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you should write a book man. thats a well written story about your pop. I'd like to hear more. I'll buy your first copy....ha
 
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Discussion Starter #442
It's already January with six plus inches of snow projected for the coast and everyone is pissed about what we hear on the new summer flounder regs for 2017. Happens every year and no matter what is decided we will still be faced with the same truth come opening day. What can we do to put a keeper or two in the cooler.

Consider a typical summer flounder trip. I can't speak for everyone so I will give an example of one of mine when I fished long and hard. Evening before was tackle check time plus some bait prep. Back then I was a bit anal about getting ready but I believe it helped in the final outcome. Since I live near the water a Thursday bait outing was the way I started. Two minnow traps and a square umbrella drop net and a few bunker chunks was all I needed. A stop along rt47 at a tidal creek and my evening was set. Always enjoyed those trips because after setting the traps I could walk around on the meadow and watch nature and hopefully learn a few things. After a little while I would return to my minnow catching as the bunker thawed and did it's job. Would catch a few gallons but only kept the large minnows. Drop net worked the best and also caught some real nice blueclaws for a late night snack. In about an hour I would have a minnow bucket loaded with the best live bait short of spots. Big healthy minnows are my favorite bait and they can be fun to catch and set you up one notch above the other fisherman out there.

Friday evening would be terminal tackle time. As long as my reels were full of line I would strip off about twenty feet and cut it off. Thats the section of line that takes the most beating and is more likely to fail on a big fish. If a reel was 3/4 or less in capacity I would strip it down and reload. Always remember that your line is the most important connection between you and the fish. Quality line is something that we use but not something we need to pass down to our children. If there is even a little doubt in your mind about it's age or reliability then loose it before it looses your big fish. Would never think about a new trip with an old rig. No matter what rig I was going to use it would have new line (leader) a new swivel and new knots. Since I tied every rig I used this was actually fun since you could make little changes in leader test, length and hook or bucktail size. When I stepped on the boat I wanted the confidence of knowing that everything I was going to throw at the flounder was in perfect condition.

Difficult to sleep the night before? Was for me. I could envision the next morning heading to the boat. Still dark with no wind and the smell of the meadow on a spring morning. It was like every past trip I ever made was tugging at my brain with memories of big fish that had grown bigger in my mind. I knew I would see friends out there the next day and all I wanted was to be out there before they arrived. I knew some of them were thinking the same thing so the alarm clack got moved back another 45 minutes. Thank god I mellowed with age because now I only move the alarm back 30 minutes. :D

The point I'm trying to make is that some of us do many things to make every trip the best trip ever. With size limits going up the one who puts the most effort into a trip will have the best shot at catching some keepers. There is no magic hook, bait or rig. There is no invisible line or artificial lure that will do what good preparation before a trip will do. Do you use strip baits? I do and will cut them the night before so I can do a nice neat job that you won't get if you do it on the boat. A cutting board at the kitchen sink with great lighting will always outdo a rocking boat. A sharp knife or good scissors to do a little trimming. Too much meat on the skin and you can operate to remove just a little. Baits too soft then after you have cut them add a little salt so they stiffen up overnight. Place them in a large enough container so they lay straight. Cut baits in different lengths because sometimes flounder want large and sometimes they want small. Be ready with an assortment of sizes.

Our fishing playground has many new rules and regs that put the odds against us. The old approach of heading out dragging baits across the bottom will result in fewer fish and not many if any keepers. Those who put the most in prior to each trip will get the most out. I'm not saying that everyone needs to go out to catch your minnows. I was just lucky enough to live where I could do it. However many of my friends also live nearby but they didn't and they were the ones asking what was my secret. No secret just worked a little harder and sometimes it could be one simple little thing that makes the difference.

It's January and already I'm thinking about that first late winter early spring morning when I walk out the door and get that first wiff of the meadow as it comes back to life. Start prepping now with tackle checks, reel lubes, new hooks, line, rigs and bucktails. Keeps your mind in the game and it may just help put that first big flounder in the cooler.
 

