Flounder are one of the inshore species that often get overlooked by anglers who are on the constant hunt for snook and redfish. However, flounder, although sometimes elusive and difficult to catch, are a very fun fish to catch and taste delicious too.
What is a Flounder?
A flounder is one of the most interesting fish in the ocean. These flat, one-sided fish have both of their eyes fixed on one side of their head. They disguise themselves by burrowing into the ocean floor. While camouflaged in the sand, they wait patiently to ambush passing prey.
Flounder are heavy bottom feeders and spend most of their time on the ocean floor searching for forage, such as shrimp, crabs and small baitfish. And although they may not seem too fast, flounder are vicious predators. They are extremely quick and have no problem catching baitfish and other fast-moving prey.
Where/When to Target Flounder
Since they are primarily bottom feeders, it’s best to target flounder in areas with hard fertile bottom. Places such as shallow flats with a mix of grass and sand, boat docks, oyster bars and spoil islands. Areas with current, such as bridges, channels, inlets, passes, and beaches are also good places to target flounder.
I’ve learned that spring, summer and fall are the best times of year to target flounder.
When targeting flounder, and most other saltwater fish, anglers should try to pay attention to the tide. I haven’t found any certain tide to be best for flounder. However, current is important when flounder fishing. Even just a little bit of water flow can increase an angler’s chances of catching flounder. If anglers are struggling to find current, they should look around bridges, inlets, and channels.
Best Baits/Lures for Flounder
Anglers can use both artificial lures an live bait to catch flounder. However, if I’m targeting flounder I prefer using live bait. Live shrimp, greenies, and threadfins are all excellent options for flounder fishing. I try to use baits that are a little bit smaller when fishing for flounder. It’s been my experience that flounder prefer eating smaller prey.
While live bait tends to work better, if anglers prefer to use artificial lures, some of the best include small swimbaits, flukes and artificial shrimp.
Artificial Shrimp: https://amzn.to/3r00s2f
When targeting flounder, I like using light line and a light rod. I prefer a 7ft medium action spinning rod paired with a 3000 sized spinning reel. I spool that reel with 10-15 pound braided line, tied to a 15-20 pound fluorocarbon leader.
I typically rig live bait on a 1/0 or 2/0 circle hook and attach a small split shot sinker 12-16 inches above the bait. This keeps the bait on the bottom but still allows it to move around. If I’m fishing deeper water, I might need more than one sinker to keep the bait on the bottom.
I sometimes rig live bait on a poppin’ cork and drift it across a flat just a few inches off the bottom. This is often a good technique to try when the bite is tough.
When anglers are targeting flounder, they should be patient. If they get a bite, anglers should wait a few seconds before tightening their line to set the hook. Flounder often take a little while to fully engulf a bait.
Although I rarely keep flounder or any fish for that matter, some anglers like keeping their catch. If anglers are going to keep a few fish, flounder are a delicious choice! If you do enjoy keeping fish for dinner, it’s important to know the regulations.
In the state of Florida, a flounder must be at least 14 inches to be considered legal size. No anglers may keep more than 5 flounder per day. And the closed season for flounder is October 15th to November 30th. (Keep in mind, regulations may vary in other states).
Back to You
Fishing for flounder can be a very fun experience, especially when you catch several in a single outing! They are beautiful fish, they fight hard, and they are taste wonderful. So, if you ever find yourself fishing near the coast, whether you’re on the bank or in a boat, be sure to try for a few flounder.
Happy fishing and keep your hooks wet!