Fat and flat. Those two attributes might not seem desirable to the average man, but come summertime, anglers absolutely go nuts for the saltwater fish that claims those characteristics: summer flounder, aka fluke. Along the mid-Atlantic and Northeast coast, the aggressive predator is the definitive inshore money fish pursued with a passion by anglers for both its fightability and palatability, and even moreso when learned technique and know-how can put scores of doormat-class 8- to 15-pound-caliber trophies into the cooler. Trouble finding the flatties? Don’t fret: Here’s the high-time hit list to put a poundin’ on trophy flounder this spring and summer season.
Delaware’s artificial-reef program is a boon to marine life by creating structure along a mostly sandy and flat coast. Fourteen separate reef sites exist, nine of which lie inside Delaware Bay, highlighted by Reef Site No. 11, which hosts a whopping 714 Redbird subway cars that provide low-profile structure for fluke to take shelter in and around. Early-season fluke stack up in the shallow waters of the flats in Delaware Bay, especially around Brown Shoal, and the recycled concrete dumps and tugboat wrecks in the 20- to 30-foot depths of the bay, but then move out to the 60- to 80-foot depths of Reef Site No. 10 and No. 11 as well as inside the Delaware Bay in the 45-foot depths of the Anchorage. Serious fluke pros work the area of the B Buoy between the two reef sites to bounce bucktails and top/bottom rigs over the myriad ballast-rock piles dumped by sailing ships of the past, while others set up near the A Buoy in the lower Anchorage to pluck fat flatties.
Top Technique: Drifting top/bottom rigs lanced with killies and bluefish/sea-robin strip baits, bumping lone bucktails tipped with large live killies
Hot Spots: Reef Site No. 11, Brown Shoal, B Buoy, Reef Site No. 10, Lower Anchorage
Who: Capt. Pete Haines, 302-245-4222, topfincharters.com
Captain's Tip: Work the area of the B Buoy between Reef Site No. 10 and Reef Site No. 11 in springtime as flounder make their move into the Delaware Bay.