This is the time of year river fishing for flounder starts heating up.
Flounder in the river stage to leave before those in the bay do so you start to get some concentrations of fish as early as mid September.
While shrimp, croaker and other baitfish are all important component of the flounder’s diet, menhaden often call pogies or (shad) in Texas are the prey source I focus most of my flounder fishing efforts, especially in the rivers. Find shad and you will find flounder. Once I caught over a dozen flounder in a spot the size of the desk I am writing this story on because it was inundated with shad.
Why are these fish so desired by flounder?
It all boils down to opportunity. Of all of Texas’s bay dwelling sport fish, flounder are the most opportunistic. Due to their flat design, these fish are best suited as ambush predators and menhaden are easy to ambush.
These fish spawn numerous times from late fall through spring, producing numerous classes of juveniles that gather in schools sometimes number millions. These tiny fish often cannot swim well so they are blown against leeward shorelines. Anyone who has attended my flounder seminars has heard me talk about the importance of finding eddies (areas of slack water) in the bayous winding into our bays and along ship channels.
The reason is the tiny menhaden we most frequently encounter in the spring cannot negotiate strong tides well and will often congregate in eddies. There are eddies that form along the edges of river bends and in the bayous north of Sabine Lake, Galveston Bay and Lake Calctsieu in Louisiana can be productive. Throwing a small, shad imitating lure tipped with shrimp and bouncing it along the bottom in these eddies can be a great way to score on flounder. An angler can move from eddie to eddie at different locations throughout the day and catch fish. Flounder tend to move in and out of these zones.
As the shad in the river move up and down, flounder will follow, so make sure and scout out the shad to find the greatest concentrations of flounder. And as soon as they totally migrate out of the river the flounder will leave with them.
Chester Moore, Jr.