Some Times Uglier Is Better!!!!
Usually in nature when a species is abnormally ugly or has feature that set it apart from the rest of it's neighboring population. It usually serves as one of its defense mechanisms, that tell his fellow inhabitants to stay away. As in the lion fish with it's brightly colored fins. Or the stingrays with their strangely shape bodies and barbed tails. But with these two eye sided creatures of the flats it seem just the opposite holds true. Even though their appearance may reminds us some kind of species that may have gotten a little to close to some kind of radiation experiment gone array. In this case of the flounder it seems the bigger and more hideous their appearance, the more tastier and succulent they are off the grill. If one can ever get past the initial stare of two eyes looking at you while your eating. You'll find a stuff flounder dinner hard to beat regardless of what else the chef has to offer on the rest of the menu. Broiled, Grilled, Smoked, or Stuffed once you have tasted this overlooked delicacies of the flats you'll soon find out why these are one of the most sought after species in the gulf.
With these most recent cold snaps we have been experiencing the is the perfect time of the year to go out and get a few for the table! The September and October fall runs will provide lots of action for the angler willing to brave the sometimes uncomfortable conditions. The main thing to remember when going after some blanket size flounder are tides and current. The higher the tides and stronger the currents the better. Set up on grassy shoreline where marshy brackish water meets the surrounding bays. This is where Flounders will congregate in hopes of surprising an unsuspecting mud minnow or shad. The stronger the current the closer to the inlet you'll find them, and visa verse, the weaker the current the more scattered out away from the inlet is where you should start your search.
Now lets talk a little about bait. The two main types are artificial verses live baits. With the two having as many types and styles that an angler can imagine, with companies coming up with new ones everyday to handle to ever growing demand. With live baits your choices are narrowed a little, usually live shrimp, mud minnows, or shad being the preferable choice. Pay close attention to the conditions, time of year, and available to what is actually in the bays to help you in chose which bait to use on that particular day. But for a good no fail choice the angler can't go wrong with shrimp, just about everything that swims or for that matter rides in the boat like shrimp. And you may come away with an unexpected speck or red for one of your gone astray cast. Using mud minnows will narrow the species field down a little, and help to ensure a flounder will be tugging on the end of your line. Since this is one of the favorite species of prey.
Artificials on the other hand the angler will find a wide variety of choices, usually more than most anglers would like to have. A good stand by that is hard to beat is the plastic jigs. But unfortunately these also come in an seemly endless variety of shapes and sizes. From shrimp imitations in an endless amount of colors and shape. Or shad imitations also in different colors and shapes. Then once you have settled on what color and shape you think can't fail to draw that strike from a blanket size flounder. The bait manufacturer throws in a wide assortment of different size jig heads and style hooks. From 1/16th ounce to 1/4 ounce depending on current and water clarity. will help keep your lure in contact with the bottom in the strike zone. Which brings me to my final rule of thumb in the fine art of catching the elusive flounder.
Slow things down and keep a tight line with a sensitive rod. Unlike the more popular sport species such as specks and reds. The flounder does not get in that big of a hurry, and the same goes for his feeding habits. He is more of sit at the table type eater, rather than the fast food, scarfed it down eater like the speckled trout. Sir Flounder would rather be served his meal right in front of his face,rather than waste his valuable energy chasing after hurriedly retrieved lure, flashing past his table. And in that same vein Mr. Flounder doesn't chow down his meal, instead he prefers to savor the taste and nibbles on it awhile before swallowing. That resistances you feel on the end of your line that lots of fishermen mistake for their lure hanging up on an oyster bed. May in fact be a 10 pound flounder playing tug of war with the unsuspecting angler. So the best tactics to use in entice a flounder strike are slow methodical cast. Always keeping the bait in touch with the bottom. With a tight line waiting for that faint tap that hints to the angler that Sir Flounder has found something worth tasting. With a little patience and luck you too should come home with a few nice size flounder for the table. And find out just what a treat you've been missing, nothing quite compares to stuff flounder on a bed of wild rice.
But keep in mind the new fishing regulations, 10 bag limits are down from 20. And 14 inch size limit instead of 12 like in the past year. Hopefully this will help ensure more flounder for future generation, with bigger blanket size fish of a by gone era. Maybe the 20 year record will be broken in the coming years surpassing the the old record of 13 pounds. And having a face only a Mother could love!!!!