Flounder Gigging: A Complete Guide

Imagine a night scene with only the moonlight and the soft glow of LED lights from your boat to light it. You’re scanning the sandy bottom for a “Doormat.” You’re full of adrenaline, and you can’t help but feel the thrill of the adventure. This is flounder gigging in a nutshell.

Not only is flounder gigging a fun way to connect with tradition, but it’s also a great way to hunt for food. You don’t need much experience or equipment to try this unique sport that explores marine life at night.

You’re half-way ready for your flounder gigging trip if you have the desire and a little bit of enthusiasm. In this article, we’ll try to answer all of your questions about this activity, including where to fish and what gear you’ll need. Let’s crack on.

flounders on boat
Big Catch

Flounder Gigging Explained

Flounder gigging is the act of puncturing your target fish with a spear or handheld prong. This sharp object is also known as a gig, trident, leister, or trishul.

In conclusion, instead of using a rod and line to catch your prey, you pierce – or spear – it. You pick fish that stay in one place on the sea floor, which isn’t always simple. flounder, perhaps because they like to hide in the sand, are among the most popular gigging targets.

The easiest way for an untrained fisherman to find flounder is by looking for their shape using a strong light source. This can be done while wading or floating over the seafloor, although it’s easier to spot them in clear and calm water.

The most interesting part is that you’ll be looking for flounder’s eyes. A quick tip – the farther apart they are, the bigger the fish!

There are a few restrictions to keep in mind when gigging your flounder. You can only spear fish that meet the size requirements. Once you’ve successfully gilled your flounder, it’s highly unlikely it’ll survive. As a result, you should only spear as many flounders as you intend to consume later.

The best time to fish is usually during the night, although it’s also possible to catch fish during the day. People who hunt on marshes and bays use this approach.

Can I catch anything besides Flounder?

Flounder is the most popular gamefish for gigging, but it’s not the only one. Anglers sometimes mistake rays for another fish and in Oklahoma, you can use a gigs to target White Bass.

Gigging has a long history in the Ozarks Sportsman Club. You can legally take non-game fish such as Carp, Bowfin, Gar, Suckers, Bullhead, and Drum during the official Arkansas gigging season (which lasts from September 15 until February 15).

flounder catch
Flounder Fishing Competition

The Required Gear

There are a few gigging goods you should always have on hand for a successful hunt. Of course, the main item is a good light source, followed by a quality playing field. Let’s go through the most important equipment first before we dive into some methods of going gigging.

Flounder Gig 

The flounder gig resembles a trident because of its sharp, spear-like points. It is usually made from materials that resist corrosion and can be fitted onto the end of a pipe or long pole.

Using gigs made of lower quality materials, like carbon or 304 stainless steel can work, but gigging with higher quality materials- such as 316 or 17-4 stainless steel- will perform much better. This is especially important for those fishing from a boat.

The number of prongs allowed on a flounder gigging spear depends on the country. For example, in Volusia County, Florida, anglers can use three or fewer prongs, whereas there are no restrictions in Texas. To avoid getting into trouble, always check local regulations before setting out.

Flounder Gigging Lights

Because the majority of flounder gigging trips occur later in the evening and at night, adequate illumination is just as essential as the actual performance. Lights, you guessed it, assist you find your flounder on the seabed by revealing them.

A good light should be able to go through both clean and muddy water, while being small enough to attach onto your pole or the boat. Additionally, it has to be bright and not too heavy – the lighter it is, the better, since you’ll mostly fish in shallow areas.

Warm, yellowish light is best for muddy conditions, while cool whites are optimal for clear waters. The most flounder gigging boats have both above-water and underwater LED lights. Some anglers, on the other hand, employ headlamps to illuminate prey further ahead.

flounder gigging light setup
Flounder Gigging Lights

The Art of Flounder Gigging

What’s the difference between gigging for Flounder by foot and from a boat? Are there other ways to gig a doormat? Can you use any boat suitable for flats fishing for your flounder gigging trip? Let’s answer these questions, one by one.

From a Boat

Because you will be in shallow water while flounder gigging, you must have a boat that meets those same criteria. A flat-bottomed boat with little draft is often the best type of vessel for this activity so that it does not get stuck on rocks or other items at the bottom of the body of water.

Because of this, the majority of flounder gigging boats are constructed of aluminum rather than fiberglass. Bay fishing fiberglass vessels can also be utilized; simply exercise caution and pay attention to the terrain.

A flounder gigging boat usually has gimbaled lights (mounted above and beneath the water) as well as a motor. There are two sorts:

  • Air-powered devices are powered by electric motors that function on the principle of an air motor. These are frequently tiny air or fan motors with a prop attached to them.
  • Trolling motors installed as standard equipment. Trolling motors are much quieter than fan noise produced by the boat’s motor.

Many anglers find air motors more efficient since a trolling motor shaft constantly needs readjusting to prevent scratching the bottom.

From a Kayak

Gigging from a kayak, standing on the platform, using a long pole or the gig itself, and concentrating their attention on the bottom are all popular methods. They place up the lights in the back of the kayak and may also use a headlamp for improved visibility and safety.

A kayak can essentially act as a boat when gigging in calm waters. All you need is a steady sit-on-top, a gig with a long pole to propel you forward, and some effective lighting.

Wading

For those anglers who like to use their rods and reel the old-fashioned way, wade-gigging is a great choice. Wading fans enjoy the ability to have more control and find their target faster by utilizing this method.

Anglers should utilize a bright light to help them avoid Stingrays while wade-gigging since they are much easier to see in this manner.

Essentially, all you need is a decent lighting source, a performance, and good wading boots. The only distinction between gigging from a boat and gigging on the ground is that you’ll be walking instead of floating on the water.

You may be able to access areas that boats can’t get to because even though you have to stick to the non-muddy bottom and can’t cover as much water as you would on a boat.

When and Where to Go Flounder Gigging

A gigging season generally begins in late August and lasts until November, however if local rules allow it, you may also arrange a gigging trip in the spring and summer. If you’re organizing a flounder fishing expedition in Australia or New Zealand, November through May is the optimum time period. In colder months, Flounder migrate to offshore waters.

Flounder gigging is a pursuit mainly enjoyed along the Gulf Coast from Florida to Texas, as well as along the Atlantic coast up North Carolina. Although, people also gig for flounder down in New Zealand and Australia.

Anglers gig for flounder at night, shortly after the fish move into shallower water to look for food. flounder tend to spend more time in areas with soft mud bottoms, but you can also find them near grassy areas, sand banks, and oyster beds.

If you see something called a “flounder bed” – an imprint of the fish’s body shape in the sand – it means that the flounder has moved already and is not there now.

flounder gigging spear
Flounder Gigging Spear

There are a few more things to think about before going out on your flounder gigging excursion.

Water Temperature

The water is cooler at night, which brings in bait fish. Flounder may move to waters up to 3 feet deep on a hot night.

Air Pressure

Pressure is another component of bait fish that you have to monitor. The atmospheric pressure drops as bait fish are lured into the shallows. Flounder follows in line.

Water Clarity

Gigging flounder on windy nights is not ideal. It might be tough to spot your target during stormy weather. Areas with oyster shell bottoms, grass beds, or harder sand bottoms are also good choices.

Tides

A high tide is the most dangerous time of day to go out boating because it corresponds with a change in the tides. The tide serves an essential purpose, and understanding it will help you to survive. On a lowering tide, flounder move into deeper regions, and water clarity decreases. In general, when the sea rises, it opens up more area for you to perform from a boat.

Best Palces for Flounder Gigging

Now that you understand when and how to gig for flounder, it’s time to investigate the best places to find them. Here are some of the most renowned destinations.

Texas

It’s very probable that you’ll have a good time looking for flounder all over the state. If you must pick, you won’t go wrong with Rockport or Galveston.

South Carolina

Many people say that the Charleston area is one of the best places for gigging flounder in South Carolina.

The Florida Panhandle 

There are two great flounder gigging spots on the Gulf Coast – Panama City and Pensacola.

North Carolina

If you’re looking for a great place to go flounder gigging, North Carolina’s coast is a excellent choice, especially the Outer Banks.

Georgia

If you’re ever in the Peach State, be sure to check out the stunning Georgia Coast and Hilton Head’s inter-coastal waterways.

Mississippi

You’re missing out on a lot of Ffounder gigging fun if you’ve never gone out after dark on the Mississippi Sound or Mobile Bay.

Louisiana

If you love flounder gigging, then Louisiana is the perfect place for you. You can enjoy this activity all along the coastline from Venice to Cameron.

Get out there

Flounder gigging is never a bore. How could it be, when it’s such a lot of fun for people of all ages? To begin with, looking for a fish that looks like a flounder-swollen football is exciting. Second, it’s an excellent opportunity to explore aquatic life at night while avoiding the scorching heat.

Lastly, it’s highly effective. And last but not least, fishing can be a really rewarding activity – especially when you come home with a cooler full of delicious fish!

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