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Discussion Starter #443
Changes. Keep an open mind when doing anything in life. You may find a more fun and more productive way to enjoy.

Looking back through my fishing life there are certain moments that stand out as game changers. Some small and others large but all helped me move another notch in my quest to catch more fish. For freshwater it was carp fishing and how I figured eliminating weights and working on my own corn meal concoction reduced my standing at the edge of the water doing nothing to drag screaming hookups. For summer flounder fishing it was a whole series of changes that produced many more flounder. And the more flounder you catch the better chance you have of catching a few in the keeper range.

Running the motor instead of a sea anchor to control drift speed and location. Slowing the boat so even with a small bucktail I was vertical jigging and not just dragging. Trimming the hairs on the bucktails and catching or cutting my own baits and the list goes on. the last change I made that really helped me do better flounder fishing originally came from my garden. First I want to point out that I'm talking back bay fishing here. Sorry but if I'm not working the twisting channels and watching nature up on the meadow then I loose interest quickly. Nothing against open water flounder fishing but I like the short trips in small boats in skinny waters.

Back to the garden...... I like many here had veggie gardens in the past. Something neat about planting, growing and picking your own. My only problem was lacking long term interest. Soil would creep out into the back yard and weeds would start their march in and before you know it the garden was a mess. Then one day on PBS I saw a show called Gardening by the Square Foot and my gardens looked great and produced big time till the first frost. Basically it's building wood frames around your garden area. I had four of them. One was 8x8, two were 4x8 and the smallest was 3x3. Made the frames and placed them apart so I could get the mower between them. Dug out an area slightly larger than the frame then dropped them in. Filled with good top soil after chopping up two flats of bunker to bury below the top soil. All summer and fall the soil stayed where it was supposed to stay and the weeds got the weed wacker as soon as they touched the frames. Soil not only stayed put but also stayed loose for better water penetration and except for the 8x8 I could reach in to pick without stepping on the soil. The 8x8 was for a few watermellon plants and as long as they were watered there was no need for me to enter. So whats this have to do with flounder fishing?

Best way to put it was that I started fishing by the Square Foot. I don't know if anyone else looks at fishing the way I do but I would look at the area I was drifting and try to visualize what was going on down there. Seems that the small flounder were almost always ready to take a bait. Probably like any small animal out there full of energy while the larger adults just lay around waiting. Thinking that way I figured that every area has it's share of keeper size flounder if we only have the patience to work for them. When I say work I mean a whole lot of drifts covering the same area. Fishing the back allows us to do this since we have landmarks to judge our exact position and can move the boat a matter of a foot or two to work an area like a farmer plows his fields. The square foot idea came to me when I made my mental markers on land and stayed inside those marker until I had covered every fishable inch of water. I would take an area about a hundred yards long and work it to death then move down to the next hundred yards and do it all over again. See way to many boats stop, fish for ten minutes then move to another location. I'm convinced that if you find an area holding flounder then you will be able to find keepers if you stay with it.

We don't know what it is that pulls a flounders strike trigger. Can't even imagine how many times we bounce a bait right by one without any response. By taking a preset area and working it hard will produce more quality fish than shotgunning a large area. Have seen it work with the float rig. Anchor and let it go time after time. Catch the smaller flounder until you would think that there are only small flounder in the drift zone. Then BANG you hook a nice big keeper right where the float had made pass after pass. The keepers are there but just not as active as the shorts. Keep pounding a small area and you will catch you share. My gardening got a lot more productive when I framed them in and got control. My flounder fishing also improved when I broke my area down into sections and got the mind set that I wanted to catch every flounder in it. Still shake my head when my one friend comes in empty handed and says "we made a perfect drift from the bend all the way down to the toll bridge" didn't catch anything but they made the perfect drift.

If you aren't happy with your flounder results then be open to changes. Use the imagination and try things you normally wouldn't. Some won't work but you only need one little thing to change the end results. Flounder or any fish don't think they react. We are the ones with the big brain yet when it comes to fishing we don't always use it. We get caught in a rut and go out with the same bait, tackle and hit the same locations with the same techniques. Fishing by the square foot is one of the easiest changes you can make. Go catch every flounder if your square foot.
 

