The Carolina Coast is one of the best places for Flounder Fishing. The many marshes and creeks provide protection and food for these flat fish. The inlets and waterways channel food to the Flounder at every turn of the tide. Drift fishing is one of the most popular means of flounder fishing. Drift fishing for Flounder enables the angler to cover more area by drifting rather than casting from a stationary position. Since flounder mover very little, this tactic gives the fisherman a better chance to present the bait over more Flounder. We wanted to learn more about the “drift fishing” strategy so we recently visited with Captain Dennis Barbour of Carolina Beach, NC to get his take on this approach. Dennis is a life long Carolina Beach resident and longtime charter captain. If that’s not enough to keep him busy, he owns and operates the largest tackle shop on Pleasure Island (Island Tackle and Hardware).
Dennis shared with us a number of key factors to consider when it came to drift fishing for Flounder. First, the inlet is a great place to start since the fish spawn in the inlets prior to moving into the waterway to produce. With that in mind, fishing on a rising tide is always best since this action moves the food from the marshes into the waterway and creeks. The same is true for the inlet. This makes it possible for the Flounder to simply wait on the food to come to them in order to eat. It’s important also to remember that Flounder normally swim into the current. This channels the food their way and it allows them to use the current to force them into the sandy bottom in the event they are caught. Now it’s harder to pull them up from the bottom. The clearer the water the better chances you have of landing the bigger fish. Flounder seem to find the cleaner water. Drifting in inlets and stronger current is a plus. Again, this tends to move the food to the Flounder.
Rigging for drift fishing for Flounder is pretty easy. Dennis prefers a 3/0 Kale hook with a 12 inch leader with a swivel and about a 2 ounce egg weight, depending on the current. The bait choices range from pogies in the warmer summer months to mullet and mud minnows. He’s rigged with a medium size spinning reel with 50 pound braid and a jigging rod.
Part of Dennis’s fish area includes a place known as Snow’s Cut. It’s a man made part of the I.C.W. that funnels into the Cape Fear river. It’s known for stiff currents, debris, and massive doormat flounder. Dennis recommends in these conditions to drift around any structure that may be available such as rocks or docks. He prefers to fishing these types of spots at a slack tide. Over the years the Snow’s Cut fishing spot has produced some of the largest flounder caught in North Carolina and continues to do so today.
Drift fishing is a great way to level the playing field when it comes to fishing for Flounder. You can cover more fishing ground faster and key in on the Flounder’s eating habits. Be patient and take plenty of tackle. Moving your bait along the rocky bottom can result in numerous replacements of terminal tackle.
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