My wife Lana and I recently enjoyed a pleasant evening with the Ponce Inlet Power Squadron. We had a great seafood dinner at Black Beard's Restaurant in New Smyrna Beach and had fun meeting a room full of new friends.
The Power Squadron is all about boating safety and offers in-depth courses to help make us all better boaters. Anyone under the age of 22 must be certified to operate a boat and the Squadron course will provide documentation that is recognized by the state. The next boating course is 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, at the Marine Discovery Center at the Indian River Lagoon Park. Call (386) 426-7799 for fees and reservations. The class includes a manual and a Map Tech CD but don't linger. The class is restricted to only 25 people.
Fishing is a bit slow right now and will probably remain that way until the water begins to cool a bit. After three one-fish trips in a row I finally did have a pretty fair morning. I hooked eight nice flounders and managed to land five of them. For me that is as good a percentage as I can hope for.
I was wade fishing a very high tide with the water flooding into the reeds leaving me no beach where I might land the flatfish. Two that escaped fell into the shallow water as I tried to lift them out and over the grass. It's frustrating to see dinner swim away in three inches of water.
I also had one nice sea trout that was close to 17 inches. The trout and six of the flounders that I hooked went for my chartreuse jig but two flounders ate a motor oil-colored bass worm. I mostly use a white jig head of 1/8 oz. And I thread the worm onto that. Flounder love any dark colored bass worm. I suppose it imitates a sand eel.
When fishing for flounder I always begin with the 4-inch chartreuse shrimp tail and try to cover as much bottom as possible. As I bump the jig slowly along the bottom I usually get some hits that don't result in hookups. Flounder are not as stupid as they look and once they have tasted the plastic jig they won't be biting it again anytime soon. After giving them enough time to settle down I go back with the bass worm and usually get them.
When fishing flounder spend a lot of time anywhere you locate one. While they are not schooling fish and don't seem to be very social, what brings them together is a good spot to catch dinner. If one thinks it is a good place to eat others may as well.
I always fish any oyster or sand bar very hard. Flounder will lay just off of the bar and try and ambush bait as it washes over the shallow area. A good rule is to fish the opposite side of the bar from the tidal flow. In other words if the tide is from the north fish the south side of the bar and vice-versa. If you want to use natural bait go with thin strips of bait fish but you will also need to keep that moving. Put in a little time and a tasty flounder dinner will be yours.
Dan Smith has fished the waters of Volusia County for more than 40 years. Email questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. His book, "I Swear the Snook Drowned," is available for $10.95 at (386) 441-7793.