Summer flounder, popularly known as fluke, is a large-toothed flatfish that lives in estuarine and coastal waters from Nova Scotia to Florida. These bottom-dwellers have been nicknamed “chameleons of the sea” because of their ability to change colour to blend in with the seafloor. Their namesake comes from the fact that they migrate inshore during summer months.
Summer flounder are brown or gray on their backs with white bellies. Their backs are spotted with at least five of these dark spots arranged in a distinctive “X” pattern. They grow up to three feet and have both eyes on their left side. This flatfish is very popular due to his lean meat, delicate flavour and fine texture.
Summer flounder grow quickly and have a relatively short life, ranging from 12 to 14 years. They reach maturity at age two to three and spawn in the fall and early winter when they migrate offshore. Females release 460,000 to 4 million eggs, which hatch in the waters of the continental shelf. Currents pull the drifting larvae towards coastal and estuary areas where they develop into juveniles. At this point, the fish undergo a metamorphosis as their eyes gradually migrate to the left side of their head and the body flattens. The young flounder spend their first year in eelgrass beds of inshore areas. Mature fish live their life burrowing into seafloor sand, spending winters offshore and summers inshore. They eat a mixed diet of fish and invertebrates throughout their life.
Rod and Reel
This fishery uses a rod, reel and lure or baited hook trailed behind a vessel at low speed to catch fish. Each fish is individually hooked and hauled aboard by hand.
This fishery uses a large cone-shaped net that is dragged along the seafloor to catch fish. As the net is towed at low speed, hydrodynamic forces push two "otter boards" outwards opening the mouth of the net and capturing fish in its path.