Edited by Len Pal, Jack Herrick, Mary Anne C., Flickety and 18 others
Flounder can be found on ocean floors,sea coast and coastal estuaries along the Atlantic coast. Flounder like to hide and ambush their prey, so the trick to catching them is to move enticing live bait across their path and wait for them to strike. When you catch a flounder, you'll be rewarded with a delicate, flaky, delicious seafood meal. See below the jump to find out how to get started.
Part 1 of 3: Finding Flounder
1. Fish saltwater areas on the Atlantic coast. Flounder can be found up and down the Atlantic coast of the US in rivers, estuaries and streams near the ocean, where they migrate in the fall. Flounder fishing is especially popular in Southeastern states such as Florida, Alabama, and South Carolina, but flounder are also plentiful in the Northeastern coastal areas.
- There are often restrictions on the size and/or number of fish you can catch, so check your local ordinances. You may need a fishing license to fish in your area as well.
- If you want to fish for flounder in the winter and spring, you certainly can; however, expect to catch smaller flounder that may not be large enough to keep.
- Check local fishing reports in the area you plan to catch flounder before you plan your trip.
- Flounder are grayish-brown with lighter spots, helping them blend in with sandy, pebbled riverbeds and estuaries.
- Flounder have both eyes on the same side of their head, enabling them to see what's happening above them as they lie on their sides.
- One good way to figure out where the ledges and dropoffs are is by wading the area before you cast your line. Feel around with your feet to discover the best hiding places for flounder.
1. Use live baitfish. Flounder respond well to live fish such as minnow, mullet and croakers. Sea worms and clams are also effective. Hook larger baitfish through the lips, and smaller baitfish through the eye.
- You can add some strips of fresh squid or live shrimp to vary the bait mix.
- If one type of bait doesn't seem to be working, try another. Flounder can be picky, and they won't always bite, even if they liked a certain type of bait in the past.
- Consider catching your own live bait in the area where you're fishing for flounder.
1. Drop your bait to the bottom and let it drift. Flounder typically stay in one place on the bottom, and you'll need the bait to cross their path to hook one. While it is possible to fish for flounder from a stationary location, you're a lot less likely to catch one this way.
- Flounder fishing is easily done from a boat, since you can let it slowly drift and entice the fish with your moving bait. Try to find a current that will move you steadily along the surface of the water without carrying you along too quickly for fish to bite.
- Make sure you can feel the surface of the bottom. If you can't, you may not be using enough weight. Attach a small weight (the size of a BB) about 12" to 18" above your rig to ensure that your bait stays along the bottom.
- Ask the clerk at the local bait & tackle shop where folks have been having the most luck lately and which bait seems to be working.
- If you know there are fish in the area, but cannot bring them in, use a different bait. For example, smaller fish will strike at smaller hooks and baits, and if lures aren't working switch to live bait.
- Keep your rig on the bottom!
- You won't need to work your rig too much.
- Two-tone lures and shiny, sparkly, or holographic finishes are preferable. The easier it is for the flounder to see it, the more likely it will strike.
- Always be careful handling hooks and lures, and be careful not to hook people near you when casting.
- Use sunscreen and insect repellent, but avoid getting it on your hands, or clean your hands before handling your line or lures. The strong chemical odor will scare away the fish.
- Make sure you have a fishing license if required.
- Know the restrictions on size or number of fish you can keep in your area.