Fall Means Flounder on the Alabama Gulf Coast
Part of the What's Biting Series
With its flat body and sideways mouth, not to mention the bulging eyes on the top side, the flounder is not your typical fish.
But what it lacks in eye appeal, it more than makes up for in palate appeal. The flounder flesh is white and delicate without a hint of what my girls call a “fishy” taste. That's why just about any way you prepare flounder, it's going to be a hit. If the flounder is big enough, you can slice off the fillets from the top and bottom of the fish. You can fry them whole or broil them. Obviously, broiled flounder is probably the most common preparation method, although broiled flounder with crabmeat stuffing is pretty high on the list as well.
During most of the year, catching flounder can be a hit-or-miss proposition, hooking one or two while tossing lead-head grubs for other species like speckled trout and redfish. But there are times during the year that flounder migrate, and those are the times when a limit of 10 fish per person can be thrown in the ice chest. Flounder must be 12 inches in total length to keep.
The fall is one of those migration times, when the falling air and water temperatures will start the slow process of moving from well inshore toward the offshore waters where they spend the cold winter months. Next spring, when the water temperatures hit 65 degrees, the flounder will start heading back inshore.
In Alabama, anglers can encounter two species of flounder, the southern flounder and the Gulf flounder. The Gulf flounder will be smaller with a more rounded tail and the spots and coloration will be considerably more vivid. The Gulf flounder prefers a sandier habitat, which means you'll more likely catch them on the beachfront.