How To Fish A Flat (For Redfish, Trout, Flounder & Snook)

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Everybody knows flats are great areas to find hungry fish…

But not everyone knows where to find fish on a flat.

Flats can be huge!

Where do you start?

Where are the fish?

How do you find a flat on an online map?

I’ll answer all of these questions and more in the video below.

Enjoy!

How To Fish A Flat [VIDEO]

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What Makes A Good Flat

Good flats have seagrass on them.

They’re usually about four feet deep or less because grass needs sunlight, and any deeper than that makes it harder for grass to grow.

The more grass, the more bait, the more predator fish.

You can usually spot seagrass is on a map because it’s a dark, mottled color.

This is different than mud or sand, which is usually a uniform brown or tan.

Where To Find Fish On A Flat

Although you want to find flats with lots of grass on them, you don’t want to fish right in the middle of all that grass.

You want to fish the edges of the flats themselves, as well as edges of sandy potholes within a flat, and there are two reasons for that:

Reason #1: The edges of grassy areas provide ambush spots for predators to hide in or around and hunt baitfish that are out in the open.

In the thick grass, both predators and prey have lots of hiding spots, so you’ll have a harder time catching them there, unless you use a lure that swims above the grass, like a paddletail or topwater lure.

Reason #2: The edges of grass flats where there’s depth change are great for extreme temperatures.

In the winter, you can fish the deeper water because it’s warmer and more comfortable for fish.

If it’s a nice day, the sun may warm up the flat, and the fish will pop up there and hunt.

In the summer, it’s the opposite.

In the morning when it’s cooler, the fish will be hunting on the flats, but when the hot sun comes out, they’ll go down to the deeper water to get to the cooler temperatures.

How To Assess A Flat When On The Water

Sometimes fish aren’t where you expect them to be, which is why you need to get good at assessing an area when you’re on the water.

When you get to your spot, you want to look for signs of life, including:

  • Circling or wading birds
  • Spooked baitfish in tightly packed schools that are jumping close to the surface of the water
  • Wakes pushing off

If an area looks good on the map, but doesn’t have any of these signs of life, I’ll quickly move on in search of a spot that does have these signs.

Conclusion

how to measure fish

Flats are one of my favorite places to catch fish.

Look for flats about four feet deep or less that have edges with depth change, and fish those edges and sandy potholes.

Have any questions about fishing the flats?

Let me know down in the comments!

And if you know someone who’s struggling to catch fish on the flats, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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Pat Ogletree
6 months ago

Good stuff as always Tony! In the winter do you have a preference for flats that lead to the shoreline or a flat that is all by it’s self in open water?

Larry
6 months ago

Well done Tony, thanks!

Nancy Salinas
6 months ago

Thanks, Tony. We are getting a flats boat in the Spring. I am starting my research now so that we can better adjust our fishing patterns since we will be able to get to places we couldn’t get to in the past. Very timely video and, as always, informative and easy to understand.

Dale Grinolds
6 months ago

There is no grass in Murrells Inlet …..what do you look for when starting an area without grass

John Dollar
6 months ago

When fishing these areas does your angles of casting differ?

David Thornburg
6 months ago

I fish the Aransas Rockport area of South Texas and have yet to see the water that clear. Mostly stained and cloudy. We have lots of flats and drop offs and yes they do hold fish. Thanks for the great tips.

Caden Kaufman
6 months ago

You kinda have to bend the rules a little bit for that area. I fish there to and it’s very different than Florida. just experiment and play around a little with there suggestions and it will work. Just play around with the tips a little bit.

Mike Vanderkodde
6 months ago

Thanks Tony. Very informative…..

Mario Relvini
6 months ago

Good info Tony. I’m sure looking forward to that crystal clear water to come back.

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