How To: Kayak Flounder Fishing

Flounder or Fluke fishing is a passion of mine. As a native Jersey boy this is the type of fishing I grew up on for countless summers. Learning many of the techniques power boat fishing and kayak flounder fishing is basically the same premise.

Better Technique?

Kayak Founder fishing is better than powerboat fishing. Kayaks can access areas that powerboats cannot. The small platform of a kayak can travel through shallow waters. This is key in the spring time when the flounder are in those areas spawning. Setting up Drifts is much easier. At the slower pace of the kayak finding fish and staying on them is much easier. Flounder tend to hang on edges and structure. When there is no wind or tide kayak anglers can simply paddle or peddle to stay on these areas.

Downside is powerboats cover much more water. If the fish just aren’t there that day well Pack up and move to another spot. With t he kayak you’ll have to load up your gear and kayak and drive to the next spot if there’s nowhere else close to fish.

The Flounder

A bottom dwelling flat fish the Summer flounder can be found from Florida to the Northeast in warmer months. Often known as Flounder int he Mid Atlantic to Gulf regions are also known as Fluke in the Northeast. Summer flounder are ambush predators. They will camouflage themselves on the bottom waiting for the tide to bring bait near them to strike quickly typically. You can find these fish typically on the bottom around good hiding places. Such as dropoffs and structure.

Vertical Jigging using a Bucktail Rig

One of the most efficient ways of attracting flounder and catching them is the vertical jigging method. Using a Medium to medium heavy rod drop the jig until it hits the bottom. Then with an up down motion raise and lower the bait from the bottom. Weight of the jig will differ based on current, drift speed, and bait.

Teaser

A teaser is a unweighted hook with bucktail tied onto it. Bucktail is the hairs from a bucks (deer) tail that are then tied to the hook. They come in varieties of colors. The teaser can be tied inline on leader above the jig on an dropper loop. While drifting the teaser will drift the fish first at a higher location. This tends to bring the fish out of the sand, mud, or structure it is hiding in. Using a teaser you’ll be more successful.  Its good to bait the teaser with gulp or a strip of squid.

Bucktail Jig

A bucktail jig is a weighted hook with bucktail tied onto it. This is your weight on the rig.  You will tie the jig at the bottom of your rig. The jigging motion will bounce off the bottom stirring up the sand or mud like a bait fish would when trying to escape. You will typically bait this with gulp squid strips or mud minnows. Also cut bait or frozen silver sides aka spearing can be used.

Bait

There are many options for baiting your Jig and teaser. In later years Berkley gulp has become a inexpensive alternative to live bait. The gulp swimming mullet is an artificial scented rubber bait with a curl tail for action. Mud minnows or killies are a great live old school bait that has been proved excellent flounder bait. Cut bait such as squid strips is also a great bait with a lot of underwater action.

Colors

There are three main colors for the lures used in flounder fishing. White, Chartreuse, and Pink are the best for attracting flounder. Jigs and teasers resembling these colors are best for flounder fishing use.

Fishfinder Rig

The fishfinder rig is a variation of the high low rig however a bank sinker is located above the rig. The rig is tied using a slide on the main line. This can be a swivel tied to looped leader or a snap clip for the bank sinker. The main line is then tied to an inline swivel to stop the sinker slide. The leader line is then tied to the inline swivel At the bottom of the leader you can tie a single hook or a teaser style hook. You may then tie a dropper loop in the middle and add another teaser hook.

Drift Rig

Much like the Fishfinder Rig the Drift rig is the same setup. The only difference is using a 3 way swivel to te mainline and leader. The third point on the swivel will attach the sinker via a snap swivel.

Locating the fish:

Flounder are bottom feeders. Therefore you will fish for the species on the bottom. Locations can vary from the Ocean to back bays and creeks. In the spring the fish will make their way to the back in creaks and bays to spawn in the shallows s the water warms. Later in the season the fish will go deeper into channels and cooler water. The fish then will may their way out to the ocean in lat summer and fall and migrate south as the water cools.

Fishing Techniques

Kayak fishing we have an advantage in the spring. The shallower waters are easier for us to navigate and fish. As the season goes on and the fish move into the bays its us boats and the boats typically in the rivers dont tend to see us. Weather this is on purpose we must keep out eyes open and aware of our surroundings at all times. Its good to practice safe kayak fishing.

Drifting:

The best way to fish for flounder is to drift. You will want to drift in areas of structure and dropoffs. You can locate these fish holding areas using a sonar device such as  Lowrance Elite 5TI.

Power drifting:

At times of no wind and slack tide you can paddle peddle or torqeedo to create a false drift. Yu will find leeping it between 1 to 1.5 MPH is best.

Fishing Multiple Rods:

Fishing multiple rods will increase your chances of catching fish. From experience this technique can also handcuff you at times when the fish are not holding on. To fish this technique you will find a front mounted rod holder an advantage.

Dont forget your net!

A net is a must when landing flounder. Their flat shape makes them unique as they ten to shale their head in an up and down motion. This allows the fish to de-hook itself when its head is out of the water. So remember to get your net under the fish prior to breaking the water surface if possible.

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