How to Fish for Flounder in the Surf

You can catch flounder in the surf with a rod and reel or a gig, which can be made from a broom stick and nail. Gigging must be done at night. Either way you end up with highly-prized seafood.

Fish for flounder at night or twilight. The water temperature should be above 75 degrees and the surf should be relatively calm. Cast out just beyond the first sand bar. When it is so calm that there are no waves forming on the sand bars flounder will come within 10 feet of the shore line. Flounder are common up to 2 pounds. They are flat fish with both eyes on the top side and hunt by half-burrowing into a sandy bottom and waiting for a target of opportunity to swim close by.

Use an ultra-light spinning reel with 10 pound test line and a red or red-and-white plastic jig bounced off the bottom to make fishing more of a challenge. Live shrimp, croakers or finger mullet fished very close to the bottom make it more of a sure thing.

Fish for flounder very slowly. When he hits he will take the bait or lure to the bottom, probably to hide from other flounder. If you feel a slight tug count to three slowly and then jerk the line as hard as you can. With a lure, twitch it very lightly while counting so the flounder thinks it is alive. Flounder are stubborn and will often hang on all the way to your pole without being hooked. A good jerk greatly decreases this possibility.

Try gigging in the shallows on a very calm night. You might want to hold a bright light source in front of you with a gig in the shadows. This is not a sport for a novice because stingrays are often mistaken for flounders.

Keep the flounder pinned to the bottom once gigged. Reach down and get a good grip by slipping a couple of fingers in the gills or use long nose pliers on the mouth or gill cover. Do not put your fingers in the flounder's mouth.


  • Watch for stingrays if you are wade fishing. Always shuffle your feet on the bottom. They will get out of your way if you don't step on one. See "Give Yourself First Aid for a Sting Ray Wound" for more details.

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