Region readies for Flounder Pounder Open

August 9, 2019

I have covered fishing tournaments from the Bassmaster Classic to the White Marlin Open, and while the species may change, the one thing that remains consistent is the skill and commitment of the anglers. A one-fish tournament like the White Marlin Open may be won on luck, but in more cases than not, it is the skill of the crew and captain that brings the winning fish to the scales.

This month, Delaware will host the largest flounder tournament in the world – the Flounder Pounder Open. Sponsored by Paradise Cove and Short’s Marine, the event will award $100,000 for the largest flounder caught during the five-day event. Anglers may fish any three of the five days, Aug. 14-19. Registration is now open and will close Sunday, Aug. 11.

This year there will be a 50-nautical-mile limit from the green #1 buoy at the entrance to Indian River Inlet. Registered boats will not be allowed to travel farther than that to fish. This puts the smaller boats on a level playing field with the larger boats that have a much greater range.

In addition to the top prize money, there will be daily Calcuttas and a Ladies Division. The tournament donates a portion of the entry fee to Beebe Healthcare’s Tunnell Cancer Center and the Oak Orchard Boys & Girls Club.

While I seldom fish in tournaments, and then only in charity events or against other outdoor writers, I do have a pretty good idea what it takes to win. Luck, plus being prepared when luck smiles on you.

If I were fishing the Flounder Pounder, the first thing I would do is secure a three-day supply of live spot. When I ran out of Virginia Beach, catching spot was easy. Plus, I had a big pickle barrel tied next to my boat where I could keep several dozen alive. If your boat is in a slip and you know where the spot live, I suggest you do the same.

Next, I would have been scouting for small pieces of structure on the ocean or bay bottom. You know the reef sites are going to be covered up with boats from day one. Those who have numbers for little patches of rough bottom, be it coral, wrecks or junk, will have a much better chance of connecting with a winner.

Finally, I would try to fish alone. Why split the $100,000 when you have done all the work to catch the winning fish? If you do choose to fish with other people, make sure they sign a contract that states in no uncertain terms exactly how the money is to be split. I don’t care if you are fishing with your preacher, your priest or your mother, get that contract signed.

When selecting who to fish with, choose excellent anglers. You know who catches the most and the biggest fish, so ask them to be on your crew. Even if your brother, sister or mother wants to fish, if they couldn’t catch a cold in a rainstorm, do not take them during the tournament.

While the White Marlin Open draws lots of millionaires and a few billionaires in boats that cost more than most people make in a lifetime, the Flounder Pounder is for those of us who have more modest means. That $100,000 first prize is going to make a big difference in someone’s life.

Fishing report

Fishing remains pretty good from Delaware Bay to the canyons. Shore-based anglers are also catching fish from the beach as well as the rocks and sidewalk at Indian River Inlet.

Anita Chandler caught a one-pound, seven-ounce king from the beach at Fenwick Island. I believe this is the largest king caught so far this year, and it earned her a Delaware citation. The surf has also produced spot and croaker plus the occasional bluefish.

Flounder fishing in the ocean has shown some improvement. The Old Grounds and the rough bottom patches near B Buoy produced more keepers last week than we have seen all summer. Rehoboth and Indian River bays also saw a few more keeper flounder.

Some of the best fishing has been over the inshore lumps such as Massey’s Canyon and the Hot Dog. King and Spanish mackerel are there along with some dolphin. Trolling with 4-1/2 Drone spoons will attract the kings while 0 Drones will bring in the Spanish. Thirty-foot leaders and ball-bearing swivels connected to planers or torpedo sinkers complete the setup.

The marlin fishing in the canyons is very good. My friend Taylor Deemer released his first while marlin during the White Marlin Open on Tuesday. He and his crew are still searching for one to take to the scales.

  • Eric Burnley is a Delaware native who has fished and hunted the state from an early age. Since 1978 he has written countless articles about hunting and fishing in Delaware and elsewhere along the Atlantic Coast. He has been the regional editor for several publications and was the founding editor of the Mid-Atlantic Fisherman magazine. Eric is the author of three books: Surf Fishing the Atlantic Coast, The Ultimate Guide to Striped Bass Fishing and Fishing Saltwater Baits. He and his wife Barbara live near Milton, Delaware. Eric can be reached at

Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter