Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been experiencing some of the best flounder fishing I’ve seen in years along our coast. The size and number of flounder have been above average so far this year, which is a good sign the new regulations are paying off. We’re primarily targeting flounder in Winyah Bay which also includes the Shell Banks, Georgetown Jetties and the Nearshore Reefs. Menhaden and finger mullet have been very plentiful in Winyah Bay which seems to be the bait of choice for the larger flounder. A simple Carolina Rig with 1oz lead and 8-10in of 15lb floro leader, bounced gently off the bottom will entice a flounder strike. The advantage of a lighter leader is that it will often break near the hook if snagged up in structure so you don’t lose too many costly lead weights. The 15lb Floro still has plenty of strength to bring flounder to the boat.
Often the challenge with many inexperienced anglers when fishing for flounder is getting the feel for the bite which as the old timers will tell you, can be an art to master. The initial strike from a flounder is an aggressive single “thump”, but dont be fooled into setting the hook at this point because a flounder will often take it’s time swallowing larger baits. After the initial “thump”, give the flounder enough time to swallow the bite before setting the hook. A good rule of thumb is to count to 10 after you feel the initial bite, then gently apply pressure to see how the flounder will react but careful not to apply too much pressure to avoid pulling the bait out of his mouth. If a flounder has not swallowed the bait after ten seconds, you’ll feel more subtle bites(like he is chewing on the bait) when applying pressure so give him another ten seconds before setting the hook. This technique mimics the feel of the bait fish trying to escape so the flounder senses that and has the urge to get the baitfish under control, which usually results in swallowing the entire bait. If the flounder has swallowed the bait, you will feel heavy dead weight or feel the flounder try and swim off when you apply light pressure, now you can set the hook.
The summer months are a great time to target flounder around Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Pawleys Island, and Georgetown so make your plans soon to go fishing.