Flounder live along calm coastlines around the world, including in large populations along the southern coastlines along the Gulf of Mexico. They comprise hundreds of recognized subspecies, such as fluke, sole and halibut. During the fishing conditions, fishermen patrol the shoreline either on foot or by boat with a spearlike device known as a gig. For a successful flounder gigging trip, a few tricks of the trade will come in handy.
The gig is a flounder fisherman's most important piece of equipment. Although several manufactured gigs are available, some fishermen choose to make their own gigs. The amount of prongs on a gig is a critical factor. Single-prong gigs are the most inefficient to use. Flounder can slip or spin right off of the gig, and it's generally harder to lift the flounder out of the water with one. Multiprong gigs, which have three or more prongs on a wider plane, cover more area and increase the chances of gigging the fish and hanging onto the fish. Gigs with drill-like prongs or slightly bent prongs hold the fish better and reduce slippage.
For a successful flounder-fishing experience, the weather conditions need to be just right. Low wind variables and calm, clear water are the keys to a successful trip. Wind will make the water ripple and reduce visibility when looking for the flounder. Choppy water lifts up silt from the sea floor, making for extremely poor visibility. Tide also plays a factor. When the tide is coming in, concentrate your search closer to the beach. When the tide is receding, hunt away from shore. The ideal conditions are generally in the spring and summer months along the U.S. coastline, when no wind is present and the water is still.
Flounder gigging is performed at night. Traditionally, giggers used a lantern, and some still do. Modern lighting options may increase the chances of spotting the flounder. Underwater pole lights are an ideal choice and offer fishermen easy viewing. These lights are held by a pole and stay underwater. With underwater lights, you don't have to squint and peer through the lantern glare reflected by the water. Fishermen who gig from a flat-bottom boat generally use high-powered 110 volt lights running off of a generator. This also allows a hands-free fishing experience, where you don't have to hold both the light and the gig.
In order to gig the flounder, you need to know where to look. As a rule of thumb, if you don't see any baitfish or other food that the flounder feeds on in the area, chances are you won't see any flounder either. A flounder's diet consists of mainly small baitfish, fish spawn, crustaceans and marine worms. Once you notice a bit of life in the water, begin looking for flounder imprints. These are also known as flounder beds. Small depressions on the sea floor in the shape of the flounder will indicate that founder have been using the area and are most likely still nearby.
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