“Hey, want to go flounder fishing?” The voice on phone was none other than boats.com’s own senior editor Lenny Rudow. Since we fish together often, he knew he might as well ask if I’d like to win the lottery. Lenny wanted to film the first episode of Got Bait? The Hunt for Flounder, in my bailiwick, Ocean City, Maryland. So particulars were worked out and two weeks later one sweet ride, an Everglades 243cc provided by Annapolis Boat Sales, slid off its trailer at the boat ramp.


John Unkart and flounder

John Unkart is a flounder sharpie based in Ocean City, MD.

With inlet water temps still in the mid-40s the bow was pointed towards the flats, an area north of what is commonly known as the Thorofare. Like clockwork each year, early spring flounder take up residence on these flats in shallow water, at times in just two to three feet However, this day we found the fish partial to the depth of four or five feet and ready to eat after spending winter out in the cold depths of the continental shelf.

Many anglers who fish for flounder swear by the tasty combination of minnow and squid. And while this bait certainly accounts for its fair share of flounder, many early season flounder anglers like Gulp. How well does it work, you ask? Good question. To answer it, Got Bait? pitted Gulp against the legendary minnow/squid combination. 13 year old twins Dave and Max Rudow on Team Bait rigged with the natural bait, while Lenny and I worked Gulp across the sandy bottom. And if the notion crossed your mind that natural bait might be at a disadvantage with young boys as anglers, think again—after fishing with these two since they were old enough to hold a rod, I can attest that they are top-notch anglers, capable of out-fishing the majority of the clients who have climbed aboard my charter boats over the years!

You can catch the results of this bare knuckled, knock’em-sock’em fishing competition right here, on Got Bait? The Hunt for Flounder.


I might add that the two largest flounder were caught by... let me clear throat... me! For the record, I was using copper-penny colored 3” Gulp Shrimp on a double bucktail rig (chartreuse and white are favorite colors). This setup is my go-to flounder bait each spring. Lenny used Gulp Jerk Shad during our mini-tournament, with (an entsy-weensy bit of) success as well. But when next spring rolls around, make sure copper colored Gulp Shrimp are onboard before you head out on the hunt for flounder.

Editor's Note: John Unkart is the author of Offshore Pursuit: A Complete Guide to Blue-Water Sport Fishing

Written by: John Unkart
John Unkart has wetted lines in the saltwater environment for over 50 years, from growing up on the Chesapeake Bay to mating professionally in the canyons of the mid-Atlantic. His best-known book is Offshore Pursuit: A Complete Guide to Blue-Water Sport Fishing, and he's also contributed to Marlin Magazine, In the Bite, Saltwater Sportsman, Boating, and The Fisherman.