For flounder baits, pick your own poison

Small, live menhaden are a favorite bait of flounder fishermen once summer arrives.

What is the best flounder bait? At the risk of sounding obnoxious, it’s what the flounder want to eat that day. The popularity nod goes to live baits, but artificials often produce well, too.

Early in the year, mud minnows are all that are available, and flounder eat them well. As summer arrives, small menhaden and finger mullet are additional options. Some fishermen also use small pinfish, croakers and spots.

Menhaden stocks have increased since legislation was enacted that restricted the nearshore commercial catch; they can be caught with a cast net in many bays and marinas. From mid-July on, mullet minnows are large enough to catch in cast nets and are found in many creeks. Catching small pinfish, croakers and spots is a combination of time, small hooks and patience.

The primary artificials for catching flounder are soft plastics. The choices run from shrimp shapes to paddletails, curlytails, strips and flutterbaits. Fishermen all have color preferences; white is a good choice in stained or dirty water. Jigheads in 1/8- and 1/4-ounce will fall at different rates.

Hungry flounder may attack anything within their range of vision. Many fishermen targeting red drum catch flounder on weedless gold spoons and spinner spoons. Some flounder are also caught on diving or suspending hard-plastic lures. They are predators, and when hungry, they will attack the next thing that looks tasty.

About Jerry Dilsaver 1171 Articles
Jerry Dilsaver of Oak Island, N.C., a full-time freelance writer, is a columnist for Carolina Sportsman. He is a former SKA National Champion and USAA Angler of the Year.

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