within a tournament. Only those who signup for this optional class are eligible to win. In our tournament there are several, but we have them broken down into options.

Option 1 includes a $50 buy-in for both a 1 fish and 3 fish Calcutta. This is the cheapest Calcutta option*

Option 2 includes the $50 and also $100 Calcutta’s in each 1 and 3 fish.

Option 3 includes the aforementioned choices as well as a $250 entry into the 1 and 3 fish categories.

All options include a bycatch category we’ll discuss later.

Let’s say you enter Option 1 and you catch the largest single fish in the tournament, and in this example you also have the heaviest 3 fish bag. You will win the money from everyone who entered the $50 Calcutta, however, you will not be eligible for the $100 or $250 entry money. On the other hand, if you enter Option 3 and have the same results, you will effectively win all 6 Calcutta options and take all the winnings.

Not all the money however. Your entry money into the Calcutta’s covers you in both regional and overall contests. 65 cents for every Calcutta dollar entered will be paid out regionally. While 25 cents will go to the overall winner. The other 10 cents goes to the Fishing Club (We’re not doing this for free, sorry if that’s surprising news but hey it’s a lot of work!)

It is possible for there to be 22 different Calcutta winners!

Again, looking to level the playing field and increase your chances to win. Here’s something unique we are trying in this tournament:

Bycatch Bag Calcutta!

We’re often greeted with bycatch when looking for summer flounder. These fish are often met with disgruntled anglers then discarded. Well this is your chance to cash in on that “trash”. Our bycatch bag Calcutta is the combined weight of 1 Sea Robin and 1 Sea Bass OR the total weight of 1 Skate. The payout split is identical. You do not need to catch all 3 species, you can weigh in 1 sea robin, 1 sea bass or 1 skate and still be eligible for prize money. Entrants can also weigh in 1 sea bass and 1 sea robin together to increase your odds.

*If you choose to weigh in the skate, you may not weigh in the other species.

Why do a 1 fish contest instead of a bag limit?

We chose a 1-fish tournament as opposed to a 3-fish bag limit to level the playing the field. The thing is, the anglers with more experience and more time on the water are definitely more likely to come through with overall better quality than your weekend warriors or family fishing teams. Nonetheless, there is always some aspect of luck when it comes to fishing and it’s a lot easier to get lucky once then it is 3 times. Some words of wisdom… “Anything can happen at any time.” Position yourself with the right bait in the right spot and with a little luck the right fish is in your box and you’ll be on your way to cash a pretty hefty paycheck for your efforts. There is still a 3 fish Calcutta option which will more than likely carry a much higher payout than the tournament itself.

Where do you think the biggest fish will be caught?

If you haven’t caught on by now, we’re all about an even playing field. That’s why we chose an early season date for this tournament. The big fish can literally come from anywhere. The bay, the ocean, north or south. If we we’re gamblers (and we totally are) we would guess in an inlet, in about 20-30’ of water drifting live bait near structure, but only time will tell.

Here are some hot spots we give the nod; Raritan Bay, Navesink, Shrewsbury, Manasquan Rivers, Sandy Hook Reef, Shrewsbury Rocks, Sea Girt Reef, BB and BI buoys Barnegat Bay, Barnegat Inlet, Axle Carlson Reef, Barnegat Light Reef, Garden State North and South Reefs, Main Marsh Thoroughfare, Broad Creek at Intracoastal, Brigantine Bridge,, Absecon Inlet, Rainbow Channel, Corson’s Inlet, Townsends Inlet, Atlantic City Reef, Ocean Drive Bridge, Old Grounds, Reef Site 11

Any advice?

1. Fish as long as you are physically able to. Spend the entire day on the water if your body and time allows it. Anything can happen at any time. (Where have I heard that before?)

2. Talk to your local tackle shop. Stop into our weigh stations BEFORE the tournament! Tell them you’re fishing the tournament and ask for their advice. They’re business thrives on repeat customers. It is not beneficial to them if you go out and don’t catch fish. They’ll point you in the right direction and make sure you’ve got the proper gear!

