It normally takes some fairly strong cold fronts to put the flounder on the move. That has not been the case this year. At least it hasn’t been the case for those anglers that are going after them primarily.
Soon after the cool front came through our area early last week, the tides began to recede drastically. That situation will practically drain the marshes that are flooded by the daily tidal flows. When the water moves out, so do the shrimp and bait fish. There are various places when that situation is happening where the larger fish go to feed. Feed they do, and should an angler discover such a place or places, then the catching will happen. Not only will there be flounder there, but there might also be redfish and speckled trout nearby.
Flounder are not considered really strong swimmers compared to most other fish. They are flat and lie on their side. Their top side is much like a chameleon. It will change patterns and colors according to the bottom structure where the fish is lying in ambush for some unsuspecting morsel. The flukes conceal themselves and lie in wait for their prey. On sandy bottoms, I’ve seen the fish so well covered until only their eyes were visible. On mud, they become mottled for the same reason. Their feeding habits are what make them susceptible to skilled anglers. In the moving water areas, the baitfish and shrimp will be there, and the flat fish will also be along.
Whenever you locate a spot such as a marsh drain a canal with tidal flow, or some structure where the water flows, the flounder will be down flow. Being ambushers, they will lie in wait for the prey pushed by the tide. The flounder will also lie along the jetty or concrete revetments as well as bulkheads, and anglers fishing from the bank will have the opportunity to enjoy some of the good action. Yes, as the cool or cold fronts become more of a factor, the flatfish catching will become better. Even so, some of these super tasty fish are catchable now.
As always or at least most times, live bait will be the favorite offering of many anglers. The mud minnows are super popular since they are readily available at the live bait shops. Live shrimp are great offerings for the flat fish, but the undesirable fish will also take them. That alone makes it necessary to continue to replace the bait. Finger mullet are also good flounder attractors, and so is almost any other live fish such as shad that are 2 or 3 inches long.
Now more and more anglers have turned to the use of lures for going after the flukes. The more popular lures are the lead-head jigs with plastic tails. When fishing in the shallows with water 4 or 5 feet deep on up to the bank, 1/8 to 1/16 ounce lead heads seem to be the ticket.
Color is always angler’s choice. Even the style of the tail is the angler’s choice. Some folks prefer shrimp colored tails while others will use white or chartreuse and enjoy some great action. The tails with no wiggle have taken lots of fish, but so have the plastics with very limber tails that move from side to side as the lure is retrieved.My choice of lure for taking flounder right now and on into the late fall is simple. It is a 1/8-ounce lead-head with a 3 inch very flexible clear chartreuse plastic shrimp tail. To this I will add a small piece of fresh shrimp on the hook. I have found that since the Gulp has come along that a piece of shrimp is optional. Should fresh shrimp not be available, then fresh frozen is second best.
Light tackle is in order when going after the fall flounder. Use terminal tackle that allows for a very sensitive feel. That will allow for hooking rather than missing an easy flounder bite.
Also, the local rivers are salty, so it will be prudent to give the drains that dump into them an honest going over. There are plenty flatfish in those areas right now.