Man Breaks Connecticut Flounder Record After Buying a Bigger Net

"Well, I'm gonna need a big net for the big fluke I'm gonna catch," the angler said at the tackle shop a few days before his trip
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connecticut record fluke

Bill Proulx with the new Connecticut state-record fluke. Hillyer's Tackle Shop / via Facebook

Well before daybreak on June 8, anglers Bill Proulx and Ed Pyle eased away from Four Mile River Marina near Lyme, Connecticut. They returned to the dock that evening with a heavy summer flounder (locally known as a “fluke”) that put Proulx’s name in the state’s saltwater fishing records book. The 15-plus-pound fish beat out the previous state record by a little under a pound.

Proulx, a retired police officer in his 60s, was at the wheel of his Parker boat that morning as they headed into Long Island Sound. A well-traveled angler, freediver, and the father of a local charter captain, Proulx fishes religiously for flounder. He headed about a mile offshore to a spot where he knew fish would be spawning, and they started jigging over a sand bottom in roughly 80 feet of water.

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They caught a limit of sea bass and some large flounder over the course of the day. One of the flatfish that Proulx caught stood out from the rest, and he guessed it weighed 12 pounds or more. But with the fish still biting, he just flipped the large fluke into his cooler and kept on catching.

Back at the dock, Proulx grabbed his hand scale and weighed his biggest fluke of the day, which came in at 15.3 pounds. With most businesses already closed, he had to wait until the following day to have his fish weighed on a certified scale. He brined and iced the fish in a cooler and then called his friend Ed Lombard, who owns Hillyer’s Tackle Shop in Waterford.

“That evening Bill called me and told me hooked a good fluke,” Lombard tells Outdoor Life. “He was excited and came in the next day to have it weighed.”

Proulx’s fish weighed 15.3 pounds on Lombard’s scale, but the state-record application required him to have a printed receipt of the fluke’s weight. So, he took it to a certified scale at a nearby fish market, which also registered 15.3 pounds. This was enough to replace the standing state record for the species, and Proulx’s fluke has officially been accepted by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

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Lombard says Proulx caught the record fish on his favorite lure: a 100-gram Daiwa Rock Rover jig topped with fresh squid and spearing. He adds that the current joke around the tackle shop these days is the net that Proulx used to land the flounder.

“He came in a few days before his trip and bought a huge landing net,” Lombard says. “One of the young guys in the shop kidded him about buying such an oversized net for fluke, saying he didn’t need one that big just for flatfish. And Proulx just said, ‘Well, I’m gonna need a big net for the big fluke I’m gonna catch.’”