AUSTIN – Anglers are taking full advantage of the recent unseasonably warm weather this fall that has kept fishing conditions pleasant along the Texas coast, according to coastal fisheries biologists with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD).
“Conditions are ideal for recreational angles right now,” said Jerry Mambretti, TPWD Coastal Fisheries Division regional director for the upper coast. “It’s sunny, with cool clear water, not too windy and good tidal movement.”
Mambretti noted that in most all the major bay systems along the upper coast, anglers are reporting good catches of spotted seatrout and although it appears the fall flounder run may be off to a delayed start, catches are picking up along Sabine Lake and in Galveston and San Antonio Bays.
Lower water temperatures force flounder to migrate from the bays into the Gulf of Mexico to spawn. This ‘flounder run’ typically happens in November and is a popular time for anglers to fish for flounder.
“The flounder appear to be on the move as angler catches have improved since the recent cooler weather has set in, which has been reflected by increased catches seen in TPWD gill net samples,” Mambretti said.
Perry Trial, TPWD Coastal Fisheries Division regional director for the lower coast, is seeing similar activity. “Overall fishing pressure has remained relatively high throughout the fall so far and trout catches have been good,” he said. “Flounder have been abundant in our sampling gears, but landings are down this fall. Higher than normal tides in October and the November ban on gigging have contributed to the low landings.”
Due to declining flounder populations, new regulations were implemented in 2009 and 2014 to increase the abundance of flounder coastwide. During the month of November the daily bag limit for flounder drops from 5 to 2 with the possession limit equal to the bag limit. Only a pole-and-line may be used to harvest flounder in November. From Dec. 1-14, the daily bag limit and possession limit are 2, but flounder may be taken by any legal fishing device including a gig. The minimum size limit for taking flounder is 14 inches.
“These regulations have helped us stabilize the southern flounder population and reverse the decline of this recreationally important species,” said Lance Robinson, TPWD Coastal Fisheries Division deputy director.
The regulations for other popular sportfish like red drum and spotted seatrout do not change during this time. For all bag and size limits, visit our Saltwater Bag and Length Limits page online. For the latest on fishing conditions, be sure to check out TPWD’s Weekly Fishing Report online.