COASTAL FOCUS: Upper Mid Coast – April

COASTAL FORECAST: Rockport – April
April 10, 2018
COASTAL FORECAST: Matagorda – April
April 10, 2018

Early-Season Tactics for Mid-Coast Flounder

A NGLERS CAN OFTEN LOCATE speckled trout and redfish almost every month of the year along our section of the Texas coastline.

However, saying the same thing about being able to find flounder year-round is another story altogether. These coastal flat fish do not endure cold temperatures very well, and usually search for warmth in deeper water.

This month is around the time each year when flounder start making their spring trek back into the bay systems from their wintering grounds in neighboring Gulf waters. So, if it’s flounder you’re after, our region of the coast is a good place to be this month.

If you’ve ever spent any amount of time fishing for flounder with a rod and reel, you may have discovered that flounders tend to be attracted to structure much more so than do trout or reds. When I say structure, I mean almost anything you can imagine. There’s the typical structure like grass-covered sand flats, and oyster reefs that happen to be covered with a thin layer of mud, but the list doesn’t stop there.

Flounder can be found at the base of fence posts, around pier legs, and on top of flat pieces of concrete in the water. There’s just no telling where you might happen upon them!

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Some folks prefer hunting springtime flounder out of a shallow water boat. Many claim this tactic allows them to cover quite a bit of shoreline in much less time, but I always prefer to get out of the boat and wade. I think doing so allows for a more stealth approach, and it also offers me a much better opportunity to be thorough in my investigation of the area.

You may have heard, and may still hear today, that there’s no better bait for flounder than a mud minnow. However, artificial baits work well, also.

A lot of flounder have been taken over the years on bottom-hugging crank baits such as MirroLures or gold and silver Johnson Sprite spoons, as well as a wide range of plastics—shrimp tails, flounder pounders, sand eels, shad, bull minnows, etc. Some of you may have even experienced a flounder hitting your top water plug. It’s happened!

Once you decide on which structure to approach and which bait you are going to use, you will still be in need of one key-ingredient for successful flounder fishing. That ingredient is water movement, or current.

These flatfish don’t move around a lot. Instead, they often tend to sit stationary in one spot on the bay floor while they let the moving water do all the work of washing food in their direction. Water movement is favorable in most any fishing scenario, but it is downright crucial for prosperous flounder fishing.

There is any of a number of ways to set-up to take full advantage of moving water. However, one way has been effective over and over again—the reverse-funnel method.

It works like this. First, try to find a bayou, or inlet capable of draining water out of a back lake area and into a larger body of water such as the main bay system. Next, set-up your wading session along the shoreline on the main bay side adjacent to the mouth of the bayou or inlet Do this about an hour prior to the peak-time of the next falling tide.

Tidal changes can move great amounts of water in a relatively short period of time. When this happens at the mouths of these small drains, the effect is similar to turning a funnel upside-down and pouring water through the small end of the funnel. The water is now exiting the funnel at the larger end.

As the water flows out of the back lake through the constriction of the small bayou or inlet, substantial amounts of sediment and food morsels are also washed into the main bay system.

When this happens, you need to be in place and ready for action. A lot of “old salts” might even tell you flounder fishing doesn’t get any better than that, unless of course you happen to be doing this right at, or around, the time of a full-moon. Until next time, have fun out there and be safe!

Email Chris Martin at [email protected]

or visit bayflatslodge.com

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