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Free Fishing Reports
Montauk Tackle
Montauk Tackle

Flounder Tackle

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FlounderOur recommended flounder outfit includes a spinning rod and reel combo suitable for 20lb fused line. The optimal rod is 6’6″ to 7′ feet long with a fast to extra-fast action and capable of handling lure weights up to 1 ounce. Most anglers prefer to use 20lb fused line as opposed to 30lb fused line because the slightly decreased line diameter can provide additional casting distance when flipping small baits.

Flounder Fishing Techniques and Tips

We recommend loading the reel with 20lb fused line as opposed to braided line or mono. Fused and braided lines allow for much greater casting distance than mono. This is because is the much smaller line diameter of fused and braided lines. In addition, the fused and braided lines have virtually no stretch which allows the angler to carefully work even the most difficult lures, feel the softest hits, and easily set the hook. Fused line is preferred to braided line because it has better abrasion resistance and is less likely to form a wind knot.

Flounder Rigs

The line should be attached to a 3ft length of 30lb fluorocarbon leader using a 50lb barrel swivel.  A perfection loop is used on the end of the leader for a 10z-4oz bank sinker. A dropper loop is tied 3 inches above the bank sinker.  A tandem hook rig with 2/0 beak baitholder hooks is attached to the dropper loop.  The tandem hook rig is built with a 10 inch leader tipped with a hook.  A second 10 inch leader is tied into the middle of the first leader.

The small profile of the swivel virtually eliminates any chance of picking up debris and provides an easy connection point between the line and the leader. The angler needs to be careful not to reel the swivel into the rod as it can damage the guides. Some anglers use an albright or uni-knot instead of a swivel. This knot can be tricky to tie properly with braided and fused lines.

We strongly recommend Berkley Gulp Chum.  It is incredibly effective. It does not have to be changed all day and after fishing it can be put back in the bucket for recharging. When the water is very cold and the fish are sluggish this can make all the difference.

Flounder Tackle Checklist

  • 6’6″ to 7′ spinning rod rated for 20lb braid and lure weights up to 1 ounce
  • Spinning reel rated for 20lb braid
  • 20lb fused line
  • 30lb fluorocarbon leader
  • 50lb barrel swivel
  • 2/0 beak baitholder hooks
  • 10z-4oz bank sinkers
  • Chum

Please contact us if you have questions about our recommendations!

Click here to see all of our Flounder Content (news, video, techniques, tips, and locations)

CLICK HERE FOR FREE FLOUNDER FISHING VIDEO CLIPS!

Flounder Fishing Tips and Techniques:

Beat that cabin fever!

The flounder bite in Raritan Bay, NJ and Jamaica Bay, NY provide some of the most reliable early spring action in the northeast. Even when winter hangs on a little longer than it should, there are still fish to be caught. The next big hot spot is Boston Harbor which typically starts a few weeks later.  Water temperatures are critical.  It is very hard to catch fish when the water is less than 50 degrees.

Locals know best

There are numerous places in and around every harbor area that hold fish. The local tackle shops and charter captains are the best source of information. If you have not fished an area before, make your first few trips with the local captains and get a feel for the area. The charters in most places are very reasonable and the fishing grounds are typically just a short distance from the dock. As for most bottom fish, moving water, incoming or outgoing, produces the best results. Most of the fish are found on or near ledges on bottom that is typically muddy, even though some of the harder bottom can also produce some good action. Nearly all flounder fishing is done at anchor. IN Boston Harbor, if conditions permit ( and they usually do) make a short trip offshore and get in some great cod action. It is not unusual to catch fish in the 20-40 pound class.

Stay Chummy

Chumming is a very effective way to draw flounder to the boat and to keep them there until they discover your baits. It seems that every local tackle has its own secret recipe. An inexpensive weighted chum pot is the best way to keep the chum flowing. The pot is typically loaded with a frozen log or block of chum. It is then tied off to the boat and dropped to the bottom. An occasional shake of the pot is all that is needed to keep it flowing. If the chum has already has already thawed leave it in the bag and cut slits in the bag to release it. The pot should be checked at regular intervals to make sure that it still has chum and that the chum is flowing.  However, many anglers now exclusively use Berkley Gulp Chum which can easily be recharged after each use.

Boston Harbor Cod surprise

There are nearly always good numbers of cod outside the Boston Harbor and on the local wrecks. Many smaller fish in the 5-10 pound range can be found mixed in with the flounder especially on the pieces of bottom near the entrance to the harbor. An additional high hook with a strip of clam is all that is needed.

Bait, bait, and more bait

Once the water warms up, the action in the harbor is typically non-stop. Put a couple of anglers in a boat, each with a two hook rig baited with half a sandworm and they will go through a lot of bait. Most anglers buy an entire flat (144) of sandworms, a several chum logs and a couple of frozen containers of shucked clams. In most places, there are plenty of other pesky critters that keep the action going. If they get too numerous and the flounder are few and far between it is time to move to a new spot. The sandworms are cut in half and threaded over the length of the hook. The remaining portion of each half hangs off the hook and provides the action. The clams are cut into pendant shaped strips and threaded a couple of times on the hook, with the bulk of the strip waving in the current.

Rig for success

The terminal tackle rig for this type of fishing can get pretty fancy. Some anglers use spreader bars, teasers, spinner blades and a variety of other rigs. It seems that everything catches fish. A simple and very effective rig consists of two 2/0 beak baitholder hooks on 12inch 30lb fluorocarbon leaders. Some anglers add a yellow plastic bead above the hook which helps the flounder locate the rig in the murky water. The leader of one hook is tied to the middle of the leader of the second hook. The second hook is tied directly to the leader just above the sinker. The sinker is attached to a 3ft length of 30lb fluorocarbon leader by being slipped through a large dropper loop. The large loop allows the angler to easily change sinkers. Always use the lightest sinker necessary to hold the bottom.  The leader is attached to the main line with an 50lb barrel swivel.

