A new game for catching flatfish
Both power poles were planted in the mud and the bow of the 23 foot Center Console wasn’t ten feet off the shoreline.The two anglers standing shoulder to shoulder were taking turns pitching a tail no more than five or six feet.We continued to drift the shallow flat a hundred yards out into the lake and caught several keeper trout while they patiently stuck with whatever it was they were doing.
Later that morning we were running the shoreline when we saw them doing the same thing a mile or so down the lake.We had done well enough to risk checking out another pattern on the ICW so as different as their approach was; we never gave them a second look.
Less than an hour later that same boat idled up to us and one of the two fishermen happened to be a client that I had fished several times over the past year.“Do you have any five inch white or chartreuse Gulp swimming mullets we can buy,” he asked.“I might,” I replied, “if you will tell me what the heck you were doing all morning.”
“I’ll tell you even if you don’t have any more Gulp,” he volunteered with a smile, “but you won’t believe it. We are sight fishing sow flounder and it is slow, but it is fun.”
I gave him the partial pack that I had left and told him to just call me and fill me in when he got home.
He called me as soon as they got on the road and their program just blew me away.
I can’t do it with clients, but I will give it a try the next time I am scouting alone.
Scot said that earlier this spring they saw several huge flounder lying on the rocks along the banks of the LNG terminals and they just could not make them bite anything.“We tried live bait, tails, Gulp…we even tried foul hooking them with a Hoginar.”
When they finally fooled the first one they knew they were on to something.“We still had some of those big curly tail GULP grubs left from last year’s flounder run and that is all we can catch them with”, stated Scott.“I don’t mind sharing this as we have already gotten lots of attention, but keep the way we are rigging them to yourself.”
Sight fishing the big flounder proved to be so intriguing that the veteran trout fisherman and his best friend decided to look for more shallow flatfish in the summer.“We found a few more in the terminals, but we found more on the revetment walls and around the roots of the Roseau cane when the tide is up.”
“The trout fishermen walking the rocks on the north revetment wall tipped us off to the flounder they could see, but couldn’t catch,” stated Scott.“We would wait until the traffic thinned out and start easing our way down the wall.
It is much tougher when you have to hold on the troll motor because it is harder to keep your bait in front of them.”
“It is much easier on the Louisiana shoreline, but there are fewer big flounder and it takes forever to get them to bite.”Scott said they won’t even put the power pole down if any flounder they spot doesn’t weigh at least four pounds.“It usually takes way too much time to catch a single fish to mess with the smaller flounder.”
Not surprisingly, the duo keeps very few of the flounder they trick, but mark every spot where they caught one.“When they are on the rocks they seem to hold on the widest rock available only a foot or two beneath the surface.When they are in front of the cane they are almost always lying on the stubble and we have never found the first one lying on a patch of shell!”
The day we saw them they caught and released six flounder over 23-inches.“We trout fish until the sun gets high enough to spot the flounder,” added Scott, “but we now look forward to the trout bite slowing down.”
Ironically enough, I had the pleasure of speaking at a SALT club meeting last week and one of the members had a picture of a huge flounder on his cell phone that they saw lying in the rocks, but couldn’t make bite.Had they known about Scott’s technique at that time they may have come away with more than a picture.
Scott was willing to share the sight fishing aspect as well as his choice of lures, but you’ll have to do your own experimenting with the rigging. This may prove to be even more frustrating than dealing with bedding bass in the spring, but the results are worth the effort!