Best 11 Flounder (and Fluke) Fishing Baits

best flounder fishing baits

Best 11 Flounder (and Fluke) Fishing Baits

This article will list the top 11 flounder fishing baits, live, dead, and artificial. Flounder (and fluke) are extremely popular inshore saltwater game fish. They put up a spirited battle and are fantastic to eat; perhaps the best eating fish that swims! Flounder are predators with a large mouth. They have a varied diet and anglers catch them on quite a few different offerings.

Read my article on how to catch flounder and fluke

For the purposes of this article, flounder (which are caught in the south) and fluke (which are found in the northeast) will be covered together. Both the fluke and southern gulf flounder have similar habits. They are ambush predators with a large mouth. They are opportunistic feeders that will happily devour almost anything edible.

The top 11 flounder fishing baits are;

  • Live minnows and bait fish
  • Squid
  • Dead or frozen minnows
  • Bucktail jigs
  • Shrimp
  • Jig and grub combo
  • Fresh cut bait
  • Commercial baits; Fishbites, Gulp, etc
  • Bloodworms
  • Crab
  • Clams

While there are certainly other baits that anglers flounder fishing can use successfully, these 11 flounder fishing baits will cover any situation an anglers will encounter.

Best Flounder fishing tackle

A word or two about flounder fishing tackle. The best rod and reel combination will depend on the type of fishing being done and the size of the fish. In the south, most anglers do fine with the same inshore tackle used for redfish and speckled trout. A 7′ medium rod with a fast action and a 2500-3000 series reel works well.

Anglers in the northeast can use the same outfit in the shallow, inshore waters. However, when fishing for larger fish in strong currents around structure, a light conventional rod works better. Anglers surf fishing for flounder can use the same outfits that they currently use for other species. A 10′ to 13′ rod with 6000-8000 series reel is a good combination.

Top 11 flounder fishing baits

This is the list of top 11 flounder fishing baits, in no particular order. The best bait will depend on time of year, geographical location, and other factors. Some are easier to obtain and handle, and other require more care. It really all depends on angler preference. This article will focus on the baits, anglers seeking more detailed information can read these articles by Capt Jim.

Flounder love live minnows

The preferred forage of a flounder is a live minnow, they feed on them more that anything else. The type of minnow or bait fish that flounder feed on will depend on the location. In the south, finger mullet are a top bait. Small pinfish, sardines, and threadfin herring also catch plenty of flounder.

In the northern sections, mud minnows are tough to beat. They are easy to catch and are very hardy. In either location, anglers must either purchase or catch their own minnows. Minnows can be caught in traps or with cast nets, check local regulations first. Some bait shops sell live minnows. An aerated well or bucket is required to keep them alive. Minnows are a bit more trouble, but many anglers consider them worth it.

Squid is an excellent flounder bait

Squid is a universal and effective bait for just about every saltwater fish, and flounder are no exception.. Squid are readily available at every bait shop and even some retail stores. They are usually cut into long strips that taper to a point. This allows the bait to flutter naturally in the current. Many anglers “tip” their jigs with a piece of cut squid, a bit of the best of both worlds.

Frozen minnows are productive and convenient

For many anglers, live minnows are just not practical. Therefore, frozen minnows become a good option. This is more common among anglers fishing in the northeast. In fact, they are even preferred in areas where crabs are a problem. Frozen minnows can be threaded on the hook, some anglers use several at once.

Bucktail jigs will catch plenty of flounder

Jigs are by far the most effective artificial baits for anglers flounder fishing. Since flounder feed right on the bottom, lures that are presented there will be the most productive. A white bucktail jig has produced a lot of flounder for anglers over the decades. The weight of the jig should be matched to the depth and current. Many anglers sweeten the jig with a strip of squid, cut bait, or minnow.

Shrimp are a top flounder bait in the South

Shrimp are king in the South! Every game fish that swims will eat shrimp at some point. Live shrimp are hooked in the head and work very well when bounced along the bottom near oyster bars and drop offs. Fresh dead or frozen shrimp work well when cast off of beaches and jetties. Anglers can also tip a jig with a pea sized piece of shrimp.

Jig and grub combo will fool flounder

Bikini flounder

A lead head jig with a soft plastic grub is a terrific saltwater fishing lure all across the country. When hopped along the bottom, it will catch plenty of flounder as well. These lures are very versatile as the grub can be easily changed to match the conditions. They work especially well in fairly shallow water that is ten feet deep or less.

Flounder love fresh cut bait

Pieces or fresh cut up fish have been used as saltwater fishing bait forever. It is easy to catch a smaller fish and cut it into chunks or strips. Anglers surf fishing for flounder especially use cut bait as it stays on the hook better throughout the cast and in rough surf. However, any angler can use cut bait when flounder fishing.

Anglers should check local regulations as to what fish are legal to use. Generally, oily fish such as mackerel work best. One trick is to cut a long strip off of the white side of the first keeper flounder, that is a terrific flounder fishing bait.

Commercial baits

There are several companies that offer anglers commercially prepared flounder fishing baits. These include Fishbites, Gulp, and Fishgum. The primary advantage is the convenience. These baits can remain in the tackle box until ready to use. Anglers surf fishing for flounder love them. They stay on the hook well, just another benefit. These baits are available in many bright colors as well.

Bloodworms are another flounder fishing bait

Bloodworms are a bait used by anglers from the mid Atlantic north. They are a bit pricey, however are terrific flounder fishing baits. Most bait shops carry them when they are available. They do bite, so anglers need to watch out for the head of the worm. Sandworms can also be used.


There are quite a few crab species that make for good flounder fishing baits. In the northeast, peeler crabs work very well and are available in bait shops. Chunks of blue crab will catch flounder everywhere. Fiddler crabs and mole crabs (sand fleas) are used in the south. Crabs are used less than other baits, but are still effective.


Clams are the last bait on this list of top 11 flounder fishing baits. They are easy to obtain and use. Clams stay on the hook pretty well. Again, clams are less used specifically for flounder, but they are a good all round saltwater fishing bait.

In conclusion, this article on the top 11 flounder fishing baits will help anglers catch more of these delicious game fish.

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