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Fall Means Flounder Along Destin’s Emerald Coast

Fall Means Flounder Along Destin’s Emerald Coast

When it comes to odd-looking sea life that inhabit Destin Florida’s coastal waters, the flounder is at the top of the list.  With its flat body and beady eyes and awkwardly placed mouth, the Flounder is not a pretty fish, but it is pretty tasty!

Fall is the ideal time to catch this unusual fish in Destin, as fall is one of their heavy migration times. The falling water temperatures encourages them to make their way out of the bay and seemingly multiple before your eyes.  What to know where to go? notes the best places to find Flounder:

They first start to show up in the harbor, around the docks to the north side of the Destin Bridge, around the Coast Guard Station and the old Leeside Docks about ¾ of the way from Destin to Fort Walton Beach along the south side of the bay.

The two most common methods for catching flounder are fishing and gigging. When fishing for flounder it is important to fish S-L-O-W. Flounder are the teenagers of fish, they are lazy and need strong encouragement and patience from the angler to get anything accomplished. Live bull minnows are your best bet for bait, be sure and drop in to the same area several times but don’t set the hook too quickly, the flounder may be nibbling before it swallows the hook and bait. Bottom line is that setting too fast may result in missing the fish altogether. Flounder are the known to throwing the hook right back at you, so be sure and get him out of the water quickly – using a net is probably a good idea.

Gigging is the practice of hunting fish with a gig or similar multi-pronged spear, it looks similar to a small pitchfork. Typically gigging for Doormats is a popular nighttime event, and not for the faint of heart, as it involves wading in the shallow waters from shore or floating in a small boat over the areas where flounder gather together.  As the flounder settle into the sand for the night, you’ll be looking for the shimmer of eyeballs (they will glow red in under your light), then point your gig and strike. Florida Go Fishing says:

Gigging the Flounder in the head behind the eyes and in front of the gill plate reduces the amount of struggle the fish will exert. If you gig a large Flounder you may have to get your buddy to jump in the water and wrap his arms around the fish as you lift it, gigging it in the head may not slow down a big fish.”

Florida allows you to bag up to 10 per harvester per day, and the state minimum size is 12” total length.  Whichever your preferred method, once caught your limit of flounder, try this great recipe from our friends at Southern Living.

Destin’s Flounder Pounder tournament presented by HarborWalk Village is a month-long event beginning November 1st – November 30th with daily weigh-ins and cash prizes. For full tournament details or to register for the Flounder Pounder please click HERE.

Author: Emerald Grande Staff

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