Flounder in the Surf

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Flounder are a great target for surf fishing, but most anglers don’t alter their tactics to go after them in specific. That’s a shame, because while you will reel in a flounder now and again chucking out bait and letting it sit, if you focus on these fish you can catch a heck of a lot more at the beach.

flounder on the beach

Dragging a flounder out of the suds will get any angler excited.

So, just what adjustments need to be made? The first and biggest is how you think about these fish. Most people believe they just sit on the bottom, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, flounder are quite active, swimming from one spot to the next then often settling down for just a minute or two before moving again. Scuba divers can dispel all the myths, and watching flounder while diving was what opened my eyes to just how much they move around. As a result, the next time you try to catch ’em while surf fishing, try:

  • Casting out and slowly retrieving your rig, rather than letting it sit. Added bonus: Not only will you get more bites, you’ll also hook more fish because your rod will be in your hands, not a sand spike, when the fish strike.
  • If you can ID a trough or bar where you get bites, cast diagonally across it instead of just casting straight out. Your baits will remain in the strike zone for more time as the flounder swim through the trough or over the bar.
  • If (when – we all get tired) you need to sit your rod in a sand spike try to cast the baits to an edge or depth change the flounder are likely to be swimming along. These fish are usually moving along edges, and just making the longest cast possible is rarely the best move. Instead, see if you can put the baits in the fish’s path of travel.
  • Fish with live baits. Yes, we know this is difficult when surf fishing and that it’s not easy to lug a bait bucket or cooler around on the beach. However, active fish like active baits – and nothing beats a livie kicking around out there.



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