Flounder fishing has hit its stride up and down the North Carolina coast, and anglers are having good luck with artificial lures as well as tried-and-true live-bait rigs.
“I’m predominantly targeting flounder right now,” said Capt. Jot Owens of Wrightsville Beach. “I’m finding fish around docks, at inlets, at creek mouths and in the Inland Waterway.”
Owens said flounder are lying on the bottom in 4 to 15 feet of water inshore, but anglers also are having good luck at wrecks and ledges offshore in water as deep as 35 feet.
“The nice thing about flounder fishing is that one lure, the Gulp JerkShad, is working well inshore and off the beach,” said Owens (910-233-4139, JottaDown Guide Service, www.captainjot.com). “My deeper-water patterns are 5- to 6-inch Jerkshads in pearl-white, chartreuse-pepper, neon or new penny colors with a 3/8- to 1/2-ounce jighead. Inshore you can use small finger mullet or peanut pogies, if you want. But a 6-inch Jerkshad on the rising tide at the ICW is catching bigger flounder. There’s not a lot of them, but when you hook one, it’s usually a nice one.”
Owens said he also just started using a new flounder lure called the Berkley Havoc Grass Pig.
“It’s a soft-plastic lure and is a bass (fresh water) bait, but it catches flounder as well as redfish,” he said.
His favorite colors for the Grass Pig are pearl-white silver fleck, swamp gas and California.
“I like a long-shank jig head to hold Jerkshads and Grass Pig lures,” he said. “Sebile and Blue Water Candy both make good jig heads with longer shanks. Color doesn’t seem to matter but I stick mostly with gray, red and pearl.”
He uses 40-pound-test fluorocarbon leaders and Stren Gunsmoke tinted line for clear water and Tannic for brown, river waters.
Stu Basom of Pennsylvania landed an 11-pound doormat July 10 while fishing with Owens. He was pitching a 6-inch Jerkshad in chartreuse/neon/pepper color with a 1/4-ounce gray jighead to a dock.
Spanish mackerel fishing also is good right now, Owens said, although most fish are in the 14- to 18-inch range.