Flat fish on the fly
Fall on Sabine Lake means many things to anglers, visions of giant trout crushing top water plugs and tailing redfish in the marsh. As grand as these visions are they don’t even come close to the fever pitch caused by the annual fall flounder run.
Sabine Lake has long been known as a great fishery and the backbone of that status was built on catching flounder. Anybody who reads outdoor publications knows this time of the year is one many of the writers and anglers who frequent Sabine Lake look forward to with great anticipation. This fall should be just as good.
Many anglers are well aware of different methods of catching flounder on both live bait and artificial lures. Everything from live mullet and shrimp to ultra-light jigs fished on spinning gear, they all work and they all catch fish. One method that is steadily gaining popularity in the flounder fishing world is using fly fishing gear.
Most folks don’t realize how effective using fly gear can be when targeting flounder, there are some times this method can be a real fish producer. Fly casters have a distinct advantage when it comes to combing shorelines or probing marsh drains because they can follow up casts much quicker than a conventional angler.
A perfect example would be two anglers drifting down a shoreline, one is using a spinning rod and the other is using a fly rod. The angler throwing the spinning gear can make accurate casts and will catch their share of fish. The problem with the spinning gear is that once the bait is out of the strike zone it takes valuable time to retrieve the lure and make another cast.
During the time it takes to retrieve and re-cast the boat has now drifted a considerable distance. Now the fly caster on he other hand can flat out pick apart some shoreline. By being able to pick up almost all the line that has been cast out a fly fisherman can keep their bait in the strike zone much longer than a conventional angler therefore they cover more water in a shorter period of time.
Unlike pursuing other fish like redfish and speckled trout a fly fisherman doesn’t have be able to cast a mile and put the fly on a button. Casting to flounder is more like casting to areas, little indentions in the bank or some sort of shoreline cover. The soft subtle presentation the fly offers is also a bonus when targeting flounder. Standard shrimp or crab patterns work well, especially those with dumbbell eyes that have some weight to them.
My favorite fly is called the Dr. Miller flexi jig and is sold exclusively at Orvis fly shops. This little fly resembles the small jigs we throw on conventional tackle because it has a pair of synthetic rubber legs that look like a soft plastic. The #2 and #4 are the most useful sizes and they come in pink, white, and chartreuse.
“We sell a ton of these flies to our customers who target flounder” says Marcos Enriquez of the Orvis Company store in Houston. “Most anglers like how the fly is heavy enough to touch the bottom while not being too difficult to cast” adds Enriquez, “The hooks these flies are tied on are also plenty tough enough to penetrate the hard mouth of a flounder.”
Armed with the right attitude and a willingness to learn an angler can certainly up their odds of catching more flounder at certain times of the year with fly gear. The added weapon to your fishing arsenal makes you a better angler and gives you alternate choices for chasing your favorite fish, even if that fish is a flounder.