Hot bite: Lake Charles flounder

Flounder should be in the marshes around Lake Charles through June.
Flounder should be in the marshes around Lake Charles through June.

Local anglers discover plenty of honey holes, share tips

“Think like a flounder,” Jason reminded John and I as he looked around at a possible new spot to try. It was a cut between a strip of vegetation, water was flowing through and a lot of birds were gathered.

A few shrimp jumped at the sound of the trolling motor as we cruised into casting distance to anchor the boat. We began casting along the edge of the eddy with 4-inch, pearl/white Gulp! grubs on a ¼-ounce jighead.

It took a few minutes, but my line got heavy, and there was a familiar thump. I let the flounder chew on my grub before setting the hook. The flounder were there and they were hungry — attacking our lures for the next hour. We left them biting.

Jason Lewis and John Muller have been targeting flounder in the Lake Charles system, which extends from Prien to Cameron, for a few years, and it shows. They know where the flounder are, and they aren’t afraid to try new locations that look promising. If you ask nicely, they are more than willing to give a few tips for seasoned fishermen and beginners alike on how to have a successful trip.

Finding flounder gathering holes

Before heading out, look through satellite maps for cuts in the marshland — areas where the vegetation crumbles or washes away. It will look like two strips of land that should be connected, but there is a space between where water flows in and out depending on the tide. Points, where pieces of marsh extend into the lake, are also places where flounder gather. Flounder will be on the edge of the eddy where the current and still water meet, as long as the bottom is a sand or mud flat.

Flounder are usually in places where current and still water meet, often in an eddy area.
Flounder are usually in places where current and still water meet, often in an eddy area.

Presentation is key, so where you drop anchor does matter. A good rule of thumb is to be within casting distance and not on top of the cut. The best spot to anchor is on the outside of where the water is flowing.

Best bait

Gulp! is their go-to swimbait. They prefer 4-inch grubs in pearl/white or chartreuse with a ¼-ounce jighead.

If the jighead is heavier, the flounder will be more hesitant to bite, and you are more likely to get hung on structure., they cautioned.

Bounce the swimbait slowly off the bottom on the retrieve. When a flounder is on, your line will get heavier after the drop, and/or there will be a few firm bites.

A medium-fast tip rod in the range of 6-foot-6 to 7-foot will allow you to feel the bite better. Do not immediately set the hook. Wait for the flounder to eat the grub a bit. Count to one-MIssissippi, two-Mississippi, loosen the tension and give them the rod before setting the hook. Fish on!

A soft-plastic grub and a piece of live shrimp threaded onto a jighead is a great flounder combination.
A soft-plastic grub and a piece of live shrimp threaded onto a jighead is a great flounder combination.

Flounder should still be in the marshes through June.

According to local fishermen, the regular  flounder run was missing last fall. Fish usually gather in channels heading to the Gulf where they will spawn, typically happens from late October to the end of November.

Lewis suggests planning a flounder trip around high tide; he said to be flexible when it comes to switching techniques, lures, and baits. Some days, the flounder will bite only jigs baited with live shrimp, and other days they want only jigs baited with shad.

If you are want to diversify your catch with redfish and speckled trout, the easiest way is to look for schooling activity. Topwater activity and diving birds are key indicators. A popping cork with shrimp or a shrimp lure will work magic, as will noisy topwater lures such as a Super Spook Jr. Prime conditions include clear water and light to no wind.