There are about ‘300’ varieties of flatfish, however the ones anglers think of most are Flounder, Fluke, Turbot and Sole. Halibut are also an important species and are protected throughout the ‘Atlantic Ocean’. Flatfish are born with one eye on each side, but after three months both eyes migrate to one side. This, plus the fact that their top sides visually blend with the ocean, bay, or inlet floor, enables flatfish to rest on the bottom and see everything above. In addition their obverse side is white so that from below they disguise as sky. Because of their ‘bigness’, halibut caught range in size from 20 pounds up to 300 pounds and some reach 500 pounds. However, only a minority of anglers can or do target these prized monsters.
Atlantic Halibut are commercially and legally raised on fish farms, as you can see below…
55 and more years ago sport fishermen like myself always brought big empty potato sacks to every flatfish hunt, because inevitably we would fill the bag with fish that measured plate size, to ‘doormat’. Today, plate size fish all go back (that’s the law). Doormats are fewer now than they were then and the ubiquitous potato sack for for holding your catch of turbot, fluke, flounder, and sole is now an anachronism. The minimum legal size and quantity of fish you may keep today, depends on species and locality, in addition the daily maximum number you may harvest daily is limited by law. If you don’t follow state rules, realistically ‘expect’ a serious fine.
I suggest you search…
“2016 saltwater fishing regulations”
There you can link to regulations specific to various states, or locations.
I suggest you search…
“2016 saltwater fishing regulations”
There you can links to regulations specific to various states, or locations.
Fishing tips to bag flatfish.
Fishing rigs that catch flounder,
fluke, turbot and
‘KISS’(keep it simple stupid).
To be effective, a flatfish rig must bring bait to the ‘bottom’, or very close to the floor of the body of water in which you are fishing, because from their two verocious (verocious, a cross between ferocious and vicious.) eyes, your intended prey will be looking ‘up’ for food. Flatfish dwell only along the bottom or floor, hide and remain poised with two eyes gazing up, always focused on opportunities that may present above and lye always ready to spy a snack or a meal while hidden in the sand or in a structure. To catch flatfish all anglers must absolutely present their bait along the bottom.
When you use a good scented artificial bait like a “Gulp” it won’t be ‘nibbled’ off. If you use natural bait, do check it every ’10’ minutes. That’s a MUST!
Rigs like the ones depicted below, ‘must’, for best results be tied to a ‘fluorocarbon leader’, secured to a modern braided fishing line. Braided fishing line beats monofilament fishing line, because it doesn’t easily stretch, fray, snap or dry out in the sun.
The idea of tying a different type of line onto the end of your main fishing line probably sounds ‘CRAZY’ to novice anglers, however in this era, of using modern braided line its one of fishing’s most essential tactics you NEED to catch your limit.
A leader is a length of fluorocarbon or monofilament, virtually invisible to fish underwater when attached to the business end of your main (hopefully braided) fishing line. It’s this separate length of fluorocarbon or monofilament to which you tie to your rigs, hooks and lures. Connecting your leader and line is generally done by joining your leader and fishing line together with a ‘knot’, or by tying each line to the separate ends of a ‘swivel’. The swivel acts as the joining mechanism between your leader and fishing line.
What a leader does:
There are two main reasons for using leader line. Firstly it can be used to provide ‘increased protection’ against sharp teeth, rocks, reefs and shell-covered pylons. Second, is that some fishing lines are highly visible underwater. Using a proper leader can make it almost impossible for fish to see line connected to your bait, or lure under water. Thus, using a ‘fluorocarbon leader’ greatly increases your chances to catch fish!
What are the types of leader material available and what’s the difference between them?
There are two main types of leader generally used by anglers – ‘monofilament leader’ and ‘fluorocarbon leader’. Fluorocarbon is more expensive and better.
Standard Monofilament Leader
Monofilament line got its name by being made of one single strand of line – mono/single filament (a thinly spun thread). Standard monofilament leader is a cheaper option for putting leader onto the end of your main line, but as I will explain, fluorocarbon costs more and is worth it!
