Wire Line Trolling for Flounder

In a few areas of the Mid Atlantic, anglers troll with wire line or other specialty lines for catching flounder and other species. Although this technique requires specialized outfits and heavy tackle, the results can be dramatic. Wire line fishing is most often done when flounder or other saltwater fish are found in deep areas where fast moving currents make other fishing techniques impossible.

Wire line fishing is especially popular around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, Hampton Tunnel, and other parts of the lower Chesapeake Bay. Although less common, wire line trolling is also done in parts of the middle and upper Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay, and coastal inlets.

For this type of fishing, anglers use single strand wire, multi-strand wire, or braided lines. A large sinker is attached to the line, rigged either as a dropper or inline, depending on angler preference and local trends.

Trailing the weight by 10-30 feet is one or more lures or baits. For trophy-sized flounder large strip baits are popular. Smaller lures or lure-bait combinations such as bucktail jigs and strip baits are also popular.

Usually one person controls the boat, motoring over structure as slowly as possible. In the stern, one or more anglers fish using this technique. To catch trophy flounder, anglers lower the rig until the weight is felt on the bottom. As the boat continues trolling, line is constantly let out our retrieved so that the weight is in intermittent contact with the bottom. In areas where rocks or other obstructions exist, any slack in the line can result in a hang up and possible loss of the rig.

While fishing for large doormat flounder (fluke), anglers also catch striped bass (rockfish), bluefish, sea trout, and other species.