|Paralichthys dentatus, summer flounder or fluke|
The size and possession limits are as follows:
Island Beach State Park (shore fishing): 2 fish at 16”
Delaware Bay and Tributaries: 3 fish at 17”
All other marine waters: 3 fish at 18”
The summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus) is a marine flatfish that is found in the Atlantic Ocean off the East coast of the United States and Canada. It is especially abundant in waters from North Carolina to Massachusetts.
The summer flounder is also called a fluke. It is a member of the large-tooth flounder family Paralichthyidae. There are typically 5 to 14 ocellated (eye-like) spots on the body.
Like most members of the left-eye flounders, they can change the color and pattern of their dark side to match the surrounding bottom, and are also capable of rapidly burrowing into muddy or sandy bottoms.
Watch out - their teeth are quite sharp and well developed on both upper and lower jaws.
The average summer flounder reaches sexual maturity at 2 years and weighs 1 to 3 pounds, typically 15 to 20 inches in length, though they may grow as large as 26 pounds and live up to 20 years with females making up the largest and oldest specimens.
Adults are highly predatory and considered mostly piscivorous (carnivorous animal that eats primarily fish) and often stays buried with only their head exposed to ambush prey which includes sand lance, menhaden, atlantic silverside, mummichog killifish, small bluefish, porgies, squid, shrimp, and crabs.
They are primarily a bottom fish. They are rapid swimmers over short distances and so they can become very aggressive, feeding actively at mid-depths, and even chasing prey to the surface.
Remember you need to go online for your NJ Salt Water Registration - but it is FREE - before you throw that bait into the water. See the "Attention Anglers" summary sheet for more information at nj.gov/dep/saltwaterregistry/