Fall Equals big Southern Flounder, Structure, and Artificial Bait in the South
Every year the annual fall Flounder migration occurs. This is the time when the inshore fish have gotten fat, lazy, and will eat just about anything that moves. The falling water temps trigger many species to start heading for deeper water in anticipation of the coming winter. At the top of the list for many anglers is the “doormat” or “flat pig”. Flounder are one of the most prized saltwater fish in the Sea. They taste great and it can be challenging to catch the big ones.
Where to find the Southern Flounder?
The Flounder in particular tend to pile up on any structure like piers, oyster rakes, bulkheads, trees, wrecks, and rock piles at the mouth of the rivers, channels, sound, or bays. For me this means jetty; it is hard to beat big rock jetties for producing large style Southern Flounder. And that happens to be what we are after. Beside the jetty is normally a dip where the current digs out a hole at the base of the rocks. Flounder love to sit in this hole and ambush shrimp or fish that swim by. Not as well known of a fact, is that the Flounder likes to sit vertically on the side of structure as well and attack from above or the side.
What is the best bait and setup for Southern Flounder?
Well now that may depend on who you ask. In the fall season I prefer artificial shrimp, like the DOA shrimp. I have had great success free lining these on a jig head bounced along the bottom at the base of structure. Some fishermen will not use anything but live finger mullet at the end of a saltwater Carolina rig. My usual set up is a 7′ medium/heavy action one piece Ugly Stik rod paired with a Penn reel. I will string that with 50lb braid and a 3′ 20lb fluorocarbon leader. I have actually seen big Flounder jump and I mean leap off the side of the rocks to attack the bait.
Best How to Make a Carolina Rig Saltwater Style
This is one of my favorite videos of all time from the guys at Carolina Fishing TV. I enjoy the whole video from start to finish and it is a shame that the show went off air because all their videos are some of the best saltwater fishing TV around. At 1:46 Captain Jeff Cronk makes a modified saltwater Carolina rig out of Lazer Sharp Eagle Claw 1/0 Saltwater rig. However, the result looks like a normal saltwater Carolina rig.
Night gigging Flounder is primitive sight fishing at it’s best
Gigging flounder is a old fashioned way to take flounder along the coastal areas. With Flounder gigging, we search the shallow waters at night in a shallow draft boat while spot lighting for Flounder on the bottom. As the boat moves forward slowly, anglers with gigs scan the bottom looking for the flounders eyes reflecting in the lights. Sounds like a good time; it is a blast. Flounder gigging at night is a great way to forget the hustle of modern life for a little while.
What’s next for Southern Flounder Fishing?
After winter comes the spring inshore migration and we repeat the process in reverse. There is a chance that when the spring migration comes around there could be new size regulations for Southern Flounder. We will have to wait and see what comes of it but the chances are good that it will happen. In the meantime we will just have to work within the law and continue to pound the giant Flounder.
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