As the mercury begins its migration south, the Gulf's flounder bite begins to heat up. Frequent cold fronts trigger their instinctive call to spawn. pulling them from inshore, out seaward. Along their journey they stage in and around tributaries, drains, ditches and any other structure that strikes their fancy. Captain Sonny Schindler of Shore Thing Charters (shorethingcharters.com; 228-342-2206) of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, has developed a “can't miss” game plan for stashing piles of flatfish in his locker.
Schindler keeps his strategy simple; "We concentrate our efforts on gently sloping banks; once we find fish, we'll throw either ¼- or ½-ounce jigs tipped with shrimp or minnows. Schindler’s favorite tipping bait is live killifish when they're available. According to Schindler they're tough, so much so, he says with a wide grin, “they could live in diesel fuel.” The Mississippi native feels the smell of the tipped shrimp or minnows seals the deal.
Schindler's advice for his first time flounder clients is to keep their baits in constant contact with the bottom. He also fishes the incoming tide, especially following hard cold fronts when fish seem to move most.
Schindler's equipment short list includes 20-pound Power Pro braid spooled on Okuma spinning gear; “Braid is a must for feeling strikes,” he say. “These fish hit very softly. Once they grab it, let them have it for a few seconds, to ensure a good hook set.”