Summer months are a great time to target flounder on the Outer Banks. They can be found in both our oceans and sounds. There are several different species of flounder caught here, but the most popular ones are summer or southern flounder.
These flounders, sometimes referred as “Fluke”, usually arrive on the Outer Banks in early summer and can be found way into the fall. They prefer water temperature from mid-60 to 70 degrees but will tolerate both higher and lower ones.
Flounder have been caught throughout our region throughout the warmer seasons. But some reports show that the larger ones are typically caught later in the year and right from the surf, piers or low bridges.
I usually don’t target flounder, but occasionally, I will change up my rig to see if I can locate one or a nice pod of them.
Flounder prefer structure and shallow water between two and four feet. The structure can be a submerged object such as tree stump or old pile or as simple as a slight depression on the bottom. These structures and soft sandy bottoms give them a place to hide and ambush their prey.
Flounder have a very soft bite so you want to use a light rod and reel set. I use the smallest diameter line possible. My tackle will be a double rig buck-tail, a Carolina rig with a single hook and small barrel sinker or a single or double lead jig head. Attached to these, I will use a strip of fresh squid or cut bait. Scented plastics have also been successful but fresh baits always work best. Sharp hooks are a must!!
To locate flounder, you must cover a lot of ground. Cast downwind or if possible parallel with the shoreline and retrieve slowly back toward you. When retrieving back, flip the rod tip up and allow the bait to fall. If the flounder is present, the bite should occur with the falling bait.
Flounder will not chase the bait. You need to keep it on the bottom and vary your speed and retrieve. And stay close to the “structures” and sandy bottom depressions or sloughs.
If you are lucky enough to catch a nice flounder, remember the location of the bite because flounders will always be grouped together. So an additional hook up is possible.
Flounder are one of the best eating fish from our waters, so don’t leave this one off you “catch list”
As always remember to check the bag and size limits before keeping your catch.
Finally, return all under size fish carefully back into the water.
Until next time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony