In 2011 I took part in an epic challenge to catch 100 flounder in five days on artificial lure only. It was called the Fall Flounder Run.
I was able to catch 102 flounder in four days. While it might seem as if the flounder were jumping in the boat, the fact is I had to fish really hard to make that happen and a big part of the success can be attributed to the gear I used.
The following is a breakdown of what it made all possible and what will be in my tackle box in coming weeks.
2.5-inch Sassy Shad: This small shad imitation from Mr. Twister in the clear/silver flake/black back caught the vast majority of the fish. They wanted something small and the water for the most part was clear so I offered up this lifelike shad imitation rigged on a sixteenth ounce jighead for most of the run and toward the end used an eighth ounce. Tipped with a small piece of shrimp it proved to be a deadly combo.
2-inch Mr. Twister Teenie: Like I said, the fish wanted something small and when we came across murkier water this was the ticket and was probably responsible for 15-20 of the fish caught. Curltails are my all-time favorite lures for flounder and as I have learned the last couple of years, sometimes going small is what it takes.
Mike Iaconelli Combo: This inexpensive combo geared toward young people proved super sensitive, yet it sported enough backbone for a good flounder hookset. I used Stren Fluorocast on it in 8-pound test and believe this is a great option for anglers seeking an inexpensive flounder finesse rig. Plus, it has Mike’s saying, “Never Give Up!” on the shaft to add a bit of inspiration.
Stren Fluorocast: The water called for fluorocarbon due to clarity for most of the trip so I used what has proven to be a sensitive, abrasion resistant line over the last couple of years for yours truly.
Nanofil: The new class of line from Berkley which I wrote about after ICAST 2011 helped out and allowed me to catch probably 30 of the fish. I had it rigged up on another rod for making long, precision casts into a shallow area we could not reach from boat and also as we wrapped up our fishing from bank. I added a 15-pound fluorocarbon leader (and I don’t like leaders but it was needed due to clarity) and an eighth ounce jig head using the Sassy Shad. I was able to make casts at least 20 feet longer with this line than just the fluorocarbon. I have used this a fair amount crappie fishing this year and am starting to add it to my flounder repertoire.
Fenwick Elite Tech River Runner: This is the rod I used with the Nanofil and in conjunction with a Pflueger Supreme spinning reel. The bite for most of the trip was very light so this rod allowed me to feel it and still have a bit of backbone. I have been using this rod for finesse fishing for awhile and love the action.
As you can see I had to use very specific gear to make it happen. I started off using the power gear (pool cue rod/heavy braid) but the fact is the conditions and the flounder bite called for a far more delicate approach.
What this proves is that flounder are not just some dumb fish that will hit anything you pull over them but they are every bite as dynamic as largemouth bass or speckled trout. There is no way I would have caught as many fish if I had not adapted. And the truth is if this would have been one of those bites that called for heavier gear I would have probably hit the 100 mark in two days. I could have done that at Calcasieu a few weeks ago easily and truthfully using the heavy gear and that kind of bite is my preference.
Chester Moore, Jr.