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Discussion Starter #445
Mentioned the man enough throughout this thread. Found a few pics from the 60's and early 70's. He was the best and I was the luckiest kid alive.



 

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Discussion Starter #447

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Cats. Want to figure out flounder? Then figure out a cat. I'm serious because if you compare flounder fishing to playing with your cat then you are one step up on other anglers. Fish are so much like all the other animals on this planet but it can slip our minds because we just don't get to see how fish behave under water. Animals travel in herds and birds fly in flocks while fish swim in schools. Same difference because it always comes down to big numbers protect everyone in the herd, flock or school. So we have all kinds of baitfish out there swimming in schools for protection and then we have predators trying to get into the school to thin it out. Now here comes the cat part.

Ever play with a cat? String with a toy tossed around is always fun....For a minute or two then the cat just lays down and looks at you wondering how many times are you going to toss the toy before you realize that the cat thinks you are stupid. Cats are ambushers just like flounder. Lay in wait for a target to get close then strike. Again watch a cat as it gets excited before the strike. It can take out it's target yet it holds for a few seconds and you can see it's muscles tighten and tip of tail vibrating and then the explosion of speed and the kill. It's amazing but I have watched flounder in our aquarium do the same thing over and over again. Target come is range and the flounders body actually coils for that burst of speed. It's back will arch slightly and the tail becomes as wide as possible and it always reminds me of a cat strike. It's target could be a shrimp or small crab that has wondered into the strike area. Funny watching as the shrimp or crab freezes as if it knows it just screwed up big time. No escape possible unless the flounder just plain misses. The flounder will pose like this for seconds and it's like time freezes with both target and hunter unable to move. Then with full force the strike happens. I can sit there watching and not see it clearly because the strike is faster than any I have ever seen from any species of fish. The problem is when the flounder acts like a true cat and just watches. I have taken a barbless hook with a small shiner on and a tiny split shot. Bounce it in front of the flounder as see the strike develop. Have gone through quite a few shiners this way. Once the flounder has struck I pull the shiner out of it's mouth quickly and do it again. Usually only took two snatch the shiner away before the flounder looses interest and then that look of how many times am I going to drag that shiner around before I realize the flounder thinks I'm stupid.

Bottom line is just like a cat. If it doesn't want to play you will just look stupid and annoy the cat. If the flounder aren't on the hunt you will just waste time but won't annoy the flounder because we don't know exactly where they are. HOWEVER. Both the cat and the flounder have one weakness. You can piss them off enough to get at least one strike from them. All animals have tempers and hunters have the worst. They are at the top of their food chain and don't like and aren't used to being messed with. A mouse or small bird isn't going to come up and slap a cat around. A shrimp small crab or baitfish isn't going to move in and pinch a flounder. If you can keep your boat in a super slow drift or even stop it where you have a strong feeling flounder are lurking you can tick them off enough to draw a strike. Even if it isn't on the feed and hungry it will attack just to kill the disrespectful critter. Annoy your cat and it will strike to rid itself of the nuisance including your hand. It's usually a quick strike as the cat moves to another location. Flounder and cats both have tempers and will move away from anything that annoys it but will strike first because they are both predators.

If I'm in a high confidence flounder area and don't draw a worthwhile strike I will repeat the drift many many times to see if I can annoy them enough to get that retaliation strike. Can't tell you how many times I have made five or six drifts with nothing only to have the seventh or eighth pay off. I figure every fish has a counterpart on land or in the air. Watch the dry critters and you may be able to figure out the wet ones. It's a big world but everything is connected.
 

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Discussion Starter #449
This is the time of the year that sucks for fisherman. Football is limited with a week off between Chanpionships and Super Bowl. Days are growing longer but it's a slow process when we want time to fly. Even the AC boat show has been moved to March this year. If you enjoy summer flounder fishing then this time of the year it does suck. You can drag out the tackle and do a little work cleaning and lubricating but that can actually make you feel worse. Like giving a box of new golf balls to a golfer when there is a foot of snow covering the greens. But there is life out there and for fisherman it's a great time to find and enjoy it.

