Dick Pinney's Guide Lines: Flounder fishing is great in springBy DICK PINNEY March 04. 2018 1:57AM
Our local flounder are probably the best early-in- the-Spring target for local saltwater anglers who like to pursue a fish that is likely to be "on the bite" and provides some incredibly good eating
This time of year especially, you're apt to find flounder gathering in the outflow of shallow bays and creeks where the sun has had a chance to warm up the water temperature and provide some food for the flounder to be on the lookout for.
If you've never "flounder fished," the first thing you need to know is that they are definitely bottom feeders that will seldom rise off the bottom to take a bait. Sandy or mud bays or coves seem to be good bets but also the outflows of these areas on the outgoing tide will be apt to concentrate the feeding fish. Occasionally when reeling in your bait to check it out, you may be surprised to see a flounder take a swipe at it. When that does happen, if you drop your bait back down into the depths quickly, you are quite apt to experience a take by that fish that you just saw.
We suggest staying away from rocky and hard bottom structure as flounder feed mostly on seaworms and clams and those are the two best choices for use of bait.
A long shank hook is traditional for flounder fishing as their mouth structure makes it difficult to remove the hook. With the right hook and a twist of your fishing pliers, that problem is solved easily.
Flounders do have size and bag limits, which we do not list here as they are apt to be changed at any time and we do not want to expose ourselves to any problems, so it's wise when you pick up your saltwater fishing license that you also ask for a current saltwater rule book that will have that information available.
Do not rely on the chatter of the saltwater anglers who are apt to gather around the fishing license counter! These rules can and will change from year to year and the first thing you need to know is that yes, a saltwater angling license is needed to fish and catch flounder.
My choices of local places to flounder fish are obvious and most likely to be at their peak on the outgoing tide, but not always. The outgoing tide is choice because the water temperature is peaking then from the sunshine on the shallow water and the worms and other stuff that flounder feed on become more active in warm water.
Also know that a soft bottom of sand or mud is usually where you'll find the best action as, being bottom feeders, the flounders seek out their quarry on this bottom.
Flounders may challenge your skill at filleting fish but, when you figure out their bone structure, it's no harder than filleting any other fish - just different.
Instead of getting two fillets out of a flounder, you'll want to make your cuts quite a bit different and end up with four. Lay the fish on your cutting board and locate their spinal column, which actually runs down about the middle of the side of the fish. Run you knife along each side of this backbone and remove each fillet, top and bottom in the usual way, ending up with four strips of flesh that often are not much larger than a couple of fingers wide.
We don't bother skinning flounder fillets as the skins cook up nicely and you don't lose any flesh (yours or the fish's) in the process.
We like to roll the boneless fillets (there should be four) in flour that we've sprinkled with a little salt and pepper. Because of their shape and lack of thickness, frying is usually the best way to prepare them.
We make our own tartar sauce with finely chopped onion, good green relish and mayonnaise. Some people (including the Dickster) like to sprinkle few drops of vinegar on the cooked fillets.
Friends, it don't get no better than this!
Enjoy the coming season and remember us when you stick your fork into that first bite of fillet. You can place a bet on the fact that the Dickster will soon be or has already dined on this incredibly great treat.
Drop us an email at DoDuckInn@aol.com and get out there and get you some!
Dick Pinney's column appears weekly in the New Hampshire Sunday News. Email him at DoDuckInn@aol.com.