Tips & Tricks

Flounder Gigging: The Ultimate Guide

Studying Time: 8 minutes

Image nighttime flats and shallows, illuminated solely by the moonlight and gentle glow of LED lights out of your boat. Your eyes are scanning the sandy backside, in search of a “Doormat.” You’re stuffed with adrenaline and may’t assist however really feel the joys of the journey. The hunt has begun!

Flounder gigging is an effective way to embrace custom and hunt for meals the best way our ancestors did. This area of interest sport is really distinctive, permitting you to discover marine life at night time. It’s an journey in itself – and one which doesn’t require an excessive amount of from the anglers. 

A happy angler with two kids on a boat holding a Flounder caught by gigging

When you’ve got the will and just a bit little bit of enthusiasm, you’re 50% prepared on your Flounder gigging journey. On this information, we’ll attempt to reply all of the questions you’ve gotten about this sport, together with one of the best spots, gear you’ll require, and extra. So with out additional ado…

What’s Flounder gigging?

Flounder gigging is whenever you pierce your goal fish with a spear or handheld prong. That is what’s often called a gig, trident, leister, or trishul. In brief, as a substitute of catching your goal with a rod and line combo, you stab – or spear – your fish. You goal fish that lay in place on the seafloor, which isn’t the best job. Flounder, the preferred gigging goal, wish to bury themselves within the sand. 

How can an untrained fisherman spot their Flounder? Nicely, the reply to that’s fairly easy. You’ll want to make out their form utilizing a powerful mild supply as you wade or float over the seafloor. In fact, comparatively clear and calm waters assist. Essentially the most fascinating half is that you simply’ll be in search of Flounder’s eyes. A fast tip – the farther aside they’re, the larger the fish!

Three anglers on a Flounder gigging boat in Ormond Beach, Florida during a nighttime gigging trip

Dimension actually issues right here, as you’ll be able to solely spear fish that fall inside dimension laws. As soon as efficiently gigged, your Flounder doesn’t have a lot of an opportunity of surviving. Due to this fact, you solely wish to spear as many Flounders as you’re planning to eat later. 

All of the motion usually occurs at night time, though day journeys are additionally attainable. Flounder gigging fanatics use this methodology whereas fishing on the flats and backwaters.

Can I goal something moreover Flounder?

As we talked about above, Flounder is essentially the most sought-after gamefish for gigging fanatics. Nevertheless, it’s not the one species you’ll be able to harvest with a gig. Anglers (generally mistakenly) gig Rays, whereas in Oklahoma, as an illustration, you may additionally goal White Bass.

Gigging has an extended heritage within the Ozarks, too. In the course of the official Arkansas gigging season, which lasts from September 15 till February 15, you’ll be able to legally goal non-game fish, together with some forms of Carp, Bowfin, Gar, Suckers, Bullhead, and Drum. Gigging Bass, Trout, Catfish, and different gamefish is forbidden. 

Important Gear

There are some gigging gadgets it’s best to at all times have in your arsenal for a profitable hunt. In fact, a gig itself is primary, together with a high quality lighting supply. Let’s cowl essentially the most important gear earlier than we transfer onto some methods of going gigging. 

Flounder Gig 

Six Flounder gigs
Flounder Gigs

A Flounder gig has a trident-like look because of its barbed tines (sharped spears), becoming on the tip of a pipe or an extended pole. It’s normally made from corrosion-resistant materials and has sharp factors. Gigs of decrease high quality, constructed from carbon or 304 stainless-steel may also be used, nonetheless, increased high quality supplies comparable to 316 or 17-4 stainless-steel carry out significantly better. Anglers usually use these whereas gigging from a ship.

Rules and necessities for the prongs on a Flounder gig fluctuate relying on the nation. For example, Volusia County, FL, requires anglers to make use of three or fewer prongs, whereas there are not any prong laws in Texas. Make sure that to test your native laws earlier than heading out. 

Flounder Gigging Lights

Flounder gigging with underwater lights

Because the majority of Flounder gigging journeys occur later within the night and at nighttime, correct lighting is as necessary because the gig itself. As you may’ve already guessed, lights serve the aim of serving to you find your Flounder laying on the seabed. 

A high quality mild wants to have the ability to penetrate each clear and muddy water whereas being compact sufficient to suit in your pole or the boat itself. And, in fact, it must be vibrant and comparatively light-weight – the much less it weighs, the higher, because you’ll be fishing in shallow water. In relation to the colour, heat yellowish mild works finest for muddy situations, whereas cool whites are optimum for clear waters. 

Most Flounder gigging boats have LED lights which might be mounted each above water and underwater. Nevertheless, some anglers use headlamps to light up fish additional forward. 

How is Flounder Gigging completed?

Two anglers on a boat while Flounder gigging

What’s the distinction between Flounder gigging by foot and from a ship? Are there different methods to gig a doormat? Can you utilize any boat appropriate for studios fishing on your Flounder gigging journey? Let’s reply these questions, one after the other. 

From a Boat

A fishing guide in Aransas Pass standing on a Flounder gigging boat
Capt. James Parabst (Aransas Cross, TX) on his Flounder gigging boat

Since Flounder gigging is a shallow water sport, you’ll have to be sure to have the precise boat. Given the character of this sport, a flat-bottomed boat with a shallow draft is normally the most suitable choice. Common boats can drag the underside and get caught in numerous particles, comparable to rocks and oyster shells. 

