Home Drifting Easy - Fishing Tips Catching flounder in the Ocean...Ocean City, Maryland
Catching flounder in the Ocean...Ocean City, Maryland

“Can I catch flounder out in the ocean offshore Ocean City, Maryland and Coastal Delaware?”

Last year we had a fantastic year catching flounder in the ocean. We’re not
having quite the flounder blitz we had last year, but there are plenty fluke
out there for the anglers targeting them. Anglers in Delaware almost HAVE to
go offshore to catch a keeper as their size limit is large.

“What do I use for bait? Where do I go?”

Flounder will eat the same thing offshore as inshore. They’ll eat the
traditional shiner and squid bait or the live minnow tipped with a strip of
squid. A live spot, peanut bunker, or finger mullet will tempt the big ones
offshore just as quickly as inshore. What we do know is that strip baits
are extremely effective offshore. A flounder will suck down a strip of
flounder belly (or dark side), mullet fillet, spot fillet, sea robin or
bluefish fillet in a heartbeat. Any fresh fish you catch offshore will work
including trout and croaker. Fillet the fish and keep the carcass of any
legal fish that has a size and creel limit. Scale and cut into tapered
strips two to three inches long. Hang the strips on a single or double
flounder rig, or attach to the end of a large bucktail jig such as a Spro
Bucktail. I also like to use a whole Calamari Squid hooked in the tail for
big flounder.

“Where should we go?”
Flounder bite offshore at all the usual wreck and artificial reef sites
where we catch sea bass. In Del, anglers catch summer flounder at the Barge,
B- Buoy, Site 10, Site 11, the Old Grounds and other Artificial Reef sites.
Offshore Ocean City has summer flounder catches all the way through November
at the Bass Grounds, Russell’s Reef, the African Queen, and the Great
Eastern Reef, Jackspot and other Artificial Reef sites. You can find
flounder at the Fenwick Shoal, Winter Quarter Shoal and the Isle of Wight

If you are drifting in your boat offshore, remember that the flounder are
just like the flounder inshore. They like changes in the bottom. A slight
dip, ledge, or drop off in the bottom floor, will give you some fish. Watch
your depth finder and drift along until you find some flounder. Then mark
the spot and work that area. Where there’s one there’s usually more!

Generally, if you are working a wreck, big flounder are not directly on top
of it, like sea bass, but are slightly away from the wreck itself. However,
if you are on cable cars with flat areas of cars on the wrecks, the flounder
can be lying directly on them. Start on the wreck, and then drift off. If
you feel slightly rough bottom with some kind of debris on the bottom, you
will likely find some flounder. Flounder are attracted to the little fish
and other food that are hanging out in this debris. A flat ocean floor,
with nothing on the bottom, doesn’t attract any food, little fish, crabs,
clams, mussels, etc… so it doesn’t attract the flounder either.

I know when we’ve fished the African Queen for flounder; we can drift for
half a mile and pick up on them. We don’t feel any large pieces of the
wrecks or barge, but we feel the rough bottom and get little sea bass and
sea robin bites as we drift along.

Generally, if you find bass pots and rough bottom, you will find some
flounder. Any of the shoals with drop offs you can find flounder. Fish the
top of the shoal and drift over the drop-offs and try for flounder.

As the season progresses and the water gets colder, the worse problem is
horn dog sharks and skates! They all travel together!


Fishing offshore means fishing in deeper water. You don’t want a rig that
tangles all up when dropping down into depths of 40 to 60 feet of water. We
find that Aqua-clear rigs hold up good for the “drop” plus they have a
built-in fish finder rig that helps hook the fish. Other anglers make up
their own two hook rigs similar to sea bass rigs with two dropper loops tied
into 30 or 40 pound test mono or Fluorocarbon leader. Make the dropper loops
a little longer than for sea bass, maybe 6 or 7 inches long. Loop in some
Kayle or Octopus style Lazer sharp hooks in the 2/0 to 4/0 range. Capt Monty
on the Morning Star likes to add some 3 to 4-inch curltail or Zoom split
tail grubs, either white or chartreuse to his hooks along with a strip of
fresh cut bait.

When fishing a party boat or your own boat that is anchored rather than on a
drift, you need to jig a little. Cast up current, jig it back slowly, jig,
jig, twitch, twitch, then let it still for a minute, then start the motion
up again…. Well, if you’ve ever had the opportunity to watch Capt. Monty
catch a flounder while you’re wondering what you’re doing wrong…. It’s
something like that!!!

Capt. Rick Yakimowicz of the "Thelma Dale V" party boat from Fisherman's
Wharf wrote of an interesting technique a couple weeks ago.... “All of our
trips have been in the ocean these past couple of weeks fishing over the
natural rocky ledges of the “old grounds.” Fluke Killers or just a long
leader beaded hook topped with a piece of cut bait and squid has been the
most productive rig however more and more anglers are taking a more
aggressive approach and fishing with jigs. This method of fishing has proven
to work when the drift is slow or the wind is against the tide and the boat
does not drift naturally with the current. This jig setup is basically a rig
with a bucktail tied at the bottom like a sinker and either a teaser or
another bucktail tied from a dropper which hangs a just a few inches above
the lower hook nothing fancy but sometimes quite effective. The jigs also
seem to attract some of the bigger fish.”

If you’re on a drift on your own boat, you can let some line out and put the
rod in the rod holder and let the motion of the boat and the drift catch the
fish. If you’re drifting too fast, you may need to let out some line if you
see a flounder bite on the other end.

Flounder bite different than sea bass. If you are sea bassing and flounder
fishing at the same time, it may give you some trouble. If that is the case,
let the rod holder catch the fish! Sea bass, you need to set the hook
quickly. Flounder, on the other hand, take the bait in their mouths for a
moment and then you want to give them a little line or simply wait.
Sometimes it just feels like a dead weight on the other end of the line,
slowly pulling out. Wait, wait, wait to the count of 5 to 10, then…. Set the

If the rod tip is jerking up and down, it’s a good fish. If a dead weight
comes up in big circles, it’s a skate or ray. If it runs outward from the
boat instead of coming straight up it’s a shark or bluefish!

If you’re fishing in your own boat, and there’s a lot of structure to get
hung up on, or if you are using a large live bait like spot, I like to use a
single long leadered hook, about 30-inches long, with a fish finder rig
attached. I use the cheap black ones that break if you get hung up, so you
can lose your sinker without losing the hook and rig, and don’t have to
fight the snag. Break it off, put on another one, and get back fishing…

Flounder…. They’re out there….offshore Ocean City, Maryland, Indian River, Delaware
and the Delaware Bay.

Good fishing….

Need bait and tackle? Come see us at Oyster Bay Tackle, Ocean City, Maryland (410-524-3433) or Fenwick Tackle, Fenwick Island, Delaware (302-539-7766), OR Shop Online!

Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 March 2011 00:59