I stopped going to the boat show for two reasons. I'm not looking for a boat and can't understand the prices on them anyway. I always enjoyed the booths but then they changed. Selling pots and pans, rug cleaners and things that I just don't associate with fishing. However there are a lot of shows that pop up all over our bend in the creek that are perfect for those who need a fix and very possibly put new things in our tackle bags. Fishing Flea Markets are the place to be. Inexpensive to rent a table so you get the little guys who work out of their basement or garage making tackle. Weights, bucktails and hand tied rigs some that you won't ever find in a store. A guy makes a new rig and catches fish. Takes a chance at one of these shows to give the public a chance to try them. I love walking these shows because every table is different. It's a flea market and everyone is there to make a deal. Most shore towns that have a fishing population always seem to have one. clubs and groups even schools put shows together and they are great. Check out the shows here on the Barn. Google fishing out sportsman flea markets in your area and have at it. No better way of lifting the funk and getting the family out on a winter day than to drag them to a flea market. Not only a chance to pick up some inexpensive tackle but also a chance to strike up a conversation with others looking for a fix.

I'm at the dock every day. I get to pull my drop net and smell the salt air. I get to keep my hands and heart into the game by making rigs every day. I still need a fix now and then and will hit the markets. Feels good when you walk in and realize that every table there is a worthwhile stop. Spring is on it's way and now is the time to fill the tackle bag with new things and some new ideas.
 

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Discussion Starter #450
A little background here. Fished the back waters since I was a little kid. (over 60 years ago) Even back then it was more than just fishing because I ate up nature like it was candy. Moved here from the city in 1983 and from then on I almost always had an aquarium filled with any and everything I could catch in the back. A few years of catching minnows commercially really opened my eyes to what was going on back here. Put all of that together and I came to realize just what a unique ecosystem we have going on that most don't see.

From checking flounder stomachs of every flounder I have ever cleaned this is what is true. They will eat just about anything but they do have a main food source that they and every predator in the back depends on. Grass shrimp, crabs, shiners or spearing. I did not mention minnows because in the wild the two just don't cross paths very often. If you check out the Drop Net thread on the Home Port you can see that even now in the middle of winter there are many many grass shrimp active in our waters. The first pic shows the shrimp now and notice how clean they look not loaded up with eggs.



This pic shows a female and a male from last spring. Notice the hundreds of eggs attached to the females abdomen.



This pic shows the female upside down so you can get an idea just how many eggs are in the cluster.



There are millions and millions possible billions and billions of these females in our back waters loaded with hundreds of eggs and they all hatch about the same time. The female will be ready to shed her outer shell and will begin swimming around. Early May is when the magic happens she will snap her body violently causing the weakened outer shell to split on the top of her back. She will exit her old shell and swim away. As she does all the eggs will release and fall freely towards the bottom. As they drift down they will suddenly hatch into hundreds of baby shrimp a little larger than a grain of sand. Imagine that happening by the billions and you can see why the grass shrimp is to me the most important link in the food chain. This same event will happen all through the summer since grass shrimp seem to love to be pregnant.

I have witnessed this twice in my aquarium and it is so cool to see in person. The food chain is a marvel of nature in our back waters. While the shrimp are hatching so are the crabs and I'm just guessing that the female drops her eggs the same way as the shrimp when they shed. By the end of May the next link in the chain hooks up. Shiners or spearing depending on where your from go crazy. They spawn in large numbers along sod banks and bulkheads in seaweed that blooms at that time of year. Here is a pic of the weed they seem to prefer.



Here is a pic from the aquarium showing a female shiner fat with eggs.



The shiners or spearing spawn and after a few days they will begin to feed on the baby shrimp and crabs and grow so when the baby weakies, flounder, seabass and so one are ready they have a plentiful supply of food for the taking. It's one big happy nursery in the back and every little thing is a vital part of it. So far I have mentioned the critters that I have seen and watched but there are many many more out there. This last pic is from a clump of floating seaweed I picked up at our dock. Shook it out and this is what was calling it home.



