FLOUNDER MAY BE THE ANSWER
A short time back, almost forty years now, I was talked into guiding on
Sabine Lake when I wasn’t pulling trips on Toledo Bend.At the time you
could keep a zillion small trout and you couldn’t get away from twelve
to eighteen inch redfish.
The main problem with that scenario was that no dedicated trout
fishermen with a little extra pocket money wanted to spend it chasing
down multiple fish fries.They were looking for that one big trout and
they had a better chance of catching her on the lower coast.
Enter Gerald Jones and Bob Zavada.Catching limits of flounder was simply
a matter of either of them deciding to fish on any given day. At that
time, I knew of only one other Cajun fisherman doing the same thing and
the three of them had the entire east side of the lake to themselves!
Jones was willing to share enough information to enable me to have
something of value to offer visiting fishermen and for the better part
of the next ten to fifteen years I focused on catching nothing other
While there was obviously very little pressure, we preserved the bite by
never keeping many fish caught off a single spot and keeping only solid
Texas legal fish.Not unlike the buffalo hunters, we though it could
never possibly end.
A number of issues, including more fishing pressure, did eventually put
an end to that pipe dream.The saving grace was the fact that visiting
trout fishermen discovered an untapped vein of trophy trout and thanks
to the CCA, the redfish population exploded on Sabine Lake.
Flounder fishing was quickly reduced to beating them up on their exit to
deeper water every fall.Not entirely a bad thing!
This is not to infer that the flounder bite is anywhere close to what it
once was, but it is once again a viable option for fishermen that have
grown weary of looking for trout on Sabine Lake. With the first northers
of the year not far away, we are right on the verge of seeing the annual
flounder massacre kick off on the ship channel around the Cameron Ferry
At times each year, the bite is so prolific that some Texas anglers make
multiple trips in a single day in order to keep more fish.I no longer
make more than a trip or two a year over there to capitalize on that
remarkable bite, but for the most part, it appears to still be as strong
as it ever was.
Don’t go, however, if you can’t handle fishing in a crowd.It is not
unlike lining up shoulder to shoulder with fly fishermen on a trout
hatchery fed stream.Two years ago I had another fishermen hook the boot
on my wader twice on the same morning.If you are going to fish that
bite……prepare to share!
In spite of the dirty runoff water with more rain expected this week, I
saw area fishermen with two very good catches of flounder up to four
pounds last week.One catch came out of the ICW near the exit of Cow
bayou and the other catch was made on the east side of the lake.Both
anglers were fishing live shad on a Carolina rig.
While in the pursuit of redfish running the shoreline, I have caught a
flounder or two most every trip on everything from a small crankbait to
a Usual Suspect Swim Bait.In spite of my good fortune, I have continued
to curse the trout and target redfish.
I have yet to tip a small jig with a piece of shrimp or drag a Gulp
curly tail along the bottom and I have no good reason for not doing so.I
am not much on waiting on a flounder to find my shad hovering just off
the bottom in twelve to fifteen feet of water, but working the shoreline
does not eliminate the possibility of catching reds as well.
I have now managed to type my way into changing my game plan for
tomorrow’s trip.I will let you know how that decision works out.