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

Reel Reaction Charters – Fishing Report

With lesser tidal current, the backbay Fluke fishing is definitely start to improve, but we still have to contend with slime grass and close to 20 degree temperature swings.  The key has been to finding cleaner water and you can really do some damage when the wind is close to calm.  We have been averaging 20 to over 35 fish per trip and the keepers are varying 1 to 5 depending on the winds.  With the end of the school year and finals, I got a little behind on my reports (too many to list here), so check them out on our website (www.reelreactioncharters.com), click on reports.  I’m out of school and I’m running charters 7 days a week through September 1st.

We are 7 days a week (morning/afternoon). If interested in booking a charter, book our site (www.reelreactioncharters.com) or call/text 609-290-7709.   As always, we use the highest quality gear and everything is included: gear, 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 Update – April 29, 2018

Here is the Long Beach Island, report update for Sunday April 29, 2018

The weekend’s beautiful weather got the Island moving and offered great opportunity to wet a line.

Chris Kelly stopped in and signed up for the Spring Surf Fishing Tournament. He hit the surf and got a keeper bass. He currently has the only fish on the board at 8.2 pounds. The

More reports of small – baby bass off the surf and in the bay. Anglers are catching using bait and lures. If going the bait route be sure to rig up with smaller hooks (4/0) and use bloodworms, clam or bunker. Anglers fishing jigs (bucktails as well as softbaits like Fin-S, Slugos and the super popular just restocked in four colors, Kettle Creek Paddle Tail Swim Baits) and metals (1/2-1oz Kastmaster on the surf) are doing very good too.

Small striped bass caught by youth angler off the LBI surf.
Here’s a super stoked youth anglers that took part in this weekend’s surf fishing tournament. All of the sharpies said this kid is going to be the real deal. He is already turning heads as high hook!

As Bob MacMaster (one of Southern Regional Fishing Club’s Coaches said, “Tackle boxes are way better than Xboxes!”

This weekend Tyler Medica got his first largemouth bass of the season! Really nice bucket mouth for a local fishing lake.

It was a perfect late April beach day for the ASAC sanctioned Nicole Born Surf Fishing Tournament yesterday. As per our previous report, only three legal fish were entered; two drum, one bass. Fish have to be “legal size” to be scored so the abundance of short bass didn’t add up to anything. Fifteen year old JT Hille with the Southern Regional High School Fishing Team got the only qualifying striped bass, 28.5″ linesider that took piece of bunker.

Here’s JT with his winning striped bass that was a clean sweep; First, Second and Third Place Junior as well as Second Place Team. He took home two trophies!

Here’s Reggi Vasta of the Women’s Surf Fishing Club who caught the largest fish of the day. about to score her winning black drum

Here’s Reggi Vasta about to score her winning black drum.

Ken Wheeler enjoyed the day fishing the tournament. He got one of the more notable catches, photo below. The May 25th Opening Day NJ Fluke can’t get here soon enough!

Ken Wheeler caught this 18″ fluke off of the LBI surf. This is most likely the first fluke caught off of the surf this season. Way to go Ken!

With offshore season right around the corner things are starting to look interesting out there.

On May 12th at 6pm The Forked River Tuna Club is having their “Get Ready For The Season Seminar” with Tom Novack, Joseph Mitchell and Mark Finelli. Free Admission, Cash Bar, Seminars Start at 6:30pm. The Forked River Tuna Club is located at 18 Bay Ave, Forked River, NJ

2018 NJ Fluke Fishing Regulations – Summer Flounder

2018 NJ Fluke Fishing Regulations Are Set

Updated Version

Fluke – Summer Flounder

Open Season from May 25th to Sept 22, 2018: 18″ Minimum Size with a 3 fish bag limit. Special Exceptions: Delaware Bay (and Tributaries) 3 fish at 17″, Island Beach State Park 2 fish at 16″.

Black Sea Bass

May 15th to June 22nd: 10 fish at 12.5”

July 1st to August 31st: 2 fish at 12.5”

October 8th to October 31st: 10 fish at 12.5”

November 1st to December 31st:  15 fish at 13”

“At the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council meeting on April 5th, the (recreational) 2018 NJ Fluke Fishing Regulations as well as Black Sea Bass were set. However, problems might exist with the sea bass regulations as states to our north have filed an appeal with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. They threaten to go out of compliance. The process is pretty complicated but they are going after a portion of New Jersey’s quota. Depending on the outcome of the appeal our sea bass regulations may change. [Update: They did not change!] I will keep you posted as things develop further.” ~ Paul Haertel, Jersey Coast Anglers Association

A top priority for the JCAA was to close the gap between the fluke season close and the open of sea bass. This period of time (September) is a great time to enjoy fishing in the state of New Jersey. But government regulations in years past left inshore anglers with weeks of little to nothing. The 2017 NJ Fluke Season closed on September 5th and cut most all of the prime time inshore reef fishing. The early September close also kept surf anglers from working the suds. September is always a great month full of opportunities for fluke fishing and fortunately in 2018 NJ saltwater anglers will be able to enjoy.

