Flounder are not the strongest pound-for-pound fighters. That being said, we don’t exactly recommend using ultra-light spinning tackle when chasing doormats in the inlets. Matched with many other inshore species, such as redfish, black drum, even Spotted sea trout, they fight hard at first, but tire out rather quickly.
Rods and Reels for Flounder
Flounders also tend to be nested down near structures that can easily cut through your line, such as oyster reefs and barnacle-lined pilings. In general, any light to medium spinning outfit meant for inshore waters will work great for catching flounders. Here are the top recommended tackle setups for catching this odd, yet fine-tasting fish.
A Spinning Rod and Reel for Flounder Fishing
Spinning tackle is the most commonly used gear for flounder fishing. With all reel types, there are pros and cons associated with using a spinning outfit while targeting flounder. Since spinning reels are the easiest to use, one can simply pitch baits or lures in close-cut corners of docks and mangrove shorelines – likely areas for a stalking flounder. The downside of using a spinning reel is when you hook into that ‘larger than you thought’ fish, who makes the run for structure, because spinning reels do not have as strong of leverage as conventional reels for muscling fish. This sometimes ends up as a lost fish. There are many other areas where flounders love to sit, including sandbars and slight channel drop-offs where this is not an issue, and the drag system can be fully utilized as well.
The “Perfect” Spinning Rod and Reel for Flounder:
A light 7-foot spinning rod with extra-fast action. Flounder don’t gulp the bait and run like many fish do. Instead they usually first grab it into their mouths, and after a few seconds will start to swallow. A light, sensitive rod is required to feel that first bite, otherwise, you will just continue reeling and the fish will let go. After a few seconds pass, the fast action rod will allow for a faster and stronger hook-set.
A medium spinning reel appropriate for 12-to-14 pound test line. Too heavy of a reel will be cumbersome when it comes to flounder fishing. A medium reel is all you need, and will not fatigue your wrists after patiently jigging or dragging for flounder all day.
A Spinning reel with a low gear-ratio. Since spinning reels give you less leverage for pulling fish out of structures, you may want to opt for a reel with a low gear-ratio. The lower gear-ratio will give you a bit more leverage, by rotating the spool more closely to the actual rotations of the handle.
Using Baitcasting Rods and Reels for Flounder
Bait-casting tackle certainly has its place in the flounder fishing universe. As mentioned throughout this site, flounder love to settle down next to structures that might cut your line, as this is where the baitfish they enjoy snacking on hang out. For the most part, flounders don’t run like, say a redfish, however sometimes do run for cover after the hook is set.
To avoid getting cut off on the oyster reefs or pilings, a bait-casting reel provides a bit more leverage over a spinning reel. The other main advantage of a bait-casting reel is its further casting ability. One of the biggest tenets of flounder fishing is covering a lot of ground, so a far cast helps achieve this. The downside to bait-casting tackle is that it is generally harder to flip baits or lures into tight spaces where flounder are often sitting and waiting, such as just beneath the dock or mangrove roots.
The Perfect Baitcasting Rod for Flounder would be:
A light 7-foot bait-casting rod with extra-fast action. The same as the spinning rod needs, a light, fast action rod will give you the sensitivity you need to feel the first bite of a flounder, as well as the fast, strong, hook-setting ability needed to not miss the fish.
A medium bait-casting reel appropriate for 12-to-14 pound test line. Also similar to spinning tackle, use a bait-casting reel designed for holding 12-to-14 pound test line. Remember that flounders aren’t the strongest fighters, but do have great eyesight, so the lighter the tackle the better.
A General Comment about Flounder Tackle
When it comes to tackle, you need to be most concerned about where the fish are. Throughout the majority of the year when the fish are scattered in the estuaries, or when you need to pitch baits into small spaces, opt for a light-to-medium spinning reel. On the flip side, try out a conventional reel if you’re fishing the inlets or right underneath some pilings for large fish. Either way, both options are plenty viable for catching flounder in almost all circumstances.