Despite the winter months bringing in a cycle of one cold front after another, the fishing industry in Destin, Florida is anything but slowed down during this season. In fact, species such as the flounder and sheepshead, are actually more concentrated and easier to catch during late fall and early winter. For this reason, it is an excellent strategy for Destin, Florida fishing charters to learn the trends of flounder migration to optimize their shallow water expeditions.
The Migration Cycle of Flounders
Flounders tend to aggregate in the bayous systems of the Gulf of Mexico and through both manmade and natural reefs between October and January to spawn, typically peaking during the months of November and December. During this time, rod and reel fishing is typically successful off the harbor and docks of Destin, Florida.
When the temperature drops and a cold front arises in the Fort Walton Beach area, the flounders accept this natural queue and begin migrating to offshore breeding grounds, where they can be found in water with depths from 30 to 75 feet near sandbars and shoreline beaches in the gulf.
During this time flounders can be surprisingly easy to catch, especially due to the high number of manmade reefs off the beaches of Destin, Florida that make flounder gigging accessible for all anglers. So, whether you’re a seasoned professional or if you want to learn how to catch fish for beginners, this is a great place to start.
How to Catch a Flounder
There are many ways to catch a flounder that can be adjusted based on the personal preference of the fisherman. The first strategy we recommend is to utilize an old-fashioned Carolina rig with live shrimp or bull minnow as bate – typically this will do the job every time. Another suggestion when fishing off a boat would be to use a bucktail jig, which can allow you to catch more fish than when using live bait because the jig allows the anglers to cover more ground in less time.
Flounders typically congregate in large groups, most likely down current as they are waiting for food to drift by. Using this knowledge to your advantage, you can use the tactic of dropping a few baits at your fishing ground upon arrival. If you don’t get a bite within 14 minutes, drift back 20-30 yards and repeat the process until you get a bite. Once you have hooked a fish, you have found your spot! There should be several more fish in that area, so make sure to stay put if you find success in any area.
Unlike the warmer months when you must have your rod in the lake before the sun comes up to stand a chance, wintertime fishing allows you to start your day as slowly as you please while still taking advantage of the optimal flounder fishing conditions. So even though the winter months can be crisp, take advantage of the cool winter weather in Destin, Florida, and catch yourself a flounder today!