Gear up for floundering!

Putting together a limit of flounder is all about gear, location and timing.

Flounders are my favorite fish to eat. It’s usually hard to catch a limit of 10 with a rod and reel, but it can be easily done by gigging. Waiting for the correct environmental conditions and having the right gear plays a big part in sticking your limit.

Recently, I went on a floundering trip with my girlfriend. The picture shows some of the tactics I use for getting some of these delicious fish.

The best time of the year to catch flounders is the late summer/early fall months. But they can be caught regularly during the spring and summer as well. The flounders migrate offshore during the colder months to spawn, so they’ll be more abundant at the beach as they move from the inshore estuaries to deeper water.

Going right after one of the first cold fronts in the early fall will be the best time.

Incoming tide is the best, and the incoming water from a bay is cleaner than the water close to the bank. Sometimes the peak of the high tides is OK as well. I find a moderate tidal range is most productive. Slack tides cause lower movements in flounders, while extreme tides can sometimes mess up planned locations.

Water clarity is easy: Just find the clearest water possible.

Scouting an area during the daylight will help determine this, as well. Try floundering areas near channels and passes where cleaner water is more likely to move in quicker than long stretches of beach. Also, look for calmer areas as waves silt up the shallows, and north winds will help keep the Gulf side of the beach calmer.

Dirty water makes it harder to spot not only flounders but stingrays, too. The football shaped fish will be the flounders. Spade-shaped stingrays like dirtier water, and are the most-common danger while gigging.

The best advice is to avoid stingrays by not walking in water where it is too deep or dirty to see the bottom. If you cannot see the bottom, be sure to slide your feet. Stingrays should scatter away without harming you unless you step on them or make them angry, so never mistakenly gig them instead of a flounder because being in the water with a ticked-off ray is never a good idea.

Other dangers besides the obvious of drowning include sharks or porpoises attacking your stringer full of bloody flounders. I’ve had sharks come eat fish off my stringer while surf fishing before, and it makes for quite the scare.

Luckily, while floundering you have a sharp spear to fend off the shark instead of just a flimsy rod tip! Go for the nose.

Also, I’ve read reports of porpoises taking stringers, so don’t keep your stringer tied to your body in case one decides to take your stringer out in the deep to feed.

Location is the biggest factor in sticking your limit of flounders.

I like to look for any type of point from the beach that extends out into the bay, jetties or near entering water channels. Search for a trenasse with flowing water or the entrance to a beach pond.

I like the back sides of points where the waves aren’t too strong. Many times the flounders will be more concentrated in a smaller area, so waiting 30 minutes to an hour and re-walking that location can produce a few more.

If flounder are concentrated in the spot you can try walking in a zig-zag pattern until you determine the depth most flounders are being spotted. It’s usually hard to see the bottom clearly beyond 18 inches, but around 12 inches of depth is where I find my most success, although I’ve seen flounders in less than 6 inches of water.

I like to look for the edge of hard drop-offs along sandbars. Most flounders ambush their prey at the beginning of the sand flat close to the drop off instead of along a plain sand flat.

When searching for a spot, look for baitfish in the water. If a spot is devoid of baitfish I’ll quickly move along. If fishing during the day, mark down any areas where flounders were caught, as that could be a productive spot to gig.

If you see marks in the sand where fish could’ve recently passed follow them. These track marks can lead you right to the flounder. Spotting holes where a flounder was recently bedded will give you added confidence in a spot.

Once you have located a spot, be sure to flounder as slow as possible. Nothing is worse than spooking a big doormat with your feet from going too fast.

As for the gear, I like to use a waterproof underwater light. These work way better than the old Coleman lanterns I used to use as a kid floundering Isles Dernieres out of Cocodrie.

I power the light by hooking it up to a waterproof  four-pound jet ski battery placed in a camo fanny pack or schoolbag. This will give you storage area for your gear food and drinks, too.

Any spear will work. I like to attach some thick nylon rope to the end of my spear with a crab float placed on the end. After spearing the flounder, I slide the flounder up the spear and onto the attached stringer. Then they easily drag along in the water. I know some people use a gig with several barbed points, but this means you have to have a separate stringer and have to transfer the fish, so there is a chance for the fish to escape.

Always keep a compass on you when floundering remote islands where there are no lights to pinpoint the direction of the beach. When on a far-out sand bar in the Gulf, it is easy to get turned around and forget which side is the beach.

As the incoming tide rises, the deep area between the sandbar and the beach will just as easily be confused with the Gulf, turning your fun trip a frightening experience.

This may sound silly, but working in the woods at night throughout my younger years has taught me to always be prepared because the night can be deceiving.

Having an extra headlight is always a good idea. Keep all electronics like a GPS or cell phone in a Ziploc bag. You never know when you may fall and get your gear wet. This is why wearing waders may not be a good idea, as it can be a drowning hazard.

Shoes should be worn so you don’t get cut on debris, crabs or seashells. Dangerous staph infections can be contracted in the hot summertime months, especially in water from those stagnated beach ponds.

After going floundering I like to mark my catch and details of the trip in a flounder log. I’ll include results, time, date, location, results, etc. Many of the small details that may help aid in future trips in years to come can be forgotten unless written down.

The best time of the year to go flounder gigging is soon approaching. So get your gear ready, and soon you’ll have one of Louisiana’s tastiest fish cooking up in your pot.

About Josh Chauvin 117 Articles
Joshua Chauvin is a health-focused ultra-marathon runner who goes on solo manual-powered public land adventures focusing on hunting big game and large fish by using challenging methods and weapons. He enjoys self-filming and sharing the tactics and details from his expeditions to help others learn from his unique techniques.