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August 20, 2009
New Jersey conservation officers, posing as anglers out for a day of fishing aboard a Belmar party boat, caught the captain and his first mate deliberately killing undersized summer flounder and filleting them for bait to boost patrons’ chances of landing more of them.

The captain and owner of the Big Mohawk, Christopher W. Hueth, 48, of Spring Lake; his first mate James R. Dugan Jr., 50, of Belmar; and another crewman, Michael A. Worrall, 32, of Hamilton, face thousands of dollars in penalties for a variety of marine fish violations witnessed by the undercover officers. Five patrons of the Big Mohawk also were hit with summonses.

Conservation officers with the Marine Law Enforcement Region of the Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Fish and Wildlife launched the undercover operation after receiving tips about Big Mohawk’s deliberate, illegal harvesting of undersized summer flounder, also known as fluke. During the deep-sea excursion, the conservation officers witnessed the first mate killing the undersized summer flounder by grabbing the tail and banging the fish’s head into the deck of the boat. The fish then were filleted while crewmen repeatedly bragged that the Big Mohawk caught more fluke than other party vessels because it used summer flounder as bait.

Undercover conservation officers also saw patrons keep undersized summer flounder and throw the short fish onto the fillet table, where the crew chopped them up for bait. The lawmen counted at least 25 carcasses of flounder illegally caught and filleted.

In New Jersey, the recreational summer flounder size limit is a minimum of 18 inches, and anglers are allowed to keep six fish per day.

When the boat docked after the Aug. 15 trip, uniformed state conservation officers conducted a thorough inspection and, in addition to the captain and crew members, apprehended five party boat patrons.

Hueth, the Big Mohawk’s owner and captain, received summonses for discarding parts of summer flounder before docking, and filleting fish under the minimum size limit -- a violation of the vessel’s Special Fillet Permit. This permit, issued by the DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife, allows party fishing vessels to fillet legal-size fish while at sea, but requires the vessel to retain all carcasses for potential inspection by state conservation officers. Conviction for a first-time violation results in a 60-day suspension of the special permit.

Dugan, the first mate, was cited for discarding parts of summer flounder and filleting undersized fish. Conservation officers issued summonses to Worrall, the other crewman, after they saw him selling seven summer flounder to two patrons. According to state regulations, summer flounder can only be sold to an authorized summer flounder dealer.

If convicted, Big Mohawk’s captain and his two mates face penalties of up to $3,000 for each of the summonses issued to them.

The identities of the five patrons, all from New Jersey, and the summonses lodged against them are as follows:

Jung K. Cha, 56, of Wayne; possession of three summer flounder measuring less than 18 inches.
Jong N. Kim, 56, of Palisades Park; Joseph V. Mercurio, 54, of Newton, and Stephen J. Thomas, 56, of Hillside, were each cited for taking five summer flounder over the daily bag limit.
Scott S. Rever, 40, of Basking Ridge, received a summons for taking one summer flounder over the daily bag limit.
 

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wtf [wallmad] now I gotta find another boat to fish on this weekend [cry]
 

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Booooo....I hope they feel good about themselves for the "Big Bust"
 

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WOW, I threw back 3 fish that measured 17 15/16ths last weekend, but at $80 a fish it aint worth it getting caught.
 

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Bravo[up]
Conviction for a first-time violation results in a 60-day suspension of the special permit.
The Fluke season is over in a couple weeks, so for a few weeks more customers will have to fillet their own, big deal.[wallmad]
They should lose the priveledge for a year for the first offense , second offense, permanently.[mad]
 

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Booooo....I hope they feel good about themselves for the "Big Bust"
So you're ok with a boat going out and fishing illegally? All just to catch a couple fish? [confused]
 

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Booooo....I hope they feel good about themselves for the "Big Bust"
Now multiply "the big bust" by the number of days in a season, by the number of people on the boat willing to break the law, by the number of years it might have been going on. Yeah, it's a big bust.
 

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Yeah, it's a big bust.
Its really not, the amount of extra money these guys make because there regulars know that no matter how the fishing is they are gonna go home with some dinner is way more than these 3 g fines. They will just be more careful with who they do it for next time.

So you're ok with a boat going out and fishing illegally? All just to catch a couple fish?
I have had this argument on here before and I know im bound to get crucified for my comments but, yes I am ok with a regular joe spending a bunch of money to go fishing getting his moneys worth out of it in the end. You can hit me with the bad sportsmanship, your a poacher stuff all you guys want. I know what kind of outdoors man I am and I don't need anyone elses approval.
 

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I have had this argument on here before and I know im bound to get crucified for my comments but, yes I am ok with a regular joe spending a bunch of money to go fishing getting his moneys worth out of it in the end. You can hit me with the bad sportsmanship, your a poacher stuff all you guys want. I know what kind of outdoors man I am and I don't need anyone elses approval.
That's fine that you don't need anyone else's approval, I feel the same way. However that's why it's called fishing and not catching. It may be cliche but it's true. I know guys that spend hundreds of dollars to go out tuna fishing and don't come home with anything. Does that mean they should do illegal things just to 'get their money's worth'?
 

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I have had this argument on here before and I know im bound to get crucified for my comments but, yes I am ok with a regular joe spending a bunch of money to go fishing getting his moneys worth out of it in the end. You can hit me with the bad sportsmanship, your a poacher stuff all you guys want. I know what kind of outdoors man I am and I don't need anyone elses approval.
The problem is YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT KIND OF "OUTDOORSMAN" YOU ARE! You have a sense of entightlement justified by the amount of money you spent and lack of return on your investment. Save your money next time and go to the supermarket. You're not a "sportsmen", your a shopper.
 
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