Catching Flounder In The Delaware Surf

There are a couple ways to catch flounder while surf fishing in Delaware

Many anglers message us and ask …
I’m doing everything I have read for catching flounder in the surf, why am I not catching?
I usually respond … How many John Skinner videos did you watch? The response is usually, all of them.
That man can catch fish and his techniques work here. You’re just casting wrong. Jigging for flounder is the easiest way to catch in surf. You have to put in some work, it isn’t like setting bait and waiting. Bucktails with gulp are preferred, but any jig head with soft plastics will work. The heavier two to four ounce jigs stay in place on the bottom better. Just bounce it along the bottom and “jig”.
Color is usually angler preference, but at times the fish are selective as well. Pink, white, and chartreuse are the favorites.
Water clarity is important to color selection as well as day or night conditions. Brighter colors during the day, darker colors at night for both jig and soft plastic. murky water is better with the brighter colors, but will work in the clearer nearly tropical water we see in the summer.

When Zach Farmer posted these pictures to our Facebook Group page people went wild. There probably isn’t a bucktail in town now, or gulp. Zach Farmer … “No one around us was catching anything with bait so we broke out the bucktails and jigged”.

jigging for flounder, delaware surf fishing, gulp, bucktail, jig, bluefish, van staal
Zach Farmer with his jigged up keeper flounder using a bucktail and pink Gulp.

In order to get good “presentation” for a flounder in the Delaware surf there are one of two ways to go about this. Either you find a good cut and jig the cut on all sides, casting straight out. Or you have to cast along the beach. If you were at Assateague, I would fish the troughs between sand bars like this too, much like New Jersey beaches. Delaware has a unique surf zone.
Casting straight out really only works on cuts or run outs in Delaware. You can catch just casting straight out, but this works better.
The flounder are mostly right along the edge of that ledge of sand under the first breaking wave. Ambushing crabs that are stirred up, or the small fish feeding on the critters make easy prey. I’ve caught butter fish trying to scoop up sand fleas. Spot are in there too feeding with all the small summer fish. Flounder can eat much larger fish than you think. That mouth stretches really wide. If you need to find the ledge wade into the water. When you sink up to your knees in soft sand and stones or it just drops off, that is where you want to fish. That ledge is what pushes the wave up into the curl to drop. It is the spot or trough area between the last two waves. Many other predatory fish hunt in this area, bluefish and striped bass will hit jigs as well.

cut for surf fishing, casting for surf fishing , delaware surf fishing
The cut, on the left, cast out on each side and the middle to jig or with spoons. The beach area between cuts, just cast along the shore line.

Casting along the beach is much easier on a weekday. If you have a crew taking up a lot of space you can do this on the weekend. If you are skilled at casting, it is much like flipping or flicking for freshwater bass under trees. A low, side cast works the best, you don’t want to arc over lines. The set surf rod lines are farther out and up, you want to be in between the two waves just in front of you. That area is the trough, the low water spot between waves.
Stand in the wash and cast at a thirty degree angle or so along the beach. This allows you to jig along that ledge and gives a longer presentation.
Don’t get me wrong, casting straight out works too, but it is less work to cast along the beach, and better odds of a strike.

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jigging for flounder, delaware surf fishing, gulp, bucktail, jig, bluefish, van staal
Ethan Farmer with a bluefish caught on a bucktail with gulp.

Flounder will also hit your mullet rigs when you are checking bait. This happens a lot and surprises many a surf angler. When reeling in to check their gear and bait. A flounder will hammer the mullet as it is pulled through that “ledge” area or a cut.
I’m not saying drop a mullet rig in that spot. But if you fancy using bait and want to hold onto your rod it isn’t a bad idea. The rig will move around a lot from current and get pummeled by the breaking waves. Keeping it in that trough area is tough. You have to reel in and recast a lot.
I tried this one day for grins and giggles, I was bored, we weren’t catching. When fish aren’t biting and no one is catching, try something else. Even something as weird as this …

“Drifting the wave”
We aren’t catching much one day, about eleven years ago or so, and I don’t have any jigs with me or soft plastics. But, I had about three dozen mummichugs we used the day before on an inland bay flounder trip.
I got to thinking, how do I keep these dead minnows moving like they are alive. “Drifting” them along that ledge, like in the boat. Saltwater will kill a mummichog in under a minute or so. Their cells can’t perform osmoregulation fast enough, and the saltwater kills them. I made up a four foot leader, with a one ounce egg sinker. Tied this onto my swivel. Then I put a regular bobber on the line, above the swivel. The looks and comments were hilarious. Hey man are you using a bobber in the ocean?!?! …
Yeah, maybe, watch this.
I cast the rig into the first trough behind the breaking wave. The idea was to use the bobber to “drift” the wave trough’s current. Keeping the minnow on the bottom with the egg sinker. This would allow the minnow to “move” and the bobber would act as the boat. The egg sinker would also allow the flounder to hit and not feel any resistance, which tends to turn off that strike when drifting on a boat.
Everyone is laughing, until, the bobber danced and pulled under in less than a minute on the second attempt. Twenty inch keeper flounder on the beach. “ Holy %$*&^% !!! … Hey man make me one of those!.
Sorry, I only have the one bobber.
I caught several flounder until I ran out of minnows. Would I do this today? Sure if I had minnows and I was as bored as I was that day jigging is just much easier.

jigging for flounder, delaware surf fishing, gulp, bucktail, jig, bluefish, van staal
Bluefish caught on a jig, van stall photo bomb
jigging for flounder, delaware surf fishing, gulp, bucktail, jig, bluefish, van staal
Ethan Farmer’s keeper flounder jigged up with a bucktail and gulp.

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