Flounder are a popular catch and many of us hunt them with great regularity, but there are at least three things about these flatfish that most people don’t realize. Why should you care? Because knowing these tidbits can help you catch more fish.
- Flounder do not half-bury themselves in the sand, then sit there and wait for hours on end in camouflage mode. This is an unfortunate fallacy that’s about as widespread as any. Talk to divers, however (myself included), and they know from seeing it with their own eyes that flounder rarely sit in the same spot for more than a few minutes at a time. Even ones which are hunting near a wreck pop up and swim 10 or 20 feet at a time, quite often, visiting different sections of the wreck over and over again. How does knowing this help you, as an angler? Creeping a bait along waiting for a flounder to ambush is not the best tactic. You need to keep your offering on the move, covering lots of water and probing different areas until your lure or bait intersects with a fish.
- Lots of tiny red dots on the white underside of a flounder indicate fish making long voyages or migrations, perhaps due to continual transitions between swimming and sitting. When you’re expecting the flounder to move inshore for the season and you catch fish in an inlet or pass with lots of red dots, you know they’re recent arrivals. If the inlet or pass doesn’t produce on your next trip, it lets you know that it’s time to move up inside the bay, to keep pace with the migrating fish.
- Flounder have sharp, triangular teeth, which they use to grip and pierce their pray. Once they have it in their jaws they shake rapidly – much as a dog would shake a small animal it caught to finish it off. This shaking feels like a rapid series of strikes, on your end of the line. Rear back when you feel it, and there’s a good chance you’ll rip the bait right out of the fish’s mouth. Wait, however, until you feel a rhythmic thump-thump-thump. This is the feeling you’ll detect on the end of the line when the flounder has finished shaking, sucked the bait all the way into its mouth, and has begun to swim away. Now’s the ideal moment to set that hook.