Flounder Fishing: How to Catch Flounder, Rigs & Baits

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If you are wondering how to catch flounder, I will share with you some effective techniques and strategies for flounder fishing. Through years of fishing, I’ve already learned different methods that work for this fish.

I myself like fishing for flounder because they are naturally healthy and tasty, too!

So grab your gear, and let’s go target flounder! Here are some flounder fishing tips that can land you a great catch!

What Is a Flounder? Getting to Know a Flounder

A flatfish is a large group of fish commonly found in the United States and the United Kingdom, particularly on the east coast. It includes about 700 species, including halibut, sole, plaice, dab, and flounder. They are located on the bottom of the sea, waiting for the food to come nearby.

They have two sides; the underside keeps them unseen when leaving their home, and the top side with dabbled skin color. This skin color changes to adapt to the environment and camouflage to wait for their live bait.

Flounder is the general term for a lot of flatfish. If you want to catch one, it’s best to know the different types of flounder.

It is a saltwater animal that is commonly caught during summer and autumn. These mud minnows are born symmetrically but change as they age. The other eye migrates to the top, and the mouth moves sideways.

It may be scary to look at, but it is served in quality restaurants either skinned, filleted, fried, or mixed with vegetables. It has a deep flavor and is a little bit spicy. It also has an aroma similar to pepper. This is also considered one of the best alternatives for plaice and dabs fillets.

flounder fishing
Source: Brent Moore

How to Find a Flounder? Ways to Search for a Flounder

I’ve noticed anglers building a cage to cover large water areas to target flounders. This acts as a primary fishing spot that is used for lake fishing. This is commonly called peanut menhaden or peanut bunker used to nurture the young flounder. Some use a net as a base then pull upward to find flounder.

Moreover, baits are used to target flounders into coming near the area. Giving an appeal attracts flounders as they see the food source. Flounder likes spots where they are likely to survive, and prey is continuously provided.

Furthermore, flounder lures and cut baits became a trend for anglers. They create strategies before going back to the sea. Some use an application to locate the richest environment. Others look for healthy grass and potholes.

In addition, flounder is seen in shallow flats or inshore ledges during the ebb tide. The water depth in some regions of South Carolina and North Carolina makes it easier for anglers to find a flounder live.

The Chesapeake Bay on the North Atlantic is also an excellent spot to catch some flounders. You may use curly tail grubs with yellow or red floats, for this seems appealing to them.

Flounders don’t have a stable home and move from time to time. It is vital to be patient when searching for flounders.  

Where to Find a Flounder?

Flounder fish can be tough to find. They are scattered among the different places. Here are some locations to look out to for a flounder.

The first thing to look at is the current. Flounders usually stay in fishing spots with large currents. These spots allow their prey to come into them. Inlets, channels, and passes are typical spots with significant winds.

The second spot is the structure; this pertains to the rock piles, mangroves, trees, plants, artificial reefs, and sandbars. Flounders are known to be ambush predators. They will only attack once the prey comes near their spot, so it is best to look at these structures.

The third is migration habits; flounders migrate in summer. It is necessary to research their behavior and characteristics. During the process, you might encounter these fishes swimming to their new spot. This increases the probability of catching them on their way, for they do not travel alone.

Since they are moving, many anglers call them based on their season. These are winter flounder, summer flounder, and gulf flounder. They are widely seen in the Atlantic ocean.

Now you know where to find them, it is time to prepare to go fishing.

Gears Needed to Catch a Flounder

Flounders are both hard to find and catch. They are brilliant. Charles Darwin once stated their ability of transformation. He is amazed at how these fishes were able to transform their bodies and migrate their organs.

With their outstanding skills, specific tools are needed to catch them.


A fishing rig is complete equipment for fishing. It is how you arrange your bait, lures, hook, swivels, leaders, sinkers, bobbers, flashers, and dodgers in a fishing line. The best flounder rigs have five types.

Drift Fishing Rig

As the name implies, a drift fishing rig allows you to catch flounder while drifting or moving your boat. This type of rig is very flexible and applies to all habitats. This can go on the seafloor or above using a cork float.

