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Flounder fishing in North Carolina's inshore waters is discussed including links to where to go, baits and rigs, and other information on NC Flounder Fisheries.

Flounder Fishing: baits and rigs, and other info

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Flounder Southern Flounder are a beautiful fishis one of the most sought after fish in coastal North Carolina for many reasons. They are great fishing, beautiful fish in their functionality, and great eating. This popularity has made them valuable to both commercial and recreational fishers and this popularity has also made them traditionally over harvested fish. To get stocks up substantial commercial limits have been put on Flounder. Also, there are recreational limits for flounder depending upon location and time of year. Please check with the "Regulations Digest" or the "Division of Marine Fisheries" to insure you have the right rules before you fish.

Harvest data indicates that these combined limits are working to some degree but not fully. The present NCDMF stock status is "Recovering" with the best spawns reported in several years; some species are still have a "Concern" status. Experienced Flounder Guides and fishermen are expecting year 2003 to be good. Year 2002 was not spectacular.

Flounder the Fish:
There are two types of flounder on our coast; Southern Flounder and Summer Flounder (sometimes called Fluke). Southern Flounder are more gentle in nature and must be fished with great patience. Summer Flounder are more aggressive in nature and will strike and hold a hook with much greater abandon. Either must be fished with patience. Novice's will sometimes set hooks too early and too hard and lose fish.

Flounder can be a finicky weather-wise. They like temperatures from around 50 degrees to around 80 degrees. I would not expect them in very cold or very hot times. This would include the dog days of summer and the colder times of winter. Often times a storm can effect them for the good and for the bad. Flounder actively follow baitfish. They will feed in the shallows at night and move off to deeper water where the baitfish go to hide with the sun out. Flounder will also go to deeper water in warmer temperature but seldom deeper than around 20 feet. Tides do not stimulate Flounder as much as they would some fish species but fishing with current will definitely improve your odds.

Method of Catching Flounder:
Flounder typically ambush their food. They like to hide in oyster-shell beds, grassy areas, or sandy bottoms where they can kick sand on top of themselves. This gives them Flounder wait in ambush; sometimes only their eyes showgood camouflage for the ambush. My better successes have come from dragging live mullet minnows across a shell pile or grass bed. I often put minnows on a flounder rig and cast them well over the pile (whatever) and slowly back it in. Whatever you fish with it will be more productive if it is near the bottom nearer to the waiting fish.

Flounder are a very cautious fish. They will often take bait in their mouth shallow enough not too hook for several minutes only to spit out the bait. This is because the grab the bait and turn it for swallowing later. After a hit wait patiently if possible, giving the fish plenty of time, to set the hook -- then set the hook when the flounder tries to move to a new ambush position. I wait even if I think I might be hung on a shell or grass clump because of this behavior. Circle hooks will both help hook the fish and lower the number of false hookups when sliding over a grassy or rough bottom. I hunt for current if possible and continue to drift at least some. Flounder will not move substantially to get your bait -- pinfish and crabs will.

Flounder gigging, while not discussed here, is a very productive and popular method of taking them also.

Fresh Bait for Flounder:
Flounder love minnows but also love live shrimp. Anything that emulates minnows or shrimp will attract them including grubs, Mirrolures, and stripped meat off a bait fish.

Clearly Flounder come to fresh, active baitfish more than they will to any other bait. The size of the bait should as would the natural baitfish population throughout the year. Many anglers start with mod minnows in the spring and progress to small mullet and then to full size menhaden late in the year. Productive anglers will change their live bait every 15 to 30 minutes to keep Flounder interested. It is much better if the baitfish will swim near the Flounder's ambush than it is to have dead or inactive bait and make the Flounder come after it. Unfortunately, where there is Flounder there will be bait steeling pinfish and crabs.

Flounder rigs can be Typical Flounder rigboth very simple and very effective. One effective and straightforward rig can be made with a 1/0, plus or minus, circle hook connected to a swivel by 12 pound test with an appropriately sized egg sinker freely sliding on the leader between hook and swivel. Smaller hooks may be used when the fish are expected to be smaller. This can be jazzed up with some small beads or bright capsule shaped floats. Of course there are tons of pre-made flounder rigs in nearly any tackle shop.

Enjoy catching flounder and help preserve this great fishery whenever you get a chance. Communicate to your states Wildlife people and tell them just how much you enjoy this resource.

Good Fly Fishing Links and More Links
Good Fly Fishing Links and More Links