If you think banning nets doesn’t have a noticeable effect on fishing, somebody better tell Galveston Bay’s flounder. More trophy sized flounder are being caught this year than ever before. Fish of this size, 7 to 8 pound range, are not nearly as uncommon as they were 3 years ago or as they will be in the future. Capt. Pat Murray (Murray’s Guide Service 713-668-0590) reported that last year about this time, fishing partner Louis McAfee brought in a stringer of fish including flounder weighing 7, 5, and 4 pounds. According to Murray, “All of the flounder brought to the boat by Lewis were caught on pearl/chartreuse B&L shadtails in West Galveston Bay.” Although Murray fishes primarily for speckled trout and redfish he says that “Even though we target trout and redfish, during this time of year it’s almost impossible to fish the bays without hooking at least a few flounder.” The time of year Murray refers to is the fall flounder run which at the time of this writing is in full swing. The flounder are moving toward the passes on their annual fall run to the deeper and warmer offshore waters of the gulf. During the run they feed voraciously on shad and shrimp in order to sustain themselves for the long journey. This explains why the most used bait of flounder fishermen is the lowly mud minnow, a hardy and tasty fellow, to flounder anyway, who lives in relative obscurity during the rest of the year. Along the upper coast the fall flounder run is triggered by the first cold front to pass through the area. After this event the flat fish begin moving into groups lining the sides of channels and shorelines waiting for the next front to push them further along on their journey. Visitors bring their families from all over the country flocking to the passes and other exits from the bays to the gulf, in order to carry some flounder back home for the winter. Terminal rigging for flat fish is very simple, especially if you’ve done much bass fishing. Simply put, the best rigging for flounder fishing is a “Carolina Rig” with a mud minnow mounted on the hook. An egg weight, with the weight being determined by the depth and current, a small barrel swivel and a leader of about 20 or 30 pound test. Your primary target is the sides of the channels and passes rather than the deeper waters in the middle. Flounder have no swim bladder and must lay up in shallow water where they can feed and remain warmed by the sun. Depending on how cold the fronts are, the flounder run should continue through late November. These fish taste great and are perfect for introducing someone to their first fishing trip. Also, keep in mind that the minimum size limit on flounder is 12 inches with a 20 fish per person daily and 40 fish per person possession limits. If you’re not interested in flounder fishing, Murray says that the redfish and speckled trout fishing is wide open. “West Bay is full of keeper redfish, says Capt. Murray, and the reefs are holding plenty of speckled trout.” Most of the fish are being caught on B&L shadtails and MirrOlures while drifting the mid-bay reefs. Murray also reports that fishing for trophy speckled trout along the south shoreline should be picking up soon.
– Texas Saltwater Fishing Guide