Trophy Stripers, Move Over!
While trophy stripers may steal the headlines every April, it's also the time when flounder begin their spring invasion. If you're looking for a change of pace, head to the shore and get ready for some hot flatfish action!
Meet the Flounder
For many anglers, their spring ritual involves chasing a fish that has both eyes on the same side of its body. Flounder, with their unique anatomy and camouflage abilities, lie partially buried on sandy bottoms before ambushing their prey. Did you know that flounder undergo a fascinating metamorphosis, with their right eye migrating to the left side of their head as they grow? It's a fish full of surprises!
Delmarva Bays and Inlets
The Delmarva Peninsula, separating the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, is a haven for flounder fishing. While locations like Wachapreague, Quinby, Chincoteague, and Machipongo on the Virginia ocean-side are well-known to the flounder angling community, don't overlook the better-known inlets further north, such as Ocean City and Indian River. These spots offer excellent spring fishing opportunities.
Timing and Techniques
Flounder, also known as fluke in many parts of the Mid-Atlantic, migrate from the ocean depths to estuaries in the spring. Your success as an angler depends on water temperature and clarity. Once the water temperature reaches around 50 degrees, flounder become active and ready to bite. The best time to fish is often during the last two hours of incoming tide and the beginning of the ebb tide. Don't underestimate the end of the ebb tide, especially early in the season, when warm water flows over the flats and channel edges. Flounder can often be found in shallower waters during these conditions.
Bait and Techniques
Drift fishing on a moving tide is a popular method for targeting flounder. A common bait setup is a double bottom rig with a minnow/squid combination, with the top hook just off the bottom and the lower hook trailing behind the sinker. Squid strips cut into a "V" shape add enticing movement. Another effective option is a bucktail or double-bucktail rig with a minnow, squid strip, or flounder belly. Flounder are not picky eaters, but certain bait preferences may vary. Artificial baits, such as Berkley Jerk Shad or manufactured soft baits, can also be successful. Experiment with different baits and colors to see what works best for you!
Drift, Troll, and Back-Troll
When the current and wind cooperate, drift fishing can be terrific. However, there are times when alternative techniques like trolling and back-trolling are more productive. Trolling and back-trolling allow you to cover more ground and concentrate on prime fishing areas. Keep your speed around one knot and use just enough weight to feel the bottom. When trolling, pay attention to any turns or bites, as flounder often grab the bait and hold on before swallowing. Drop back the rod tip immediately on the bite to increase your hook-up percentage. You can use the top/bottom rig or the double-bucktail rig fortrolling, just make sure they are bouncing on the bottom. Another option is to use a three-way swivel with a 12" sinker and a five-foot leader. Enhance your bait presentation by attaching your favorite bucktail, skirt, or spinner blade to the setup.
Choose Your Adventure!
So, why not spring into action and join the flounder fishing fun on the eastern shore? While there may not be as many boats or anglers as those chasing stripers in the Chesapeake, you'll find plenty of friendly smiles and an unforgettable experience. Don't forget to grab a copy of Saltwater Tales by John Unkart for additional flounder tips and techniques!
Get Sum Fishing Charters - Your Flounder Fishing Experts
When it comes to flounder fishing in Ocean City, Maryland, Get Sum Fishing Charters has you covered. Captain Nick Clemente and his team offer exceptional bay fishing experiences for both families and experienced anglers. With their expert guidance and knowledge of the area, you're guaranteed a memorable day on the water. Whether you choose their custom-built 26' charter boat, Get Sum, or the impressive Ivy Sea, you'll have all the ingredients for a successful flounder fishing adventure.
So, what are you waiting for? Book your bay fishing charter with Get Sum Fishing Charters and get ready to reel in those flounder!