by Tim Moore
From what I have been told, a flounder was the first fish I ever caught. They were plentiful and easy to catch. As a young adult though, the flounder had become overfished, and catching one each day was a rarity. However, flounder populations along the New Hampshire coast have rebounded over the last decade thanks to better management. I was elated to once again find them in catchable numbers and when I began kayak fishing, targeting them from my kayak seemed only natural.
In the spring, flounder can be found in very shallow water. I’ve watched from the seat of my kayak as flounder have eaten my rig in water as shallow as four feet. I prefer to drift for them rather than anchor and chum. I find that kayaks are much better suited to drifting in the close quarters of the harbors that often contain mooring fields much easier and more effective. Any kayak will do, but a sit-on-top fishing kayak, like the Old Town Predator, is going to be much more comfortable and easier to fish from.
Flounder fishing from a kayak is a pretty simple process. A heavy trout-type or light saltwater spinning setup is all you need. Two-hook flounder rigs can be purchased at most tackle shops and can be tipped with sea worms or clam strips, but earth worms will work in a pinch. Use as little weight as you can while still being able to keep your bait on the bottom. A net helps keep the second of the two hooks out of your hand or clothing and I prefer to use a catch bag rather than a stringer to keep my fish fresh. Today’s Tackle makes a great floating kayak live well that makes a great catch bag. Just don’t do what I did last year and try to lean out over the side of your kayak while trying to lift a full bag of flounder, or you’ll end up in the drink.
I prefer overcast days with light wind, and try to time my trip so that the wind and the tide are in the same direction. This makes my bait more natural to the flounder when it drifts by. Time of tide is subjective to the time of day as well as time of year, but the flounder numbers have risen to the point that there are always a few fish willing to cooperate.
Kayaks are easier to get to the water, usually free to launch, and put you in close contact to your quarry. Kayaks also give you access to areas out of reach of shore anglers, and too shallow for boats. Once you get on the water, drop your rig to the bottom, keep your line tight, and feel for the telltale “tap tap tap” of a flounder. Give them a few seconds to get the hook in their mouth before setting the hook, and enjoy your next meal of delicious fresh-caught fish. If you like to eat fish, you’ll really enjoy flounder.
Tim Moore is a full time licensed NH fishing guide and owner of Tim Moore Outdoors. LLC. He is a member of the New England Outdoor Writer’s Association and the producer of Tim Moore Outdoors TV. Visit www.TimMooreOutdoors.com for more information.