Inlets up and down the east coast of the United States are brimming with flounder. They have begun their annual fall run to waters offshore, and the inlets are the avenue for them to get there. Now is the time to get out and fish for flounder - find some door mats for your cooler!
Where to LookI like to fish for flounder in small eddies. Any structure in the water, be it a piling, a dock, a rock jetty, or some outcropping, can cause an eddy to form. For the untrained, an eddy is where the water flow or current has been interrupted and turns back on itself in a circle. These are great places for flounder to hide and rest, waiting for their next meal to appear.
Look for flounder behind large pilings – on the down current side of the piling. Find them along a rock jetty where they can get close and get behind a rock on the bottom.
SizeThe fish you are looking for this time of year are mature fish and are usually the largest ones of the year. The younger, smaller flounder that were spawned this year will tend to remain inshore until next year.
BaitThis is the one time of year that I like to use live bait. I am partial to live finger mullet, and with the bait migration underway headed south, they are relatively easy to find. I carry a six foot cast net and spend about an hour catching bait before I begin fishing. If I can’t find finger mullet, I opt for mud minnows or as a last choice, a live shrimp. Live bait tends to take the larger flounder more easily than artificial bait. They didn’t get that big by being stupid!
TackleI use a leader about 15 inches long, a 2/0 kahle hook, and a slip sinker above the swivel on the leader. The sinker weight varies according to the water depth and current speed. I like to use the smallest sinker that will get my bait down. Friends of mine always use a larger sinker, saying that the sinker digs up the bottom and attracts the flounder’s attention. Who knows? We both catch fish!
TechniqueIn a big eddy, I will cast my bait and work it back slowly along the bottom. I cast across the eddy and work it straight back. On jetty rocks, I move off the rocks and cast directly back to them, moving the bait from shallow to deep. Under a dock, where pilings hold flounder, I cast under the dock and bring my bait back so that it comes behind any big piling.
Bottom LineI catch a large number of flounder every year. Quite honestly, if I am catching redfish, trout and flounder on the same trip, I will keep the flounder and release the others. And, I only keep enough for dinner that night. I gave up freezing and stocking up on fish a long time ago.
From Florida to New York, now is the time to get out and find some flatfish. They are on the move and they are hungry. Find a great fall day and get out there!
More Information on Flounder Fishing