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School Me on Inshore Flounder...

I know what they will bite , I know they like little current bends and Rips , I know they tast good but are a pain to clean...But ..Do they move inshore during the Winter ?
Are they always inshore all year.?
How come I  don't catch any drifting the flats for Trout ?

Can I catch them in the little Oyster lined back country creeks ? All Year ?
Talk me to me famous Big Bend Pros , I'll buy you a beer one night ...
Killin and Grillin :grin


  • Doc StressorDoc Stressor Posts: 2,785 Captain
    They move offshore around here during the winter.  They stage near the mouths of creeks and rivers in the fall and that's when they are easiest to catch.

    They are pretty scattered during the spring and summer and are most often targets or opportunity.  You can find them in the creeks over soft bottom areas and around the nearshore limestone reefs that are surrounded by sand. Not so much over grass except where there are sand patches. 

    People do pretty well gigging them at night during the summer. 
  • Sooo , If they move Offshore in the Winter..Are they Inshore during the Summer , as in Tidal creeks and such ?
    Do they come from Offshore , Stage at Creek mouths and Rock piles then move Offshore again as the water gets cold ?
    Are they Spawning then in the Fall tidal areas , and moving back Offshore after their Spawn ?
    How long do they Spawn inshore for ?..Months , Weeks ...till I show up and try to catch them..?
    Killin and Grillin :grin
  • bunkerboy222bunkerboy222 Posts: 83 Deckhand
    flounder are opportunistic predators who lay and wait for their prey to come along and when they strike sometimes they hold the meal in their mouth before they eat.When they do this sometimes you are too early to pull the trigger and come up empty because they feel tension on the line and drop the meal. Let some line out,let him eat before the hookset and make sure you have a net. Also if you have a garmin look for drop-offs no matter how shallow maybe from 5' of water to 3' of water because if you find 1 fish on a drop-off there will be more.Mark the spot on your garmin and go back over that spot. More will be stacked up in that area.They lay and wait! I use small pinfish,whole squid (double hooked) and live mud minnows on the smallest bucktail needed to bounce off the bottom.
    Hope the info helps and good luck.                                                    Mike
  • capt louiecapt louie Posts: 10,903 Moderator
    I see them up there all the time while scalloping. Not many , but some. Gig and light to be consistent. Easy to clean.
    "You'll get your weather"
  • nicknick Posts: 5,070 Admiral
    Fish the down current side of heavy structure inshore or offshore. 

  • Doc StressorDoc Stressor Posts: 2,785 Captain
    edited January 2019 #7
    There are 2 main species of flounder around here: The Gulf flounder, which usually has 3 large dark spots in a triangle and the Southern flounder, which doesn't.  They both spawn in deep offshore water with the peak time in December.  They trickle back into shallow water in the springtime as the water warms. 

    The Southern flounder is typically the largest of the 2 species in the Big Bend.  Interestingly, only the females, which are bigger than the males, move inshore. The smaller males stay in deep water year round. 

    Both species grow up on the inshore grass flats.  The larvae drift in on the currents and mature on the flats. 

  • Bam..
    Do any of my Big Bend Pros catch them regularly ?
    I'm way north at Yates creek and won't be fishing your spots but I'd like to know if you can Target them or consider them an Incidental Catch only...and the best time of the year for them..
    What say you.
    Killin and Grillin :grin
  • Jim311Jim311 Posts: 4,961 Captain

    I caught this one Sunday in a deep Rocky creek mouth on the beginning of incoming after the big negative tide. I catch a few every year as bycatch. I saw a bunch of real slabs out on the grass flats this summer while scalloping, usually in the Rocky limestone outcroppings.
  • SaltygatorvetSaltygatorvet Posts: 5,807 Admiral
    I only target them inshore in November a little west of you in the refuge creeks. But they are welcomed  bycatch year round. Target offshore in late fall and winter sometimes 
    You should have been here yesterday
  • SlackerSlacker Posts: 1,819 Captain
    I catch only a handful per year in 8 to 10 ft.
  • nicknick Posts: 5,070 Admiral
    edited January 2019 #12

    2 barely legals today. Not worth keeping....

    in 3’ behind a bar. 
  • Doc StressorDoc Stressor Posts: 2,785 Captain
    edited January 2019 #13
    Immature Southern flounder.

    Jim's is a Gulf flounder.
  • Interesting..
    Thanks Guys. How big do they get around the Big Bend ?
    Killin and Grillin :grin
  • 4WARD4WARD Posts: 2,978 Captain
    They like to lay at the mouth of all those little runouts coming off those million grass islands and edges.
    If you want to target them, look for those and pretend you are bass fishing. 
    Other than that, time spent will give you a honey hole or two. Never caught a mess of em but could usually manage at least a couple.
    Big ones are gonna be rare. Darn good eating though.
    "I hate graveyards and old pawn shops
    For they always bring me tears
    I can't forgive the way they rob me
    Of my childhood souvenirs"... John Prine
  • brotherinlawbrotherinlaw Posts: 3,914 Captain
    Usually fish for them in Dec around the Hatch. Deep "ditches" when you can get past the seabass and sandy dropoff's seem to be the ticket. Fish slowww on the bottom.
  • capt louiecapt louie Posts: 10,903 Moderator
    edited January 2019 #17
    Big ones will cover most of the bottom of a 48 qt cooler.
    "You'll get your weather"
  • Doc StressorDoc Stressor Posts: 2,785 Captain
    Gulf flounder, which are the ones most commonly caught here, rarely make it to more than 14"-15".  They are the ones you most commonly found in creeks and runs. Southern flounder females can get larger, but a 20" fish around here is a big one.  They grow larger on the East Coast of Florida. 
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