3. Don’t forget about the calcutta’s. You have to be in it to win it.

The JCAA tournament lesson. The long running JCAA tournament offers a $50,000 prize if someone is able to catch a fish over 12 pounds. It’s unlikely but again… anything can happen at anytime. In order to win the prize, you need to put in something like $25 to cover the entry. It won’t take too much digging to look around and find the story of the guy who caught it and didn’t enter, and let $50,000 slip away.

4. Register now! Get your money in before June 28th and you’re eligible to win an extra $1,000. You know you’re fishing. There is no reason to wait!

Register now by heading to www.NJFishingClub.com

Reel Reaction Charters – Fishing Report

If you plan on fishing the bay, it’s best to cast net live baits and hit the inlet area. The fluke or summer flounder fishing in the area has been absolutely exceptional for us this year. In our last 3 trips, we boxed 35 fluke and all within the 5hr time limits. When time permits, we have been adding some blackfish action with quick 1-fish limits.

Currently, we have some weekday trips available in September for fluke and we will start running our 3 hour twilight skiff trips for Striped Bass, Weakfish, and Bluefish along some of backbay areas. These trips will focus on light-tackle artificial action with the potential for the NJ Striped Bass Bonus Permits.

October & November will be here before you know it for Striped Bass and Tautog!!

Currently, we are booking for September, October, November, and December. If interested in booking a charter, book through our site (reelreactioncharters.com) or call/text 609-290-7709.   As always, we use the highest quality gear and everything is included: gear, bait, tackle, fish-cleaning, and ICE!  It’s “no worries” fishing.  Just come aboard and FISH. Capt. Brett Taylor ~ www.reelreactioncharters.com ~ Call or Text: 609-290-7709

Reel Reaction Charters – Fishing Report

The bite in the backwaters has been exceptionally good this year with our charters averaging 6-7 keepers per 4 hour trip. We will start targeting the ocean fluke soon in our Parker Sport Cabin, but as for now we are staying in the bay with the bite going on. Our new 20 foot skiff coupled with the MinnKota trolling motor has been amazing on the fluke bite!

We were out Friday July 3rd and the Bob Reim charter boxed 14 keeper Fluke to 5 pounds. The bite slowed a tad for July 4th with the Ralph Rodio charter boxing 6 keepers, but rebounded for July 5th. With the Don McCoy charter hammering 8 keeper Fluke to 6 pounds. On most trips, we are releasing close or over 50 fish.

Yesterday’s action was an EPIC bite with Jerry Fanelli crew boxing their 9 fish limit in just under 4 hours and the afternoon trip was similar with John Wittlieb and his wife Jenna bringing home 8 keepers – one shy of another 3-man limit. Jenna lost a nice one, but they will be out again with me next week.

We have very limited dates left for July, but August has a much better mix of dates available. August is generally a prime month for the ocean fluke bite. If interested in booking a charter, book through our site (reelreactioncharters.com) or call/text 609-290-7709.   As always, we use the highest quality gear and everything is included: gear, bait, tackle, fish-cleaning, and ICE!  It’s “no worries” fishing.  Just come aboard and FISH. Capt. Brett Taylor ~ www.reelreactioncharters.com ~ Call or Text: 609-290-7709

Reel Reaction Charters – Fishing Report

I have been off the water since Father’s Day (6/21/2020) as our newest crew-member decided to come 3 weeks early. Jakob “Jake” Sawyer Taylor was born 7pounds 1oz and 20 inches long. We are all a little tired, but doing well. I will be back on the water 6/30/2020 and will continue doing 2-3 trips a day until September.

Our fluke fishing in the backwaters has been amazing with 6 to 10 keepers per trip coming with regularity and we have been catching on both vessels. The skiff is a little more conducive/productive as we can get into less pressured areas which have been “loaded” with keepers.

If interested in booking a charter, book through our site (reelreactioncharters.com) or call/text 609-290-7709.   As always, we use the highest quality gear and everything is included: gear, bait, tackle, fish-cleaning, and ICE!  It’s “no worries” fishing.  Just come aboard and FISH. Capt. Brett Taylor ~ www.reelreactioncharters.com ~ Call or Text: 609-290-7709

Here are some pics of our recent trips.

