Alex Ng is no stranger to big fish. Earlier this year Carolina Sportsman had a story about he and his brother, Anthony, catching huge grouper. Ng also enjoys fishing the calmer waters inside the inlets and his preferred quarry there is flounder. On Aug. 29, he caught a very healthy 12.33-pound flounder that was his second flatfish to exceed 10 pounds.
"This flounder fishing trip began like many others," Ng said. "Several of my friends had been telling me they were gigging some 5-8 pounders and that got my attention. Nine years ago I caught a 13 pounder about this same time in August, so I decided to give it a try. There were mullet minnows running by the dock, so Nancy (Mrs. Ng) and I caught a bunch and headed out."
Ng said they fished along the wall at the Morehead City State Port, close to where he had caught the big flounder years earlier. Fishing was slow, with a few pecks from bait thieves and such, but without any immediate flounder action.
After a while, Nancy Ng had a hard strike that turned out to be a big ray. It ran hard and kept her busy for a while, but she wore it down and led it to the boat to be released. Her early excitement turned to disappointment, but that's fishing. About five minutes later Alex Ng got his big strike.
"This guy hit hard and kept going," Ng said. "It peeled off line as it ran down the wall and then out from it. I was pretty sure it was another ray, but big flounder sometimes run hard too, so I was fighting it carefully to be sure not to break it off.
"After several minutes it began to tire and I was able to begin working it back to the boat," Ng said. "When I finally got it close enough to see its silhouette down in the water, I could see it was the huge doormat I was hoping for, not the ray I expected. However, we now we had another problem - it was too big for the net!"
Ng said at first he asked for the landing net, but after looking at it and the flounder again, he began to wonder. The big flounder was definitely larger than the hoop and he didn't want to risk losing it. That's when he remembered he had a small Spanish mackerel gaff stowed on the boat and asked his wife to get it.
Not many flounder are gaffed, but it worked for this one. Several hours later it weighed 12.33 pounds on the scales at Chasin' Tails Outdoors in Atlantic Beach.