Categories: Saltwater

Fall Flounder Tips

Flounder are slowly beginning to stage for their fall migration to the Gulf.

Although it is not prime time yet, we are getting there and there are plenty of options to hook into big ones.

Hardcore flounder: This is one I guarantee will greatly up your flounder hook-to-land ratio if you like to fish with artificial lures, as I do. The first step is to get a spinning rod that is as stiff as you can find. It is hard to find an adequately stern stick without fishing with something you could use for yellowfin tuna. What I do is take a 7-foot medium-heavy action rod and cut the first foot off it. You want the action to be like a pool cue, virtually no give.

Next, rig your reel with a good braided or fusion line like Berkley Fire Line or Spider Wire. Use something with at least a 3:1 ratio, like 6-pound diameter to 20-pound-test. Then, screw the drag down tight. A flounder has a very bony mouth and the reason most anglers lose them is they never get a good hookset. This rig puts a lot of pressure on the flounder and will dramatically increase the number of fish you bring to the landing net.

The best thing about this setup with an artificial lure is that it requires only a couple of seconds to make a hookset. With mud minnows, most anglers wait at least 10 seconds before setting the hook. When I use this rig for flounder (and I always do), I wait a second or so then yank like there’s no tomorrow when the fish strikes aggressively.

If I only feel a light tap I wait for up to 10 seconds.

Shad bait: If you want to catch lots of flounder but can’t afford live mud minnows or shrimp, invest in a cast net and use shad (menhaden). Capt. Robert Vail turned me onto live shad under a popping cork about 15 years ago for trout and I started using on flounder immediately. Free-lining it into also works.

Shad, as noted in my book, Flounder Fever, is excellent flounder bait. I have had great success with shad fished on the typical Carolina rig as well as under a cork in shallow water. Try these tactics going into the upcoming peak fishing season and you will have success on the Texas and Louisiana coasts. These tactics were developed here and work wonderfully for anglers who put them into use.

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