Flounder migration on slow side
The calendar indicates that this is November, but not unlike the past ten months of 2013, the anticipated fall weather is yet to arrive.
One day we keep our Frogg Toggs on all day long to ward off a bone chilling wind and the very next day we leave the dock in shorts under overcast skies.
Too much wind most every day has been the only thing you can take to the bank!
Even more perplexing has been the high water levels that tend to scatter the fish in the open lake and hold both bait and fish in the back water lakes.
Twenty-four hours of 15 to 20 mile per hour north wind last week sucked out only a foot or so of water only to see it up on the dock the following morning.
A stiff north wind like that in November usually has us hoping we can launch before we ever leave the house.
We are still enjoying some pretty darned good days of catching both trout and redfish, but the flounder fishermen have struggled.
Because the flounder usually crank up their migration through the major Passes leading into the open Gulf this time of the year, they are much easier to locate and catch in great numbers.
It is so easy, in fact, that a large percentage of Texas flounder enthusiasts either launch in Louisiana or drive over to Cameron to take advantage of more liberal limits.
Texas reduces the limit to two flounder per person this month while the limit in Louisiana remains at ten.
I have fished the ship channel in Cameron twice this month, however, and we managed to keep only four fish one day and six on the other trip.
My host fishes the Cameron flounder run virtually every day and said that he has limited only six times since late October!
Not only was the bite tough, but we saw no more than a dozen fishermen on either trip.
There are usually that many fishermen every twelve feet when the flounder are really doing their thing.
Texas anglers standing shoulder to shoulder at Dick Dowling Park have done no better and the folks packed in at Chenier can’t seem to put together good back to back trips.
Once again, the unseasonably warmer weather and high water may have played a major role in delaying the migration. When targeting redfish feeding in the roots of the flooded Roseau cane lining much of the Louisiana shoreline, we are still catching some very nice flounder on everything from Swim baits to Gulp Swimming Mullets.
They are still holding in the same areas that they were homesteading a month ago.
Just last week I talked with an angler that said that he has easily caught his two fish limit and released several more on every trip regardless of the tide direction.
He anchors on the river channel and fishes both mud minnows and small finger mullet in 12 to 15 feet of water!
The trout catching, on the other hand, has not fallen off any provided you are not too locked into a single color or technique.
On those rare occasions when the wind blows less than ten mph (we had two of those days last week) everyone catches fish.
When the wind howls, which is the norm, you can still catch fish, but a little more work is required.
Wind or no wind, one day the gulls are working all over the lake and the very next day they are nowhere to be found and it apparently has little to do with the direction of the tide. If you are a dedicated gull chaser I would suggest fishing the afternoon hours as they have worked much more consistently in the late evenings, but for a lot of folks that is not an option.
When the birds are not on hand to help you out, there is a lot of water to eliminate along with figuring out the most productive lure color.
Add to that, the need to figure out if they are holding deeper and are more susceptible to a slow retrieve or suspending in the top column of water.
I would like to help you minimize your list of “ifs”, but I haven’t figured out a better way to do that.
If your fishing days are limited, I would start my search around one of the Passes or in the mouth of one of the Bayous.
Even when we feel like we have it figured out, at least one of my clients is usually fishing a tail or VuDu shrimp under a popping cork.
That assures us that we have a lure in the top column of water at all times as well.
While color is generally a matter of simply fishing something light or dark, speed of retrieve and size of the bait can play a much more critical role.
Give them all a try before giving up on an area that you have confidence in.
The good news is that even with the late weather changes and too much wind we are still enjoying more catching than fishing. If every season continues to run late, we may be thawing out rod guides in April, but as long as we are catching fish….. all is well!
A pair of nice flounder taken on the Louisiana shoreline. RECORD PHOTO: Dickie Colburn