Summer Flounder fishing in Florida is best from June through September, with the largest catches being made later in the season. After the Flounder have spent the Summer thriving on bait fish in the shallow coastal waters and estuaries. Adult Flounder migrate due to changes in water temperature. In the Winter and Spring, they’re found offshore. In the early Summer, they move inshore. Then in the Fall, they migrate back offshore to spawn. So, with the peak of Flounder season rapidly approaching, the Flounder bite is really picking up.
When scouting a Flounder fishing site, I like to choose an area with plenty of underwater structure. Generally, rock piles, such as jetties. As well as the pilings of bridges, docks and piers. I like to find rock piles or bridge pilings just off of a major, moving water source, where the Flounder can find refuge from the turbulent current. I find that the most productive areas are the back side of any type of structure, where it is most protected from oncoming currents. Water and weather conditions are generally not a factor, since Flounders are ambush predators, which sit and wait for food to come to them. They also, do not have an air bladder like other fish, which is why they are able to lay on the bottom so effortlessly for long periods of time. Once they find a spot to bed down on the bottom, they are not easily spooked. You could walk right by them and they will most likely stay put. Which is why they are such an ideal target for gigging.
When Flounder fishing on rocks, you’ll have the best luck at high tide. When the edges of the rock pile, where it meets the sand or oyster reef, are underwater. This is where the Flounder will lay in wait, for bait fish
to swim by. Classically a jig head is the rig of choice, and it will consistently produce good quality Flounder, time and time again. I use an Ol’ Salty No Name Jig, tipped with a live mud minnow. It will not get snagged on barnacles and in rock crevasses nearly as often as an old fashioned jig head. Which results in less time tying rigs, and more time fishing. I like to toss my bait to whatever area is the barest or sandiest and keep it as close to the rocks as possible. As you keep your jig just at the edge of the rocks, also keep constant contact with the bottom, while bumping your jig up and down at six inch intervals along the rocks edge.
With bridge and pier pilings you’ll want to use a Fishfinder rig, such as the Ol’ Salty Flattie Finder. I try to use as little weight as possible, and cover about a five foot radius around each piling. Cast your line in a grid pattern making sure you cover all of the bottom. With each cast, let your weight hit the bottom, wait 30 seconds and then bump it forward a couple feet. Repeat this pattern until you are out of your targeted fishing area, and then start again.
Remember, that the Flounder is not going to come to you, you literally have to drag your bait over the awaiting Flounder.
An alternate method, would be to float a mud minnow, live shrimp or live finger mullet just off the bottom as close to the rock pile as possible. Letting the current carry your bait parallel to the rocks. If your float stops moving, or lays sideways, chances are you have a Flounder on the line.
The #1 RULE of Flounder fishing is to be very patient once the Flounder has struck your bait. Flounder will take the bait, only partially, and then wait before swallowing the whole bait. Once you feel the first tap on your line, wait 30 seconds, then pull in your line only slightly, then wait another moment more before setting the hook. If you let Flounder Fever overcome you and set the hook right away, you will lose the Flounder