The back bays are like a puzzle and the more pieces you have the better it looks.

 
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Fred,
I've read this post from front to back and respect you for the lifetime of information you have given out. I am an avid Light Tackle fisherman so I love a lot of your ideas and techniques. I do 90% of my fishing in the Chesapeake, but have family in Wildwood near you. I tend to take a lot of the same tactics and ideas I used in the Chesapeake and try them in the back bays with pretty good success. I was wondering if you could speak on a few things in your opinion.

1.) Since this has started in 2007 Gulp has made advanced improvements from color, textures and scents. Do you find yourself ever using this opposed to shiners, strip baits, or minnows?

2.) Have you had any experienced with trying out skirted jig heads opposed to buck tails? I love the old school buck tail and they are hard to be out fished. But in the Chesapeake we noticed that you could use smaller baits with skirted jig heads and it makes the profile look a little bigger than it actually is.

3.) have you had an opportunity to try any kind of other soft plastic lures? There is one we use for Stripers called BKDs, which are like crack for them. I'm curious if snap jigging these would make a flounder curious and create a strike trigger for them.

I plan on stopping in next time I visit my family and introducing myself.
 

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Discussion Starter #453
Thanks for the questions.
I have and will use Gulp but I'm old school and there is just something about live or real baits that gives me much more confidence. That being said I always have some kind of Gulp in my bag or box just in case. I think of every bait real or artificial as nothing more than a tool. I'm up above and the fish are down below and I will use whatever tool it takes to bring the fish up to me. If you ever swear by one bait and only use that one then the battle has been lost.

I can't speak for anyone else but when I fish my mind shuts out most distractions and tunnels in on not only the fish but also the water. My question is always, whats going on down there. I have fished my area long enough to know that there are fish in certain locations all the time. When I make a drift or two and nothing happens then I work the problems and there are in my mind more than a few. Surface waters seem clear but how about twenty feet down. Has a large predator passed through recently that has shut the fish down. Is there something down there that they are feeding heavily on and my offering just isn't matching the hatch. Is my drift to fast or slow. Sunlight, noise or are they just trying to tick me off. I can only control two of these factors and that is speed of drift and my offering. If anything I will always slow the boat down as my first response and if that doesn't cause them to stir then it's different baits. Thats why I always use snap swivels because for me different baits also means different rigs. My three favorite natural baits are live minnows, fresh of frozen shiners (spearing) and then strip baits. I will try those three before I go to gulp. I'll admit that it took a long time for me to give Gulp an honest shot because my three naturals always seemed to pay off combined with slowing the drift down. One thing I did find out over the years that has worked well is this. Gulp doesn't ever want to come off the hook. If I put it on a bare hook and passed the hook down through the body of the Gulp it seemed to twist my line like it was spinning while moving with the drift or current. Never happened on a bucktail because the Gulp wasn't enough to make the bucktail move of spin. On time I took a dead stick and set it up my favorite way with just a small splitshot weight. Not even enough to get it down ON the bottom. Our bottom around here is a bit on the rough side and I grew tired of always grabbing it to pull it free of little snags. If it is a few feet off the bottom you won't have that problem plus you cut way down on the dead stick picking up a load of weeds. Instead of pushing the hook down into the Gulp body and out through I just pass the hook through the very tip of the Gulp. Cuts down on the chances of it spinning and also gives it a little more flutter action. Even if a fish just grabs the Gulp it won't come off. Thats some potent material they make that stuff out of. So yes I do use Gulp but I'm still old school.

Everyone has heard of FishBites. When the spot come to town we have a hard time making sure we have enough on our walls. During those years I can sit on the end of our dock and catch a decent supply of them to put up in our pens for future baits. The Fishbites work great but.... I have sat down on the end of the dock with light tackle many many days and had tons of fun but I also threat it as important as any flounder trip. Whats going on down there and what do they want. Fishbites work great and usually catch almost all spots. But if I use the soft part of clams I will out fish the Bites by a lot. Only problem is I will also catch baby seabass, searobins and eels. Plus I will also have to rebait much more often but bottom line is clam beats out the Bites.

