"Bayou Bill" Scifres
Dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of Indiana's natural resources
About Bayou Bill
Recent Rambles
DNR Doings
Wild Recipes
Current Status of the Flounder
Copyright © 2002 by Bill Scifres

Avon, N.C.--Flounder . . . flattie . . . flat fish . . . call him what you will, but he still is the most important fish species of the seven seas wherever he is found. 

That goes double for the Eastern Seaboard states where your den-keeper currently is ensconced for a sabbatical (of sorts) fishing for, you guessed it, flounder.

Perhaps I should point out here that the thing that places the flounder atop every ocean fisherman's preference list is its eating qualities. It is a little like the reverence Minnesotans and Badgerland anglers accord the walleye. And it is just as phony.

In reality, I do not buy this "holier than thou" feeling for either walleyes or flounder. Sure, I smile a lot when I have my feet under a table blessed by a platter of fried walleye or flounder. But I eat what bites with relish (figuratively). No need to hide the taste of fish--any fish--with tarter sauce, horseradish, or any other condiment. Just give me the fish and maybe some creek-bank taters, baked beans, cole slaw, and maybe a pan of homemade corn bread (country butter and honey, please).

But I digress.

The thing I set out to tell you today is that all is not well with the flounder. Nobody is telling us how good or bad the flounder situation may be, but more stringent regulations (for sport fishermen only) along the Eastern Seaboard states is a subtle admission by the powers that be  that there are problems with the species. 

I tell myself that I can live without catching or consuming flounder. . . But right away, then, I tell myself that I don't want to do so. I also want my grandchildren, their grandchildren, and their children's children's grandchildren (ad infinitum) to enjoy the distinctive "tic tic tic" bite of the flounder as much as I do and smile all over when a fork of fried flounder says "howdy" to their palates.

Still, as concerned as I am about these more stringent sport-fishing regulations on flounder on the Eastern Seaboard States, I am more than a little worried that the importance (more specifically, the need) for these regulations are merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg. 

I ask myself: Will flounder some day need complete protection from all who prey on the species, even the commercial fishermen whose nets come with built-in noncompliance and would send the last flounder to hell if there was a buck or two involved?

This, by the way, is a bone of contention with most sport fishermen who love and respect the flounder. If the state of the flounder is so sorry that more protection for the species is needed, why not let it apply to the netters, too.

But still worse, in my estimation, is the fear in my subconscious that the flounder situation is just a hint of things to come for many other species (edible and non-edible) that lurk in the seven seas. Man has pretty well wrecked our fresh water rivers (a noted scientist has told us that virtually no Hoosier stream of consequence remains free of pollution). How do we stand with the briny deep?

Yes, I am worried about the plight of the flounder. But I also am more than a tad concerned about everything that lives from the estuaries to the oceans' pelagic areas.

At New Jersey's Great Bay, where I spent a pleasant last Saturday fishing with Fred Riedel Sr., who lives close enough to get his feet wet when he mows the back yard, the season on flounder did not open until the next day. Strangely enough, I will be back there come Sunday.

Here on North Carolina's famed Outer Banks, keeping a flounder is taboo until July 4.

SO NO FLOUNDER--I knew it would be unlawful to keep flounder when I decided to come here to fish this time. But I also knew that fishing at my many favorite spots (20 years of fishing an area will unveil many of them) would offer a great variety of fish species.

So when the gray trout, whiting, and ocean croakers started joining our party on Hatteras Fishing Pier (a.k.a. Frisco Pier), son-in-law Adam Kendall and I started looking at the potential for din-din.

A foursome of husky 12-inch whiting filled he bill nicely, even if I did not have any crackers to include in my favorite breading. 

It is amazing how good a second-rate fish can taste when dredged in plain flour and fried in a mixture of jowl bacon fryings and olive oil.

Of course those creek-bank taters and other aforementioned components do not detract from a fried whiting dinner. 


All columns are copyrighted by Bill Scifres and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the author.  For reproduction permission and media usage fees, contact: Bill Scifres, 6420 East 116th Street, Fishers, IN 46038, E-mail: billscifres@aol.com

 Return to beginning of document
Return to Bayou Bill's Home Page