On the morning of Wednesday, August 7, I had a lengthy conversation with good friend John Frione about the recent striped bass fishing success, or lack thereof, that we both had been experiencing. Our conversation ran to usual gamut of talk from the water temperature to bait and so on, but we kind of ended the conversation on a different note than usual. Just before we ended things, he mentioned that the fluke fishing in his area of Long Island Sound had been somewhat slow lately. I responded, “Head east… I have heard of some good catches off Niantic.” If only I knew at that moment just how good the fishing was going to be later that day I would have made a B-Line for the area myself!
Fast forward a few hours and I found myself hard at work on the magazine. An email popped into my inbox from our Long Island associate editor, Captain Joe Wenegenofsky. It was titled, “CT State Record Fluke” and directed me to a post he came across on Facebook. I quickly hopped online, found the post which simply stated “Just saw the NEW STATE RECORD fluke… – at Mago Point Marina” and I began the task of tracking down the story. A quick call was made to advertising sales manager Dale Nicholson as he lives just down the road from the marina in question, and he tracked down a name and phone number of the lucky angler. I made a call to him but unfortunately hit his voicemail. Not wanting to be a pest—yet—I left a voicemail requesting a call back and went to dinner with my wife (all the time checking my phone like a teenage girl waiting for a text back from her crush.)
Dinner passed, we returned home and not a minute after I walked into my house my phone rang with an unidentifiable number popping up in the caller ID. I eagerly answered, hoping it would be the fluke guy and not another telemarketer. On the other end was Tobey Sweet of Ellington, CT. After I verified the rumor and congratulated him several times, I got down to the business of extracting a few details of the catch. The specs of this true behemoth doormat fluke came in at 31 inches long and 14.85 pounds. Now while I am no fluke pro, that is still more than double the weight of my best fluke to date and one of the largest that I have heard of being landed in local waters in quite some time!
When asked to give a general region where the record catch was made, Tobey simply replied, “Let’s just say somewhere off of Black Point [Niantic]. That is a large area but I don’t want to give away my exact spot.” I was happy with the response and chuckled to myself as even that may have been more specific than I would be had I just landed such a large fish!
Tobey set out for the day to fish the super-secret spot along with good friend and fishing partner of 15 years, John Antolini. The duo first realized this spot's potential a few weeks earlier when they started banging 4-pound black sea bass on diamond jigs meant for bluefish. They figured if the sea bass were so willing to take a jig, then why not drop some squid down and see what happens? Well, as it turned out, this ended up being an epic hotspot as they immediately started nailing quality sea bass as well as some impressive fluke. Just a week earlier Tobey landed fluke of 5.5 and 10.45 pounds, the latter being his personal-best prior to the morning of August 7, on this exact set of numbers.
So Tobey set up the drift on the incoming tide in his 18-foot Maycraft center console and lined up for the reef which had been so productive on recent trips. The seas were dead-calm and it was shaping up to be a perfect early August day on the water, but they had no idea what was in store for them. Down went a whole squid with a basic white skirt and he was immediately into a solid pick of fluke to 25 inches and 4-plus-pound black sea bass—not too shabby by any means! The bite was really good for about 45 minutes and then Tobey set up on what he swore was the bottom before he felt the tell-tale headshakes as the behemoth fluke took his whole squid. After a lengthy battle with much give and take, John Antolini deftly slid the net under the big fish and the battle was over. The duo stuck it out for another 2 hours but the big fish was to be the final bite of the day.
Once approved, the catch will surpass the current Connecticut State Record of 14 pounds, 4 ounces, which was landed in 2006 by angler Quinto Fillippino.
As Tobey is a subscriber to The Fisherman Magazine, he is entering the catch in the Dream Boat Challenge and as of this writing he takes the lead in the fluke category. Just two days prior to Tobey’s catch a 14-pound fluke was landed by a Long Island angler, a video of the fish can be seen by visiting our Video Library section.
So get out there, drop a line and see what you’ll catch. You never know, that next fish might just land your name atop the Dream Boat Challenge leader board and get you in the drawing for a brand new 2013 Cobia 217 CC, a five-night stay for two at Zancudo Lodge in Costa Rica or one of our other many great prizes!