Fishing Report – Reel Reaction Charters – More Fluke

We have been running charters nearly everyday and have been using our shallow water vessel to hit the extreme backwaters to find keeper Fluke to 6 pounds. 4hr trips have been averaging 4 to 10 keepers and our last 3 trips had 10, 9, and 9. So the Fluke fishing has been off the charts. The key has been finding the right water temperature for keepers to bite. This week we will start running 2 trips a day until September 6th, when school is back in session and we go back to afternoons and weekends.

We will start hitting some of these same areas for schoolie Stripers in the evening / twilight as this is when they come alive. I have to do some more scouting before we roll these trips out – these will be perfect for light-tackle / fly fishing. More on that in the future!!

If interested in booking a charter, book through our site (reelreactioncharters.com) or call/text 609-290-7709.   As always, we use the highest quality gear and everything is included: gear, bait, tackle, fish-cleaning, and ICE!  It’s “no worries” fishing.  Just come aboard and FISH.

Capt. Brett Taylor ~ www.reelreactioncharters.com ~ Call or Text: 609-290-7709

Fishing Report – Reel Reaction Charters – early June

First, I want to thank all of my return and new clients for waiting for the state to allow us to run trips and our phone has been ringing off the hook as we have been running everyday.. The fishing has been excellent as most of our charters are picking 30 to 45 Fluke with keepers numbers ranging from 2 to 6 keepers per trip. With certain tides on the skiff, we have been adding in some Striped Bass action and filling our Striped Bass bonus tags (24-27.99 inches). The new skiff has performed amazing allowing us to hit areas that do not get pressured.

On the ocean front, the Sea Bass fishing has been excellent as reported from local captains. Our Parker Sport Cabin is back up and running as we had a slight issue which was delayed our Sea Bassing – due to the slow COVID shipping of the engine part. We will continue to run everyday (2 trips per day on weekends) and starting June 15th will begin running 2 trips per day through September. With two vessels, we can target inshore to 30 miles, backwaters to 1 foot depths, and everything in between.

If interested in booking a charter, book through our site (reelreactioncharters.com) or call/text 609-290-7709.   As always, we use the highest quality gear and everything is included: gear, bait, tackle, fish-cleaning, and ICE!  It’s “no worries” fishing.  Just come aboard and FISH.

Capt. Brett Taylor ~ www.reelreactioncharters.com ~ Call or Text: 609-290-7709

Fishing Report – Reel Reaction Charters May 2020

I hope everybody is getting through COVID as we are in a holding pattern unable to run charters for March, April, and HOPEFULLY on a small part of May. The Tog fishing for April was absolutely outstanding as I ran Tog trips for my son, wife, and father. We released a good amount of fish over 9 pounds and tried to keep only males as the females have been busting at the seems with eggs. Striped Bass in the back, although many shorts, have been very fun to catch on light tackle.

We added a second boat for the 2020 season and beyond – this is a shallow water skiff able to go in depths of 7 inches, but offers an ultra stable platform. Special 3 hr and 4 hr trips will be offered along with a variety of pickup locations (Barnegat Light, Waretown, Ship Bottom, Barnegat). I plan on focusing mainly on artificials for Striped Bass, Fluke, Bluefish, even Weakfish and will offer evening charters.

I’m tentatively planning on running for May 15 (Sea Bass opener), but still waiting for the NJ Governor’s official “GO” for charter and headboats. Once up and running, we will be running 7 days a week from June 18 to September. May 15th to June 18th will be mostly weekends and the occasional weekday – Sea Bass, Striped Bass, Bluefish, and Fluke (when it opens) will be the main target species.

If interested in booking a charter, book through our site (reelreactioncharters.com) or call/text 609-290-7709.   As always, we use the highest quality gear and everything is included: gear, bait, tackle, fish-cleaning, and ICE!  It’s “no worries” fishing.  Just come aboard and FISH.

Capt. Brett Taylor ~ www.reelreactioncharters.com ~ Call or Text: 609-290-7709

Fishing Report 2020 – Reel Reaction Charters

White Perch Action:

It’s been an extremely mild winter, but I still can’t wait for Spring. I did have the opportunity to use the kayak and hit some of our southern backwaters for White Perch. Grass Shrimp has been the key for strictly White Perch – Bloodworms producing less Perch, but more Striped Bass. Areas in Beach Haven West might start producing with warmer winter waters.

