Childhood Flounderings and How to Catch Them
One of my earliest fishing memories is of catching a big flounder off a handline in the local waterway.
I sat with my friend and his father who took us early one weekend to try our hand at catching some breaky. A few nibbles here and there to get our young hearts racing but finally, we were told to pack it up and head home. But by the time I gathered my line and wound it all in there at the end was a big ol’ flounder flapping away like a flammin’ kite. We were pumped! We were men. Hell, we were kings! We had reached into the forbidding sea and taken what we wanted.
Exactly how I caught that fish is still a mystery. Not in the mystical sense mind you. Just a bloody mystery as to how I was so oblivious to this large fish struggling away in the waters beneath me. Ironically, I was not even interested in eating fish. It was actually something I disliked. My experience of eating fish was limited to Bird’s Eye Fish Fingers. But I have never in all my years forgotten the smell of that flounder frying in the pan back home. I will never forget how the sweet white meat melted in my mouth.
Why aren’t more people getting out there and catching flounder?
The allurement of the flounder to me, apart from its oh so good eatability, is its beautiful ugliness. As a flatfish, it is round, mottled versions of green and brown and has two eyes on one side of its head. In appearance alone, It is pretty much the monster of the shallows.
Though they can be caught in deep channels and holes, Flounder prefer sheltered estuaries and bays where salt levels are lower. Their favourite haunts are a mixture of sandy and silty flats close to weed beds. In Catholic boarding school fashion, males and females live separately - the lads risking slightly deeper waters (10-25m) while the girls camp out in the shallows.
Young flounder feed during the day but adults feed at night on a rising tide. They eat small crustaceans like krill and prawns or marine worms.
Recommended Baits, Lures and Rigs:
Flounder love prawns, blood worms and small baitfish. As is most often the case, the fresher the better.
If you can’t stand stinky bait hands then try a small soft plastic like this.
As flounder are often caught when fishing for other bottom-dwelling species - if in doubt go with your favourite flathead rig and you might get lucky.
Simply put - go light. Light rod, light line. Or let loose the old handline that everyone seems to have but no one uses.
Time and Tides:
Best to avoid daytime. Wet your line on the incoming or full tide.
Bag and Size Limits:
25cm size limit with a bag limit of 20.
Strange But True:
Flounder are not born with eyes on the same side of its head. The left eye migrates to join the right eye about 2 months after it’s hatched. Creepy!
The bag limit and size limit makes hunting our ugly beloved flounder a great option for kids. So go on, just think of the memories that could be made - better than fish fingers.