When cod are present, a single 4/0 beak baitholder hook is tied to a standoff loop 2-3 feet above the sinker loop. A pink, white or green artificial scented grub or mujllet can be added to provide some additional color and action. This rig has the minimum amount of hardware needed and will have the least amount of water resistance and the smallest chance of getting tangled.

Braid is best

Braided lines provide and added advantage due to the thinner diameters and lack of stretch. The thinner diameter provides less water resistance and allows the angler to hold the bottom with smaller sinkers. The smaller the sinker, the more feel the angler has. The lack of stretch also ensures that the angler feels even the softest bites. However, much of the fishing is done in depths of less than 30ft and most good quality monofilament lines will work just fine.

To bounce or not to bounce

Often times a rod resting in the holder and a careful eye is all that is needed to catch these fish (including the cod!). Most anglers prefer to bounce the sinker along the bottom and work a patch of bottom. Each bounce of the sinker produces a puff of mud and that will attract the flounder. Flounder typically feed on small shrimp, worms, shellfish and crabs right on the bottom. They will investigate any disturbance or vibration to see if it is a feeding opportunity. Flounder will often mouth the bait and the initial hit can be very subtle. A slight, slow lift of the rod is all that is needed to detect their presence. If any additional weight is felt, a short, sharp strike will drive the hook into their mouths.

First timers

This is a great way to introduce new anglers to the sport. The consistent action and minimal skill requirements guarantee a good day. Pick the right day and save those sloppy days for the diehards. The weather seems to have little effect on the bite, even though most of the local pros prefer the bright sunny days.


Tackle Recommendations
Click on any of the images or names to visit the manufacturer's website.  Click on the links or retailer logo to see prices or purchase.  If you can't find the product you want, try searching Amazon. Please contact us if you find any broken links!
Rods
Penn Legion Spinning Penn Legion Spinning
Inshore spinning rod - 6'6" to 8' - multiple models suitable for 6-40lb mono and 6-65lb braid - fast to extra-fast actions
Learn more and buy at Tackle Direct
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Penn Legion Spinning Penn Legion Spinning
Shimano Teramar Spinning Shimano Teramar Spinning
Inshore spinning rod - 6'6" to 8' - multiple models suitable for 6-40lb mono and 10-65lb braid - medium fast to extra-fast actions
Learn more and buy at Tackle Direct
Learn more and buy direct at Amazon
Shimano Teramar Spinning Shimano Teramar Spinning
Reels
Penn Spinfisher V Penn Spinfisher V
Spinning reel - models rated for 4-50lb mono and 10-80lb braid - 4.2:1, 4.7:1, 5.6:1, and 6.2:1 gear ratios - 5 ball bearings
Learn more and buy at Tackle Direct
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Penn Spinfisher V Penn Spinfisher V
Penn Conquer Penn Conquer
Spinning reel - models rated for 4-25lb mono and 8-65lb braid - 4.2:1, 4.7:1, 4.8:1, 5.8:1, and 5.8:1 gear ratios - 10 ball bearings
Learn more and buy at Tackle Direct
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Penn Conquer Penn Conquer
Shimano Spheros Shimano Spheros
Spinning reel - models rated for 6-30lb mono and 10-80lb braid - 4.6:1, 4.7:1, or 5.1:1 gear ratios - 3 or 4 ball bearings - aluminum frame - graphite side plate
Learn more and buy at Tackle Direct
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Shimano Spheros Shimano Spheros
Shimano Stradic Shimano Stradic
Spinning reel - models rated for 2-20lb mono and 10-65lb braid - 4.8:1 and 6.2:1 gear ratios - 5 ball bearings
Learn more and buy at Tackle Direct
Learn more and buy direct at Amazon
Shimano Stradic Shimano Stradic
Line
Berkley Fireline Fused Berkley Fireline Fused
Fused line - more resistant to nicks and abuse than braided line - blaze orange, flame green, or smoke colors - available in 6 to 30lb test and 125, 300, 1500, and 3000yd spools
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Berkley Fireline Fused Berkley Fireline Fused
Hooks
Mustad Beak Baitholder Hook Mustad Beak Baitholder Hook
92661-NI - Forged, Reversed, 2 Slices in special long shank, Ringed, Nickel
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Mustad Beak Baitholder Hook
Terminal Tackle
Mustad Rolling Swivel Mustad Rolling Swivel
77900 - Black Rolling Swivel w/round eye - available sizes/rating: 4/144lb, 6/118lb, 8/104lb, 9/77lb, 10/70lb, 12/49lb, and 14/42lb


Yo-Zuri Fluorocarbon Leader Yo-Zuri Fluorocarbon Leader
Fluorocarbon leader  - invisible, durable, max knot/crimp strength - clear  and disappearing pink colors - 4-200lb test and 30/100yd spools
Learn more and buy at Tackle Direct
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Yo-Zuri Fluorocarbon Leader Yo-Zuri Fluorocarbon Leader
Berkley Prospec Leader Berkley Prospec Leader
Fluorocarbon leader - invisible, durable, max knot/crimp strength - clear, blue, pink, brown colors - 20-200lb test and 25/33/75/100yd coils
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Berkley Prospec Leader Berkley Prospec Leader
Other
Berkley Gulp Chum Berkley Gulp Chum
Saltwater Chum - GCBK5-V - Rapid scent dispersal for all saltwater gamefish. Ideal for fishing shallow water structure. No refrigeration needed.
Learn more and buy direct from Berkley
Learn more and buy direct from Amazon
Berkley Gulp Chum Berkley Gulp Chum
MontaukTackle
MontaukTackle