A species of fish often overlooked by bottom fisherman is the flounder. Many anglers don’t realize that large flounder currently settle on numerous locations in the gulf. During similar weather conditions, we have landed large doormat-sized flounder near certain wrecks. The key to finding the right sunken structure, is simple. If it’s positioned on a sand dune then there could be flounder. This is no secret for many seasoned divers that brave the cold waters of the gulf . Scanning the sandy bottom looking for the silhouette of a large flounder is protocol for the veterans divers. Our most memorable catches of giant flounder have come during this month of February. They were landed by accident when our boar positioned away from structure onto sand.
Most anglers bottom fishing for grouper, try to anchor over a wrecks, living reefs and rocks. Not many will try the sand, since most bottom fish congregate in the rocks. Flat fish like the flounder like the sand. They slightly bury themselves to camouflage. An accidental change of anchor position can sometimes turn into a pot of gold for a patient angler.
Flounder congregate offshore during February in preparation of a spawn. Shrimp would be my first 1stchoice of bait, 2nd choice is a thin strip of fish belly meat. The next time your mis-anchored over a wreck, noticing sandy bottom below, don’t immediately give up hope. Toss lines as far as you can, in all directions. Slowly drag the bait on the bottom . It’s definitely worth a shot since flounder are one of the best tasting fish in the gulf. We have accidently landed flounders up to 8 lbs. in past years using this unorthodox method. Or best day to date was 15 large flounders. We anchored over a wreck 17 miles west of Clearwater. Hopefully this best kept secret until now, will help during future outings.