Monofilament leader absorbs water, stretches, offers moderate abrasion resistance, absorbs sunlight and is generally quite cheap.
Depending on the type of fishing you are doing this can be positive (cheap) or negative. If you are fishing in reefy territory where there’s a likelihood of getting snagged, the price of fluorocarbon leader is going to be a benefit because of its abrasion resistance.
Don’t forget a short wire trace if you’re hunting fish with teeth. Flounder teeth are as sharp like those in a piranha and remain super dangerous even after the fish dies. And if you’re wondering what brand of leader to buy then Penn 10X, Jinkai, Black Magic, Lemax Ex-Leader and Suffix Tritanium are good places to start and I advise that you ask questions from dealers like
Bass Pro Shops” and “West Marine”.
Fluorocarbon VS Monofilament Leader
Fluorocarbon leader is a single filament line that absorbs little water, sinks and also has a ‘refractive index’ (it’s just what they call it!) very close to water, which results in sun shining through the leader making it difficult for fish to see. Fluorocarbon leader is also more ‘abrasion resistant’ and it has a low level of stretch than monofilament. Fluorocarbon leader costs more than ‘monofilament’ and its high price is justified.
If you’re lure fishing in extremely clear water, using fluorocarbon leader which is difficult to see underwater, will axiomatically make your lure more appealing to a fish. Because ‘fluorocarbon leader’ doesn’t absorb water or sunlight your line will have a longer shelf-life and it won’t break down as quickly as monofilament line. The low stretch nature of fluorocarbon leader will also help you to ‘feel’ smaller bites.
Some general situations you might want to use fluorocarbon then are when you are fishing around snags or pylons when you can’t afford the line to stretch, or you need the extra abrasion resistance.
If you are unsure of which ‘fluorocarbon’ leader to use, depending on your budget and specific need, Berkley Vanish, Sunline FC, Black Magic and YGK brands of leader are all places to start. (Bass Pro Shops and West Marine will gladly council you).
As with all things fishing… people hold differing opinions on what is best to use in this or that situation. (“Bass Pro Shops” and “West Marine” will gladly council you) But armed with some basic knowledge on the characteristics of leader types you can begin to experiment and work out what is best for your type and style of fishing. Get out there – ask questions – (Bass Pro Shops and West Marine will gladly council you).
Proven Bottom Fishing Rigs for Successful
You can buy this bunch, ready to go (Bass Pro Shops, West Marine) or make them yourself.
As you know, fish don’t grab bait that appears to be dead or inanimate. If bait, is attached to one of the rigs shown above, it will move as the water flows. Like jigging continuously, but without ‘personally’ jigging continuously.
“Tips, For Successful Flatfish Angling At Night”
Flatfish will feed ‘all night’, as long as they can see their prey.
Flounder at night.
At night, flatfish are attracted to LIGHT.
I’ve fished for flounder at NIGHT many times in the past, usually under lights that were either near overpasses, or on a party boat where they had shown either from above or were projected underwater to the floor of the body of water. Lights, plus sufficient bait is the key and the water doesn’t have to be deep, fore flatfish often congregate in shallows close to shore. One of my favorite haunts is under the rays of ‘street lights’. Frequently, I caught my largest flounders there on the 1st drop from 6 inches to a foot, to a foot and a half below the waters surface. I found success with a variety of bait, natural and artificial. Night fishing is often thought to be more for the adventurous, but any one of you can do this and come home with some great table fare!
Flounders always settle on the bottom, back-flap their fins and essentially cover themselves with surrounding sand. The only visible part, short of a slight outline of their body, are two eyes that sticking up just above the sand.
The process is rather straight forward. Find an area where flounder gather at night and light up the bottom. Anyone can do this, it takes very little time to learn, and people from 4 to 95 years old, can enjoy flatfish angling after dark. On a typical night with lights above and or below, you will see a large variety of prey for the flatfish, you’re going to catch.
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