While many Chesapeake anglers may be upset over losing out on spring trophy striped bass fishing this month, truth be told, this is also an excellent time to fish for early season flounder. The coastal bays are the place, and casting on the flats is a top technique. Those flounder will move incredibly shallow to find minnow, small crabs, and shrimp, and will be vulnerable to your shallow water fishing endeavors. So with the rockfish off-limits for the near-term, why not head east and hit the flats for some flatties?
PLAN your attack for high water and the first of the outgoing tides.
LOOK for flats of just one to three feet of water that are within 50 yards or less of deep channels. Areas where nearby creeks empty sun-warmed waters get bonus points.
CAST four- and five-inch soft plastics rigged on light heads. A quarter of an ounce is usually plenty big. Sickle, straight, and split tail lures work best, while paddle tails generally aren’t as effective in this scenario unless they’re very slender.
BOUNCE your offering along the bottom, by raising your rod tip and then reeling down as the lure falls.
SET the hook the moment you feel anything interesting. You’ll commonly hook oysters, marsh grass, sticks, and other assorted detritus with some frequency, but you’ll also hook those flounder.
So: the only remaining question is, where should you head for, to target these fish? All of the coastal bays in our area, from Indian River in Delaware down to the Virginia Beach inlets, hold plenty of potential. That said, the most famous spot along the coast is almost certainly Wachapreague, VA. And don't worry, if you've never been there you won't be starting from scratch. Check out Flatfish Fantasyland: Wachapreague, VA to get the scoop on how, where, and when to fish these waters for spring flounder. Or, watch our Live With Lenny episode on spring flounder, which just went live this month: