Summertime the Right Time for Red Drum

 
Summertime the Right Time for Red Drum

By Craig Lamb

Some say redfish; others say red drum. No matter where you live this powerful freight train of a saltwater species is among the most prized of all game fish.

A late summer beach vacation coincides with the best time for catching trophy reds. Jetties are prime locations and are easy for anglers to find. Use a depth finder to locate nearby drop-offs with steep inclines, from 5 up to 30 feet. Reds use the deep holes to hide, and ambush mullet washed across the shallow sides of the bottom.

Use a big, splashy topwater plug when the reds herd mullet against the jetty rocks. When they disappear switch to a Mirro-O-Lure or lipless crankbait like a Rat-L-Trap.

Your family wants beach time. Oblige them and yourself by looking out for reds on the beach. Keep a big, splashy topwater rigged and ready whenever your boat is beached. Big redfish will herd baitfish, such as mullet, and push them toward the shore. The presence of diving birds is always a good sign of redfish action.

In the Carolinas, red drum, as they are called, are targeted by anglers during the flood tide. That is when high waters push red drum shallow to feed on mud and flats that normally are dry. The abundance of nutrients and food is the draw, and so is the cover of Spartina Grass.

The fish are easy to spot with the tips of their tails wagging across the surface. Finding the fish is the easy part. The challenge is making precise presentations. Keeping the bait within the path of vision is key. Cast ahead of the fish—far enough to adjust the path toward the fish—without landing it too close to spook.

An ideal boat for hunting down redfish (or red drum) is the 218 DLV by Carolina Skiff. The boat is a standout because this rig combines the best features of two boats into one. Those are a bay boat for handling the chop, with a shallow draft, skiff-style boat that can take you into the skinny water where inshore fish feed.

This design gives anglers the better of both worlds. The 21 DLV provides access up into coastal rivers and even into shallower tidal creeks without worry. The modified Tri-V hull, wide beam and extremely shallow draft keep the boat from sliding in tight turns or even running aground on shallow runs.

The 218 DLV has a length overall of 20’ 10.” A wide beam spanning 98” provides stability and plenty of room for fishing. The boat weighs 1,773 pounds with a maximum weight capacity of 2,700 pounds. Rated for 150 horsepower, the 218 DLV can be rigged for power and fuel economy with today’s performance designed four-stroke outboards.

Step aboard the 218 DLV and you discover how Carolina Skiff designed this serious fishing rig for saltwater anglers, fishing shallow and deep. A wide open deck and cockpit allows plenty of elbow room for multiple anglers to cast, troll and fight fish. The front and rear casting decks offer abundant room for taking the stealth approach when casting to tailing reds in skinny water.

Durability is a foundation of all Carolina Skiff models. Patented box-beam construction produces a solid, durable, no-flexing hull that is completely wood free. You get peace of mind and years of enjoyment knowing that quality construction is a priority at Carolina Skiff.

Get even more peace of mind from the foam floatation used in the hull that exceeds U.S. Coast Guard requirements. Foam flotation exceeds Coast Guard requirements, providing positive flotation for shallow draft and quick-planning characteristics. Using more flotation than necessary also creates sound-deadening properties that make the ride smoother and quieter.

Ready to build and customize a 218 DLV? Get started using the Build A Boat tool. Visit carolinaskiff.com today . Join the community of Carolina Skiff followers at the Carolina Skiff Facebook Page.

 

Original Source: Sportsmans Lifestyle.com

 

Summertime is Flounder Time

 

Summertime is Flounder Time

By Craig Lamb

Everyone likes a bargain, and you get a two-for-one deal when fishing for flounder. The mild, delicate taste of flounder is highly valued by seafood lovers. For sporting value, you can’t beat the fight put up by a doormat-sized flounder. Tasty and sporting, the flounder is a favorite of saltwater anglers.

Understanding the basics of flounder biology is essential to catching this unique species. Flounder are bottom feeders. So that aspect alone eliminates most of the water column, making it easier to begin your search.

By body design, flounder are not built for speed, something else to keep in mind when choosing baits and retrieves. Fishing bottom bouncing live bait rigs, slowly, is a proven tactic. Flounder feed by stealth under cover of their mottled camouflage skin that conceals them from being noticed by their prey.

During summer the rising water temperatures bring flounder into shallower water. Use that to your advantage on the low tide by exploring the exposed bottoms where flounder like to gather into schools. Remember that flounder are opportunistic feeders, not predators. Key areas are calm waters buffered from strong currents that provide refuge for baitfish.

Take advantage of low tide times to search for flounder areas. Deep holes surrounded by the exposed sandy flats on low tide are prime spots when the tide comes in. Bridges, edges of jetties or most any manmade structure that provides a current break are more ideal places to drop a live bait rig.

The “flicker rig,” a modified version of the standard fish-finder rig, is an all-around fish catcher for flounder. To make it, run the main line through an egg sinker. Tie one end of the line to a barrel swivel. Then make a leader on the opposite side of the swivel. Tie a two-foot section of line. Then add a spinner braced by a few red beads on each side. Complete the rig with a hook. You can add a float to the leader for shallow water fishing. By far, live bait is the best choice for attracting the slow moving, wary flounder. 

What else is fun about flounder fishing in the summer, and a hands-down benefit of a JV 20 CC, is the end of summer migration. Flounder move into extremely shallow water to feed at night. For even more sporting fun try the nocturnal approach. You’ll need a spotlight and flounder gig to make the most of the trip.

Getting into flounder territory takes a boat that can run in the skinniest of water while handling bay chop. Traversing ultra-shallow flats and maneuvering turns in tight channels sum up the demands of a boat for flounder fishing.

The 20 JVX CC by Carolina Skiff gets you there in style, safety, functionality, and performance. With a length overall of 20 feet and a beam of 78 inches, this boat provides a great balance of functional size and performance. Weight overall is 1,230 pounds, and with a draft of about 4 inches, the 20 JVX CC is made for cruising the flats without the worry of running aground. A maximum horsepower rating of 90 H.P. makes the perfect setup for matching fuel economy with performance.

A lightweight hull and modified V-hull design combine for a boat that will carry more, go further and faster with less horsepower. That sums up the performance and economy features so important in a skiff.

The JVX Series provides excellent maneuverability and handling with the positive tracking keels. Patented splash guards provide the smooth, dry ride that Carolina Skiff has been known for after 30 years and counting in the business.

Durability is a foundation of all Carolina Skiff models. Patented box-beam construction produces a solid, durable, no-flexing hull that is completely wood free. You get peace of mind and years of enjoyment knowing that quality construction is a priority at Carolina Skiff.

Get even more peace of mind from the foam floatation used in the hull that exceeds U.S. Coast Guard requirements. Foam flotation exceeds Coast Guard requirements, providing positive flotation for shallow draft and quick-planning characteristics. Using more flotation than necessary also creates sound-deadening properties that make the ride smoother and quieter.

Ready to build and customize a 20 JVX CC? Get started using the Build A Boat tool. Visit Carolina Skiff at carolinaskiff.com . Join the community of Carolina Skiff followers at the Carolina Skiff Facebook Page.

 

Original Source: Sportsmans Lifestyle.com

 

Back Bay Flounder North and South

 

Back Bay Flounder North and South

Fishing inside waters for aggressive flounder can benefit from the right boat and the right techniques no matter where you chase them

 In the world of gamefish, flounders probably don’t come to mind. Then again, maybe you’re not that familiar with two of the more popular recreationally caught species that make up the clan. In fact, they are two of the most sought-after gamefish on the East and Gulf Coast. Why? Because they are readily available for a good portion of the year, they are fun to catch, and they are good to eat. Now that’s a fishing trifecta!

The summer flounder’s range extends from North Carolina to Massachusetts, and for a good portion of the year, they frequent bays and tidal rivers. The southern flounder has a more extensive range. In the Atlantic, the range stretches from North Carolina to northern Florida. In the Gulf, the range stretches from Northern Florida to Texas. They are most frequently caught in bays, tidal rivers, bayous, and inlets. The two species look surprisingly similar in shape, coloration, and dentation. Both species are aggressive predators, capable of putting up a good fight on the appropriately sized tackle.

