Summer Flounderby Geoffrey English
Summer Flounder, also known as a Fluke, are known for having a large mouth that extends past the eyes. The scientific name is Paralichthys dentatus, and they are members of the flatfish family. This means that both eyes are located on one side of the body. They lay on the ocean floor, keeping both eyes up to avoid predation, as well as hunt. These fish have the ability to change skin color and blend into the ocean floor, hiding their whereabouts from unsuspecting prey. As a small fish passes over their motionless bodies, the Summer Flounder can ambush its prey.
Summer Flounder: a.k.a. Fluke
Summer Flounder are usually found in the coastal parts of the Gulf of Maine all the way south to Florida. They live in waters with depths ranging from six inches to ten fathoms. This all depends on the size and location of the fish. The Summer Flounder reproduce in water temperatures usually between 55 and 66 degrees Fahrenheit. They do this in waters anywhere from 60 to over 160 feet in depth.
Summer Flounder can weigh up to 26 pounds and can grow to around 35 to 37 inches long. Most female Summer Flounder rarely get older than 20 years or so, and they usually stay below 20 pounds. Males, on the other hand, usually don’t exceed 7 years, and don’t grow heavier than three to five pounds.
During the fall, female Flounder produce large numbers of eggs, and the quantity is directly related to the females weight. The more the fish weighs, the more eggs she will produce. During the summer months, they move to the protection of grass beds, using the grass to hide themselves from potential predators. They usually nest in areas of protection.
The shoreline is the perfect place to find Summer Flounder because they like to bury themselves into the mud. As Fall sets in, the Summer Flounder tend to move from the shoreline into the open water. They will venture into waters 500 feet in depth, depending on food supplies and water temperatures.
Jigs and spinners combined with cut bait makes a deadly combo.
The best time to fish for Summer Flounder is between May and September. Most anglers employ drift fishing tactics to catch them, but other methods are effective. Drift fishing is the most effective because it covers more of the bottom floor and keeps the bait in constant motion. This makes the bait more attractive and entices the flounder to ambush.
Small strips of fish, squid or sandworms are the most common baits used for Summer Flounder. Some lures can be affective, but they respond better to live bait or a combination of the two. If a lure is necessary, the best ones are small spoons, spinners, and feathered jigs. As long as the angler maintains his patience, the aggressive nature of the Summer Flounder should take over.