Flounder are one of the most sought after inshore saltwater fish of the coast, and they can be caught from pier, surf, and boats. Peak flounder season on the southern Atlantic Coast is May through late fall, though there always seem to be some flounder around the creeks somewhere.
Studies done by biologists have shown that small minnows (mud minnows, pogies, pinfihs, spot, croaker) make up the bulk of a flounder’s diet, and flounder love to hit a bait that is darting and moving. Catching them on live bait can be tricky as you must wait for the fish to take the bait after it hits it and kills it, and many folks strike way too soon. One solution to the problem is using artificial lures for flounder.
Flounder have been taking bucktail jigs for years, but today’s scented softbaits are tailor made for them. A lot of flounder guides have gone to using today’s secented soft baits on jig heads or Carolina rigs to catch limits of flounder. Unlike with live bait you set hook immediately with lures when fishing for flounder, and it is more efficent fishing with less mess.
Here are some of the best scented soft baits for targeting big flounder in the summer and where to get them at a great price:
Fishbites Xtreme Scent Release Saltwater Jerk Bait – Rootbeer – 5 pack
The Fishbites Xtreme Scent Release Saltwater Jerk Bait works best on a jig head of ¼ or 3/8 ounce. For flounder I like to use white or red jig heads during the day, and the Fishbites Jerk Bait in the root beer color is a good daylight combination.
Because you want the scent to be part of the attraction you should fish the lure very slowly. Cast it right against structure like pilings or rocks, or in the current outside of a creek mouth, and let it settle to the bottom for 10 to 20 seconds. Then retrieve it with two or three quick snaps of your wrist. For flounder the bait then looks and smells like a darting baitfish struggling against the current.
Berkley Gulp! Alive! Pogy – 3” – Pint – Pearl White
The Berkley Gulp Alive pogy is packed with scent and is also a great warmwater flounder lure for imitating pogies (small menhaden). The scent on this lure is deadly so you want to make sure it reaches the flounder.
You can fish it just like the Fishbites Jerk Bait or you can slowly swim it just above the bottom. The paddletail will provide action that will entice the flounder. Another good method with this lure is to raise it in the water column and then let it fall back down. Flounder will often eye the lure and grab it on the fall.
Berkley Gulp! Saltwater Shrimp – Molting – 3″
Flounder love shrimp and the Berkley Gulp shrimp will catch plenty of them if you fish it on the bottom near structure. You can move the lure in quick lifts with plenty of pauses imitating a real shrimp. The Gulp shrimp will also catch flounder if slowly crawled along the bottom. It can even be fished without a jig head on a Carolina rig and flounder will smash it if it comes near them.
D.O.A. Tough Guy Baitfish Softbaits
The DOA Tough Guy imitates one of the big flounders’s favorite foods: the pinfish. Built to resemble the pinfish the lure comes weighted with the hook already in it so you don’t need a jig head. Fish it slowly by swimming it just off the bottom in flounder territory.
Flounder love to eat pinfish, and they are a favorite prey for big flounder, so this bait is a secret weapon waiting to happen. Just remember not to retrieve it too fast and the flounder will jump on this one.
For more fishing articles and links see my blog A Dash of Salty and my website Surf and Salt