The nearshore reefs and shipwrecks out of Carolina Beach are hotspots for flounder right now, and Capt. Dennis Barbour of Island Tackle and Hardware has been having a lot of success in those areas right now, and while flounder aren’t the only fish biting, he said that has been the most consistent fishing for the past couple of weeks, and he doesn't see any reason to think that will change soon.
Capt. Barbour said two keys are essential to a successful flounder trip, and the first key is anchoring. “If you don’t anchor properly, you’re not going to be able to cast as well without getting hung up and losing a lot of tackle. You want to anchor so that you’ll have good bottom to cast to, and the ability to work your bait along the bottom without your hook getting hung in the wreck,” he said.
The second key element, said Barbour, is proper bait presentation. “You have to find the fish, because sometimes they can’t find you,” he said. Barbour advises anglers to do this by doing more than just letting their bait sit on the bottom.
“If you’ve got a good baitfish on your hook that is plenty active, sometimes that’s enough, but you’ll always increase your chances by moving that bait, even if you move it just a little bit at a time,” said Barbour.
“We’ve got an artificial reef and ten or eleven shipwrecks that have been very productive for flounder. If you’re not catching flounder, you’re either anchored in the wrong spot or you just aren’t making your bait attractive enough to the flounder,” said Barbour (910-458-3049).
Barbour said the best technique that works for him is to cast out your baitfish with enough weight above the leader to get it to the bottom. Once you feel your weight hit bottom, let everything settle, then drag your baitfish about 3-feet, then pause. “Let it settle again. Wait a few minutes, then drag it three feet again, then pause,” he said. Continue that same method until your rig is off the bottom, then reel in, cast back out, and do it again.
This type of fishing requires a good understanding of your boat’s electronics and an accurate anchoring procedure. Knowing what you’re looking at on your depth finder will help you position your boat above the reef or wreck so that you have ample casting opportunities. Anchoring is just as important, and many anglers spend more time making sure they are anchored properly than that do actually fishing.