Live bait and artificials can be equally effective when targeting Harkers Island flounder

Mud minnow are a favorite live bait of many fishermen who target flounder.

Flounder can sometimes be very picky and will only exert themselves to eat a certain bait, while at other times they seem ready to pounce on just about anything they see.

Fishermen have reported catching flounder on everything from small, live baits intended for Spanish mackerel to large, swimming plugs aimed at king mackerel. The fact is, they will occasionally eat just about any live bait they can cram into their mouths and a wide variety of soft plastics, hard-plastic stick baits and spoons.

Besides those occasional surprises, flounder primarily feed along the bottom. Live minnows — mud minnows, mullet minnows, killifish, tiger minnows, plus small spot, croaker, pinfish and menhaden — are considered the prime flounder baits by most fishermen. Guide Noah Lynk said he catches more flounder on small to medium-sized baits but tends to catch bigger fish on menhaden 4 inches or longer.

Patience is a virtue when fishing with live baits, especially larger ones. After catching them, flounder have to turn them so they swallow them head first, and depending on the size of the baitfish and how much it struggles, it may take from a few seconds to a minute to do so. When a fisherman sets the hook and reels in a bait that is scaled, the flounder hasn’t gotten it down its throat far enough for a hookset.

Many flounder are caught by fishermen creeping soft plastics across the bottom, especially scented baits. This is a productive way to cover a lot of bottom in a marsh system or estuary.

Flounder will also hit weedless spoons bumping along the bottom for red drum since they’re retrieved slowly. They will also occasionally rise off the bottom to grab MirrOlures and other hard baits.

The secret to catching more flounder is to match your baits to the area and let flounder see and smell them. If a bait looks good, it typically captures their attention, and if it smells good, they usually give it a taste. When fishing artificials, there’s no need to wait; flounder usually strike hard, and you can set the hook immediately.

About Jerry Dilsaver 1172 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.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply