On the South Carolina coast, flounder begin to arrive in our estuaries and nearshore waters in spring as the water temperatures rise. Peak season coincides with the warmest water temperature months of May through October. Flounder will remain in the area until late Fall when they migrate offshore to their over-winter locations to spawn.
There are three types of flounder that are caught on the South Carolina coast; southern flounder, summer flounder, and gulf flounder.
Southern flounder is the most commonly caught species in the area. Summer flounder are occasionally caught in the same areas and gulf flounder are more commonly caught offshore.
Southern flounder inhabit estuaries, rivers, and shallow coastal waters. They are most often found in muddy bottom tidal creeks, creek mouths, often near bottom transitions and elevation changes. They can be found in or near flooded salt marsh during the highest tides. They can also be found near coastal inlets, docks, and jetties.
Flounder are ambush predators. They have evolved so that adult fish are flat, with both eyes on one side, and to be near perfectly camouflaged. They blend into the habitat and position themselves near current that will flush prey nearby to be ambushed or foraged. The most common prey for flounder are small baitfish and crustaceans, such as mullet, shrimp, and crabs.
To target flounder the most effective technique is to cast live or cut bait in the areas where flounder concentrate. Popular bait options include shrimp, sardines, mullet, mud minnows. The bait can be rigged on a Carolina rig or jig head with enough weight to reach the bottom. Many artificial lures can be successful as well, including bucktail jigs, spoons, curly tail soft plastics,
scented paddle tails, or jerk baits. Most often bait or lures are worked slowly across the bottom, either by dragging or hopping them.
Flounder are a popular game fish since they have incredibly delicate, mild, and slightly sweet tasting meat. South Carolina allows us to keep five fish per person per day and no more than ten fish per boat per day, with a minimum size limit of 16 inches.
Capt Jordan Pate excels at flounder fishing in the beautiful aquatic preserves just south of Myrtle Beach and on nearshore reefs. Book your flounder trip with Myrtle Beach Guide Service now to get a taste of what many say is the best eating fish in the sea.