Stepping back and taking a look, it’s great to see the same size and bag as last year. While three fish at 18″ isn’t a perfect world, it is a regulation that most can live with. What’s important to everyone is the additional days. The majority are very happy except some from the southern portion of the state who expressed disappointment. South Jersey fluke anglers really want an earlier start and you can’t blame them! The early season offers  great backwaters fishing and anglers want to get in on the action.

Here’s J. Bailey with a pair of quality fluke he caught fishing the backwaters of Barnegat Bay in 2017.

Long Beach Island is unique and sort of caught in a pickle. Being centrally located we call ourselves South Jersey but technically we are South Central Jersey. LBI shares features of both its North Jersey and South Jersey coast neighbors yet still holds unique prowess. With both vast backwaters, two inlets, great surf fishing beaches and a strong network of inshore reefs, LBI’s surrounding waters offer some of New Jersey’s best fluke fishing early, mid and late season. The area is well known year in and year out for trophy doormats.

Dave Auger with a pool winner fluke he caught aboard the Carolyn Ann III fishing out of Barnegat Light in 2017.

We are looking forward to the 2018 Fluke Fishing Season and hope you are too. Now’s the time to prep. The last couple of years bucktailing for fluke has exploded. For many many years sharpies were dialed in and out catching the fleets. However, in recent years more anglers learned and adapted the tap dancing technique. I would be willing to guess three quarters or more of fluke anglers bucktail.

Fluke love Spro Bucktail Jigs especially when tipped off with Gulp and fished activly.

Those looking to learn about bucktailing fluke (very different from targeting striped bass on bucktail lures) should stop by the shop and ask a Fish Head team member. We are here to help and share information.

The past few years our best selling (and out producing the imitators / competition) bucktail was the Spro Prime Bucktail Jig that we stock in a great assortment of fishy colors and in more sizes than possibly any tackle retailer in the country. We have Spro Bucktials from as large as 8oz for anglers working deep water or those fishing rough or heavy drift conditions to as light as Spro’s Baby and Mini Bucktail which go as light as 1/8 and 1/16oz. These little bucktail jigs have accounted for many double digit fish when rigged as a teaser.

For all of those DIY rig tyers, we have a large selection top quality hooks from Gamakatsu, Owner and Mustad as well as all of the hard to find components that are sure to set your rigs off from the rest.

Best Of Luck Fishing The 2018 NJ Fluke Season!

Fisheries News – 2018 Fluke & Sea Bass Options

2018 FLUKE AND SEA BASS OPTIONS

by Paul Haertel JCAA Board Member/Past President

Below are the options for fluke and sea bass that the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council will consider at their next meeting on 04/05/2018 at 5 PM at the Bay Ave Community Center located at 775 East Bay Ave, Manahawkin, NJ 08050.  The public will have an opportunity to give their opinions before the council votes on which options to adopt.
A top priority for Jersey Coast Anglers Association (JCAA) is to close the gap between when fluke season ends and sea bass season begins. We certainly don’t want to go seven weeks with little to fish for inshore as we had to do last year after fluke season ended on 09/05/2017. I will post the final regulations on the JCAA Facebook page on Thursday evening. Please “like” our page to keep abreast of the regulations and other important fisheries news.

Here’s a group of happy youth anglers who fished aboard the Carolyn Ann III this past summer (2017). Fluke and sea bass are great summer time fishing species that offer fun for the whole family.

Fluke Options:
1.) 5/25 – 9/22  3 fish 18”
2.) 5/22 – 9/20  3 fish 18”
3.) 5/15 – 9/16  3 fish 18”
(The special regulations of 3 fish at 17” for Delaware Bay and 2 fish at 16” for Island Beach are expected to remain the same)

Sea Bass Options:

 

   Option 1:
May 23 – June 30, 10 fish, 12.5 inches
July 1 – August 31, 2 fish, 12.5 inches
October 8 – October 31, 10 fish, 12.5 inches

November 1 – December 31, 15 fish, 13 inches

   Option 2:
May 15 – June 22, 10 fish, 12.5 inches
July 1 – August 31, 2 fish, 12.5 inches
October 8 – October 31, 10 fish, 12.5 inches

November 1 – December 31, 15 fish, 13 inches

   Option 3:
June 9 – June 30, 10 fish, 12.5 inches
July 1 – August 31, 2 fish, 12.5 inches
October 1 – October 31, 15 fish, 12.5 inches
November 1 – December 31, 15 fish, 12.5 inches