Where to LookFlounder are where you find them – but there are specific locations – actually types of locations – where they will be more likely to be found.
- Creek Mouths
My favorite place to look for flounder is at the mouth of an estuary creek. The number of these creeks in any given area of the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) is phenomenal. I have numerous articles about fishing these creek mouths.
I like to ease up to a creek mouth on an incoming tide. I use a trolling motor, but sometimes I pole up to the mouth. Either way I try to stay quiet. Flounder will position themselves at the mouth of the creek, most often facing the incoming tide. As baitfish are pushed into the creek by the tide, they have a perfect place to feed. On the last part of the outgoing tide, this same location could hold a fish or two. They simply turn around and face the outgoing current as the tide pushes the baitfish by them.
- Oyster Bars
Oysters live in water where the depth allows them to be out of the water at low tide. Yes, there are oyster rakes totally submerged, but the ones that stick up out of the water at low tide are the ones I like to fish. They may be along the edge of the ICW or they may be back up in an estuary creek or river. Flounder can be found along the edges of these bars. They don’t eat the oysters; they feed on the baitfish and small crustaceans that live on and around the oysters. You see, oyster bars are actually sort of a little eco-system all to themselves.
I fish oyster bars on almost any tide. If I know where the edge of the bar is on a high tide, I can work my bait along that edge without hanging on the oysters. On a low tide I can see the edge and fish it accordingly.
- Marsh Edges
Up and down the ICW there are salt marshes on both sides. Some of these marshes extend back for a half mile or more. Often a creek runs through them, but more often, they are simply large areas of marsh grass – areas that are home to so much marine life.
Flounder have a habit of moving along the edges of these salt marshes in shallow water. They will flap themselves down under the mud and wait for a school of bait to come by. Baitfish along the marshes will run with the tide along the edge of the grass, dipping in and out where a little runoff exists, where water from the marsh can run off into the ICW. Flounder simply wait and ambush them. I ease along the edge of the marsh looking for a school of glass minnows to “shower”. They run and then come out of the water when a flounder strikes at them. The “shower” term I think comes from the noise they make when they come back into the water – it sounds like a shower!
- Bottom Line
This is actually not the real bottom line, but it is the bottom line for this time. There are many other places I find flounder – around the docks, pilings, rocks, jetties – the list goes on. These previous three places are where I look for flounder in the ICW. Do I always find them in the same place very time? No I don’t. I may find one in a creek mouth today and it may be three or four days before another one shows up there. That’s why I keep moving and hit so many places.
Flounder are not schooling fish. There have been times that I have caught several fish in one creek mouth, but for the most part I catch one or two and then move on to another location. I look at the area I plan to fish and sometimes sit for ten minutes and watch. I am looking for activity. I’m looking for baitfish. If I sit at a creek mouth and there is nothing going on – no baitfish activity – I will often move on without putting a line in the water. Sometimes my fishing party wonders what we were doing – and I tell them. But in the summer, I will eventually find a number of locations where one or two flounder are caught. And by the end of the trip, we have a box of fish that will mean dinner for a number of people!