Flounder have been a mainstay for local anglers for decades, but some recent seasons haven't sparked any memories from the fishery's heyday.
But the action so far this year appears to be better than it has been the last couple of springs.
Many anglers believe that could, in part, be attributed to a less frigid winter.
Flatties started to show up in their usual haunts in sloughs around the Eastern Shore barrier islands and quickly were found in the three southside inlets, especially Lynnhaven.
Some fish are starting to be caught by anglers working favorite spots along the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and at any number of wrecks, artificial reefs and rubble piles inside the bay and along the coast.
While there have been some decent-sized fish reported, none meeting the 6-pound minimum for a state award have been registered with the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament.
Only 34 met the standard last year, but one of those weighted 13 pounds, 8 ounces. It was caught at the CBBT.
The species of flounder we catch are summer flounder. You can tell them apart from winter flounder by looking at the eyes. If looking from the tail, summer flounder's eyes are on the right side of their face. They're on the left on a winter flattie.
Summer flounder also get bigger. The International Game Fish Association all-tackle world records for winter and summer flounder are 7-0 and 22-7, respectively.
Virginia's biggest flattie on record is a 17-8 caught from the Baltimore Channel in 1971. North Carolina's biggest was 20-8 from Carolina Beach in 1980.
Hopefully this year's early start bodes well for a good season.
Northeastern North Carolina
Dolphin numbers have boomed over the past week, but that's likely because more captains are targeting them to get away from an impressive number of sharks.
While catching yellowfin tuna, sharks have been destroying catches. Many captains have been reporting up to 20 tuna a day, with less than a handful making it to the boat intact.
Wahoo, king mackerel and some billfish are joining in on the bluewater action.
Coastal wrecks have been yielding a good number of species, including triggerfish, sea bass, grouper, snapper and amberjack.
Cobia and red drum highlight most catches made by casters along the surf and by boaters working along the coast. There have been a good number of cobia topping 50 pounds caught, including a 92-pounder by Doug Stark.
Surf and pier anglers are catching plenty of Spanish mackerel, croaker, sea mullet, pompano, blow toads, trout, puppy drum, juvenile black drum and a few small flounder. Much of the same is being produced in and around the two inlets.
Inside the sounds, speckled trout and puppy drum are providing the best action. The handful of anglers in the know are likely in search of tarpon that should be starting to show.
Cobia have been the main topic of conversation the last week, with huge pods of fish swarming the coast and mouth of the bay. Sight casting is producing a nice combination of small to medium fish, with quite a few fish topping 40 pounds in the mix. Remember, the keeper season doesn't open until June 1.
Red drum numbers continue to be good, with fish showing along Eastern Shoal barrier island sandbars, shoals in and around the mouth of the bay, and on the surface in open waters along the coast.
Black drum have started to move into the bay, with fish available along the North Channel. Some fish likely are starting to swarm the islands of the CBBT.
Sheepshead have been found, but numbers aren't great just yet. Spadefish have been seen at the Chesapeake Light Tower, around some navigational buoys and at some spots along the CBBT. They haven't quite warmed to hook and line offerings.
Spanish mackerel action is starting to heat up along the coast, with some fish close enough to shore to be taken from the Little Island and Virginia Beach fishing piers. A 23-incher was landed at the Beach pier over the weekend.
Shark numbers are quickly rising, both inshore, offshore and inside the bay.
Bluefish numbers are on the rise, with lots of bigger fish being taken by anglers deep dropping for tilefish and grouper along the edges of the Norfolk Canyon.
Sea bass fishing has been fantastic when you can find a wreck or bottom feature that hasn't been worked over. Expect some triggerfish on those same structures.
Croaker and sea mullet also are being caught by pier anglers.
Crabbing has been outstanding at area piers and from the beach. Big jimmies have been taken inside Rudee Inlet.
Trout and puppy drum are scattered, but are being taken at the Poquoson Flats, Elizabeth River and in all three southside inlets. In Rudee don't be surprised to find a few gray trout either in the deep water near the Virginia Aquarium or around the south jetty leading into the ocean.
Some tuna and dolphin are starting to show well to the southeast of Rudee. An eddy of warm water has spun off the Gulf Streams and is drifting closer to the Virginia coast. It likely will be holding some tuna and dolphin.
Largemouth bass remain the focus for most anglers. While most if not all spawning is complete, fish are still spending a majority of their time in shallow waters in and around structure. They won't go deep until the water really gets warm.
Frog-imitating lures are a favorite producer this time of year, but plastic jerk baits, spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and shallow-diving plugs all will produce. Keep a variety tied on at the ready to throw in the area of a missed strike.
Action has been pretty good on all fronts — tidal rivers, water supply reservoirs and neighborhood water retention ponds.
Catfishing has been outstanding lately, witnessed by some great catches in Pearl's Catfish Rodeo last weekend out of Knotts Island. Most were blue cats and some of them were big. Also look for Mr. Whiskers in the Northwest, Chickahominy and James rivers.
Crappie are most likely heading to structure in a little deeper water. Fallen trees in more than 10 feet should be holding fish. Otherwise look for fish schooling around bait in open water.
Bluegill are venturing toward the shoreline, where smaller fish are already starting the spawning process by fanning out beds. Bigger fish will continue to school in waters from 5 to 10 feet deep. Look for the biggest shellcracker in the same areas.