Summer is in full swing, and so is the flounder bite up and down the coast of both Carolinas. And when the flounder bite is as hot as it has been lately, most anyone can toss out a mud minnow, reel it in slowly, and catch a flatfish, as long as they happen across the right spot. But a few tips can help anglers increase their chances and improve their catch rates.
Capt. Jot Owens of Jot It Down Charters (910-233-4139) has a few tips that he said will come in handy for flounder anglers this time of year. First, he said you have to find the flounder, so tip number 1 is to find deeper channel drop-offs in water that is five to fifteen feet deep. Finding these deeper holes in inlets and creeks are always good bets, but Owens said nearshore reefs and live bottom are also good spots to locate these drop-offs.
His second tip for catching hot-weather flounder is to upsize your artificial baits.
“Try bigger baits. This will greatly help you catch more keeper-size flounder. I prefer Berkley Gulp! 5- and 6-inch Jerkshad in pearl white, chartreuse pepper neon, and new penny. Another good flounder bait is the Berkley Gulp! 4-inch shrimp pattern. I rig these baits on jigheads in sizes 1/8- to 5/8-ounce for inshore, and 1/2-ounce to 3/4-ounce for ocean fishing in colors red, gray, and white,” Owens said.
The third tip Owens offers is to use live bait. And while he advises anglers to go big on artificial lures, he goes the other way when it comes to using live bait.
“If you would like to go with live bait for flounder, try mud minnows, small mullet, or small menhaden. Rig these baits on Carolina rigs with Eagle Claw L42 1/0 hooks with 8 to 14 inches of 30- to 40-pound fluorocarbon as leader. I prefer egg sinkers as my weight. The secret to how much weight you use is to use as much as you need to stay on the bottom but the least you can get away with. You need to be on the bottom for flounder, but going lighter will always get you more bites,” Owens said.