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:confused:I was hoping someone could give me some ideas & techniques for catching winter flounder. I used to fish for them 30 years ago but don't remember how. I will be fishing the lower Chesapeake Bay and inlets in Virginia Beach. Have been told ther here but very few fisherman target them. That might be a plus for me. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
TKD
 

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good luck man I havent caught one since october, if you try use live minnows or strips of cut bait/squid
 

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If you really mean winter flounder, disregard everything rockhead said(no disrespect).

They are a different species than the flounder caught in the summer. Small bits of blood or sand worm, mussel, or clam on a small hook is the bait of choice. Fish areas with mud bottom. Chum heavily with mussels, clam, and corn. Stirring the bottom with an anchor or a long pole helps get them feeding. I did not know you could catch them as far south as the Chessie.
 

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no disrespect duke, but your chances of catching a flounder here are slim to none mainly none,on any baits. we basically have summer flounder here, our flounder move way off the coast in the cold months, in mid to late november you can get a good bite about 35 miles out on some of the local wrecks
 

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TKD rocks right there is no winter fishery for flounder in the lower chesapeake. The fish here have a temperature range about the same as our trout,when it's gets below 50 you need to get your striper gear out until springtime when the water gets back up to about 55.They do spend the winter in the ocean so watch the ocean water for temp changes in the spring.
 

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Greetings All!

Winter Flounder (Blackbacks) are a seperate fish from Summer Flounder (Fluke). Winter Flounder are caught in the Chesapeake Bay. Last year about this time the MD DNR page featured an article about catching winter flounder in the Chesapeake. They are not as abundant as in New Jersey, since MD is the extreme southern end of their range. Duke of Fluke is dead on with methods for catching blackbacks. One trick I will add is to motor around and stir the bottom with a rake before setting up to fish (anchor up, do NOT drift!) Above the Mason-Dixon Line many fisherman use asphalt tampers, commonly called "flounder pounders" to attract the fish. Also try throwing a couple of cans of whole corn out there (just like carp fishing.) Many winter flounder sharpies paint their sinkers red or yellow to attract fish, and add red or yellow beads to their two hook "spreader" rigs. Hell, they even have rigs where the yellow beads are shaped like a kernel of corn. My favorite bait for blackbacks is a piece of sandworm, but bloodies will work, too. Edible mussels make a great bait. Blackbacks make great eating, and are usually sold under the name Lemon Sole. Winter Flounder actually hibernate in the mud during January and February, reemerging in March, then moving offshore in May.
 

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Rockhead,

Keep in mind, that we are not talking about the same species you target in summer. These fish have tiny mouths and do not get anywhere near as large as summer flounder. They could not eat a minnow and squid combo if they tried. Their mouth is about as big as a bluegills. Their migration pattern is the opposite of summer flounder. Offshore in warm months, inshore when it gets cold.

If Jake is right about them inhabiting the Chessie, you may consider giving them a try. They are easy to catch and great eating. The minimum size in NJ is only 10 inches, do not know about down south.

I wasn't attacking you bud, I just figured you like many folks further south did not know about blackbacks.
 

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Greetings Duke of Fluke!

Great pics on that site! Always wanted to dive and look at fish up close and personal, but have this thing about drowning....

NJ DF&W pushed the size limit up to 11 inches. There was a bit of controversey two years back when they switched from 10 to 10.5 inches midseason. Lots of guys were suddenly caught with "shorts" on the Shark and Manasquan Rivers. There's still no posession limit, and on a good day the "sharpies" can take two dozen keepers (that's a lot of fillets!)

Didn't you mention the Big Mohawk for tog? The Big Mohawk also does winter flounder trips in the spring when the blackbacks are running thick. I've seen her anchored up in the Manasquan near the mouth of the canal while fishing the canal for tog.

If I had to pick a possible hotspot for winter flounder in the Chesapeake, I'd go to the mouth of the Potomac in the section called The Cornfields. From what I've read, this area is a lot like Barnegat Bay, another NJ blackback hotspot.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
:) Thanks for all the responses and tips. I have been told but have not confirmed yet that there are in fact Winter flounder (black backs) in these parts. I will try my best to find out for sure. I know there is no size or creel limits in these parts and that I would guess I can find plenty of mud flats to try. I used to fish for them in Raritan Bay off Staten Island NY. I remember that once you get them biting they come pretty easy. Thanks again for allyour help!
TKD
 

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TKD,

I know all about the Raritan. The fishery there was really bad last year though. I grew up just accross the the Arthur Kill from SI in Woodbridge, NJ near the Outerbridge.

Jake,

Nice catch on the increased size limit. I have not fished for winter flounder in several years. I used to go all the time, but these days I am more interested wreck fishing during the cold months.

I bought a boat last year so I think I might get back into it. I have always done really well in Shark River. Spring and Fall are best, but you can get fish in the middle of winter too. Best bet is to wait until you have a couple warm days in a row and then fish shallow where the water is warmest. You might not kill em, but you will get a few. Come March I think I'll head up there. I'll let you know if you want to come.

Shark River is also about the best Fluke spot for a guy who has a small boat and can't go out in the open ocean. I have seen lots of doormats come out of there. I will definately bring the boat up for openning day. Heard it was crowded last year but the fishing was much better than the usual lumps and ridges tight to the beach. Only spots in the ocean that produced early were Manasquan and Barnegat ridges. Sure won't take my little boat out there!
 

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no offense taken, but take a word of advice from someone who had lived and fished in the Virginia Beach, Chesapeake bay area his whole life....they are not here! at least not in #'s worth trying for.if research proves they make it down to here (I mean near the mouth of the Chesapeake), then good but they are probably talking about a stray that got caught in a net.I worked for a couple of years w/ the vmrc here doing a research study on recreational fishing.. year round. all 4 seasons never saw one, and was told I probably never would by the people who had done it for many years. Im just saying if you come to this area this time of year, you should try for rocksish,tog,specs,seabass etc. but w/ winter flounder you just spinning your wheels..you would probably have better luck fishing for bluegill in the ocean. ;)
 

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Greetings Duke of Fluke!

I'm not one to turn down a fishing trip. Give me a yell come March and we'll work out the specifics.

Greetings rockhead!

The MD DNR article was based on captures on the MD side in fike(?) nets. I know from reading that the MD side of the bay is generally more shallow than the VA side, so it just might be a matter of habitat. The DNR gave the impression that there are enough fish available to make it worthwhile to pursue them. Blackbacks are popular here in the North because they are the first edible fish you can catch in the spring from shore or in a small boat. Its a nice way to pass the time until the stripers follow the herring up the rivers for the spawn....
 

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I heared 3 years ago they caught some Winter Flounder on bloodworms in Eastern Bay.I would think they would have more of them in the costal bays of Mayland/Virginia.Maybe they like a swallow saltty bay like inside from Lynhaven Inlet.My section of the bay is deep too; 100ft of water or more. But I think that they would prefer the Virgina part of the bay because its saltier.The Barrier Island area would be even better because its swallower and salty like around Wachaprege(not spelled good).
 

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How do you know they wouln't be caught at the lower Chesapeake or any of the costal bays around Virginia Beach.If Winter Flounder can be caught up here I'm sure they can be caught down there. :rolleyes:
 

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I agree with HaPPyPapPy. I will give it my best shot to prove him and the rest of us who believe that we do have them down here that we are right. If worst comes to worst I will still enjoy myself in my boat with my little boy. And I hate to winterize my boat.
More on this in the future.
TKD
 

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I hope you can prove me wrong... I just think the winter flounder is a northern thing. up there there is lots of talk about em, round here there unheard of. good luck
 
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