The new flounder daily bag limit, two fish, goes into effect Nov. 1 and continues through the 30th. Fish can be taken only by rod and reel.
The move is a result of a long steady decline in the Texas flounder populations. The reduction in the two fish limit is an attempt to increase the number of adult fish moving into the Gulf each autumn for the fishes’ annual winter spawn.
TPWD’s annual standardized gill net surveys showed the flounder population in relative abundance in the 1980s, but since then flounder populations have declined to the lowest level since surveys began.
In 2009, the TPW Commission adopted regulations that halved the daily bag limit of flounder for commercial and recreational anglers, cutting recreational limits to five fish per day except Nov.1-30, when the limit was reduced to two fish for recreational and commercial fishers. The change also prohibited gigging flounder during November, the month that usually sees the peak of the fishes’ fall migration from bays to Gulf, the period the fish are most vulnerable to harvest by rod-and-reel and gig.
The change extends the two-fish flounder bag limit through the first two weeks of December but does not include a prohibition on gigging flounder during that 14-day period.