WINTER Maintenance: For most anglers, this is the time of the year to do REEL MAINTENANCE and I have personally used FHQ for some of my reels as they offer great workmanship and ultra-fast turnarounds for reel servicing.

WINTER HAPPENINGS – Fishing Shows and Scheduling 2020 trips.

There are some potential new happenings for 2020: We are about to pull the trigger on a 19ft Flats/Skiff boat as part of our shallow water fishing fleet and mobile charters; AND we are in the process of adding another USCG licensed captain with a center console, among other things.

If our new skinny water boat is ready, we can hit the shallows for fly-fishing and light-tackle action on Striped Bass as we will be able to run in little as 7 inches of water

2020 SPLASH DATE

Our tentative splash date will be April 1st and we will be targeting Striped Bass, Winter Flounder, Bluefish, and Blackfish (State & Federel regulations dependent).

Booking note – Early July may be a little challenging as my son has a 5-day baseball tournament, but we will roll with the tide for that. Other than that – we are running 7 days a week from June through September.

If interested in booking a charter, book through our site (reelreactioncharters.com) or call/text 609-290-7709.   As always, we use the highest quality gear and everything is included: gear, bait, tackle, fish-cleaning, and ICE!  It’s “no worries” fishing.  Just come aboard and FISH.

Capt. Brett Taylor ~ www.reelreactioncharters.com ~ Call or Text: 609-290-7709

Fishing Transitions into Summer

As the spring season winds down and we transition into summer new fishing opportunities arise… Read On!

Crabbing has been on fire all spring and it continues! We are looking forward to an awesome summer of crabbing. Here’s a photo of Richie Southwick with one of many nice blue claw crab hauls. Richie is doing great with the feisty blue crabs.

This is the last push for Black Sea Bass! The NJ Black Sea Bass Fishing Season closes Sunday June 18th. It will reopen on July 1st with a bag limit of two fish at 12.5″

The Carolyn Ann III reports, “The last two days of fishing were pretty good. Still a lot of shorts to weed through but the keepers are there! This Sunday is the last day for us to go Sea Bassing as the season closes. Starting Monday we will be targeting everyone’s favorite flat fish, the summer flounder aka fluke. Come aboard!”

Austin Pounds shared this yesterday,”Fluke are in the wash! Toss out a 1/2oz bucktail topped with a Gulp white swim mullet and they are all over it.” Austin has been targeting and catching fluke off the surf all season. He has some really nice sized fish to show too. This surf based fishery traditionally is great all summer long. Just a heads up there’s a possibility that we’ll get some upwelling. Depending on how drastic the temp swing is with the event, it could effect things. A quick cold snap in the water temperature due to upwelling shocks fish and can lock jaw a bite like a flip of the switch.

Another report came from Austin on the beach shark fishing. “And so it begins! They are here so gear up and soak some whole bunker. We got our season’s first sand tiger off the surf yesterday.”

Another surf sharking report came from ApexAnglers… “The 2017 NJ surf shark season begins with a bang! Two personal bests. Dan’s largest sand tiger to date measuring 8’2″. Seconds after Dan’s fish a 6’2″ sandbar shark takes the 9/0 with an eel. Then towards the end of the night a massive  7’7″ sand bar shark. The largest we’ve seen and possibly the largest caught off the surf in NJ. What a super successful early season trip. The action will only heat up from here.” Check out Apex Anglers for more details on NJ’s premier land based shark fishing guide service.

Sharking inshore/offshore has been good. We’ve heard reports of a couple large makos. Numerous customers reporting blue sharks out the wazzoo making for frustration but action non the less. In the past week we got some positive news on threshers 3-6 miles off the beach.

Like always, Joe Shute Lures are pulling tuna! These lures are about as consistent as they come. Don’t leave the dock without ’em! Store staffer Dan DiPasquale got offshore recently and has this report to share… “Our first offshore trip of the year resulted in our first bigeye. The good water we were after unfortunately pushed off making it all very difficult. Fished three different canyons with a water temp of 59-60 degrees. Took a couple hours but we finally got the right bite. It went for red headed Joe Shute. Nice way to kick off the year on the boat, still very early. There is a very good bluefin bite and yellowfin bite to the south of us right now, hopefully we get another good push of water soon!”

