Onshore, Inshore, Channels, Rivers
1 - 4 pounds
12" - 33"
The Southern is part of the Paralichthyidae family. This fish is flat and oval-shaped with extremely close eyes. They are oddly colored as one side is different than the other, and both eyes are on the same side. The left side of the fish is brown to dark olive-brown with dark and light spots and blotches. Both eyes are located on the left side. The right side is dusky or white and eyeless.
Southern Flounder is often confused with its cousins, the Summer Flounder and Gulf Flounder. Distinguishing characteristics from the other species is that Southern are not ringed or ocellated (eye circles) and have fewer gills.
Southern Flounder can grow averagely from 12 inches to 24 inches, while female adults can reach 36 inches. The male only reaches 14 inches. The species can weigh from 1 pound to 5 pounds.
Southern Flounder is the largest flatfish in the Gulf of Mexico. They are considered important as fish for commercial as well as recreational purposes.
During growth, both eyes of the larvae shift to the left side of the body. Therefore, they belong to the Left-eyed family of flounders.
Male Southern Flounder live shorter lives and are smaller than the female flounder. Males seldom live more than three years and only grow up to 14 inches.
Unlike other fishes, Southern Flounder do not rush or follow their prey. They camouflage themselves, lie in the bottom, and wait. Their large eyes, big mouth, and sharp teeth do the rest of the deed.
Southern Flounders are also known as flounder, mud flounder, and plie.
Southern flounder are mostly found in estuaries, coastal channels, mouths of bays, and freshwater.
Since male and female Southern Flounder do not live in the same area, when spawning, males migrate from offshore waters where they live to lower portions of estuaries and wait for the females. Females migrate from inshore estuaries and brackish waters where they reside. They spawn every 3 - 7 days, producing more than 50,000 eggs per spawn.
Southern Flounder feed mainly on shrimp and small crustaceans when young, while adults feed on blue crab, shrimp, and fish such as anchovies, mullet, menhaden, Atlantic croaker, and pinfish.
For rigging, live baits include shrimp or baitfish such as bull minnows, mullet, or any other small baitfish. A jig head in 1/4 "- 3/8" range is good enough, while the basic patterns can be brown, clear, black, or grey. Woolly Bugger and the Tiger Rattler using a long shank hook, which fits in the flounder mouth of any size, are among the best flounder flies.
For casting lures or baits using rods, a medium to a medium-light rod with a capable reel can spool 150yds/10lb is enough for these fish. Depending on the location, a free-line rig or slip lead rig works fine. For fly-fishing, fly rods of 6-8 weight is a good weight.
Southern Flounder can be found from North Carolina to the Gulf of Mexico.
World record Southern Flounder is 20 pounds 9 ounces.