Tampa Bay’s flounder fishery has been dramatically improving over the past few years. Fortunately for those of us that like to catch and eat these tasty flat fish, flounder populations are strong enough to exclusively target them during the cooler months of the year.
Two species of flounder call Tampa Bay home. The Gulf flounder is the most common and can be identified by three distinct dark spots on its back. The southern flounder is less common and usually covered in spots.
Finding Flounder: Clean and Clear.
Being bottom dwellers that spend almost the entirety of their life laying on the bottom flounder much prefer clean clear water that makes filtering water and hunting easier. They are one of the only fish that does not have an air bladder, and that coupled with their unique flat shape and camouflage allows them to easily lay motionless and undetected by predators and pray alike. As water temps cool flounder fishing heats up. Flounder are not a schooling fish per say, but are often found in groups. When targeting flounder, keep moving spots till you start catching them and then focus your efforts on that area. If you catch one, the odds are there are others inhabiting the same area. Areas that move clean saltwater through passes and channels are prime areas to target flounder. Flounder prefer sandy or muddy bottom and pot holes, especially those located near deep grass flats or oyster bars that hold bait.
When it comes to live bait flounder will eat anything from a small shrimp or fiddler grab to large sized whitebait or threadfin. When rigging live bait tie a two to three ft. piece of 20lb. fluorocarbon leader to 8-15lb braid. Tie a size 1 to 1/0 owner circle hook to your leader and place a 1/8 ounce split shot or pinch weight about 10-12 inches up from your hook.
Flounder are also a great species to target on artificial lures. A jig head tipped with a shrimp or a DOA CAL or Paddle Tail bounced slowly along the bottom will surely entice a strike from a nearby flatty. Slowing down your presentation and making sure to keep your bait close to the bottom is key to improving your flounder catching odds.
A Flounder Fishing Charter Tampa Bay is a great way to have some fun and catch some tasty table fare. Flounder are making a strong comeback on the west coast of Florida, and if you like to catch hard fighting and tasty eating fish then its time you jumped on the flounder pounder bandwagon.
Call Captain Matt at 813-205-2327 or visit us at Facebook.com/FishWithCaptainMatt