What’s the Jersey Shore’s Craziest Fish?
There is one particular fish at the Jersey Shore that is the most popular and does the best tricks!!!
Fluke are NJ's most popular recreational saltwater species, according to the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife. Thousands of dads, moms, grandparents, and kids come to the Jersey Shore each year with the hope of catching a few 'keepers.'
Here's what's so fascinating about fluke. First off, fluke and flounder are flat, bottom-dwelling fish. They swim upright like other fish when they are born...but soon begin to lie on one side. But since that then means that one of their eyes is facing the bottom of the sea....that eye MIGRATES TO THE SIDE THAT IS FACING UP!!!! So they end up with two eyes on one side of their face!
Here's another crazy thing about fluke or summer flounder: they are masters of disguise and are able to change the appearance of their skin to match the colors and textures that surround them! So they can look like sand one minute, and rocks the next. When they come near the surface to feed, their skin becomes nearly see-through to avoid predators.
And check this out: A scientist once put a flounder on a checkerboard and in about a minute the fish's body started to look like the black and white squares of the game board!!!
That's what makes these fish different from winter flounder (also called True flounder,) which is a right-side-up fish.
Fluke or summer flounder are more abundant in the warmer months and have bigger mouths and teeth than winter flounder. With these large mouths and strong teeth, they feed on a variety of fish, crabs, sand shrimp, and squid. They are big eaters and grow much larger than winter flounder. Some say their diet also makes them taste better than winter flounder, which spend most of their time near the muddy seafloor eating worms, plankton, and small crustaceans.
It's fluke season in our state through September 5th and you can catch and keep up to 3 fluke (also known as summer flounder) a day as long as they are over 18 inches.
If you want to know all of the regulations for fishing at the Jersey Shore, the NJ Sea Grant Consortium distributes recreational fishing regulation cards. You can get them free of charge at our NJNG Asbury Park Boardwalk Studios, or at most marinas, bait & tackle shops, tourism centers, or directly from the Consortium. The laminated cards even have a ruler on them to measure your catch to be certain it meets size requirements.