Summertime Flounder Fishing at Atlantic Beach
Feature In Coastal Angler Magazine
Now that summer is here the flounder fishing is at it’s best of the entire year and these great fish can be caught both nearshore and Inshore.
In the summer months, the flounder fishing is very productive around almost all nearshore reefs; 285, 315, 320 and the Trawler Buoy are some of the best reefs around Atlantic Beach to fish.
Here are some tips for reef fishing: when you approach the buoy marking a reef, you should take time to fish completely around it. Most of the reefs off Atlantic Beach have lots of structure out from the buoy that marks the reef and it will be well worth your time to cover all the areas around the reef. The flounder are usually lying on the bottom in schools, so if you find one it’s a sure bet that you can catch more than one. Most of the time you should concentrate on locating a drop off, it can be as little as a 1-2 foot drop as it does not take a lot of structure to attract and hold a flounder to it. They also like to lie along the line where the sand meets the reef.
Live baits such as mud minnows, finger mullet and peanut menhaden on Carolina rigs are a great choice to use for flounder fishing around the reefs. Most of the time a 1½ oz to 3 oz weight will hold the bait on the bottom (your bait needs to be on the bottom to catch them). I recommend Eagle Claw or Gamakatsu Khale Hooks from #2 to 3/0 for making up Carolina rigs.
One of the hottest ways to catch Flounder out around the reefs in the summer months is “bucktail” fishing. The best bucktail to use is a Spro 2 oz or 3 oz in white, glow, or chartreuse/white. The best thing about the Spro bucktail is it has a Gamakatsu hook with a bait keeper on the hook shaft. The key is tipping it with Berkley Gulp 4” Shrimp or Pogies. The best colors to use in the Berkley Gulp baits are Pearl White and New Penny. Berkley Gulp also introduced a new line of Flounder Bellies in Pearl White and Pink that have been very productive this year when used on the Spro bucktails or on Carolina rigs.
For inshore fishing, the best areas are in the Inlet, behind Shackleford Banks, along the Atlantic Beach high rise bridge, the Beaufort high rise bridge, the port wall, the Haystacks, docks along the ICW, docks in Core Creek, Hoop Pole Creek, North River and the Middle Marsh. Flounder will lie in areas from 1 ft all the way down to 40 ft, in the flats or in the marsh areas…really, they can be found anywhere there’s structure in the inshore waters. Most of the time, they will be lying on the drop-offs in the channels or right up against the structure.
In the marsh areas look for oyster bars, creek mouths and marsh points. Flounder will hold in these areas waiting to ambush bait as the tide brings bait their way. Here your best choice is a light Carolina rig with a live mud minnow, but you also can catch them by using 1/8 oz to 3/8 oz jig heads with a 3 to 4 inch Berkley Gulp baits worked along the bottom.
You can also hit the channels and drift for Flounder. You will catch more fish fishing this way but most of the bigger doormats always come from some kind of structure. The best rig is for this is still a Carolina rig with a #2 to 3/0 hook and a 1 oz to 3 oz weight. The amound of weight depends on the water depth. Other baits that work well are strips of squid, the Gulp Flounder Belly baits and 3” to 4” Gulp baits fished on a Carolina rig. Most of the larger flounder of the year always come from the port wall or the high rise bridges. You won’t catch as many in these areas but they are usually bigger fish.
Just remember flounder like structure, drop-offs and are going to be around some kind of bait.
Flounder fishing is for everyone; you can catch them from the surf, piers or boat inshore and offshore. So let’s go fishing for summertime flounder!
Captain Matt Lamb
Chasin’ Tails Outdoors