The thought of drifting lazily along the coastal bays of the East Coast seems normal to most. In fact if you watch the vast majority of flounder fisherman, you will see them drifting along with rods in the holders waiting for that tell tale soft bend in the rod as a flounder swims up to the bait and gently hangs on. The “normal” rig consists of a single or top-bottom rig with a minnow, squid or some other natural bait. While this is a great way to catch fish in the perfect conditions and tides, we all know that the stars rarely align in those “perfect” conditions.
The technique I choose is far from normal, and the results are FAR from normal. It starts with a 6’8″ or 7′ Shimano Compre Medium action Spinning rod. I chose a Stradic 3000 reel rigged with 15 lb Power Pro Braid. Attached to the end of the braid is a 24-30″ 20 lb Sunline FlouroCarbon Leader.
Now the “business end” of the rig is quite simple. I really favor the Spro bucktails jig. Size is very dependent on the depth you are fishing but normally 1/2 – 1 oz. handle most situations. On occasion up to 2 oz Jigs may be neccessary. A big key to the weight is to use the smallest jig possible to obtain a slow fall. The bucktail is tipped with a Gulp Swimming Mullet, Jigging Grub, Shrimp or Jerkshad.
Color is something that you need to play with and adjust accordingly. I will tell you that everyday is different and if you change colors you will find the color or color combination that the fish want on that particular day. My favorite colors are Pink, White and Chartreuse. I vary the combination each day until the preferred color is determined. Do not get stubborn with the color that was working yesterday or last week. It may be the best today, but chances are the fish will be more aggressive to another color.
The technique is probably the most consistent and it is far from normal. The easiest way to explain it is to cast the jig out and let it hit bottom on a slack line. Once it hits bottom hold your rod at the 10 O’Clock position and quite violently rip the jig off the bottom. Then slowly lower the rod and let the bait hit bottom. As soon as it hits bottom rip it again and repeat. With this technique there will not be many soft gentle bites. You may feel a tick on the fall but most bites are very hard “No Doubt” bites. As with any jig bite, set the hook right away. When a flounder commits to a jig there is no reason to wait.
The next time you venture out of the bay for Flatfish, Give Bucktailing a shot. Just like I have, you will probably find yourself passing up on the bait dragging. Grab a handfull of bucktails and a couple bags of Gulp and get Jiggy with it!! Let me know how it works for you and don’t feel obligated to invite me for dinner, when you fry up those tasty fillets.