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Winter Technique for Fishing Flounder

Winter Technique for Fishing Flounder Winter Technique for Fishing Flounder
By Jim Hammond

There are several ways to Flounder fish. Here are a couple of styles that have worked for me in past years and will certainly work for me this year. As we all know, flounder like structure, therefore we need to fish that structure to catch them. Structure can be described as anything on the bottom that is not completely flat. I call structure, creek mouths, bridge pilings, oysters, rocks, slight depressions in the bottom and many other changes in the bottom. This also means that we are going to give up some tackle in search of him. This is okay, that is one of the reasons that we all work. Work all week, get paid, buy tackle, go fishing, lose tackle, go back to work to make more money to buy more tackle.

Now that you have worked all week to buy tackle, I hope that I will be able to help you catch something to bring home, so you at least feel that you have some return on your money.


1. Fishing Shallow water in the backwater creeks with the fly rod. This is fairly easy, you do not need sinking line, long leaders or long accurate cast. I start by heading for the backwater creeks on the very first of the outgoing tide. I then anchor the boat close enough to a small creek mouth, that I can work it pretty good. I like to cast as far in the mouth as I can and slowly work the fly back to the boat. Make your strips about 1 to 2 inches each. I do this several times in each mouth covering all of the mouth before I go to the next mouth.

The bite or strike from a flounder is not usually felt as you would feel a red or trout strike. It is almost like your fly is hung on the bottom, or you might feel a slight tap as the fish sucks in the fly. Now is the time to set the hook.

The fly patterns that I am most likely to use can be found by going to, then to fly fishing, then to flies. From their go to Bonefish/Permit. In this selection, I like the following flies for flounder. Bearded Charlie, Belize Bomber, Deepwater Gotcha and the Spawning Gotcha. Go to the category of Snook/Redfish, I like the following; AC's Redfish Hor's Douvre, Kirks Rattle Rouser and the Mud Minnow Slider. Now that you have purchased or tied some flies that resemble some of the previously mentioned flies, you are ready to get catching.

If you have very sharp hooks, a good hook set is about like a six inch brisk strip. After you have hooked Mr. Flounder, the fight is not something to write home about, but they sure do eat good. I like to work a creek mouth for about 15 cast, covering every inch of it, before moving to another mouth. Do not be surprised to catch other fish, such as reds or trout while your fly is being worked in the mouths of these small feeder creeks, as most fish like to use these as ambush points.

Conventional Tackle

Rod and Reel in shallow water. Do exactly the same as above except substitute a Jaw Jacker Jig in 1/8 or 1/4 ounce with a mud minnow, shrimp, mullet or your favorite rubber bait (I like a Sea Striker Shrimp Tail in white, white with a red tip or some sort of root beer color, a Sea Striker curly tail grub will also work, try the same colors, don't forget, Fish Bites also works). Toss it in the mouth and work it back to you very slowly. After you have worked that mouth find another one and do the same. After a few hours of this, you should have enough flat ones for a nice fish fry.

Rod and Reel on deep or fast moving water. I like two styles of presentation for this type of water:

1. Fish finder rig: The line on the spool needs to be 20 pound test PowerPro., From there, slide on an egg sinker from 1/2 ounce to about 2 ounces. Then I slide a bead on the line, this prevents the lead from beating up the knot. Then tie on a Sea Striker barrel swivel and to that a piece of 20 pound test monofilament leader, about 1 to 2 feet long. To the leader tie on a Daichii D-16 Octopus Wide hook, from a # 1 to 2/0 in size.

Now for the bait: Without a doubt, the best flounder bait is a small mullet or mullet strip, but shrimp, mud minnows, Fish Bites or squid will all work fine. If you are using mullet or minnows, hook them from under the jaw and come up through their lips with the hook. For cut bait, I like to run the hook through twice and leave a one to two inch piece hanging out, to flap in the current, like it is swimming. Do the same for the squid.

Now that we are rigged up, it is time to throw our rig in the structure. Look for almost all bridges within several miles of the ocean. Look for rocks, docks, pilings and piers that might provide a current break (eddy), These are where the flounder hang out. Toss your baited rig along this structure, let it hit bottom and slowly work it along the bottom. This is a style of fishing that is better when the bait is worked SLOWWW. Remember, these fish are laying down waiting for something to swim close enough for them to open their big mouth and suck down. These fish are really not designed to chase something down, but rather wait for something to get close, so they can suck it in, that is why we try to fish slow.

Try to work every inch of bottom in the areas that you might think a fish is holding. After you feel that you have worked an area pretty good, then move a little way down and start over. If you are in an area that holds fish, by the end of the day, you should have a few nice fish for dinner.

The float rig: This is the same rig, that I have so many times, employed for trout fishing.

I like to fish bridges and docks with this rig. I will anchor my boat so I can drift out of the back and work the Float Rig in and around the pilings. The bait as with all of the other styles needs to be on the bottom. I like to use a leader about two to three feet long and the lead weight above the leader needs to be about one foot off of the bottom. This allows the bait to drag the bottom. When a flounder grabs your bait, the float will lay away from you and slowly go under, as if it were hung on the bottom. The bite on this style of fishing is going to look as if the rig is hung on the bottom, as it will on occasion. Because the flounder bite and being hung on the bottom look the same, you have to treat each as if there was a fish on. I like to slowly take up the slack and gently set the hook. If you have hooked a flounder, he will be thumping as you wind him to the boat. The bait can be the same as above.

Good Fishing
Capt. Jim Hammond

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interested | Posted: December 9, 2003

good overall rundown on the subject. I would have liked to see some reference to locations ( state, region, etc)