Question #2. Skirted Jigheads and Bucktails. Fish probably hated the day they were invented. I myself stay away from the skirted jigheads, I have all my bucktails cut back to where the hairs end just past the end of the hook. Long hairs and skirts look real tempting especially to the angler but to me they are just something that covers the bait. So I cut back the hairs but leave enough so you still get the visual attraction in the water but the fish can see the entire offering I'm putting on the hook. Skirts are just to pretty for me to cut them back. I use the lightest bucktails I can get away with and to make them look as big as possible I can put a large bait on them. Thats why I cut my strip baits in assorted sizes both in length and width. I always try to keep one thing in mind all the time. There is no secret bait or bucktail, jig or rig. The secret is how you use them. Confidence is the key and if I'm holding a skirted jighead in one hand and a bucktail in the other then it's the bucktail thats going on the end of my line. I know it sounds strange to take a new bucktail out of the package and cut the hairs off but I have been doing it for about twenty years now and it does make a difference for me. One last thing. Lots of colors out there and I use them all. As long as it's white. :D

Question #3. BKD's. LOVE them and yes so do flounder. One time we headed out to tape a striper show with the clam bellies. Had an engine issue and got out to the spot about an hour late. Caught a few stripers and then the tide died. Put a white bucktail on and a Bass Kandy Delight and made a few casts. First three casts resulted in flounder. I believe the color was Chartreuse Silk that to me looks more like lemon lime. Killer for both stripers and flounder. Spent more than a few evenings anchored outside one of my favorite feeder creeks, casting them with nothing but a split shot for weight up into the mouth. Slowly worked it out and had strikes more than 50% of the time. Tried a few other colors but the C/S worked the best by far. Always have a few bags in the boat and love them. Just have to make sure when you push the hook through that it comes out in the middle of the slit. If not the action gets a little weird. Again, not the magic bait but just another tool in the bag.

Hope you do make it in and I want to know how you do in our waters and some of your techniques. Another important tool is your ears. Always listen to other people because they may just slip in another piece of the puzzle thats fishing.
 

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2.) Have you had any experienced with trying out skirted jig heads opposed to buck tails? I love the old school buck tail and they are hard to be out fished. But in the Chesapeake we noticed that you could use smaller baits with skirted jig heads and it makes the profile look a little bigger than it actually is.

Midge

I was wondering if you tried buzzbaits in salt water? Fluke are serious predators capable of going airborne on bait schools. I wanted to try one and I already purchased one years ago but never had a good enough day to put aside the tried and true. I think it would be cool to try on the flats.

My personal experience with Gulp was that it seemed less effective compared to fresh bait in the spring. Late spring and summer till the sea bass showed up it seemed better then fresh bait.

Thinking out loud is it that in the spring with cooler water are the fluke a little slower making fresh bait more appealing. Then with summer are fluke looking for the young of the year live bait which gulp may imitate.
 

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Discussion Starter #455
Back Bay flounder fishing is simply the best. Sometimes it doesn't get much respect with all the wave runners and pontoons cruising around but it has it all over any other place to flounder fish. Over the years I was always amazed at how some looked at back bay fishing. A few of the charter boats captains refer to the intercoastal as "the creek" When I would empty my cooler they would just stare and say "You caught them back here?" To many of them the intercoastal is a little scary especially if they have to travel any distance through it. Shallower waters are a bad neighborhood to boats drawing more water. Can't blame them for that because struts, shafts, props and bottom don't play well together. Stop paying attention for even a minute can result in a call to TowBoat or even worse, a long wait for the next tide.

These are some of the reasons the back bay has it over all other places to flounder fish. Weather. If you back bay fish then you already know how many more days of fishing you get because the weather has to be real bad to shut you out. Some of my best trips were when you probably couldn't find a boat out on the ocean or on the Delaware Bay. You can always find a place to tuck in and fish so the land blocks out the weather.