Sliding Sinker Rig

This rig uses live bait. It is also versatile but is generally used to catch flounder at the bottom. This rig is light that doesn’t disturb the fish.

This is a suitable rig for flounders to prevent them from escaping. This is made to target flounders in deeper water. Expect flounder in a few minutes after this is set.

3-Way Rig

The 3-way rig is adjustable for any fishing situation. This is also called live lining. A sinker, floater, and hook are tied to the line for more accessible fishing. This is usually thrown at running water like the river.

Trolling Rig

This rig is used with small motorboats to avoid disturbing the fish. This is also used on the shoreline when walking or just for entertainment. The size of the rig depends on how deep you’re aiming for.

Bottom Bouncing Fishing Rig

The bottom bouncing fishing rig attracts fish while trolling. The anchor is then set at the bottom, and a bare hook is sent to capture the attracted fish. This uses a large number of baits to gain more flounder.

Baits and Lures

The best bait and lures for flounders are croaker and finger mullet. Live baits or known as cut bait, can also be used for flounders. Strip baits use bluefish, squid, and the belly of a gray trout. These are all-natural live baits that can be bought or caught in the sea.

Also, manufactured or artificial lures are available in the market, namely, swimming mullets and spinnerbaits. Anglers prefer Colorado blades for it lures the flounder during the night. Berkley gulp, jerk bait, are some popular artificial baits for flounders.

Fishing Tackle

A tackle is a necessary piece of equipment for fishing. All tools used in fishing are called tackle. Examples of this are fishing rod, line, bait, and bare hooks.

A 7′ baitcasting setup with a 20-pound braided line and a 20-pound fluorocarbon leader is suggested by most anglers when fishing. This allows you to cover as much water while looking for a flounder. However, other tackles are still functional.

A medium action and bass size tackle can also perform the same function. Also, spinning tackles are suggested for beginners for easier use. Though any medium may be used, the offered kit is still recommended for more fish.

Casting Techniques

When all are prepared, it is time to go out and keep your fishing line running. Casting techniques may help you on your first time.

Fishing is applicable with basic skills, but here’s how to improve it. The first thing to do is to check the lure weight. Every rod has its specific range to handle the weight. Next is to cast your spool correctly to ensure that the line will arrive in uniform.

Before casting, bring your lure close to the end of your rod. Place your hand on the reel seat to reach the line quickly. You can also use a jig head to keep your hook and cut bait at the bottom. Open the bail and catch some fish!

Have Fun!

Now you know some basics, it is vital to apply these to improve your skills. Don’t forget to have fun while learning.

Your experiences will make you more knowledgeable in catching flounder, and you may even develop your technique. Devices like a basic fish finder will make it easier for you to catch flounders for it has flounder attracting vibration. Prepare some bait fish as well as live shrimp and oyster shells to catch a large quantity of flounders.

Expect to see different flounders like summer flounder, southern flounder or gulf coast flounder, and big flounder during high tide. Most of them appear in the shallow water brought by the tide. The falling tide scatters the flounders that migrate offshore. So better get some bait for flounder ready.

Apply a light tackle approach when fishing for flounder. This is also important when handling different equipment such as flounder rig, Carolina rig, egg sinker rig, flat sinker, circle hook, dropper rig, flicker rig, and sea striker. These tools or techniques may level up over time.

Anglers fishing for flounders may have difficulty the first time because flounder tend to run away. But these flounder fishing tips can land you a big catch soon! Indeed, flounder fishing is a challenging yet exciting experience that you sure will enjoy.

Jon Stenstrom
Founder & Angler
Jon Stenstrom is a fishing enthusiast. He has over 25 years of fishing experience, and 6 years of spearfishing experience, and is currently learning how to boat. Jon has his Open Water PADI Certification and FII Freediver Level 1 Certification. Jon has traveled the world to fish and dive, most notably in the Great Barrier Reef, Baja Mexico, Thailand, and Malaysia. More Articles
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