a sport fish, the flounder is not highly regarded, yet it does offer a
good fight on light tackle and is easily one of the best tasting fish
can get out of the Ocean/Bay/Estuary system.
easy to catch--unless you're targeting them. Most of the time
find their way on hooks as incidental catches for anglers looking for
perch, or striped bass.
they are thrown back in disgust, but too often they are kept by people
who have to keep everything, whether or not they eat the
give the fish to a neighbor who promptly sticks it in the back of his
only to toss it out months later while defrosting. This
the time from San Pablo Bay through the Carquinez Strait, all the way
where Suisun Bay receives the Sacramento River. Small wonder
are rarely caught in good sizes any more.)
can indeed fish for them "on purpose" if you know where to find them
what they eat.
are dependent on the estuarine environment within the bay
As soon as the cold temperatures arrive they
migrate from relatively
water in the ocean to the shallow sandy or muddy bottoms of the
Authorities differ on the exact range of the spawning season, but it is
safe to say that prime fishing time is from December through
Flounders have a remarkably high tolerance for fresh water and can be
in Montezuma Slough and as far upriver as Rio Vista.
however they are located during the spawning season in waters like
lagoons, bays and river mouths at depths of twenty feet or
Find a place where fresh water empties into a bay and you may be in
Some good shoreline fishing can be accomplished in Martinez,
Rodeo, Vallejo, Point Pinole, Butler's Beach, and the Berkeley
When the spawn is over the adults move back to the sea.
less productive but still possible if you can find a sandy bottom with
a depth of 50 feet or more. Adults can go down to 900 feet in
summer months. The young remain in the estuary system.
eat worms and small crabs or shrimp. Older flounders will go
bigger crabs and fish like perch. So your bait offerings
similar. I've found the best baits in the Bay to be blood
pile worms, grass shrimp, and cut anchovies, in about that
By far the
best rig for flounder is the sliding sinker rig:
one time you should pony up for some first rate sharp hooks
Gamakatsu or Owners. Sizes range from #6-2. Go with
you feel comfortable and keep in mind that bigger hooks mean less
of getting swallowed. The flounder's bite is a finicky tap-tap, almost
like a staghorn sculpin's, very light yet persistent.
will get a straight tug and side charge when the fish is hooked but
often than not you need to be ready to set the hook yourself.
the fish nibble, even play out some line if you like, and then give it
a firm yank. As always, keep the line taut, not an easy task
a fish that runs helter skelter from side to side.