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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know all you old salts already know this but wanted to pass this info on to anyone that it may help:
My 2 friends and I caught and released about 30 undersize flounder today... many were guthooked and I felt relly bad releasing them in that condition. There are a lot of flounder swimming the Rappa with jewelry now. We tried hooking the minnows differently, setting the hook quickly, etc., still the same results. We were using #1 and #2 J hooks and Aberdeens. We switched to 2/0 Kahle wide-gap and 3/0 J hooks and hooked every one in the side of the mouth. Amazingly we didn't have any less hookups! Actually seemed like more hookups - every time I had a minnow get molested I caught a fish.
Hopefully those hooks rust out and those fish come back next year a couple inches bigger...
 

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I've used circles exclusively for bait fishing, including flounder. Use anything from #1 to #4/0 for flounder, croaker, etc. Had good luck with flounder using a 2/0 circle with either a squid strip or a minnow on it, sometimes a sandwich. Also had good luck using a small busktail teaser on the leader, mainly charteuse (sp?).

Khales are pretty good but, I think circles are better to prevent a gut hook.
 

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I like a #6 bronze kahle hook. That way it can rust out fast in case it's guthooked or snaps off.
 

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Where at on Rappa

Keezy,

Curious as to where on the Rappa you were fishing at.

My Grandparents have a place directly across the river from Urbanna I was going to try next weekend. Just wondering if you fished that section of the river this year at all or heard of anything biting up that way.

:D
 

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same thing happened to me

i fished the hrbt today and had 2 hooks in gills. one of the fish was a keeper but i got the hook out gently and threw him back.

whats the deal with circle hook's? do you set the hook or just reel it in when you feel them grab bait?

i saw i article in the in fisherman about hooks in gills yesterday. push it threw the gill plate if you can and cut the line on the other side you'll save the hook and it'll reek a lot less havok on the gills if your worried about the loss of a hook.

fished incoming tide. caught 1: 19 1/2 flounder on cut croaker and a whole lot of little ones on squid/cut bait.

caught 5 croaker on squid

24" striper on cut bait.

had a good hit buy something with teeth on cut bait. it hit on a flounder rig. it sliced threw 12' leader after one tug.
 

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Castaway: No need to set the hook, especially on flounder. As the fish turns away after taking the bait, the hook slides around and normally catches the side of the mouth. Keep the rod-tip up and reel in, no slack or the the hook may come out if the fishy is heading towards you.

poleant: The only time I've had a problem keeping bait on was last weekend at sandbridge. That was squid. I'm thinking it was a combination of old bait and maybe tearing at the hole when I put the bait on. My son had no problems. Musta been me. :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Guys - Thanks for the tips on circle hooks. I'll pick some up for my next trip. Judging from other threads the Gamas are the way to go - are they stainless or will they rust?

Dixie- I haven't made it down to the river much this year.
Saturday I was fishing near the bridge in a boat. I don't know of any shore access around there. There is a pier/dock next to the bridge on the Whitestone side. Looks like its on "Old Ferry Rd", probably an old ferry dock. I don't know if it is private or public but if it can be accessed it would be a great fishing spot. Maybe you could check it out next weekend and let us know.
There were a lot of boats on the channel edge in front of Parrot Island, looked like the spot fleet.
 

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yep

the bite is definetly on there heard of large numbers of spot being takn there med to large sizes goin back there in a wk to get mine :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
stainless hooks

I like to use plain steel hooks b/c they rust. the reason I asked is I saw a lot of Gamakatsu stainless hooks last time I was at the store and didn't buy them for that reason.
 

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If you fish on shore you have to be realistic that the summer time will yield 25-50 undersized flounder for every keeper.

If you are going to fish with minnows with small hook during the summer and let your rod stand still, there is a good chance of a gut hook. If you don't want to gut hook, don't fish for them in the summer using the conventional wisdom for catching flounders. It just would not be wise to let the fish take it and count to 5 before you set the hook especially if you are getting a puny rod bend. This is just not fair to the small flounder. You should know the difference between a big flounder bite and a little flounder bite.

If you are going to fish for flounders on shore with a small hook, make sure you move your bait which will reduce chance of a gut hook. Or use larger hooks.

Even in the fall, there is a fair amount of undersized flounders. Most are ok with a #2/0 hook. I use a skinny bronze Eagle Claw Khale hook. I believe this makes the minnow more lively. It is strange, but I do get more gut hooks with a smaller flounder than a large one. It's cheap so you don't mind cutting it if necessary.

I suspect the reason why the size limit is so high (17.5 inches) in Virginia is because they know that there are tons of undersized fish during the summer that are so easy to catch. They rather folks didn't fish for them in the summer. Can you imagine if the limit was 13 inches like it was a decade ago?

I do wish that Va adopts an even number system (like 17 or 18 inches rather than 17.5). This half an inch stuff is just too much.
 

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I talked to John Lucy about flounder a while back. He did an extensive study on release mortality.

First about 50% of the gut hooked fish live if you just cut the hook off. They just pass the hook through in a day or two. The critical matter is the direction that the hook is facing if it is facing one way it punctures the heart sack and they die. The other way and they live.

He said that cale hooks were more likely to hook them in the mouth than circle hooks but indicated that circle hooks were better than J-hooks.

Oh and on the size limits. They are set so that VA can try to stay under a target harvest. That target is set by the Mid Atlantic Fisheries Council, via the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. The good news is that the target is set to increase by about 18% next year. The bad news is that I doubt that the limit will be moved below 16.5 inches. It would not surprise me if the limit were dropped down a little more in future years.

Tom
 

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I've gone ONLY with Circle hooks for the last two years when I use live mullet or menhaden and strips of cut fish for flounder. Small ones, usually wire thin 1/0 ones.

And I can think of maybe two flounder that ended up gut hooked and those were fish that hit an unattended rod and literally sucked the bait into their stomach and sat their with it while I was doing something else.

Now, I don't fish a ton with live bait, but I do use the cut bait, and you do have to learn to simple raise the rod and begin a steady reel to get them hooked. Early on I yanked a lot of hooks out of flounder mouths when I was trying to pound them.

As for jigs, about 1 in 75 or so ends up with me having to cut the line and leave the lead head in. I've caught them with hooks, double-bottom rigs and lead heads in their mouths or wrapped around their bodies, so I know they CAN live if not overhandled on the dock.

As for the small minnows on small hooks, I tag a lot of those that my fishing friends catch ... and some are released with the small hooks in them ... and we're all pretty gentle with them, and some of them are recaught later.

But I still put my money on the circle hook for less gut-hooking and less damage to them than any other kind of hook.

THROW MORE / SOME / ANY / MAYBE A FEW BACK

Jake Ace
 
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