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The Flounder Pounder

The Flounder Pounder

Flounder Fishing : Catching Flounder Like a Pro

Catching big flounder in NC

Stud Flounder Off North Carolina Coast

You can ask any angler what they think the best tasting fish is. You will get some Mahi, a few snapper, but an overall majority will claim that flounder is one of the best-eating fish. I would have to agree with them. It is one of the best white meat fish with a great taste. To successfully have a flounder dinner we need to look at how to catch them properly.

Flounder (also known as Fluke or Flatfish) are one of the easiest fish to catch from shore, wade fishing, kayak fishing or out in a boat. They generally like shallow sandy bottoms where they ambush mullet and shrimp. They can be found from Canada to the Yucatan Peninsula. There are three species that we commonly see. The Southern, Gulf and Summer Flounder, which can be found from Canada to Texas.

What Is The Difference In Species of Flounder When Flounder Fishing And How Do I Tell??

Southern Flounder vs. Gulf Flounder

This is a great question!  The easiest way to distinguish Flounder when flounder fishing is by various anatomical characteristics. But I have found it the easiest to just look at the flounders dorsal color pattern but more specifically the spot patterns. Gulf flounder are known to have three distinct spots near the tail that form a triangle. Summer flounder have five distinct spots near the tail, and southern flounder will be void spots. The summer flounder is the darkest of the three species. They commonly have a larger mouth than all other species of flounder.

Now that we know the difference between the type of fish we are catching we need to explore the best methods of catching them. These fish can be very tricky to catch and mastering these techniques can take years.


Flounder On Bottom

Flounder On The Bottom Waiting For Lunch

The most important thing when it comes to flounder fishing is: Patience! 

When a flounder hits, let him eat it. Count to 5 seconds then set the hook. I can not stress this enough. The way a flounder eats is unique. They will strike a mullet with brute force. With their mouth, they carefully will descale the prey. This process takes a few seconds and can be the difference when setting the hook too early and ripping it right out of the flounder's mouth.

1) Your Bait Talks: So How About Listen!

Bite of a flounder

The bite of a flounder often resembles that of a snakebite.

After many years of fishing, you can tell what kind of fish hit your bait based off of the chunk of flesh it takes off. If you reel your mullet in and notice that the side of the mullet appears to have a snake bite in it, then a flounder has just hit your bait. One of the things I often hate is bringing in your mullet, and it is cut off behind the head. The distinctive thing about this is it is in the shape of a half moon. When you see the bite pattern, you will immediately know that you are in a school of bluefish. If I had to guess, I would imagine you will lose your next four mullet you throw out unless you move the boat. If you throw out your mullet and it gets hit hard, when you pull it in it looks almost scaled then it was for sure a redfish.

Bite of a bluefish

The bite of a bluefish often resembles a half moon.

2) Know the Terrain and How Flounder Act:

Being an experienced flounder angler, I know that I can catch twice as many flounder on artificial than I can on live bait. I am in no way saying live bait is bad to use. It's the techniques that go into the artificial bait that guarantees flounder bites. The most important thing to remember is its all in the terminal rigging. I am sure you could attend 15 different fishing shows and hear talks on catching flounder, all will have the same common theme. THE BAIT MUST GET TO THE BOTTOM. The flounder ambush bait at the bottom so if your lure does not make it to the bottom then chances are the flounder will never see it and therefore cannot eat it.

A question that I often get is, how do I know what lure or rig to use to catch flounder? There are a few essential factors that must be considered.

1) Water Depth

Water depth is important when fishing for flounder. They often sit in the shallows and ambush the mullet schools when they come to feed. Some of the biggest flounder I have ever caught have come in 2-3 foot of water. A depth of water that I often look for is about  4-6 feet.

2) Current

A strong current often is hard to fish in. The flounder will lay right at the edge of the current line. These fish are brilliant and know that the current will bring bait through for feeding. Look for breaks in current, and often the flounder will be sitting there.

3) Structure

Looking for a natural structure on the bottom is crucial to finding flounder. One of the best forms of structure in the backwaters is oyster shells. These provide food for the baitfish and protection for the flounder. Unnatural structures such as Concrete slabs, railroad beams or any trash that someone could have dropped over is another excellent cover for the flounder. These provide shelter for the fish and makes for a great ambush trap to stalk prey.

4) Bait Size

Bait size is important when you are fishing for flounder. If your bait is too big, then it will deter a lot of flounder from attacking. A small finger mullet is ideal for flounder 12 inches and larger. My luck on pinfish has been minimal, but that does not mean they will not hit it. The larger the bait, the larger the fish needs to be that hits it. So if you use smaller finger mullets then expect to catch more fish.

3) So What is a Flounder Rig:

A flounder rig is anything you can catch flounder on. Some of my favorites are the Carolina Rig and Jig head with a gulp.

The Carolina Rig For Flounder

The Carolina Rig: This rig is a very simple rig to use for flounder. Often time companies try to modify it by adding bucktails or flare to make it more flashy and attractive. The honest truth is it needs to remain simple because you can flat out catch flounder on one. The most important thing is the type of hook. We often recommend the kale hook with your mullet, but you can get away with almost any kind of saltwater hook.

Flounder Jig Heads: This is one of the most fun ways to catch flounder in my opinion. Use a jig head with a gulp soft plastic on the back. When done right the jig will be retrieved slowly across the bottom being bumped all the way back. This movement is almost irresistable to a flounder, and the will strike 9/10 times. The only flounder jig heads I use are the inshore slammers. The perfect weight for your flounder jig heads should be 1/8oz, 1/4oz, and 3/8oz. Team these heads up with a gulp and its game over. The best type of gulp that we prefer is the gulp shrimp in the new penny. This will be perfect for waters from Virginia down to Texas. The ultimate flounder fishing blog to help you catch flounder like a pro.

If you love flounder fishing as much as we do then take notice to some of our points. Patience is the key to a good day of flounder fishing. Knowing where the flounder will be and how they will react to the bait you are throwing is half the battle. Know eactly what you will fish with from your rigs to your jigs. Now get out there and catch your next flounder for dinner. If you have any questions, please email us at or leave comments below. Send us your best flounder pictures to be featured on our social media page. Check out and find a lot of the essential jigs for your next inshore fishing trip. The ultimate flounder fishing blog, how to catch flounder like a pro.

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Firdaus Fuad - June 10, 2023

Hi Brock, I really enjoyed your article. I’m new to flounder fishing and have not successfully set my hook into the flounder yet.

Is there such a thing as a Kale jig head that would help set the hook better? Or do I just need more practice with the standard jig head?

Oscar Silguero - October 28, 2019

Can you send me a picture of the gulp shrimp in the new penny and how to put it together with the Hook and weight.
Where can I buy the Carolina right?
Thanks Oscar.

Oscar Silguero - October 28, 2019

Can you send me a picture of the gulp shrimp in the new penny and how to put it together with the Hook and weight.
Where can I buy the Carolina right?
Thanks Oscar.

Oscar Silguero - October 28, 2019

Can you send me a picture of the gulp shrimp in the new penny and how to put it together with the Hook and weight.
Where can I buy the Carolina right?
Thanks Oscar.

Jay Johnson - September 11, 2019

Just wanted to let you know your tips help me out a lot in flounder fishing

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