Home Drifting Easy - Fishing Tips Beginner Flounder Fishing in Boat
Beginner Flounder Fishing in Boat

Drifting Easy by Sue Foster

A Beginner's Guide to Flounder Fishing out of a boat in Ocean City, MD

            “I just bought a new boat and I’m clueless. Tell me how to catch a flounder!”

            Flounder lie on the bottom floor with their eyes looking up waiting for a meal. It is very important to use enough sinker weight to keep your bait on the bottom where the fish are feeding.  Flounder are “site feeders” so the presentation of the bait is of utmost importance. So is finding clean, clear water.  Although the bay is a large place with lots of water, 80 per cent of the flounder are caught in 20 percent of the bay. Learn where these flounder “hot spots,” fish the tides, pay attention to the depth finder and you’ll catch some fish. If the water is really dirty in one location, go towards the inlet and look for cleaner water. The clearer the water, the better the fishing.

            The Bait- The two most “tried and true” baits for flounder are live minnows or frozen shiners.  Always buy one or the other or both. Hook the live minnow under the chin and up through both lips. Hook the frozen shiner through the eyes.  One bait isn’t necessarily better than the other. Some days the flounder prefer the minnows and another day the flounder may prefer the shiners.  If you’re not a gambler and you are going fishing all day, take both!

            Once you have the minnow or shiner on the hook, you can dress the bait up by adding an additional bait to the hook to make a “sandwich” bait. A strip of squid is one of the most popular “add on” baits you can buy. Cut the squid in a tapered strip ½ to 1 ½ inches long and hook it only once so it trails beside the shiner or minnow. Never ball up your bait on the hook. Watch it in the water when you drop it overboard and it should wiggle in the water and look “good enough to eat!”

            There’s a lot of talk out there about Berkley Gulp being good flounder bait. And it is! But using it alone, without the minnow or shiner bait is not as good, especially if you are a novice. Without the minnow or shiner bait, you have to be real good at working the Gulp baits to get the flounder to bite. To increase your odds, slide the Gulp 3 or 4-inch Mullet or Minnow Grub up on your hook. Then add your minnow or shiner bait. This makes a really nice bait.

            THE RIGS- There are hundreds of pre-made flounder rigs out there in bait and tackle stores.  Buy a couple of each with different colors of bucktail skirts and colored beads. The best colors are always white, chartreuse, and in the spring, pink is a good color. Sometimes a plain rig will work well without the colored bucktails and spinner blades.  Buy sinkers in the bank or bass cast type varieties in one, one and a half, two, and three-ounce weights for starters. Always fish with enough weight to get and stay on the bottom, but don’t use so much weight that you can’t feel the fish biting. Another words, use just enough for the bait to bounce along attractively along the bottom and to stay on the bottom. A good angler changes his sinker weights periodically during the day.  If more than one angler is fishing, try a different colored rig on each line. If one starts working well, change up the others! 

            THE TECHNIQUE- Fish with a rod and reel with some sensitivity in the tip.  A rod rated in the 8-16 pound test range is good.  Most fresh water bass rods work really well. It’s not necessary to have a big heavy rod just because you are fishing in salt water. Let the line down to the bottom then let a little more line out so you are not fishing straight down. You want your rig to dangle on a angle, especially important if you are fishing a high/low (crappie style) rig. Fish don’t have hands, so if you are drifting along at a pretty good clip and get a bite but no fish, drop back some line, and wait for the bite again.  Keep tension on your line now and lift up slowly if you think the fish is there. If you feel a heaviness that might be the fish, set the hook. If the fish is there start reeling right away without letting slack in your line. Letting slack in your line after you hook the fish is the worst thing you can do and the thing novices do the most.  Bye, bye, fishy.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION…. They say that about a successful business, and it’s also true for a successful flounder trip. You got to go where the fish go. And the fish are often where the concentration of boats go! (and sometimes not…)  If you are a total novice, keep your eyes open, and watch other boats. Don’t just stop and go fishing the first or second time out. Take some boat rides. Look for nets going down. Look for the bay party boats and what locations they are fishing.  (Going out on a party boat is an excellent way to learn.) Follow the channels and watch your depth finder.  Your depth finder will become your best friend if you become a successful flounder fisherman.  You will find that flounder bite at changes of depth, so you will learn to drift across channels, along deep edges of sand bars and over holes and inclines. If you are a fresh water bass angler you know about this already.  You will find that butting up close to a marsh or sand bar and then drifting away from it as you drop off into deeper water is the “key” to getting bites. Find changes of water depth and you will find flounder.  Many anglers “slow troll” to stay in a certain water depth.  If you find flounder are biting in say, 12 foot of water, keep working that drift over and over again, trying reach that same depth.

POPULAR FLOUNDER SPOTS- -Buy you an ADC Recreational Map of Ocean City and study these areas:

1) Both north and south sides of the main channel close to the Route 90 Bridge.

2) Thorofare, on the West side of the bay

3) Convention Hall Channel (Buoys and channels close to 33rd Street on the east side of the bay)

4) Harbor Island Channel (Buoys and channels close to 14th Street on the east side of the bay)

5) Route 50 Main East Channel- From 9th Street to the draw of the Route 50 Bridge on the incoming tide, and from the draw of the Bridge to the Oceanic Pier on the Outgoing tide. (Best on slacking tides- the water runs too hard in the middle of a tide.)

6) The Bay behind Assateague has two popular areas:  Behind the Airport- buoys and channel close to the Ocean City Airport.  And Frontier town area. From buoys #8 through #13. (It’s back there a ways!)

BEST TIDES- 3 hours before high tide and 2 hours after high tide.  One hour or two before or after low tide.

Flounder fishing… I love it…. Good fishing….

Good fishing... See ya soon, in Ocean City, Maryland... and surrounding areas of the Delaware Seashore State Park, Bethany, and Fenwick Island, Delaware.

Need Rigs and Tackle, buy online  


Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 March 2011 00:39