November is right around the corner. And many anglers around the country will be after one thing: flounder. The cooler weather brings flounder from the grassy, muddy, and sandy shores into the ocean. From Texas to New England fishermen and women are enjoying the Fall flounder run.
The flounder migration starts in late September, early October and lasts until late December. Each state will have different regulations for flounder, so make sure to check any slot or bag limits before your trip. Fishing for flounder is a highlight for many anglers in the fall season. Here’s everything you need to know for your flounder fishing trip this November.
Flounder are a group of flatfish species, meaning they lay flat on the bottom of the ocean floor. Like other flatfish species, flounder have both eyes on one side of the head. Another popular flatfish is halibut, found throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Female flounder are typically larger than the males and can reach up to 25” in length. Coloration depends on the habitat, but are generally brown with various red, orange, green, and yellow markings on the body. Their coloring helps to camouflage along the ocean floor as they lay in wait for their next meal. This camouflage also helps keep them away from predators, including humans looking to do some gigging.
Anglers who go flounder gigging understand the thrill and adrenaline rush of this technique. Basically, hold on to a gig, or long pole tipped with a forked spear. You’ll sight fish at night looking for the oval shaped fish on the seafloor. Once spot your flounder, strike with the gig. You’ll need to have a sure and steady strike to capture the flounder. Flounder gigging
is almost always done at night. The reflection of the sun off the water makes daytime flounder gigging much more difficult. You can either wade from the shore or drift in a boat among the shallows. Either way, you’ll want a decent LED light to help spot your target. Look for a pair of red glowing eyes sticking up from the sand. Make sure you know your state’s regulations, as eye distance will help determine if your spotted flounder is good for harvesting or not. We recommend gigging with a professional captain, they’ll be able to help track down your target and let you know if it’s a good one to harvest.
Region & Habitat
Anglers throughout North America will fish or gig for flounder. The entire Texas Gulf Coast is full of recreational and professional fishermen and women who fish for flounder each fall. From South Padre Island to Galveston, flounder is without a doubt a Lone Star favorite. During the fall run, flounder move from the bays to the Gulf of Mexico in droves and create a frenzy of activity.
Continuing along the coast of the Gulf, flounder fishing is great from Texas to Florida, including Alabama and Louisiana. If you’re fishing for flounder in Florida, check the many inlets and intercoastal waters. Flounder will also be near the many reefs of wrecks off the Gulf Coast.
All along the East Coast from Florida to Maine you can find flounder hiding out in the bays, rivers, streams, canals, and estuaries. They are an inshore species that are typically near structures, whether that’s piers or docks close to shore, or reefs and wrecks about 9 miles from the coast.
Flounder eat shrimp, crabs, or smaller fish. They are an ambush predator and will lay completely still waiting for their prey. Because flounder can camouflage with the bottom of the ocean, their prey typically never see them coming. They are fast when they strike and take their meals in the blink of an eye.
When fishing for flounder, live bait is a great option for getting them to the line. The best options are minnows, baby bluefish, croaker, squid, or mullet. Crab and shrimp are also good choices, but often times other fish, such as redfish or snook, with get to the shrimp before the flounder.
Fishing Gear & Techniques
As mentioned before, flounder gigging is a very popular technique for this species. Anglers will also use conventional rods and reels, spinners, or cast nets.
Light tackle fishing is great for going after flounder, as they rarely reach more than 20 pounds. If you opt for using lures instead of live bait, try artificials that imitate shrimp or mullet. The freshwater “beetle spin” lure is also very effective. When selecting your lure, keep in mind that scented and flavored lures will outperform the competition.
Now that your gear is ready, get the bait to the bottom and drag it slowly across the floor. Flounder have a soft hit, so you’ll only feel a small thump on the line. Wait just a few seconds after you feel the strike, then set the hook. Make sure you have a net, as most flounder are lost as they are getting pulled from the water.
Flounder Fishing Charters
Don’t get us wrong, flounder are available throughout the year. But the fall migration means that November is one of the hottest months for flounder fishing. Not sure where to get started? Let a FishAnywhere professional guide get you hooked up on your next flounder. Start here with a search of the city you’re staying in, select flounder in the species filter, then select your next charters. It’s that easy!
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