Flounder are being caught in the sloughs and pockets of Back Sound between Harkers Island and Shackleford Banks, in the Middle Marsh and North River Marsh to the west, along the channel and in pockets in The Straits on the mainland side and across the southern end of Core Sound to the east.
Harkers Island is literally encircled with biting flounder.
Capt. Noah Lynk of Noah's Ark Fishing Charters said flounder are as aggressive as he's seen them in years. They have been chasing minnows and are not the least bit hesitant to grab a soft-plastic grub that is pulled within striking range.
"Flounder fishing has been good since the water warmed in the spring, and it seems to be getting better," said Lynk (252-342-6911). "It might be the mild winter that has brought this about, and if that is what is making the flounder so aggressive, I hope it stays warm every year. There have been good numbers of fish, and some of them have been pretty big"
Lynk said he carries some live bait on about every trip – just in case and he sometimes uses it. He said he usually begins the trip with soft-plastic grubs and Fluke-style baits on the lightest jigheads that will get them to the bottom. If the current or tide speeds up, they may need to be switched to one that is heavier. He anchors where he expects to find flounder and instructs the fishermen to fan cast the area and retrieve slowly enough they feel the bait bouncing along the bottom.
"I tell them they'll realize when a flounder grabs their bait and most of them pick it up real quickly," Lynk said. "The bait is easing across the bottom, maybe bouncing a little and then there is a thump and it stops. Every now and then, that is a snag or oyster rock, but most of the time it's a flounder.
"The good thing about fishing with soft plastics is fishermen don't have to wait forever to set the hook, Lynk said. "The soft bait flexes when the flounder hits it, and it is usually in his mouth. If you pause just a second to be sure, you'll have good hooksets most of the time. Don't wait too long though or he'll realize it isn't real and spit it out."
Lynk said to anchor at structure and work along it or anchor when a bar drops off into the channel and work it at all depths until you locate the flounder. Where you find one flounder, you usually find more – cast right back to where you just caught one.