The Flounder Lady Catches Flat Fish in the Late Fall
I was out on the Gulf State Park Pier in Gulf Shores, Alabama, the second-longest pier in the Gulf of Mexico, last week talking to one of the Pier Rats (see Day 2) when he asked, “John, have you ever met the Flounder Lady?” When I told him I hadn’t, I asked, “Who’s the Flounder Lady?” He said, “She’s the red-headed lady who usually wears a gray or a black hoodie. She’ll be fishing around the pilings that support the pier. She’s out here almost every day when she comes down to fish. If anyone is going to catch a flounder, she’ll be the one that produces the flat fish. It’s not unusual for her to catch a limit of 10 flounder in one morning. She has the one ingredient that’s required to consistently catch flounder. She has patience.”
If there’s one fish that I really enjoy eating, it’s the flounder, a flat fish that stays on the bottom and attacks baitfish that swim around the pilings at the pier. I like flounder baked, fried, grilled or any other way you can cook it. After the flounder has been cleaned, I prepare the flounder as outlined in this recipe.
Stuffed Flounder Supreme
This simple yet absolutely delicious dish will impress all your friends and is a longtime favorite of our family.
- 4 small flounder
- Crabmeat stuffing, available at seafood shops and specialty grocery stores
- Lemon Juice
Make a slit along the backbone of the dark side of the flounder. Then cut a pocket on each flounder by sliding the knife along the ribs on both sides of the backbone. Stuff the pockets with the crabmeat stuffing, after placing some oil on the insides of the pockets to facilitate stuffing the crabmeat mixture into the cavities. Place each flounder in a rectangle of aluminum foil. Sprinkle salt, pepper, paprika and lemon juice on the outside skins of the flounder. Seal the foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Then open the foil, and bake for 15 minutes longer. (If the flounder are larger, you may need to bake the fish with the foil open for 20-30 minutes, to be sure the stuffing is cooked).
The Flounder Lady has developed a technique for catching flounder that produces these flat fish almost every time she shows-up at the pier. She doesn’t have just one piling that she fishes around but starts on the pilings at the shallow end of the pier and fishes every piling out to the end of the pier and back down the other side. She’s such an efficient flounder angler that she’s gained the respect of the tourists and the Pier Rats at the Gulf State Park Pier and is known by her name of the Flounder Lady, with few folks aware of her real name or her hometown.
To learn what’s being caught on the pier, and to see pictures, go to www.gulfshorespierfishing.com. Also to learn hours of operation at the Gulf State Park Pier, call 251-948-7275. For accommodation and restaurant recommendations, contact Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism at 800-745-SAND, or visit www.orangebeach.com or www.gulfshores.com.
This is the final part of a series by John Phillips on saltwater fishing in cool weather. Click here to go back to part four.