Captain's Corner

By NEIL TAYLOR, Times Staff Writer
Published November 15, 2007

What's hot: Flounder are again populous in West Central Florida. For several years they were absent from local waters, fatalities of the Red Tide bloom. Flounder returned in significant numbers starting around the end of August. Valued for their food quality, now is prime time to catch these bottom dwelling flat fish. A flounder more than 12 inches is legal to harvest.

Techniques: Flounder sit on sandy patches on the bottom. The patches in the middle of deeper grass beds, along seawalls and bridges with rocks, and around oyster bars are regular haunts. Try live baits on a No. 1 hook, with enough weight to keep a sardine or a killifish minnow near the bottom. Cast up-current and let the water move your bait along the bottom. If it comes to a stop, a flounder may be just laying there with that bait in its mouth. Raise the rod tip slowly. Sometimes the fish drop the bait. If that happens, drop the rod tip immediately and the flounder often strikes the bait a second time. Plastic lures work just as well and get harder strikes. Bump a jig off the same sand-bottom areas and set the hook when you feel a thump on the lure.

Neil Taylor charters kayak fishing trips in the Tampa Bay area and can be reached at (727) 692-6345.