Fall fishing is in full swing along the Carolina coast, and although many anglers think about king mackerel, speckled trout and spots, flounder fishing can be fantastic; it’s the time when many of the biggest specimens make it into the boat.
It’s hard to beat the area around the North Carolina/South Carolina border, with its numerous inlets, creeks and other structure-filled waters along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway are ideal places to find doormat flounder when bait is thick and the weather is ideal.
Through the summer, flounder are at the top of the list for inshore fishery options, but they are often overlooked in the fall when speckled trout start to show up in massive schools. Tom Cushman of Captain Cush’s Calmwater Charters in Myrtle Beach, S.C., said flounder are still plentiful and a solid option for his anglers.
“Our numbers drop some, but the size increases,” Cushman said. “The big ones will stay around and fatten up before they head into the ocean for the winter.”
In November, the estuaries are generally still packed with bait, including of mullet and shrimp, depending on the water temperature. At some point, these bait caches will leave when water temperatures fall towards winter levels, but until they do, inshore predators, including fat, doormat flounder, will be around to take advantage of the easy meals.
Fall fishing is dependent on water temperature, but a major change doesn’t happen overnight. Thermal cooling takes a while, since many fall days will have 30- to 40-degree temperature swings. However, fish will migrate locally after several days of chilly weather, mostly to find a better ambush spot. If anglers