Shallotte native catches third citation flounder

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By Sarah Sue Ingram
Beacon correspondent
First you have to hook him, then you have to bring him in, then you have to net him.
“It’s hard to net one that size by yourself,” Douglas Hubbard said.
But he managed to do all three things and capture for posterity the citation flounder he caught July 24 in the Shallotte Inlet.
The fish weighed 5.4 pounds and measured 24 inches long, according to the official weigh station at Sheffield’s Seafood and Grocery on Ocean Isle Beach.
It wasn’t Hubbard’s first citation flounder. His other two were actually bigger, measuring 8.4 and 7.3 pounds.
Not bad for someone who has been “steady fishing” for only eight years.
“My dad taught how to fish,” Hubbard said. “He was from Rich Square right outside of Scotland Neck (near Rocky Mount).
“My fishing buddy Hobson Bennett taught me how to use Gulp bait. I’ve caught some nice flounder in the last three weeks. I know a lot of people haven’t been catching them because the water’s been so messed up (murky and coffee-colored because of so much rain this summer).”
Trout like saltwater to be clear, but the cloudy liquid hasn’t hampered Hubbard’s angling success.
“I catch them on different tides—rising or falling,” he said.
Hubbard, 58, is an arborist in Avon, Conn. He’s semi-retired, and his son now manages the company when Douglas is here. Hubbard, a Shallotte native who spent 35 years living in the Northeast, now splits time between Shallotte and Connecticut.
“That’s where I do most of my fly fishing in the spring,” he said.
After his first wife died, Hubbard married his best friend’s cousin Elaine. Hubbard had known her years ago.
“She’s the fish that got away,” Hubbard said with a laugh. “I caught her back years later.”
They celebrated their third wedding anniversary July 26, two days after he caught his latest citation flounder.
“She doesn’t like to watch me fish because I don’t talk much,” he said. “I’m concentrating on fishing. But she will go with me to ride in the boat.”
He also recently received two citations for catfish, weighing 11½ and 10 ½ pounds. He caught them in a lake near a power plant.
But like most Brunswick County natives, he’s drawn to the ocean and the surprise offerings it can yield.
“It’s the excitement—you never know what you’re going to pull out of the water,” Hubbard said. “It’s the unexpected of what’s coming up. It’s quite a thrill.”