Preperation. I see it here at the dock. boat owner decides to run to one of the reefs for the day. Going to run some fuel for that trip so time to grab a crew to split the cost. As a back bay fisherman I'm always amazed at the tackle required for some of these trips. Weights up to 16 ounces.
:eek: I don't think I have a rod that could work that kind of weight for flounder. Some rods that look like they taped guides to a pool cue. So the crew arrives with multiple coolers, tackle bags or boxes and an assortment of rods. Suddenly that 25 foot boat looks a whole lot smaller and the owner is smiling, saying that at least they should have fun.

Time. This you can not dispute. For back bay you don't have to set a day aside for your trip. You don't have to round up a crew and it won't hurt your wallet. If you want you can go our for even an hour if that's all the time you have. I know guys who jump in their boat before sunrise and fish for an hour or two before they head off to work. I don't hear many back bay guys figuring out the number of keepers divided into the number of trips and the cost and is it worthwhile to even have a boat. A guy at our dock has a 25 foot parker and a 17 foot carolina skiff. The parker has a 250 on it and the skiff has a 60. Each trip in the skiff he brings a small can of gas to replace what he will use that trip. He will either fish alone or one other guy and always seems to return with a smile even if he didn't catch much. No long ride out and back and maybe two gallons of fuel. Ready to go back out that evening or the next morning. Also has two commercial crab pots that he places out when he starts the trip then collects them when he is done. flounder stuffed with crab meat for dinner.
:thumbsup:

Bare Bones. You can fish old school in the back much easier than the ocean or Delaware Bay. You don't need an assortment of electronics to do well in the back. It's more a visual sport back here. Set up your drift using landmarks. That point of land lined up with that tower and drop your line. Need to find the reef. A bridge is a reef and you don't have to stare into a screen to find it. Look at those sod banks. Some of them have thirty feet of water just a few feet off. That's a thirty foot vertical reef and it will always hold fish. Weed beds, points of land, structure including commercial pots, feeder creeks and an unlimited supply of food like shiners, grass shrimp and small crabs keep the back bays target rich. Your best chance of catching the flounder, striper, blue and weakie grand slam is right here in the back bays. It is the best playground in the entire state.

Nothing against the ocean or Delaware Bay for flounder fishing. Lots of big fish come from them but since I wasn't schooled out there it's just not for me. Besides great fishing I also enjoy the visual aspect nature provides with so many different species of birds in their natural breeding grounds. One image I will never forget was fishing with my father when I was about ten years old. A large white Heron was stalking the mud flat about thirty feet from where we were drifting. I watched it strike and come up with a good size fiddler crab and that was neat but to watch it swallow and be able to follow that poor crab all the way down then narrow neck was incredible. As a ten year old that was better than any Godzilla movie I ever saw. Just can't beat the back bays.
:thumbsup:

The secret. Get out as early as you can no matter what tide. always said that my best tides for fishing the back bays were the last of the incoming and first of the outgoing but no matter what. My favorite time is as early as possible and that means leaving the dock when you need your nav lights on. I want to be done and back before the people I worry about in the back are even out of bed.

 

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I've used something similar to Buzzbaits successfully on Perch in brackish water but never tried on Flounder. They work great but we use it more as a spinner/crankbait. I like your idea to try and get a reaction strike. You would be doing a lot of casting and retrieving though. I think Fred would probably say it's another tool in the toolbox. If all else is failing give it a shot but probably not a go to.
 

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Back Bay flounder fishing is simply the best. Sometimes it doesn't get much respect with all the wave runners and pontoons cruising around but it has it all over any other place to flounder fish. Over the years I was always amazed at how some looked at back bay fishing. A few of the charter boats captains refer to the intercoastal as "the creek" When I would empty my cooler they would just stare and say "You caught them back here?" To many of them the intercoastal is a little scary especially if they have to travel any distance through it. Shallower waters are a bad neighborhood to boats drawing more water. Can't blame them for that because struts, shafts, props and bottom don't play well together. Stop paying attention for even a minute can result in a call to TowBoat or even worse, a long wait for the next tide.

