Bason and Owens had spent most of the morning casting for cruising redfish on the flats, but with the waters of the lower Cape Fear River and the neighboring marshes churned up by recent rains, heavy tides and holiday boat traffic, Owens headed to the docks along the Intracoastal Waterway to try and finish off the trip with a few flounder.
"While sizes are still mixed somewhat, the big flounder are showing up in the ICW and specifically falling for artificial lures," Owens said.
Basom was casting a 6-inch Gulp! jerkshad in chartreuse/pepper neon on a quarter-ounce gray jighead. On one dock, he pitched his lure back into the shade and began working it past the pilings, pausing every few feet to mimic a baitfish. He felt a strong thump when the flounder inhaled his lure, and he set the hook, burying the 5/0 hook on the jighead in the flounder's mouth.
The fish took drag before Basom got it under control and got it to the surface. Owens got a look at the fish and realized it was a huge flounder, and after a few minutes, he slid his net under the fish as Basom led it down the side of the boat.
"I've been looking for this one my entire life, and I couldn't be happier with Stu's catch on my charter," said Owens, who said it was the biggest flounder ever caught from his boat.
The fish weighed 11 pounds on certified scales at Tex's Tackle in Wilmington. It was 31 inches long and 22 inches in girth.