Both species of flounder share the characteristic flat or laterally compressed form. Both eyes are on the topside of the body, along with a large mouth filled with needle-like teeth for gripping their prey. They lie on the bottom using a chameleon-like ability to alter their top skin color to blend in with their surroundings like a warrior in camouflage. These adaptations make the perfect ambush predator. Regardless of which species are found in your area, they are actively pursued by recreational fishermen and most fun to catch when inhabiting estuaries and near shore structure. The ideal boat to pursue this species is a bay boat equipped with the right accessories to get you into position and help you maintain it. 

A few years back we spent a couple of days fishing with the captains Vickers, Mike Junior and Senior, both northeast Florida fishing guides, ostensibly for sea trout and redfish. We were working backwater channels and creeks off the Intracoastal Waterway near St. Augustine, Fla., using a powerful electric trolling motor on the bow of their 23-foot Yamaha-powered Pathfinder® bay boat to cruise silently through the narrow passes. We were casting a variety of soft plastic lures on jig heads when a fish smashed one in just a few inches of water, close to a school of finger mullet. It was the most aggressive strike of the day, and the fish immediately ran for the deep water through the middle of the channel taking line off the light-spinning reel with ease. We all thought it was a nice redfish, but as it came to the net, it turned out to be a 7-pound southern flounder. What a surprise! It wasn’t the last one we caught during our outings.

On a more recent day of fishing, we joined Ken Pontari of Valhalla Yacht Sales, a Contender®® bay boat at a public ramp in Brigantine, a shore town on a barrier island just north of Atlantic City. The bays, channels, and creeks sheltered from the ocean by the barrier islands extend along a good portion of the State’s coastline. There was a striking resemblance to the places we fished with the Vickers and other Yamaha backwater pros in the Gulf States. The scenery is beautiful, tranquil and teeming with bird life. It’s home to a vibrant population of summer flounder from spring through mid-summer. Ken promised to show us his techniques he uses to target the flounder, as well as how his bay boat and its specialized equipment play into his success. 

The 25-foot Contender® is a hybrid bay boat with a step-hull, modified Vee-bottom that makes it ideal for fishing skinny water as well as open ocean. Powered by a Yamaha F300 outboard, it’s capable of incredibly quick holeshots in mere inches of water and top speeds in the 50-60 MPH range. The shallow water capability is aided by the hydraulic jack plate, which is located between the engine and transom. It can lift the big outboard high, reducing the depth of water needed to get the boat on plane. During the day, we ran through passes and over shallow bars (that would have left most boats hard aground) to get to some of Ken’s secret flounder holes. When the bigger flounder finally exit the bay in the late summer and fall, Ken runs the Contender® offshore to an artificial reef to fish for flounder. He uses some of his shallow water tricks there, too. 

Ken’s boat is equipped with a 36-volt electric trolling motor on the bow and a Power Pole®shallow water anchor system on the transom. Both units are controlled via wireless remotes that Ken wears on a lanyard around his neck while fishing. He can put the boat into position to present lures from the bow-casting platform using the trolling motor, then press a button on the remote to deploy the Power Pole® to remain stationary. He can be jigging from the aft casting platform and use the other remote to control the speed and direction of the trolling motor without having to run back to the bow or stop fishing. These tools make any back-bay fishing experience more productive whether it’s for flounder, redfish, sea trout, weakfish or striped bass.

We left the dock cruising down a well-marked channel at a brisk 45 MPH, and Ken turned the boat hard into a narrow reed-lined channel passing over a shallow bar without slowing down. We were able to fly over grass beds, sand and mud flats to reach a spot where two creek channels met away from boat traffic. There, the current has scoured out a deep trench about 200 feet long and 12 feet deep. This is an ideal ambush point for flounder waiting for baitfish pouring out of the channels on the outgoing tide. The current was running pretty hard, and there was a strong breeze that would have made it nearly impossible to drift the length of the hole effectively. Ken dropped the trolling motor and used it to keep the boat in the exact position he desired.

