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Flounder on Artificials

Catching a flatfish like a flounder is great fun on artificial lures!

By

James Brooks with a Nice Flounder

James Brooks with a nice flounder. Note the lure that he caught it on.

Photo by Ron Brooks
It would appear that a flounder, lying on the bottom waiting for food, would not be a very aggressive fish, one wiling to reach out and grab a lure. I spend most of my time looking for flounder with live bait, but I was surprised at their aggressiveness when presented with an artificial bait like a grub.

The Situation

We were looking for redfish in the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). My son had an upcoming redfish tournament and he was looking for fish. The tide was moving out and we had headed back into a small oyster bar laden creek. We had caught fish in this creek before, and the bait that was moving told us we would probably find fish.

Bait

We started out using topwater lures; popping plugs and mullet imitations. We also had a rod rigged with a jig head and plastic grub combination. We like the Bass Assassin saltwater series grubs.

The color we started with was called Electric Chicken, a swim tail grub with pink on the top moving to chartreuse on the bottom. We also used some pure chartreuse, pure pink, and some that were pink and white. All of them were rigged on a quarter ounce jig.

Presentation

We worked the deep (this is a relative term in a small creek) side of the creek casting our plugs and jigs to the edge of the oyster bars. The water was about three feet deep up against the bar, and the boat was sitting back about forty feet in two feet of water.

As the tide moved out, schools of small baitfish, mostly mullet and glass minnows, made their way out. We used the trolling motor to remain stationary and cast behind the baitfish.

The retrieve was slow, something that let the lure have plenty of action and remain close to the bottom.

Hook Up

The first fish we caught was a seatrout, and while we fought that one, another one almost jumped into the boat chasing a second lure. These fish were not big, but they were hungry and aggressively attacked our baits.

After catching several trout, I saw a small commotion against the bank ahead of the boat. I made the long cast to that commotion and quickly hooked up with a nice flounder. He absolutely inhaled that Electric Chicken grub!

Switching Tactics

Seeing that the redfish were really not up in this creek (we only caught one in a two hour stretch), we changed out tactics and began pursuing flounder. As I said at the beginning, I usually opt for live bait for flounder. Today we had only artificials.

We began moving to the mouth a various creeks and cuts where they empty out into the ICW. If the water was running out and there was a good flow moving across the bottom, we stopped and made several casts.

Bang, bang, we would hook up tow flounder at a time. They were sitting on the bottom watching the current flow, waiting for a meal to come off the flat or creek mouth., Our grubs became that meal!

What Did We Learn?

As a freshwater bass angler, I use artificials exclusively. Growing up fishing in saltwater with my father, I used natural bait almost exclusively. If we did use a lure, like a bucktail jig, it was tipped with a strip of cut bait or shrimp.

Staying strictly with artificials min saltwater is almost foreign to me, but this trip proved something. Flounder will aggressively attack an artificial lure if it presented in the right place at the right time. And at the coast of live shrimp these days, that, as one famous television personality puts it, “is a good thing.”

The Tackle Choice

I have since emptied the racks of my local tackle shop of Bass Assassin grubs. There are other grubs by other manufacturers like D.O.A., but these that we used worked better for us. I’m not sponsored by any particular bait, but I believe in letting you know what works.

The Bass Assassin lures were longer and softer that any of the others we tried. That meant we could retrieve them slower and still get the swimming action we needed. Other brands were made with a harder consistency – meaning they would stay on the hook for more than one fish – but they had to be retrieved much faster to get any tail swimming action.

It may be that on another day the faster action will be what the fish look for, but today they wanted it slow and on or close to the bottom.

Flounder on artificial baits and lures – it doesn’t get any better than that!

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