Fish On

New fluke quota bad news for local anglers

Ron Nuzzolo

With cold weather finally moving into our area, charter boat and party boat captains exercised caution due to the wintry mix of ice, snow and wind.

With gale warnings in effect, this is the time of year to stay on top of the marine forecasts and be willing to cancel a trip when questionable. Bad weather will take the fun right out of sport fishing. Safety is everything.

There was big news this week affecting all N.J. anglers. The 2007 Fluke Quota has been announced. The National Marine Fishery service reported the total allowable landing level (TAL) at 17.1 million pounds of summer flounder. This will be divided into 10.2 million pounds for commercial fishermen and the recreational harvest limit will be 6.8 million pounds, with the balance of 389,000 pounds set aside for research.

On Jan. 12 the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation & Management Act was signed by President Bush. This has extended the rebuilding target for fluke from 2010 to 2013, which for now eliminated the over-fishing problem and allowed the service to recalculate the 2007 quota.

The Recreational Fishing Alliance, along with thousands of N.J. anglers, fought to get quotas closer to 18 million pounds. The 17.1 million pounds is the lowest since 2000, according to the RFA. Anglers should be aware that they will face tougher regulations. Don’t be surprised to see a 17.5-inch minimum size limit and a shorter season starting in June and ending late August. And, six fish per angler could mean stress on N.J. businesses that rely on the fluke season for revenue.

Did you know?

Go in the attic and dust off those old Penn reels. You remember the Jig Master and Squid Master; well, they may be worth some money. This week Shakespeare Fishing tackle in Columbia S.C., has announced the acquisition of Penn Fishing Tackle Mfg. Co. Co-founded in 1932, Penn was the market leader in salt water rods and reels. I hope Shakespeare can follow through with the same service and workmanship as Penn did for 75 years.

Attention, grades four through eight. The 2007 Fish Art and Essay Contest is on. The contest helps meet the N.J. core curriculum content standards for science. Entries must be received by March 9. Your artwork and essay should be about a local species of fish. The top three entrants in each grade are invited to the Pequest Trout Hatchery and Natural Resource Education Center in Oxford (along with their immediate family and teacher) to fish at the education pond on opening day, April 7, of the trout season. Winners will also receive their award at a special luncheon sponsored by N.J. Chapters of Trout Unlimited. For more details log on to www.njfishingandwildlife.com. This is a great time for the family to break out the crayons and markers and start practicing your art and essay skills.

Recipe of the week

I would like to start introducing recipes that will complement local seafood caught in our waters. If you wish to share a recipe, please e-mail me at ron@signbrothers.com.

Tony’s Mexican Inspired Striped Bass

Get the net: 4 out of 5 nets

Comment: Wow, had a nice after bite.

Difficulty: simple

2 medium striped bass filets (at least

1-inch thick)

1 can Goya Black Beans

1 teaspoon spicy horseradish

1 tablespoon Grey Poupon mustard

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

sea salt

fresh ground pepper

Season filets with a generous portion of salt and pepper to taste on each side. Place on foil covered with olive oil on BBQ over high heat. Cook on each side for approximately 3-4 minutes. Set aside.

Combine black beans, mustard, and horseradish in a sauté pan over low heat for five minutes. Fork mash the beans while over heat. Place bean mixture over filets and enjoy. (I also recommend a side dish- sautéed broccoli rabe)

Chef: Antonio Sgotto, Lake Hopatcong.