The fishing technique we used in this condition was jigging beneath the drifting boat; Ken broke out two light action graphite spinning rods filled with 10-test braid tipped with long fluorocarbon leaders. They were rigged with two jigs, one above the other in a high/low fashion, each fitted with a Berkley® Gulp!®tournaments. It didn’t take long to produce a nice fat fluke. A few fish later, Ken picked up the trolling motor, he hit the throttle on the big Yamaha and whisked us away to another spot. He took us to the back of Abescon Inlet where the tide was about an hour away from incoming high. He set up a drift, again using the trolling motor to be sure we floated over some very subtle structure spots where he often finds bigger fluke. The water was deeper, so we had switched to a heavier bottom jig, but he used the same jigs and technique. 

“Flounder move into the estuaries from offshore in early spring, well before the season opens,” Ken said. “Some of the first places I fish are way back in the bay and very shallow where the water warm earliest. I like places where a creek enters a channel or pond-like area and flounder wait in ambush for baitfish coming out of the grass beds, with the falling tide. I fish with a single light jig with Gulp!®, and I use the Power Pole® to hold the boat in position to cast to likely ambush points. A little later in the season, the flounder will spread out around the bay, gathering in spots where there are deeper holes, channel bends or structure in and around inlets. The larger flounder will begin moving out of the estuaries in midsummer, and fishing along the beaches and further offshore around structure like artificial reefs will produce a lot of nice fish.

“The Contender® is the ideal boat to catch them on the reefs, too,” he continued. “The trolling motor has a GPS guided system called IPilot that can hold the boat in a spot regardless of the current or wind effecting the boat. It can also be set to follow a specific track or just maintain a heading with a touch of the remote, so the boat will move over the exact bottom at the exact speed I want it to. This makes jigging flounder with the high-low rigs I like to use incredibly productive.” 

A little later in the tide, Ken ran the Contender® to an expansive area of marsh grasses swaying in the morning breeze until he came to a back channel that emerged through an opening in the tall reeds. It was emptying into a large shallow bay and protected by a wide sandbar that made access to the spot impossible for more traditional fishing boats. He used the jack plate to raise the big Yamaha high enough to idle into position. He cut the motor and deployed the Power Pole,® putting us in the perfect location to cast to spots where fluke will often gather to feed. 

“This is a pretty good flounder spot, but we catch a lot of striped bass here in the spring and fall,” said Ken. “And the fishing for big bluefish in the early spring has been fantastic in the bays the past few years. This boat lets me get wherever the fish are and has all the whistles and bells to make catching them easier.”

Our thanks to Ken Pontari for a beautiful day on the water in an awesome fishing boat, and for sharing some of his tricks for catching flounder. These are techniques that will work for summer and southern flounder regardless of where you fish. Y

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Original Source:  Yamaha Outboards.com

 

Try Jigging for Flounder

 

Try Jigging for Flounder

They may be flat, but summer flounder and their down home cousins, the southern flounder, are aggressive predators

Among the most popular and readily available saltwater species found along the East and Gulf coasts are those funny-looking flatfish called flounder. Don’t let the name and strange appearance fool you into thinking these fish are lethargic bottom dwellers because nothing could be further from the truth. Flounder just use a slightly different modus operandi than more prized gamefish such as striped bass, red drum, bluefish and sea trout. When you pursue them using light tackle, you’d be surprised at their ability to bend the rod, especially when you tie into a nice one.

A nice brace fo summer floudner caught on a an artifical reef off the New Jersey coast.

A nice brace for summer flounder caught on a an artificial reef off the New Jersey coast.

The Yamaha team tagged along with Captains Mike Vickers, Sr. and Mike Vickers, Jr. in the backwaters around St. Augustine, Fla. fishing for redfish and sea trout, casting jigs with soft plastic bodies using light spinning gear. The crew saw a lively school of finger mullet, and tossed the jigs into what couldn’t have been more than six inches of water. Suddenly, a violent strike, followed by a quick hookset, led to a screaming run that the anglers thought was a nice-sized redfish.  As it turned out, the red was a seven-pound flounder that inhaled the jig and decided it was going to make a getaway to deeper water. Talk about aggressive.

