Josenhans FF ~ From Fly to Flounder

18 08 2011


Chuck Prahl and Chris Cianci with a brace of rock!

I don’t know exactly when the metamorphosis took place, but it seems as though I have gone from being a 70% fly guide to a 70% flounder guide. Just about everyone wants to get in on the fabulous flounder fishing that we have enjoyed this season – and I don’t blame them one bit. We are having one of the best years that I can remember for this tasty member of the flatfish family. Weather permitting, we have been experiencing limit to near-limit catches of big, beautiful summer flounder ranging from 18 to 26 inches. I also believe that the technique we are using to catch them has as much to do with the increased interest as the taste of the fillets. We have been drift-jigging this aggressive bottom feeder, much as you would a school of rockfish. Armed with light spinning or bait-casting rods, we attach a Li’l Jimy bucktail or a 3/4 to 1-1/2 oz.  jig head-Berkley Gulp! Swimming Mullet combo to the terminal end of the line. The flounder attack these jigs with a vengeance. There is no nibble-nibble as you often get when drifting the old standby minnow/squid combo. In large part, I believe this is because we are not attracting the smaller flounder. Most everything we bring in the boat is of legal size. It’s just plain fun fishing, and if you have yet to give it a try, you should put it on your to-do list.

On Saturday, August 13 I fished Pocomoke Sound with Jesse Maffuid and David Wilmoth. This was one of my cost-sharing trips, where I help individual anglers hook-up (no pun intended) with other anglers looking to split the cost of a trip. Similar to the walk-on trips utilized by other charters, this allows for a bit more notice for both captain and crew. It has been a very popular program for all involved. But I digress. The plan of action this day was – you guessed it – flounder. While the wind was against us – literally, in our face on the run to the flounder grounds – it was fishable once we arrived at our destination. As this was only a six-hour trip, and with a forty-minute run to the flounder spot, I was kind of under the gun to produce in a hurry. I had two very good fishermen in Jesse and David, so that made things a whole lot easier. We set up a drift, and after watching the track-back lines on my Lowrance HDS-7, I was able to begin a drift-pattern so we would cover the desired area. I have to say, what with a strong 10-15 K southerly wind and strong tide, the drifts were short in duration, but at least we were able to hold bottom. A few keeper flounder up to 21 inches were soon flopping in the cooler. After a while, the wind dropped out and we were able to get a longer drift going. Soon we had a few more flounder coming over the side, including a nice 26 inch fish of at least six-pounds. Before long, Jesse and David had their Virginia limit of four fish each, and I added one extra for the captain.  We ended the day with a total of nine flounder from 18 to 26 inches. Not too shabby for what began as a very breezy day.

Chris Cianci jigged up this nice flounder

Wednesday, August 17 brought us back to our usual summer routine of topwater rockfish early, with a flounder chaser. At 6:00 AM I met Chris Cianci and Chuck Prahl for a six-hour day on Tangier Sound. At 80 years young, Chuck is renowned for his fishing prowess on the Choptank River, but today he was playing an away game. The sound was like glass, ‘slick cam’ as the locals say, and the run to my favorite topwater spot was a breeze.  We made a quick drift, Chris with a popper and Chuck casting a four-inch shad, without even a look. Okay, I was too far out. I moved to make another drift, but this time I inched the boat in about 100 feet closer to the target zone. Same result. “The fish aren’t here,” I told Chris. We moved. Pulling up to my second choice I anchored-up due to the strong tide and limited structure. Almost before the plug hit the water Chris had a huge striper crash his popper and head south. Chris was slowly gaining line on a very nice rock when the hook pulled. As they say, “that’s fishing.” Barely a moment later, Chris had another blow-up and just afterwards Chuck had a strike and line began peeling from his bait-caster. A double hook-up. After a nice battle, both fish were brought to the boat for a quick photo-op and then promptly released. This scene was replayed several times over the next forty-five minutes, until the sun said that topwater fishing was over.

We then headed to the bay for the promised flounder jigging. Neither Chris or Chuck had fished for flounder this way before. It didn’t take long before both men were hooked up to a nice big flatty. The guys had one double where I netted Chris’ fish – a 23 inch beauty – only to run to the bow just in time to slip the net under Chuck’s 24 inch game-changer.  Nice double guys! We wound up with six flounder measuring 18 to 24 inches, with all of the action coming in a one hour spurt. Exciting fishing.




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