Best Lures for Flounder: Flatfish Options for Spring, Summer, and Fall

Written by: John Baltes
Last Updated:
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I remember my first flounder like it was yesterday. 

I was wading in water up to my knees and casting out over an enormous salt flat. When a flounder took my lure - and it wasn’t long - I was startled by how hard it fought, and just as impressed by how it tasted stuffed with aromatic vegetables and crab.

Fishing for flounder is doubly rewarding. Not only are they a blast to catch, they’re among the best-eating fish you’ll ever serve. And while live-bait rigs like the fish finder and fireball are undeniably popular, lures are amazingly effective - if you know which ones to use!

If you want to know which lures are the best picks for flounder, keep reading!

Quick glance at the best flounder lures:

Related: Best Flounder Bait

Best Lures for Flounder Reviewed

The best lures for flounder reflect their hunting behavior, targeting fish on the bottom in relatively shallow water.

Bucktail Jigs

Dr.Fish 3 Pack Bucktail Jig Lure Hair Jig Saltwater Freshwater Lures Surf Fishing White Red Blue Bass Flounder Striper Bluefish Halibut Redfish 1/2oz

Amazon 

Bucktail jigs are a time-proven option for flounder. Available in a variety of weights, I like to throw ¼-ounce bucktails most of the time, only moving to ½-ounce sizes when flounder are in deeper water.

The most effective way to fish a bucktail jig is to let it settle to the bottom and then hop it along slowly, letting it flutter on the bottom, disturb the sand or muck there, and then lift it again for another fluttering descent.

Those repeated impacts with the bottom get flounder thinking, and the soft tail of these jigs - imitating the fins of small fish - triggers strikes.

Lots of color combinations are available from Dr. Fish, and depending on the water clarity, amount of light, and current prey items, which options work can vary quite a bit. In my experience, white is never a bad choice, though.

Just remember to keep your knot situated at the top of the eye, not the front. You want your jig to maintain a more-or-less horizontal presentation as it moves through the water.

Plenty of anglers like to add a soft plastic trailer to their bucktails, and if you’re one of them, there are some amazing options on our shortlist today.

Zoom’s Fat Albert Grub

Zoom Bait Fat Albert Grub Bait-Pack of 10 (Clear Silver Black, 5-Inch)

Amazon 

Flounder are bottom-dwellers, and a soft plastic like the Fat Albert Grub is just what you need to trick them into a strike.

At 3 inches, the Fat Albert is just the right size for flounder, and that undulating tail is almost irresistible. I rig my grubs on a light jig head, typically 1/16 ounce to ⅛ ounce, let them flutter to the bottom, and then start my hops.

“White Pearl,” “Plum,” and “Clear Silver” are deadly, but bright colors like “Chartreuse Pearl” and “Root Beer” can also be money. I like to carry a variety of colors with me, working through them to find what’s getting the most attention.

Keitech Fat Swing Impact

Keitech FS33482 Fat Swing Impact Ghost Rainbow Trout, 3.3'

Amazon 

If there’s one soft plastic that dominates flounder fishing, it’s the paddle tail.

Flounder are largely piscivorous, and they seem to hit minnow-imitators more than anything else. That makes paddle tails an ideal choice.

But not all paddle tails are created equal, and if you want to maximize performance, nothing beats a Fat Swing Impact from Keitech.

Available in a range of sizes, I usually offer the 3.3 inch to flounder. I’ll size up to 4.8-inch for the really big females, though.

These paddle tails come packaged in such a way that they keep their tails straight, allowing maximum vibration and action on the fall. And those ridges trap tiny bubbles that affect how the Fat Swing Impact swims, attracting more attention than non-ribbed designs.

Just like my grubs, I throw my paddle tails on a light jig head, working them across the bottom in a series of fluttering hops.

You’re spoiled for color choices with these soft plastics, but “Gold Flash” and “Electric Bluegill” are magic.

 

“Gold Flash” is a great finger mullet imitator, and “Electric Bluegill” is just awesome when the shrimp are running.

Gulp! Saltwater Shrimp

Berkley Gulp!® Shrimp, 2in, 2' (8 Count), Pearl White

Amazon 

Speaking of shrimp, another awesome choice behind a jig head is the Gulp Saltwater Shrimp. I like the 2- and 3-inch options for flounder, and I use a 1/26-ounce jig head to cast these little devils.

Almost indistinguishable from the real thing even in the clearest water, Gulp’s shrimp are simply amazing if you fish them properly and provide the finesse that these soft baits demand. 

Don’t rig them behind a heavy jig head and expect them to work their magic for you; you need to let them sink slowly, wriggle for all their worth, and give flounder a chance to really key-in on them.

My favorite colors include “Natural Shrimp,” “New Penny,” and “Pearl White Chartreuse.”

Shimano’s Coltsniper Jerkbait

Shimano Inc. COLSTNIPER Jerk 140F Brownback

Amazon 

When the weather is picture-perfect, and the water is both very shallow and glass smooth, a jerkbait can be nothing short of deadly on flounder.

In these precise conditions, a Shimano Coltsniper can deliver the tight turns, darting starts and stops, and slow float that drive flounder wild. And when punctuated with a few bumps on the bottom, flatfish just aren’t going to leave it alone.

The Coltsniper is 5 ½ inches long, but just 1 ⅛ ounce. It’s very long for its weight, wiggles beautifully, and can be worked in a series of tight turns to keep it over the strike zone.

I really like “Brown Back” for flounder, as the shine and pattern are dead ringers for small fish.

Flounder Basics: Habitat

Flounder are a group of related flatfish that include many species worldwide. In the US, flounder are represented by four species: the gulf flounder, the southern flounder, the fluke, and the winter flounder. And while these four species are far from identical, they share some common traits, including habitat and hunting behavior.

Each of these four species spawns in deep ocean water, returning to the shallows afterwards, where they’ll remain until the shallow water cools too much for them, driving them back into the depths. 

From late spring through to late fall, you’ll find flounder on the bottom of shallow coves, bays, and estuaries, blending with the sand, muck, or gravel and hunting for prey.

Flounder tend to orient themselves around structure like pilings, reefs, and oyster bars, but any irregularity will do. They’re drawn to these places because that’s where fish and other prey items will congregate.

Flounder are masters of camouflage, matching the bottom as carefully as any turkey hunter picks his camouflage. They lie still, waiting for something to pass, and when it does, these opportunistic predators strike fast and hard.

Flounder Basics: Diet

As fry, flounder feed on zooplankton, tiny amphipods, and other small marine invertebrates, graduating to larger prey items as they grow. Mature flounder are opportunistic predators, and they’ll gladly take everything from annelids (big saltwater worms), small crabs, shrimp, bivalves, and small fish.

Flounder aren’t picky, but they do have keen sight.

Final Thoughts

While cut mullet, shrimp, and even bloodworms are outstanding bait options for flounder, artificial tackle can be amazingly effective, allow you to fish actively, and enable you to cover more water looking for active fish.

And the more you understand flounder behavior, the easier it is to see why some lures dominate flatfish angling.

We hope that you’ve learned something from this article today, and we’d love to hear any questions or comments you might have.

Please leave a message below!

About The Author
John Baltes
Chief Editor & Contributor
If it has fins, John has probably tried to catch it from a kayak. A native of Louisiana, he now lives in Sarajevo, where he's adjusting to life in the mountains. From the rivers of Bosnia to the coast of Croatia, you can find him fishing when he's not camping, hiking, or hunting.
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