After letting the bogus shrimp fall to the bottom, one subtle twitch of the rod tripped the big southern flounder's trigger and the fake was instantly inhaled, which was that flatties' last shrimp and my fish dinner for the night.
These delicious bottom dwellers can show up about anywhere this time of year and will nail a surprising variety of lures and baits while fighting hard and even jumping.
In the Delaware and Chesapeake bays flounder or fluke anglers usually drift while bottom bouncing a fat minnow or shiner producing fish of all sizes with occasional "doormats" of over 10 pounds taken. In 1983, a Mr. Mungin caught the Florida State record of 20-pounds, 9-ounces. This same bottom bounce technique works here as well.
Capt. George Tunison
Pick a 3- to 5-foot potholed flat and make several drifts using just enough weight to keep the bait straight down below the boat. Flounder also like structure so oyster bars and bridge structures are angler targets as well.
A flounder is a voracious creature with a huge mouth and impressive dentures. It will strike shrimp as well as most baitfish if you get it near their face. Finger mullet are a top choice.
Pure white on bottom and superbly camouflaged on top. Two eyes on one side of the body (which actually starts out as an eye per side, then through metamorphosis one eye slowly migrates to the other side so both eyes end up on one side of the fish) this odd creature is always a taste treat.
Redfish are biting and Thursday afternoon's charter proved redfish can't resist a slowly wobbling spoon no matter what the water temperature. Rig up your 15-pound braid tied to a tiny quality swivel, a long light 30-inch fluorocarbon leader topped off by your favorite spoon and hit the water making long searching casts never reeling fast enough to cause the spoon to spin. Cover water quietly and think oyster bars or sun warmed dark bottomed grass flats with potholes in 6 -24 inches of water.
Many pro redfish anglers are going to the long 8-10 foot limber rods to throw spoons over the flats getting 20 percent or more distance on each cast upping the odds of finding a biting fish. Also, in shallow clear water these rods reach spooky fish put off by boat noise. Ultra-long rods also work well with soft plastics but are perfect for the spoon angler. Covering more real estate per cast is a sure winner anytime.
My favorite winter trout and snook lure is the classic D.O.A. Shrimp. The D.O.A is the most natural swimming soft plastic shrimp imitation on the market today. It's extremely versatile and can be fished countless ways from surface to the bottom. Learning to skip cast this lure back under long docks, overhangs, boat houses and mangroves is a great technique to master and will pay off big time.
Let the lure hit the water and slowly sink. Reeling slowly back in a straight line with short hops or twitches every two to three feet then letting it free fall works great. The key is to go very slow and watch your line. Sometimes a big fish will inhale this lure and all you may see is a subtle twitch of the line.
The Cape Coral Tarpon Hunters Club annual clinic is Feb. 21 at the Yacht Club.