Best Time to Catch Flounder – All about Seasons & Time of Day

The best time to catch flounder varies depending on the season, with some seasons being better than others. For instance, flounder fishing is best in late winter during February and March when water temperatures are between 45°F and 65°F.  

The best time of day also has a large impact on your ability to catch flounder, as they are most active at night or early morning hours. 

What is the Best Time to Catch Flounders?

In general, the best time of day to fish for flounder is at night or early morning hours, when they are most active. 

Take some live bait for your hook, as artificial lures don’t tend to perform so well with flounder. For live baits, we would particularly recommend live shrimp. A group of anglers near me were able to catch so many flounder with this by just prepping their rod and reel rig, putting some live shrimp on their hook and starting the (short) wait. If you don’t like to take live baits, go for grub tailed artificial lures. 

When it comes to other tackle, the best flounder fishing line is braided line with a leader line, as it provides a more natural feel and is less visible in the water. Of course, there is also gigging, but I have never tried this, so no tips here! 

Best Time of the Day to Fish for Flounder

It depends whether you want to be inshore flounder fishing or catch flounder from a boat offshore. 

It is a good idea to look for a beach with mouths of creeks and select a creek with shallow water when inshore angling, where you can find flounder in the sand and mud near the coast. Speaking of mud, mud minnows make excellent bait for this! 

When offshore fishing, go for deeper water on a boat and ideally target drop offs in the water, except for in the night! 

Morning

Early morning is great for flounder fishing, especially if you are inshore. You can best catch flounder in the morning from about an hour before sunrise until 11am, during which it will be easier for one to locate them by sight and sound when their feeding activity increases. 

Afternoon

In the afternoon, catching flounder can be comparably more difficult, as they tend to be a bit more elusive. The later it gets, the better it becomes to fish deeper waters in hopes of catching flounder as they are starting their nightly migration towards shore. This is also when you should use bait such as squid or shrimp for better chances!  

Night

After dark, fishing at night for flounder is best done for those with experience. Flounder usually stay close to the shoreline at night, so you can fish inshore or offshore depending on your location. Use baits such as squid or shrimp! 

Best Time to Catch Flounder by Season

Obviously, there is a difference if you are looking to be fishing for flounder in North Carolina or Florida, when it comes to seasons. Spring and summer can be better for flounder fishing the further you go north! 

Spring

Catching flounder in spring can be best done on the east coast in North Carolina. The shallow waters are warmer and flounder go offshore to spawn during this time of year, so get your bait ready! 

Summer

Flounder is more abundant in summer months near coasts that have sandy beaches with low tide depths. This is due to a larger sand-bottom area 

That being said, the summer is not the best season to catch flounder, as they become more difficult to spot in the first place, looking for colder waters. Bring or ask your fellow anglers to bring a fish finder, especially when going on a boat off the coast. But even in shallow water, they are difficult to spot under the sand, especially with the glare from the summer sun. 

Autumn

Autumn is also not necessarily the best flounder fishing season either, as flounder tend to prefer colder water. Again, it does depend on the state you are in. Late autumn can be fine in North Carolina already. 

Winter

Fishing for flounder or fluke in winter is very much recommended. The flounder species love the colder water and are known to bite more and generally be more on the look out for food in the water. If it gets below 45°F consider looking for shallow water instead of the deeper water. 

Conclusion

Whether you plan to go inshore or offshore fishing, if you are looking for a fun fishing adventure, flounder may be the fish for you. Flounders can live in many different types of water and they have some unique behaviors that make them easy to catch if you know what time or season is best.  

What times of day were your most successful when targeting these fish? Which seasons seemed to provide the highest success rates at catching flounders? We’d love to hear about your experiences and tips so we can help others find their perfect fishing spot! Comment below with any details from your last few trips and let us know how it went.