The weather has decided to be August in June, and it appears the flounder action is trying to heat right up right along with it, according to Capt. Jimmy Price of Wildlife Bait and Tackle in Southport.
“Our flounder fishing is a little ahead of where it should be, but that's a good thing, and I haven't heard anyone complaining," he said.
Good flounder fishing began early this spring, and Price weighed several citation-size fish in April. With mid-June water temperatures matching that normally arrive in July and August, fishing has matched the weather.
Baitfish, Price said, aren’t ahead of schedule. Most finger mullet are small enough to swim through 3/8-inch cast-net mesh, and fishermen have gone to small menhaden they’re catching in basins and marinas. Mud minnows and a variety of soft-plastic artificials are also drawing attention from flounder.
"The flounder are scattered from the backwaters to the creeks and bay, plus along the Southport waterfront and even to Yaupon and McGlammery reefs in the ocean off Oak Island," Price said. "There doesn't seem to be a real pattern to their sizes. Big and small are mixed together. Some fishermen will catch a few keepers, while others will catch a lot, and some are between the extremes. I guess the keeper-to-short ratio works out to about 50-50 across the board."
Price (910-457-9903) said fishermen targeting flounder with live baits are using basic Carolina rigs with a 15- to 18-inch leader of 20-pound mono or fluorocarbon tied between a barrel swivel and No. 4 Eagle Claw 042 or L042 wide-bend hooks. Egg sinkers between ½- and 1 ½-ounce sinkers are threaded on above the swivel.
But Price is a specialist with artificial baits.
"I like to use a bucktail with a flounder strip or a Shrimposter lure," Price said. "I like a white bucktail with a white head and a white Pappy's Baits Flounder Strip. I use 5/8-ounce bucktails in inside waters and 1 or 1 ½ ounces over the reefs. I usually fish the bucktail straight up and down, and this helps keep it from snagging."
Price has been using a 3/8-ounce Shrimposter, with white/chartreuse being a favorite color. He said he can cover water faster with a Shrimposter and often catch red drum and trout in addition to flounder.