The Southern Flounder, which is found in the coastal waters of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, is a unique looking species. They are known as flatfish and, because of this, typically live on the seafloor. The flounder fish is sought after by anglers because of both its fighting abilities and table fare. The fillets are sold in local fish markets and are found on the menu of many seafood restaurants throughout the coastal region. What is a southern flounder?

How to identify a Southern Flounder

When identifying any flounder, know that the fish swims in the water with its tail moving vertically rather than side to side. Its body is like a flattened football. 

Coloration

The coloration on a southern flounder is most often light to dark brown on the upper side facing the opposite direction of the seafloor. Dark spots are also found on this side of the fish body. The round markings do not resemble an eye like other varieties of flounder.

On the bottom side, or the side that lays flat to the ground, is white. The underside is known as the blind side of the fish.

Flounders eyes

Flounder are only able to see on the white side of the body. The flounder eyes are on the upper or dark side of the fish. Almost all southern flounder are left-handed. A left-handed flounder means that the flounder eyes and dark side of the fish are on its left side when held vertically. 

Size

The majority of southern flounder range between one to two pounds in weight and measure 12 to 14 inches in length. With this being the average, keep in mind that they will grow up to around 33 inches and weigh over five pounds. 

How do you catch Southern Flounder?

Southern flounder can be targeted but are most often caught when fishing for other species such as sea trout, redfish, and sheepshead. Make sure to have a fishing license in the state in which you are attempting to catch flounder. 

A popping cork is widely used among fisherman in the coastal regions. When jerked in the water, the cork mimics the sound of feeding fish, attracting others to the area. A hook is tied below the float with a leader line at a length dependent on the water’s depth. 

Live shrimp is the bait of choice and can be either caught with a cast net or purchased from a live bait shop. Make sure to have a portable or onboard livewell. 

Hook the live shrimp through the head portion and cast it out. Red Drum, speckled trout, convict fish, and flounder will pull the cork straight under. When you see this happen reel fast. Small fish that are not the target species will disrupt the float but likely won’t pull it down. 

In what ways can southern flounder be cooked?

If you’re lucky enough to catch a keeper according to the state regulations, you’re going to want to bring it home for dinner. Release all of the baby flounder.

Here are the regulations by state

South Carolina- Finfish Size & Catch Limits | South Carolina Hunting & Fishing Seasons & Regulations – 2020 | eRegulations

North Carolina- NCDEQ – Recreational Fishing Size and Bag Limits (ncdenr.org)

Georgia- Finfish Seasons, Limits, Sizes | Georgia Fishing Regulations Guide – 2021 | eRegulations

Now that you know the size and bag limits, here are some great ways to cook it up. Southern Flounder is versatile with its mild white fillets. 

Depending on your kitchen, some great methods include baked flounder, fried flounder, stuffed flounder, broiled flounder, crab-stuffed flounder, pan-fried flounder, and flounder Francaise. When cooking flounder in any of these ways, add your favorite spices. Here are our favorite Flounder Recipes.

Conclusion- Know all about the southern flounder

The southern flounder is a fun, hard fighting flatfish that also makes a great meal. Your best chance to catch them is during the late spring through the summer months. Those who don’t have a boat or care do not prefer fishing; stop in at a local fish market near you and buy it by the pound. The flaky white mild meat will allow you to prepare in a variety of ways. Catch and cook up southern flounder in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.