Plenty of fish are biting along the inshore waters from Swansboro to Wrightsville, and the only downer for anglers is the heat. But that’s easy to beat if you take an inshore adventure that’s a little different than the typical fishing trip. Flounder gigging at night will keep you out of the sun, and it’s an adventurous change of pace from catching fish on rod and reel.
Capt. Allen Jernigan of Breadman Ventures (910-467-1482) said gigging is exactly what it sounds like – sticking flounder with a sharp gig on the end of a pole. Jernigan has been having a lot of success on gigging trips this summer, and he doesn’t expect that to change any time soon.
Like any type of inshore fishing, the tide cycle plays a critical role in what areas Jernigan will be gigging on any particular night. He has areas scouted that will allow him to gig no matter how the tides are falling, and he watches the tide chart closely to give his clients the best shot at gigging some doormats.
Aside from the gigs, which resemble smaller versions of Neptune’s triton, powerful lights that pierce the water and illuminate the bottom – and the fish – are important pieces of the gigging puzzle. These lights are made specifically for this purpose, and they aren’t run-of-the-mill garage lights, which don’t have the power to light up the flats for sustained periods of time like Jernigan’s lights do.
Taking a flounder gigging trip is an eye-opening experience for most anglers, especially those who do a lot of fishing for flounder with rod and reel. While the bite can be plenty tough, especially this time of year, a gigging trip will show you just how many flounder are in the very areas that most people struggle to catch flounder the old-fashioned way.
Jernigan recently had an interesting outing while gigging. One of his clients gigged a 7-pound flounder, and on the same trip, they also gigged a flounder that was brown on both sides, instead of white on the bottom.
“We gigged around 5 hours. We had one fish well over 7 pounds and also had a fish with a genetic anomaly. The fish was brown on both sides, and thick on both sides,” Jernigan said.
When flounder gigging, anglers must follow the same size regulations that rod and reel anglers do, and it’s more critical when gigging to be sure of the size before you catch them. In North Carolina, flounder must be at least 15 inches in length, and there is no maximum size.