State-line flounder are filling plenty of coolers

The flounder fishing has been top-notch along the Carolina coastlines, including right at the border.

Small menhaden have been key baits for great catches of flatfish along NC/SC border

Flounder fishermen are putting on a show in the marshes and waterways on both sides of the North Carolina-South Carolina border. And peanut-sized menhaden are putting fish in the cooler.

Capt. Kyle Hughes of Speckulator Inshore Fishing Charters has been logging plenty of extra hours on the water lately. And he is having no trouble finding plenty of flounder. Hughes said that flounder are right on schedule.

“The flounder bite has been pretty decent lately,” said Hughes (910-840-7186). “Anywhere from Cherry Grove to Ocean Isle Beach will produce good numbers of fish and some bigger fish, too.”

Hughes attributes the exceptional bite to the presence of small menhaden this time of year – his bait of choice when he wants to target flounder.

“Mud minnows will still catch flounder. But we catch better quality fish on menhaden. The menhaden are the way to go right now,” he said.

Flounder ambush their prey

Anglers can find flounder in a variety of places. Marsh flats, holes, creek channels and structure along the ICW all hold flounder. These ambush feeders set up along any type of irregularity that breaks the current and attracts baitfish.

Hughes targets specific spots where he normally catches plenty of fish.

“I usually anchor and cast to docks along the waterway and deep holes in creek bends, but trolling along creek channels is another way to find fish that can be a very productive method of finding a group of fish,” he said.

Hughes is relying on a flounder-fishing standard, a simple Carolina rig with a small egg sinker, 20-pound fluorocarbon leader and a No. 2 or No. 4 hook.

For Hughes, the real secret is the painful waiting period after the initial bite.

“It really depends on the size of the bait, but as a rule of thumb, I will wait 30 seconds to a minute for the fish to hold it before I tighten and set the hook,” he said.

When using live bait, flounder can be tricky to get on the hook, and a mandatory waiting period will generally insure that a fish is hooked and comes to the boat.

The June flounder bite typically stays strong until the water heats up toward summertime highs. Hughes feels like the bite will stay good, with a possible rush of bigger fish showing up inshore.

“The bite should remain steady through the end of June, and some real doormats should show up in the lines in the coming weeks,” he said.

Click here for details on how to debone a flounder to make a great stuffed recipe.

About Jeff Burleson 1311 Articles
Jeff Burleson is a native of Lumberton, N.C., who lives in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He graduated from N.C. State University with a degree in fisheries and wildlife sciences and is a certified biologist and professional forester for Southern Palmetto Environmental Consulting.