October marks fall flounder fishing

October marks fall flounder fishing

By Nathan & Ted Miller –

The month of October is one of my favorite times of the year. Football season (both college and the Jaguars) are in full swing and the weather begins to shift towards cooler
temperatures.
It also brings a little excitement for kids with the much-anticipated trip to the pumpkin patch and the roasting of pumpkin seeds — not to mention the treating that comes towards the end of the month.
This anticipation can be coupled with great inshore action.
October marks the beginning of the fall flounder (aka: ‘flatty’) migration, and action in recent years has been called ‘epic’.
Flounder will begin moving towards inlets and the offshore waters, and can be targeted in certain areas along the St. Johns River, the Intracoastal Waterway and up into Amelia Island.
San Marco resident and guide Captain Lawrence Piper spends plenty of time helping people target flounder.
“I do all ‘backwater’ and have found flounder frequent creek mouths, marsh run outs, sandy banks, and on the edges of jetty rocks. I like the last few hours of the outgoing tide when the ‘edge’ of the marsh grass or oyster beds are beginning to show,” Piper said.
He shared some tricks that only a professional would know.
“Sometimes when I’m fishing an area at dead-low tide and notice Flounder have wallowed out some sandy areas, I’ll make a point to fish those spots later on a falling tide,” Piper said.
There are several different baits to use when fishing for flounder. Some prefer live, and some prefer artificial.
“If I am fishing with live bait, I like to use a 1/4oz jig head and mud minnows (some people call them bull minnows),” Piper said. “But I have caught plenty of flounder on the live shrimp/jig combination as well.”
He added, “If I am fishing artificial, white plastic grubs and Gulp Shrimp are good to use on a jig, too. Toss them up near the edge of the oysters, marsh grass or into a marsh run out. Let it go to the bottom.”
There are many fish camps along Hecksher Drive and up into Amelia Island, so finding live mud minnows or shrimp should not be too difficult. Any of the helpful folks at these camps can also point you in the direction of effective artificial baits they sell if you prefer more of a challenge.
The presentation of your bait is very important when targeting this species. “Many make the mistake of closing the bail immediately when the bait hits the water”, says Piper. “This draws the bait away from the grass or oysters and back towards you. Let it sink to the bottom before closing the bail.”
Whether you are using live or artificial bait, the presentation should be the same.
“I lower my rod and begin to lift it slowly, allowing the jig and minnow to bump along the bottom. When my rod gets up to around a 45 degree angle from the surface I’ll lower the rod, reeling in the slack as I drop the rod down and start over again”, Piper explained.
Flounder are very temperamental eaters. When you feel them consuming your bait, give them a few
seconds to eat to better your chance for a successful hook set.
“Many times a Flounder will latch on to the minnow but not get it all the way in its mouth,” Piper said. “You’ll sometimes notice just a heavy weight on the line. Try to be patient and even lower the rod – letting some slack in the line for about 3-4 seconds, then set the hook! FISH ON!”
Fishing the backcountry for flounder can be a nice break from fishing offshore. Offshore anglers haul hundreds of pounds of gear and heavy tackle 60 plus miles offshore. These blue water days usually start around 3:30 am and won’t end until 10:00 pm, or later.
Flounder fishing is a great way to get outdoors if you only have a few hours and is also very kid-friendly. Watching a beautiful sunrise over the spartina grass flats with the backdrop of hardwoods is a great way to start your day. Or fishing the late afternoon bite for a few hours while the sun is setting can be just as therapeutic.
The size limit on flounder is 12 inches from nose tip to tail and 10 per angler. All anglers between the ages of 16 and 64 must have a saltwater fishing license. For additional exemptions please visit www.myfwc.com/license/recreational/do-i-need-a-license/
One large flounder (aka: doormat) can almost feed an entire family. Get your kids involved in the harvesting and preparation. Flounder are a lot of fun to catch. And fresh flounder with stuffed blue-crab meat can be almost as much fun to eat.
Piper added, “When targeting flounder, you’ll catch plenty of redfish, trout, and drum as well. I’ve had a number of customer’s hookup and swear they’ve got an oyster clump. And when they get it about half way up, their line begins to rip out! Fishing the backwater, you never know what you’re going to reel up.”
San Marco resident Captain Lawrence Piper can be reached at (904) 557-1027 or visit the website at www.theanglersmark.com .
Send your pictures, stories and favorite destinations to The Miller Brothers at [email protected]
FredMillerGroup.com or Ted at [email protected]

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading...

You must be logged in to post a comment Login