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Flounder fishing has picked up again in Brunswick County and should be very good until the weather gets hot.
A predominant number of flounder anglers like to drift or troll to catch the popular flatfish. But as for me, I get better results by anchoring up and casting to structure.
The best flounder places with structure in the area are the docks on the waterway (as you already found out), the Oak Island, Sunset Beach, Ocean Isle Beach and Holden Beach bridges and the Little River rock jetty, as well as the mouth of all the feeder creeks off of the waterway and the piers in the ocean.
You can cast mud minnows, although if you use a cast net, finger mullet and small pinfish, croaker or spot are even better. Or you can cast the Gulp and other scented lures. I do both. In muddy water I use live bait; in clear water, I use the lures.
The best lures for flounder are the scented soft baits made by companies like Gulp, Fishbites, DOA, Deep Creek and Bass Assassin (there are others that also work).
The jig head size you use with these lures vary by current strength and where you are fishing. You can even use the long fluke and paddletail lures, as well as the Sea Striker Troutkiller brand-types, without jigheads on a flounder rig, just like live bait.
For flounder, I cast the bait in and let it sit for a few seconds. Then I work it back really slowly in a pull-and-pause method, probably as you learned as a kid fishing plastic worms for bass at a farm pond (at least that’s how I learned it). I do not let the bait just sit for long because the blue crabs will hit it. One reason I like the scented lures so much is you do not usually lose your bait to crabs the same way you will lose your minnows.
Keep working your bait slowly and don’t just make one cast to one spot as some bass fishermen do. Flounder around structures often hit on the third, fourth or even 15th cast. And flounder, unlike some other fish, will come back and hit a bait again after slipping off the hook.
Go piling to piling and then move along if nothing hits. At creek mouths, don’t fish in the center but in the rushing water around the creek mouth, where flounder (and trout and reds) will wait just outside in the deeper, calmer water and let the food get washed to them.
All the best bites are going to be when the tide is really moving. Low or high doesn't matter as much as that you just want it moving. Flounder fishing will come and go for a while and there will be many throwbacks, but you won’t know how good it is on a given day until you get out and try for yourself.
Jeffrey Weeks, author of “Surf and Saltwater Fishing in the Carolinas,” is a fishing columnist for the Beacon. You may reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow updated fishing reports at www.saltyweeks.com.