Fourspot Flounder
Typical Size
4-8" (1-5 oz.)
Decent Size
8-12" (6-8 oz.)
Nice Size
12-15" (8 oz.- 1 lb.)
17.2" (1 lbs. 10 oz.)
Awards Program
Qualifying Size

Genus/Species Paralichthys oblongus
Common Names four-eyed flounder, foureyed sole, four spotted fluke
Hot Spots Green Harbor, Duxbury Bay, Scituate Harbor
Best Time June-August
Best Baits squid strips, sand eels, spoons, jigs
Best Method Drifting with live bait
Fourspot flounder look like fluke, share similar habits as fluke, and are caught alongside fluke so often that they are often mistaken for juvenile anorexic fluke. They even belong to the same family (Bothidae) as the fluke. Where they differ greatly is in size (fourspots don't grown nearly as large), density (fourspots are very thin), and coloration. The eyed side of the fourspot flounder is generally lighter with four very distinct dark eye spots edged often in a dark pink color. The bottom side of the fish is typically white with pink edges and undertones. Like the fluke, it is a left-sided flatfish (meaning that it lies on the bottom on its right side), and has a relatively large mouth filled with needle-shaped sharp teeth. Caution should be used when handling this fish.
Fourspot Flounder
Easy to see how these flatfish get their name.

Fourspot flounder live offshore at depths of 200 to 400 feet but move inshore in the summer following warming water temperatures and strong baitfish supply. They prefer sandy bottoms near areas of structure like jetties and piers. Like fluke, fourspots are more predator than scavenger. Their diet is varied, but typically consists of live fish, squid, crabs, shrimps, mollusks, and worms.

Fourspot flounder range from Georges Bank down to Florida but undergo seasonal migrations in these more northerly and southerly reaches of their range. On the south shore of Massachusetts, they first move into the region typically around mid-May, influenced by both temperature and food supply. They tend to leave the area in September.

It is written that spawning takes place in spring on the offshore grounds. When spawning has completed they begin to feed heavily and move into shoal water. Larvae drift inshore where they mix with other varities of flatfish in protected coastal and estuarine areas.

Nobody purposely ever sets out to fish for fourspot flounder. They are always caught as bycatch when fishing for fluke or other types of flounder. They are small and skinny and offer little sport to the recreational fisherman. You can fish for fourspot flounder with bait or with artificial lures. The best bait is live bait. Any bait that will catch a fluke, will surely entice a fourspot.

Using artificial lures is very effective for fourspots, as they are for fluke. Bucktail jigs work well when there are schools of baitfish in the area. Some fishermen tip the bucktail with a squid strip for added action, while others use soft plastic curly-tail jigs. Best bet is to jig along the sides of drop offs and the edges of structure for best success.

As eluded to before, all fourspot flounder is considered bycatch and has very little importantance as a commercial or recreational fishery. A tasty fish, however it nearly has to be a world record before it is big enough to have any meat on it.