On Thursday we were in shorts and T-Shirts catching a flounder now and
then while watching several nearby fishermen also doing more fishing
than catching.I really didn’t care if we got the first bite……I just
wanted to question an old friend and one of the best flounder fishermen
I know.

The following morning it was cold, wet and windy and we weren’t nearly
as mad at the fish as we were the day before. I wasn’t at all
disappointed when my old friend pulled into a local donut shop rather
than the boat launch!

It took way too many cups of coffee and bathroom breaks to catch up on
old times, but the conversation eventually turned to the state of the
flounder fishing.

He qualified his perspective by first pointing out that he had no idea
what the bite was like on Sabine.“You know where I have fished for the
past fifty years,” he stated.“My two boys and their kids fish the same
water.We fish everything between the Cameron Ferry and Prien Lake and we
all fish out of flat bottom aluminum boats.”

“I never bought a Bay Boat because I like fishing more than boat riding
and no one in my family eats trout.They will occasionally eat a redfish,
but we prefer flounder and bream and we know how to catch them!”

“I don’t know about all the scientific explanations, but our flounder
catching has gotten worse for the past three years.It’s not fishing
pressure because we fish areas that no one else even knows about, but it
has gotten harder for some reason.”

After pointing out that he didn’t think the incredible number of Texas
anglers that fish the Cameron area because they can keep more and
smaller fish really hurt that much, he casually tossed out a number that
blew me away.

“So far this year, my family is still two hundred fish short of the
worst year we ever had and we are not going to make that up in three weeks!”

Initially I tried to grasp even catching two hundred flounder in a
single year and entertained no desire to know their usual average
total.“You have to remember,” he reminded me, “we fish only for flounder
from January through December save a little perch jerking in the bayou.”

“We have had some decent days recently, but I think even your Texas
buddies will tell you that the average size is down as well.If a
flounder is legal we keep it, but I’m just saying…..!”

Because little else has change other than the glut of fresh water that
inundated Calcasieu as well as Sabine, my old team mate lent some
credence to the theory that three warm winters in a row really hurt.“We
have known for years that the first month or so is critical for those
baby flounder and they do best when the Gulf temperature is in the
mid-sixties.”

Everything I have read about the flounder decline mentions that factor,
but there isn’t a heck of a lot we can do about that.That problem is
compounded by the fact that flounder are saddled with relatively short
life spans and females don’t even spawn for the first two years.

While urging me to take one more kolache for the road, I was instructed
not to mention his name in one of my columns or even infer that anything
he had shared was based on scientific fact.“That’s just what I see and
I’m just one fisherman,” he reminded me.

I haven’t heard how the Parks and Wildlife scoping meeting on flounder
went, but past meetings regarding other species didn’t seem to be
looking for imput….positive or negative.They generally explain their
findings and data and suggest that a reduction in limits will be coming
in the near future.

While I don’t recall any meetings proposing increasing limits, I am now
satisfied with any changes that simply ensure the future of fishing.The
number one beef that I usually hear is, “Two flounder or three redfish
or five flounder are not even worth buying a boat.”

There are no limits that could possibly justify the money spent on
boats, trucks, tackle, etc. You can buy a lot of fish dinners for a
$60,000 to $100,000 investment.At the same time, I think sharing time on
the water with a friend or one of the kids while anticipating the magic
of the next bite is worth every penny spent.

Over the years, I have done far more fishing than catching and I eagerly
anticipate giving it another shot tomorrow!