These are some of the reasons the back bay has it over all other places to flounder fish. Weather. If you back bay fish then you already know how many more days of fishing you get because the weather has to be real bad to shut you out. Some of my best trips were when you probably couldn't find a boat out on the ocean or on the Delaware Bay. You can always find a place to tuck in and fish so the land blocks out the weather.

Preperation. I see it here at the dock. boat owner decides to run to one of the reefs for the day. Going to run some fuel for that trip so time to grab a crew to split the cost. As a back bay fisherman I'm always amazed at the tackle required for some of these trips. Weights up to 16 ounces.
I don't think I have a rod that could work that kind of weight for flounder. Some rods that look like they taped guides to a pool cue. So the crew arrives with multiple coolers, tackle bags or boxes and an assortment of rods. Suddenly that 25 foot boat looks a whole lot smaller and the owner is smiling, saying that at least they should have fun.

Time. This you can not dispute. For back bay you don't have to set a day aside for your trip. You don't have to round up a crew and it won't hurt your wallet. If you want you can go our for even an hour if that's all the time you have. I know guys who jump in their boat before sunrise and fish for an hour or two before they head off to work. I don't hear many back bay guys figuring out the number of keepers divided into the number of trips and the cost and is it worthwhile to even have a boat. A guy at our dock has a 25 foot parker and a 17 foot carolina skiff. The parker has a 250 on it and the skiff has a 60. Each trip in the skiff he brings a small can of gas to replace what he will use that trip. He will either fish alone or one other guy and always seems to return with a smile even if he didn't catch much. No long ride out and back and maybe two gallons of fuel. Ready to go back out that evening or the next morning. Also has two commercial crab pots that he places out when he starts the trip then collects them when he is done. flounder stuffed with crab meat for dinner.


Bare Bones. You can fish old school in the back much easier than the ocean or Delaware Bay. You don't need an assortment of electronics to do well in the back. It's more a visual sport back here. Set up your drift using landmarks. That point of land lined up with that tower and drop your line. Need to find the reef. A bridge is a reef and you don't have to stare into a screen to find it. Look at those sod banks. Some of them have thirty feet of water just a few feet off. That's a thirty foot vertical reef and it will always hold fish. Weed beds, points of land, structure including commercial pots, feeder creeks and an unlimited supply of food like shiners, grass shrimp and small crabs keep the back bays target rich. Your best chance of catching the flounder, striper, blue and weakie grand slam is right here in the back bays. It is the best playground in the entire state.

Nothing against the ocean or Delaware Bay for flounder fishing. Lots of big fish come from them but since I wasn't schooled out there it's just not for me. Besides great fishing I also enjoy the visual aspect nature provides with so many different species of birds in their natural breeding grounds. One image I will never forget was fishing with my father when I was about ten years old. A large white Heron was stalking the mud flat about thirty feet from where we were drifting. I watched it strike and come up with a good size fiddler crab and that was neat but to watch it swallow and be able to follow that poor crab all the way down then narrow neck was incredible. As a ten year old that was better than any Godzilla movie I ever saw. Just can't beat the back bays.


The secret. Get out as early as you can no matter what tide. always said that my best tides for fishing the back bays were the last of the incoming and first of the outgoing but no matter what. My favorite time is as early as possible and that means leaving the dock when you need your nav lights on. I want to be done and back before the people I worry about in the back are even out of bed.

I couldn't agree more on fishing "bad" weather. You don't need to go out in Gail force winds but once you explore in some fouls conditions you can find spots that are sheltered during certain winds. Winds from the NW go to spot X. Winds from the NE go spot Z and hide etc. Certain features of those spots will block certain winds. You just need to figure it out with time on the water.

I'm not sure if there is science behind it but some of my best days are when the winds are blowing and we find our sheltered spots. Fred do you have opinions of if Flounder can feel certain pressure systems and if it helps or hurts fishing at all?
 

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Thanks for sharing that info Fred, this year I'm going to try more back bay fishing. Many years ago I fished the back bays around Margate and did fairly well.
 
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