Explore America's Campgrounds
Gigging is a popular and effective way to harvest flounder. Typically done at night and at low tide, the angler walks along the shallows near the beach with a gig, which is a small spear, and a light to expose the flounder lying on the bottom. Not only does the light make it possible to see the flounder, but it also temporarily blinds the fish, allowing the angler to creep into gigging range. Hand-held kerosene lamps are the traditional lights that have been used in the past, but having the light above the surface also creates glare that can blind the angler and obscure the fish. Submersible electric lights are the modern alternative that prevent glare and eliminate the need for kerosene.
Items you will need
PVC pipe, 6 feet of 1-inch pipe
Electrical light socket
14 gauge wire
12 volt light bulb
Electrical alligator clips (2)
Can of expanding foam
12 volt battery
Small ice chest
Thick styrofoam, 1-foot-by-1-foot piece, 1-inch thick
5 feet of rope
Cut two pieces of 14 gauge wire, each 12 feet long. Strip 1/4 inch of insulation off each end. Fish the wires through the PVC pipe.
Connect one wire to each of the power leads coming out of the light socket. Twist the connections individually and tape them well with electrical tape. Pull the connections up and into the PVC pipe. Attach the alligator clips to the other end of the 14 gauge wires with the method provided by the alligator clip manufacturer.
Fill the PVC pipe with expandable foam. Shoot the foam into the pipe from one end until it comes out of the other end. Allow the foam to expand fully and harden.
Tape the light socket to the end of the PVC pipe with electrical tape. Poke a hole in the center of the styrofoam square and push the threaded end of the bulb through the hole. Screw the bulb into the socket and tape the joint well with electrical tape to waterproof the connection.
Place the 12 volt battery into the small ice chest. Connect the alligator clips to the battery terminals to turn the light on. Tie the rope onto the handle of the ice chest to use as a tow line.
- Drag your feet in the water when wading for flounder. Stingrays will frequently be found in the same areas as the flounder. Kicking a stingray will usually make it just swim off, but stepping on one is a sure way to get stung. Stingray wounds are extremely painful and can create a septic infection in a matter of hours.
- Tie the rope onto belt loop on your pants to secure the battery chest. Walk along the shallows with the light in the water and the foam floating on the surface. When a flounder is sighted, slide the light off to one side and creep up on the flounder. Gig the flounder in the head to prevent sand from contaminating the meat. The light and handle are waterproof so the handle may be dropped in the water to free both hands to handle the flounder and get it on a stringer or into an ice chest.
- Capt. TJ Hinton; commercial fishing vessel captain; Gulf Coast, Mississippi
- flounder image by Christian Schoettler from Fotolia.com