Flounder gang up around Edisto Nearshore Reef

When it comes to fall fishing, Buddy Bizzell of Edisto (S.C.) Palmetto Charters said you can’t beat the flounder bite at the Edisto Nearshore Reef. The biggest challenge, he said, is to keep the black sea bass from stealing your bait before it gets down to the flounder.

“You’ll catch a lot of black sea bass right here, so many that you’ll come to see them as a nuisance,” he said. “There’s plenty of good, keeper-sized flounder here, but you’ve got to weed through those black sea bass to get to them.”

Bizzell has a trick that helps a lot. He uses more weight than he needs to, and he uses a short leader.

“The flounder are stacked up along the bottom, and they like to stay put,” he said. “So you’ve got to put the bait on them and keep it from straying. I’ve used egg sinkers as big as 4 ounces — more than the current calls for. But it gets bait down through the black sea bass quickly.”

A short leader keeps his live mud minnow from swimming up too high off the bottom.

“On some days, the flounder may be aggressive enough to chase a bait down, but if you’re keeping it right on top of them, it’s a sure thing. I’ll use leaders as short as 6 inches,” he said.

The Edisto Nearshore Reef loads up with flounder in October. They’re always hungry and usually big. (Picture by Brian Cope)

This reef, which sits about 2 miles from the beach, doesn’t get much fanfare from flounder anglers, according to Bizzell (803-603-2781), who believes it’s because the flounder move from one side of the reef to the other throughout the day. It’s tough to pinpoint them if you don’t really study them.

“Here’s what I’ve found though. When the tide is coming in, the flounder will lay on the beach side of the reef. When the tide is going out, they switch to the ocean side. So it’s important to read your electronics and make sure you’re on the correct side of the reef, according to the tide. If you’re on the wrong side, the flounder aren’t even seeing your bait,” he said.

Bizzell also said anglers can forget the “count to 10 rule” that some folks swear by when feeling a flounder bite.

“You’re going to feel one thump, and that’s it from these flounder. They aren’t going to swim away with your bait. They aren’t going to move at all. They’ll suck your bait in and sit right where they are waiting on another meal. Set the hook before they realize something’s wrong and spit it out.”

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Brian Cope
About Brian Cope 1647 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of CarolinaSportsman.com. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at brianc@sportsmannetwork.com.

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