The striped bass bite off northern NJ as been very good this week. Lots of anglers out of the northern ports reported an awesome bite. Many local anglers headed up that way to get in on the action and had a blast. Both Waterman Charters and Shore Catch Guide Service has been dialed in on the bite. Here’s one report from Captain Gene from Shore Catch, “Last night was one for the record books! Epic cast and blast on topwater poppers. Kept one for the table and released over 20 all over 40 pounds.” Now that’s some great fishing. Below is Captain Gene boat side releasing a quality striped bass that fell for a pencil popper.


Pete Utschig wanted to share this post. The photo below is a beautiful striped bass that Pete caught one morning earlier this month. He had three nice bass that morning.

Moments like this, shared with friends, family, and even strangers is what makes it all worth while! It’s been a tough spring up and down the east coast. Besides some very spotty big fish bites the bass have been almost non existent. We need to WAKE UP!!! No more excuses or pointing fingers. We need to educate our friends and neighbors to stop killing breeder bass. We need to protect our precious resource and pastime. Until regulations change we can’t stop the endless charter boat slaughter, but if you have friends going on a fishing trips take five minutes to tell them about your love of fishing. Explain why instead of fishing in their local bay or inlet they have to steam 3 miles out to find the only body of fish we have left. Try and convince them to keep one fish per group not five fifty pound fish. We all love fishing for different reasons. I love it for the smile on a kids face when you hand him your pole on the beach and let him reel in his first fish. I love the 4am excited call from a buddy that you helped teach how to fish after he gets in on his first reel big fish bite. I love meeting guys just like me who just want to travel, laugh, (drink a couple cold ones) and catch fish. I just love fishing for the fun of it! Let’s protect our resource before we lose it forever!

With a sad and heavy heart I share the news on the recent passing of John Sweet. I had the pleasure of knowing the kind, generous man who did so much for others. He’ll be greatly missed in our community. Here is John’s obituary from Maxwell Funeral Home.

John F. “Tiderunner” Sweet, 78, of Ship Bottom, NJ passed away June 14, 2017 at his home. Born in Camden, NJ, son of Helen and John Sweet.  He moved to Cherry Hill and married Lois Zuzga Sweet who passed away too soon.  Together they had three children, Susan Lucas, Amy Smalfus, and Jane Faiola. He is survived by 9 grandchildren: Zachary and Melissa Johnson, Alexander, Nicholas and Gabriella Faiola and Rachael and Amanda Smalfus and Alexander and Victoria Duffy. He is survived by his loving wife, Joan Duffy Sweet, of 31 years, and her children, Christopher and Kathryn, who have been a great blessing to him.

He lived Medford, NJ with Joan for 18 years just prior to Ship Bottom where he resided for the last 14 years. His passion for fishing was well know, and he served as President and Treasurer of the Long Beach Island Fishing Club.  John initiated a fishing program for the LBIFC for wives, children and significant others called the Powder Puff Derby.   He was an active member of the LBIFC for over thirty years and served in many other capacities: teaching fishing at the Surf City Library, teaching casting and fishing at the Hooked on Fishing Not on Drugs and participated in numerous fishing tournaments throughout his life.  He has many “winning plaques” because of his knowledge of the surf and the correct fishing gears to use.  He leaves a huge emptiness in the countless lives he has touched.  He was an active member of the Ship Bottom Fire House, and served as a Fire Police.  John volunteered at Southern Ocean County Medical Center for 8 years where he helped out in the Same Day Surgery Department.  In addition, he was an active member of the Kiwanis and participate in their many events.  John was active in St. Francis of Assisi Church serving as a Eucharist Minister as well as assisting the Secular Franciscans in their activities.  John was loved and respected by all and he deeply changed many lives for the better.  He always wanted to be remembered “as doing his best for everyone.”

A Memorial Mass will be held at St. Francis Church, 4700 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach Twp., NJ 08008 on Thursday, June 22, 2017, 11AM.  Relatives and friends may greet the family from 10AM to 11AM in the church.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the St. Francis Food Panty at the same address as the Church.