FLOUNDER ON LURES
The upsurge in lure fishing, mainly for bass, has opened up other unexpected doors for other species. Take flounder for example. I’ve been fishing lures, and fly fishing for bass, for well over 30-years, and though I’ve caught a few flounder on lures and flies in the past, I never made the full connection and specifically targeted them with lures. Things are different now, though.
Some of my bass fishing is along the sides of small estuaries in mid Wales. These are mainly formed from clean sand falling in to the main deeper channel, though some channel edges are patchy weed and stones with patches of sand, then clean sand as you reach the deeper channel. The flounder like to sit in relatively shallow water just below the tides edge, sometimes in just a couple of feet of water, buried in sand with just their head and eyes exposed. This allows them to see prey, dart forward and ambush them.
The technique with bass is to cast out in an uptide direction in to deeper water, and literally “bounce” the lure, usually a jig-head or lead-head type lure representing a small fish, back in a downtide arc with the tide flow. You do this by lifting the rod gently, then retrieving a few inches of line at a time, then letting the lure fall back to the seabed. This repetitive action makes the head and body of the lure lift and drop as it moves across the sand. It’s a deadly technique!
For flounder the approach, literally is different. Because the flounder are in shallow water right at the waters edge, it pays to stand well back from the water so as not to scare the flatties either with footfall or your shadow. Make the first cast uptide parallel with the waters edge and just a few yards out. Aim to bring the lure back towards you following the incline of the sand, still parallel to the waters edge and towards you using that same lift, retrieve and drop action of the lure.
To cover more ground I make my first cast, then for the next and each future cast, take two steps to my side in a downtide direction. This means you are continually moving and therefore will cover far more fish. Try different distances out from the tide line to find where the fish are holding on the day. I also cast out no more than 20-yards and work the lure back at varying angles towards me. Again this can cover more ground and locate fish that are sitting further out. This is a good thing to try on sunny days or evenings when the seawater is gin clear as the flounder will then be a little deeper and further out from the tide line.
As for tackle, I use basically my normal bass lure gear. I favour the ABU Volatile Bass rod, which is 8-feet in length and rated to cast up to 50g, though the lighter 30g rod is also a good choice. I match this with the ABU Soron STX40 reel and load with 6.9kg Nanofil, which I like for its very direct feel when working the lure, and its casting performance. I always fish a short 6-foot section of 15lb Fluorocarbon too. The Fluorocarbon means there is a section of clear line separating the Nanofil from the lure, but also the Fluorocarbon is abrasion resistant and also protects the Nanofil from any seabed wear and tear.
As for lures, something about 2-inches in length is about right, but experiment as flounder over 1lb in weight have a big mouth and will take bigger lures. Good lures, for examples, are the Berkley 2” or 3” Powerbait Drop Shot Minnow, the Powerbait 2.5” Gotam Shad, the Powerbait Floating Mice Tail in white or pink, and for the bigger fish the Gotam Shad in 3.5”. However the 1.5lb flounder I caught in the photo that’s attached to this blog took a big 9cm Powerbait Ripple Shad illustrating how big the mouth is on a sizeable flounder.
I also aim to use a jig or lead-head just heavy enough to keep the lure on the seabed in any tide run and to keep me in permanent contact with the lure when working it. Casting distance is not so much of an issue with the fish being at relatively close range, but I find a lighter jig or lead-head simply catches me more fish.
This, for many, is a completely new way to target flounder. Naturally it takes time to gain confidence with the technique, but once mastered, it will become a permanent part of your armoury and is a very exciting way to catch flounder allowing them to fight to their full without having to drag a heavy lead weight behind them. It puts flounder fishing in to a whole new perspective!