As we start planning our summer fishing, we are going to pause and take a look at our early flounder fishing in Ocean City, Maryland. These fast gully washing storms certainly have not helped our cause as the waters have been dirty with high level reports of bacteria already seen in Delaware waters. Certainly will be an interesting year for bay and inshore fishing.
Flounder Fishing The Thorofare in Ocean City, Maryland
We fished May 25 through May 28 for flounder with the majority of the time spent in the Thorofare. Our days began around 8am with the tide just beginning to head out. It wasn’t an ideal tide but it was the only time we had available; we were up for the challenge. Loaded with our trusted Penn Battle II combo rods and reels, we tossed in tandem hook rigs with Berkley white gulp or live minnows, no bucktails, no spoons. Friday, Saturday and Sunday we had a great drift speed at .8 to 1 mph following the current out of the bay however Monday we fought a Eastern wind that pushed us 1.20 – 1.6 mph against the outgoing current.
Friday 5/25 we drifted around buoy 6 and released one 15.5″ flatty on white gulp. Saturday 5/26 we worked minnows from buoy 6 to 4 having a few bites but unable to pull any up. Sunday’s drift went towards the Northeast which we worked between buoy 8 and buoy 6. We released four ranging from 10″ to 16″, all hit on Berkley white gulp on bare hooks… no skirts or dazzle. Monday 5/28 we drifted a few rounds but the winds were not working in our favor so we pulled the lines in early and relocated to the back bay of Assateague.
Flounder Fishing Back Bay Assateague
After fighting in the thorofare for a manageable drift Monday, we moved south of the Ocean City, Maryland inlet and tried the back bay of Assateague. The day was overcast, cold and damp so there were hardly any boats out making it a great opportunity to drift and manage around the various shallow areas. The drift turned out to be amazing. It pulled us South at .8 mph and only had to adjust a few times around some piers or crab pot buoys. We drifted from the inlet to the airport with a few bites but no luck. By noon, the drift slowed to under .5 mph and it was time to change it up.
Trolling for flounder isn’t all that common but given the calm and uncongested waters, we rigged up to slow troll. We put out two tandem rigs loaded with Berkley white gulp. One tandem was our standard inline setup with a 3oz weight at the tail. The second tandem was a side by side using a weighted 12″ spreader bar. For the third setup, we did a Penn Battle xtra fast rod w/ 3000 reel from the starboard side by the helm with a Mid-Atlantic Sportsman flounder rig (spoon with 4″ green squid skirt) bare hook under the skirt. I set the boat in gear at idle rpm (400 rpm) and headed south from the airport. Not long after we had a 16″ flounder on the Mid-Atlantic Sportsman rig and, believe it or not, a spider crab was clamped down on a gulp. This crab ate half of the gulp! I couldn’t believe it. We released the 16″ and pulled the lines for the day.
Flounder Fishing Tips and Thoughts
For the readers who are new to the fishing flounder or even to the area, here are a few concluding thoughts from our first early season in Ocean City, Maryland.
- Take it slow! Since flounder ambush their prey, it’s key to think how they would attack your bait. They are aggressive and go after small fish or shrimp that gently move around the bottom and wait for the perfect time to devour. Jig to give it action on the bottom and watch your drift speed.
- Drift speed around 1 mph. We hit all of our flounder when moving around 1 mph. I’m sure there is no secret number, but that was simply our experience from the four days working the bay waters.
- Light tip with a backbone rod. Have a light tip rod with a decent backbone so that you feel the bottom drag and the “thud” of a bite while being amble to handle the fight and weight of a potential doormat. We used Penn Battle II Xtra Fast (medium/light) rods with 3000 series reels loaded with 20lb dark green braid.
- Catch the incoming tide if possible.
- Always be aware of the sandbars. It is very easy to loose sight of where you are drifting and we know the back bays of OCMD can go from 10ft to 1ft in the blink of an eye. I enjoy drifting across a channel and working both ledges but it is important to know the contours and when it is time to reset.
Be sure to check back as we release some videos, rigging options, how-to, and our upcoming podcast.
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