For these causes, nearly all of Flounder gigging boats are constructed from aluminum as a substitute of fiberglass. Bay fishing fiberglass boats may also be used – you simply must be particularly cautious and aware of the terrain. 

A typical Flounder gigging boat is supplied with gigging lights (mounted above water and underwater) and a motor. There are two sorts:

  • Air motors. These are normally small air or fan motors with a prop connected to them. 
  • Trolling motors. Trolling motors come commonplace on most boats and are a lot quieter than fan motors. 

Nevertheless, a whole lot of anglers choose to make use of air motors, since a trolling motor shaft must be adjusted on a regular basis to keep away from dragging the underside. 

From a Kayak

Two Flounders caught while gigging

Some anglers choose gigging from a kayak, standing on the platform, pushing ahead with an extended pole or the gig itself, and focusing their consideration on the underside. They arrange the lights within the rear of the kayak and generally add a headlamp for higher visibility and security. 

When gigging in calm waters, a kayak can just about function a ship. All you want is a secure sit-on-top, a gig with an extended pole to push you ahead, and a few good lighting. 

Wading

Wade-gigging is good for these anglers who prefer it the old school method. Wading fanatics say that this methodology permits them to have extra management and spot their goal simpler. A vibrant mild is very necessary for anglers’ security, right here, to assist keep away from Stingrays. 

Primarily, all you want is an effective lighting supply, your gig, and good wading boots. The one distinction from gigging from a ship is fairly clear – you’ll be strolling as a substitute of floating on the water. Despite the fact that you’ll have to stay to the non-muddy backside and may’t cowl as a lot water as you’d on a ship, you may be capable to entry locations that boats can’t attain.

The place and When to Go Flounder Gigging

Flounder gigging is hottest alongside the Gulf Coast from Florida to Texas, in addition to alongside the Atlantic coast as much as the Carolinas. Nevertheless, anglers additionally gig for Flounder in New Zealand and Australia. 

Usually, the season begins in late August and lasts by means of November, though it’s also possible to prepare a gigging journey in spring and summer time if native laws enable it. In the event you’re planning a Flounder gigging journey in Australia or New Zealand, November till Could is the only option. In colder months, Flounder migrate to offshore waters. 

Nighttime Flounder gigging occurs shortly after darkish when the doormats transfer into the shallows to search for meals. They have an inclination to hang around extra in gentle mud bottoms, however anglers additionally work areas with a whole lot of grass, sand, and oyster beds. In the event you come throughout one thing that’s known as a “Flounder mattress” – imprints of their physique – it’s an indication that your goal fish isn’t there, however has moved already. 

A brightly lit Flounder on the seabed

There are a number of extra issues that you must contemplate whereas making ready on your Flounder gigging journey:

  • Water temperature. The temperature is cooler throughout night time hours, which brings bait fish in. Flounder could transfer to waters as much as 3 ft deep on a sizzling night time. 
  • Water readability. Windy nights are usually not one of the best time for Flounder gigging – it could be laborious to identify your goal. You may additionally wish to stick with areas with oyster shell bottoms, grass beds, or tougher sand bottoms. 
  • Tides. The tide is a particularly necessary issue to think about. Flounder transfer into deeper waters on a falling tide, and the water readability is decrease. Usually talking, a rising tide opens extra floor so that you can gig from a ship. 

Prime Spots for Flounder Gigging

Two anglers standing in the water by their boat with Flounder gigs in their hands

Now that when and how one can attempt Flounder gigging, it’s time to undergo the highest locations to hunt these fish. Right here’s a listing of among the hottest locations:

  • Texas: It’s virtually assured you’ll have a whole lot of enjoyable trying to find Flounder virtually in all places within the state. In the event you completely have to decide on, you’ll be able to’t go incorrect with Rockport or Galveston.
  • South Carolina: Arguably one of the best place for Flounder gigging in South Carolina is the Charleston space.
  • The Florida Panhandle: This aspect of the Gulf Coast is dwelling to not one however two prime Flounder gigging spots – Panama Metropolis and Pensacola. 
  • North Carolina: The coast of the “Outdated North State” is a wonderful selection for Flounder gigging fanatics, particularly for those who hit the Outer Banks.
  • Georgia: In the event you’re in Georgia, head to the Georgia Coast and the inter-coastal waters of Hilton Head. 
  • Mississippi: In the event you’ve by no means ventured out after darkish on the Mississippi Sound or Cellular Bay, you’re lacking out on a whole lot of Flounder gigging enjoyable. 
  • Louisiana: It generally appears as if the Bayou State was made for Flounder gigging, since you’ll be able to take pleasure in it in all places alongside the shoreline from Venice to Cameron. 

Flounder Gigging – The Hunt Begins

A flounder on the seabed in Grand Isle State Park, Louisiana.

Flounder gigging isn’t boring. How may or not it’s, when it’s such a blast for anglers of all ages? To begin with, it’s thrilling to search for a fish that resembles a wallowed-out soccer. Secondly, it’s an incredible alternative to discover aquatic life at night time and keep away from the scorching warmth. Thirdly, it’s lethal efficient. And final however not least, it’s fairly rewarding to come back again dwelling with a cooler stuffed with scrumptious fish!

And now, let’s hear from you. Have you ever ever tried Flounder gigging? Do you’ve gotten any ways you’d wish to share? Tell us within the feedback beneath.

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