Flounder are a flatfish species and mostly bottom dwellers although on occasion they come up the water column to feed.
They spend most of their lives lying and swimming on one side along the bottom of the ocean waiting to ambush their prey. They hide by camouflaging themselves at the bottom of the ocean floor using their two eyes atop their head to see.
When threatened they change their color to escape or hide from predators.
Capt. Mark Liberman helps Hope Mirabito unhook her first flounder.
Flounder fishing in Florida has grown popular with more flounder being caught around Gasparilla Island than in years past.
For anglers, a flounder's bite is subtle, a gentle tapping. After setting the hook you sometimes literally have to pull them out of the sandy bottom.
Fishing for flounder requires a lot of patience. Slow-moving, they tend to stay on the bottom.
Longtime fishermen call them "doormats" because they are a flat fish. Fluke and flatfish are other flounder nicknames.
Flounder are tasty and many anglers love to catch 'em for dinner. Flounder fishing techniques similar to those used for pompano fishing. Bounce your bait across the bottom using a slow retrieve. When your bait crosses the path of the flounder they will have a hard time resisting it.
They have small mouths so do not use large pieces of bait. Have a net on board to scoop up your flounder when you get it boat side. It's hard work to don't risk losing them while bringing them on the boat.
Recently I was lucky enough to be invited by the Mirabito family while they were visiting Boca Grande for spring break from New York to go on a charter with Capt. Mark Liberman. The charter was mostly for their daughters, Hope, and her sister, Lydia, to experience Florida fishing while the adults enjoyed sharing the day on Liberman's beautiful Yellowfin bay boat.
Hope and Lydia caught fish and even allowed their dad, Jerry Mirabito, in on some of the action. Snook and flounder were the hot bite that day. Hope caught her first flounder and snook, Lydia and Jerry also hooked into some nice snook during the charter.
Afterward, we stopped at Whiddens Marina to purchase some fresh shrimp off the shrimp boat to go along with flounder for dinner. There is nothing like fresh Florida seafood.