Trout , Rock and Drum! Fishing Report

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Flounder Gigging
A night out with Osmoregulation

By Bill Hitchcock
North Carolina Waterman

Listen to the interview with Osmo while on the water at the bottom of the article!

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC - I had the pleasure of going flounder gigging with North Carolina Waterman member Robert Bryan, more commonly known at the site as, “Osmoregulation”. We launched out of the Wildlife Ramp in Wrightsville Beach around 9PM on August 25. This is what I saw. This is what I learned.

Flounders come up to the shoreline at night in search of food. They bury them selves in the sand and lay in wait for small baitfish and shrimps to swim near by. The fisherman either wades or poles in a skiff with lights to illuminate the bottom. Once a flounder is found it is gigged.

There are several gig types and styles that can be made or purchased. I noticed that Robert liked using the gig with only two prongs.

“The two pronged gig has bigger barbs and the penetration is better” according to Robert, “ but with a five pronged gig or one with more tines on your gig, you have a harder time actually penetrating through the fish”.

I later found out the other reason why he Robert was using the two pronger-He had made it himself and wanted to try it out! He also likes using wood for the gig handle instead of metal. Wood handles are much quieter in his aluminum jon boat. And the modifications didn’t stop with the gig.

“These are basic Sea striker flounder lights . I have modified the lights, I have cut them off so they won’t protrude above the deck so you can move your gig poles around”

“The bulb is a Brinkman Starfire Two, 250,000 candle power Halogen. I’ve got two of those. It’s actually a submersible light. The light is actually meant to go into the water. ……But I have a submersible light, water proof light inside of a water proof Sea Striker globe. With this combination it lasts a long time” The battery will last 8-9 hours and after 8-9 hours you are ready to go home.”

As Robert mentioned-the lights are powered by a battery, a deep cycle battery to be exact.

We were fishing an incoming tide with high tide due around 2;30AM. For the most part, you will be gigging in two feet of water or less.

“Probably the biggest mistake lots of people new to gigging make is they look for low water because they can see the bottom. The issue with that is, yes-you can see bottom but your field of view has shrunk way down to a real narrow perimeter and people get frustrated as to why they can’t see fish”.
Robert went on to add, “High water is actually where you want to be. But what you need to find is where it is flat, there is little or no slope. That’s where you want to go on high water. By the marsh grass is best”.

When a flounder moves from his hiding position, he leaves an indentation or a “bed’. A bed is usually a perfect form of the flounder. Seeing beds is a good sign that you are in the right area.

Flounders rarely move when you approach them. You can literally stop and position the boat right on top of them. This allows you the time to determine whether or not the flounder is big enough to keep and to properly position your gig. Position your gig above the flounder’s head and right behind the gill plates. This is area is wide enough for your tines but away from the desired meat.

Make a quick thrust through the fish and into the sand bottom and hold it.
Probably some of the best advice Robert gave was in the proper boating procedure.
“If you stab a fish and he’s facing away from you, turn him around where the head of the fish is facing the back of the boat and then scoop him the same way he would be swimming. In other words, help the fish swim. That minimizes the resistance of the water and the area you are pulling and then just flip him into the back of the boat”.

Going out at night flounder gigging is a lot of fun. It gives you an opportunity to see things you normally wouldn’t. Mullet were literally everywhere while we were out, needle fish seemed to always be around, tons of shrimp scooting along the bottom and to our surprise, we came up on a snake sitting in the water. It seems a bit odd but most fish don’t pay any attention to you. You’d think the exact opposite.

My night out on the water with Robert A.K.A. “Osmoregulation” couldn’t have been more perfect. And we weren’t alone on this trip. Robert and I were accompanied by Nelson Dale, A.K.A. “Crazy Horse” as well!

Listen to the Interview:

SPECIAL NOTE: Robert Bryan (and Nelson Dale too!) will be at the 2nd Annual NCW Exhibition! He'll have his boat, gigs and all of his "stuff" with him. So come to the Exhibition this coming Nov. 5 and meet Robert in person!
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