Flounder round-up set for Saturday morning
For area residents that live on or near the water, last Friday morning served up an eerie reminder of last year’s disaster. By the time most folks had finished their morning coffee, a howling south wind and big incoming tide had pushed both Cow Bayou and Adams Bayou over some docks and into low lying yards.
It was still dark when I backed my rig down to the water only to look in the rear view mirror and see nothing but water. No concrete and no docks were above the surface and my trailer tires were already under water!
By noon, the water had receded a little and was about to do so in a hurry. A driving rain rode in on the shoulders of a cold front that arrived so quickly that the rooster atop the weather vane suffered whiplash. There was no need for an overcoat once it passed, but it did manage to blow out the muggies for the weekend.
Drastic contrasts in the weather are the norm for this time of the year and more often than not provide drastic contrasts on the fishing scene as well. This is the time of the year when every gull in Texas is seemingly parked in Gilchrist one day and all over Sabine Lake the next. An outgoing tide or north wind strong enough to pump shrimp out of the marshes and into the lake ignites this exciting action.
The water in the bayous and the river were finally starting to dirty up just prior to the front, but the extremely high water slowed the bite more than the clarity. Once the tides return to normal, we will have a much better idea of what to expect. At least for right now, the excellent river bite has slowed down, but the bite in the lake should quickly improve under lighter winds.
It is a little ironic that we have enjoyed the best flounder bite we have had in the past several years as there is no doubt that the flounder population has continued to dwindle. We certainly have not caught the numbers that we caught in the 80’s and early 90’s, but the ratio of keepers to throwbacks has been very good.
Limits were trimmed this year in an effort to help the flatfish and while I agree with most of the efforts to help my favorite saltwater fish, I continue to question only the wisdom in maintaining the 14-inch minimum length rule. On three different occasions, I have talked with biologists involved with the flounder study and each of them agreed that only a small percentage of mature male flounder even make that length.
If we continue to harvest only the girl fish, don’t expect a lot of baby flounder any time soon. I feel certain this is the minority opinion of one old fishing guide, but technology and regulations aside, it usually takes both male and female “anythings” to make a baby!
While on the subject of flounder, I seriously doubt that anyone has dedicated more time to working on a solution to the diminishing flounder problem than Chester Moore and I can assure you that he has reams of data addressing that subject. He has been a driving force in soliciting both funds and volunteers to help provide Texas Parks and Wildlife with the fish and tools necessary to rebuild the flounder population.
This coming Saturday he will once again take time off from a very demanding schedule as Texas Fish & Game executive editor to participate in what has become an annual “Flounder Roundup” on Sabine Lake. He will personally help the TPWD collect and transport live flounder donated by local anglers.
Those flounder will become a part of the stocking program at the fishery and all of their babies will be restocked in Sabine lake. The collection site will be Sharkey’s Grill on the south levee wall on Pleasure Island and it will be open from 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
Scott Bandy, president of the Orange CCA chapter will also be on hand and urges all chapter members to participate in the round up. “We have an opportunity to make a difference in fishing for future generations and it is exciting to be in on the ground floor!”
Scott added that Moore is also initiating a project termed the Flounder Revolution with its headquarters right here in Orange.
Over the course of the year the revolution will recognize the flounder angler of the year, youth flounder angler of the year, conservationist of the year, steward of the year and flounder of the year. For more information on the Flounder Revolution or joining the Orange County CCA, contact Scott Bandy or Chester Moore.