In the latest edition of Recfishwest’s exclusive weekly column, Scott’s Species, Western Angler editor Scott Coghlan discusses the fascinating flounder.
Eating: 4 stars
ID: Flat, with both eyes on the same side of the body.
It is hard to mistake flounder with another species, such is their unusual shape, which some anglers feel is almost ‘alien’ in appearance.
However, there are several species found right around Australia, including here in WA.
Flounder can show up all around WA in inshore and estuarine waters, and in most spots are an occasional capture that is welcomed due to their eating qualities.
However, there are at least a couple of locations where they can actually be targeted. One of these is the Swan River, which generally holds a healthy stock of these fish, although numbers appear to fluctuate from year-to-year.
Most often caught by anglers chasing flathead, flounder do tend to sit in slightly deeper water than the other flatfish in the Swan River, usually close to drop offs.
The other spot renowned for them is the Wilson Inlet, which is arguably the premier flounder fishery in WA. There they can be caught in very good numbers and in big sizes, with a trophy flounder often referred to as a ‘dinner-plate’ fish.
Nornalup Inlet is another noted flounder hotspot. Most flounder caught will be 20cm to 35cm. Often found in similar locations to flatties in estuaries and close to shore, flounder too like sandy bottom where they can sit camouflaged before ambushing prey, often with weed nearby.
They are surprisingly aggressive when they decide to strike and will often follow a bait or lure right to the surface before grabbing it.
Fishing for flounder is not complicated, and simple rigs will work as long as they keep the bait on the bottom.
A running ball or bean sinker down to a bait such as a prawn or whitebait, with or without a short leader, is effective.
Lures that bounce along the bottom, such as small jigs and weighted soft plastics, can be dynamite on flounder. Minnow lures that dive deep and hit the bottom also work well.
Light gear similar to that used for black bream is sufficient and a 2-2.1m casting rod with a small reel and 4kg line and slightly heavier leader is more than sufficient.
Lures of 5cm to 8cm in length will do the trick. There is a bag limit of eight fish and a minimum size of 25cm.