How long should you wait before setting the hook on a flounder?

The lure or bait on the end of your line makes a difference on how fast you set the hook after a flounder bites.

For years, fishermen have debated how long they should wait before setting the hook on a flounder. Some support a 10-second count after the fish takes a live bait, but when anglers are using artificials, there never seems to be any lag time between the bite and hookset.

In order to decide how long to wait, anglers must understand how a flounder takes in its food.

Flounder eat by engulfing their food in a single motion, usually head first. They have a not-so-sharp outside row of teeth that are used to hold large baits from escaping, but luckily, they have a very large mouth that expands to allow them to take down very large meals. But the fish they eat must be slowly fed into their throat, and they use their teeth to hold the bait in place.

The only time when a long pause is needed to get the hook firmly set is when anglers are using large baits and there are mostly small flounder around. Any other time, a flounder shouldn’t have any problem downing a 3-inch mud minnow or Gulp jerk shad. Even if a 15-inch flounder gets a taste of a 5-inch jerk shad, it won’t let go, and an angler should be able to set the hook immediately. However, if an angler wants to make sure the hook is set firmly inside the fish’s mouth, he or she can always wait a 10-second count to set the hook.

About Jeff Burleson 1312 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.

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