From southern New England to Cape Hatteras the common predatory flatfish is the summer flounder or fluke, as it is called in many areas. From Cape Hatteras south and down into the Gulf of Mexico, its counterpart is called a southern flounder or just flounder. They look remarkably similar in size, shape, and coloration, and they share the same habitat needs and feeding strategy. Both species can be caught in the open ocean, usually hunting around some type of bottom structure in shallow to moderate depths. Both also spend a good deal of time feeding around inlets and in estuary environments. They are both bushwhackers that lie on the bottom waiting for critters to swim or crawl by, and then they burst out of hiding and grab the unsuspecting fish, squid, shrimp or crab with a mouth full of needle sharp teeth and swallow it whole. They take advantage of their flat shape and ability to change the color of the top half of their bodies, almost like wearing an invisibility cloak. When an opportunity presents itself, they dart off the bottom accelerating like dragsters off the starting line, and grab their prey before it realizes what has happened. If they miss on the initial attempt, they are fast enough to chase down their prey for short distances.

saltwaterfishinvol5no8flounder080513image4

A bucktail jig tipped with a strip of squid or fish fillet with the skin on is a deadly lure for both summer and southern flounder.

Jigs are the ideal lure to use when fishing for an ambush predator that lies on the bottom. They can vary from old-fashioned bucktails to the latest scented soft-bodied variety. You can effectively fish jigs deep or shallow, and what could be more enticing to a stealthy flounder than a lure that appears to be an unsuspecting baitfish bouncing along close to the bottom? The key to fishing them successfully is to use tackle that best matches the weight of the jigs.  You should also try to use jigs that are the lightest you can get away with while remaining in contact with the bottom as you work them.

For ocean fishing, a bucktail with a strip of fresh bait that gives it a long, snake-like appearance is ideal. The natural scent and feel help, too. Squid or strips of filet off fish like mackerel, menhaden, bluefish, even other flounder, will get strikes and keep them holding on. In shallower estuary confines, even lighter tackle and jigs work best and scented soft-bodies like the growing family of Saltwater Gulp!® products offered by Berkley® are irresistible. They also help enhance larger bucktails fished in deeper water.

Yes, those are teeth and they are pointy and sharp. Flounder use them to grab prey and hold on to it until they can swallow it whole.

Yes, those are teeth and they are pointy and sharp. Flounder use them to grab prey and hold on to it until they can swallow it whole.

Casting and drifting are the two presentations that work best for flounder. Drifting requires the boat to be moving at a moderate pace, so wind, tide and current play a part in your success. Drift speeds between 0.5-to-1.5 mph are ideal. Invest in a drift sock to help you control the speed when current or wind is pushing the boat too hard. Fish a jig capable of being worked close to the bottom without getting pushed up by the speed of the drift. Using thin braided line will reduce the problem and allow you to use lighter jigs. Just drop the jig straight to the bottom and lift and drop it as the boat drifts over the area you want to cover. This gives the jig an up-and-down swimming appearance. When you find a spot that’s productive, be it structure, a channel edge or a flat, start the boat, drive back to the beginning and repeat the drift—simple and easy.

Casting comes into play when fishing areas with little or no drift, inside the tight confines of shallow salt creeks, channels, and bays. Use light jigs that you can easily cast and retrieve back to the boat, so they bump along the bottom making them look alive. Remember, it’s angler input that gives a jig its action, and it requires a little practice, but not much.

Summer, calm seas, light tackle and big founder . . . what more could a fisherman ask for?

Summer, calm seas, light tackle and big founder . . . what more could a fisherman ask for?

After a successful day of flounder fishing, the final reward is at the dinner table. Flounder are easy to clean—some anglers call them zipper fish—and delicious to eat. Summertime is flounder time in most coastal areas. Y

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Original Source: Yamaha Outboards.com