Cooler Weather and larger flounder
For The Record-Colburn
I hate cell phones and computers.My phone invariably rings at the most inopportune time or makes that little dinging noise which occasionally necessitates another painful attempt at trying to return the text.And, our computer never seems to work correctly unless my wife is at home at the time!
Now, that was a therapeutic rant.Social media was more bearable this past week as the majority of my incoming texts and emails featured pictures of big flounder or some quality deer.Having never even shot at a deer, pictures of dead bucks don’t do that much for me, but I do like to eat venison.I would enthusiastically hunt them as well if they simply rolled out of the woods wrapped in freezer paper marked sausage or back strap!
On the other hand, I have caught a flounder or two over the years and hold them in high esteem not only for their ability to elude anglers, but their high marks at the supper table as well.A really nice flounder, anything over four pounds is a bragging size fish and the largest of the bunch usually start showing up on a little more frequent basis this time of the year.
The much anticipated run generally coincides with an extended dose of colder weather and we may well be looking at a few consecutive days this week.They had already gotten more active and we have been seeing a few fish in the four pound class in spite of the unseasonably warmer water.
This past weekend, the Dick Dowling Lions Club held a flounder only tournament and 90 entrants weighed in 38 fish.It was a one fish event and it took Troy Arrington’s 4.21 pound flounder to cash the first place check. It also took a 2.42 pound fish just to earn a spot in the top fifteen and there were six fish over three pounds brought to the scales.
Most folks have a tendency to over-guestimate the weight of a flounder, but it usually takes at least an 18 inch fish just to make the three pound mark.I have caught a few over six pounds over the years, but never kept one of them. They are really special when they get that large and deserve the opportunity to get even larger.
Once the coveted run really kicks in, hordes of flatfish will migrate southward and literally legions of anglers will be waiting on them to stack up on structure breaks near deeper water.The mouth of the LNG terminal will resemble a county fair most days as will the bulk heads around Dick Dowling Park.While the fishermen literally anchor within a cast of one another, the only complaint is the current two fish limit when fishing in or returning to Texas waters.
Anglers intent on keeping a more liberal limit either launch on the Louisiana side of the Causeway or head for Cameron.You haven’t seen crazy until you arrive at the Cameron Ferry when that bite is in full bloom.Boaters, waders and bank fishermen vie for the tightest of spots, but they still catch an incredible number of fish year after year.
I was one of the many naysayers that cursed the TPWD’s decision to raise the minimum length limit to 14 inches and reduce the bag limit to 2 fish in November, but I am now convinced that I was wrong.The flounder have rebounded like I never thought possible and the size has improved along with the numbers.
Because of the obviously negative effect the nets had on the trout population for years, I initially built my guide business on catching flounder.They were reasonably easy to catch and we were smart enough to cherry pick a large number of different spots rather than sit and wear out a single pod of fish.
The number of Sabine Lake fishermen has exploded over the years and the increased fishing pressure has taken its toll on any promising spot along the shoreline.Not only are there more fishermen….they are better equipped and far more knowledgeable.
Much to our delight, however, we are now finding good pods of flounder holding well off the shoreline. The same baits and the same techniques work on these fish that have apparently figured out how to avoid the traffic.All they need is enough structure to provide an ambush point and plenty of bait fish.
Chasing the birds is for the birds when the flounder bite is at its best.Give it a try, but please don’t text me when you catch the one you’ve been looking for!