Wreck Fishing Flounder
My dad asked if we could take his boat out and run it. Dad has a deep-V 19-foot Sportsman that is not built for skinny water, so I figured we would fish structure, piles and natural bottoms for flounder.
I decided Saturday would be the better day since the wind was 5-10 mph and the seas were 1-2 feet. First stop, Whistle Buoy.
We got to the Whistle Buoy and dropped frozen whole and cut menhaden on anywhere from 2- to 6-ounce knocker rigs. We made about 10 drifts around the buoy, on all sides, and had one hit. The one hit wasn’t even on the menhaden. I dropped a paddle tail on a 3/4-ounce head — 10 drifts and nothing — and decided to make a move to limestone bottom with a rock pile.
We arrived at the natural bottom with the rock pile and the Simrad lighted up. There were bait balls on the rock pile and just off over the limestone, and schools of fish on the bottom and 20 feet above. I dropped the knocker rig and dad dropped the buck tail rig looking for flounder.
As soon as the menhaden contacted the bottom — thump — and bowed up, and we hooked a 15-inch bee liner (vermillion snapper). We rigged another menhaden, dropped, and same exact thing. This action continued for about 45 minutes of beeliners and porgies, as fast as you could get a bait down.
Just like a light switch, the beeliners/porgies bite was done. I picked up the paddle tail and dropped down, slammed, and hooked a 24-inch red snapper. The next 30 minutes, dad and I caught red snapper. The snapper season was closed, so we released them, and it was time to move.
We moved to another natural bottom with rock pile. We dropped down the knocker, and caught a 14-inch trigger, which was also closed for the season. I changed from a 6-ounce weight to a 3-ounce weight, dropped — thump. This time reeling up, all I felt were head shakes, and saw a flounder coming up.
Finally, I had the flounder we came for — until he spit out the hook 10 feet from the boat. I may have lost that one, but it let us know we were in the right area.
Dad changed to a 2-ounce setup, dropped, and caught another trigger fish. I dropped, and all of a sudden there was pressure. It felt like I hooked the bottom, but I landed a 22-inch gag grouper. Gag season was closed, so I let him go and dropped again.
Sitting there with bait on the bottom, my rod started to be slowly pulled out of my hand. I hammered down on it and was slowly reeling the fish up when a loud pop happened. My rod snapped in the middle of the fight, but I still had the fish pinned.
I managed to get the fish up to about 20 feet below the boat before I couldn’t keep enough pressure and the hooked pulled. It was a giant gag grouper we wouldn’t have been able to keep, but it was fun while it lasted.
We headed for the landing after that. It was getting late in the day, getting cold, and we still had to pull and clean the boat.
We couldn’t keep much with all the closures, but still had a blast. We must have caught 50-plus fish and were still able to bring home some for dinner. Dad’s boat ran great with no hiccups, and it was good to change it up a little bit and get out of the skinnies for a little while.
Talking to some friends and local guides, I found that they feel if we would have had live bait, we probably would have caught flounder around the buoys and jetties.