Flounder are ambush feeders, relying solely on the sense of sight to obtain their daily sustenance. In fact, the three flounder native to the Atlantic coastline — Gulf, southern and summer flounder — are all part of the fluke family, with two eyes on the top side of their heads. Through thousands of years of adaptations, the flounder is shaped and colored to blend in with its environments, so there’s little chance that their preys knows danger is just a few inches away. And these adaptations enable flounder to live in a variety of clarity conditions, including super-clear waters. But water clarity and water conditions can change very rapidly in estuarine environments, and anglers must find ways for flounder to continue to see their lures.
Capt. Jot Owens changes lure colors and presentation when sunlight and water clarity shift.
"Clear water is always better, but dirty water is common, especially the closer you get to the Cape Fear River," he said. "I slow down my presentation and use darker colors in stained and murky waters. In clearer conditions, lighter colors get the fish’s attention quicker."
Excessive wind, recent rainfall,and strong tides caused by a full or new moon will dirty up the water, diminishing clarity.
Owens also notices he catches more fish — and usually bigger flounder — during bright sun conditions.
"For flounder, the bigger fish seem to come between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on bright days," he said.