Every fall, flounder follow ebbing tides on their journey offshore. When they reach their destination, the larger females release their eggs for the smaller males to fertilize. Art Morris, Fishery Outreach Specialist for Texas Parks and Wildlife, said that spawning is a high energy act that requires a tremendous amount of protein to help the flounder get through it and recover afterwards. Therefore, prior to going offshore, flounder feed aggressively. When flounder move through the bay systems on their way to the Gulf of Mexico, they pick certain places to rest and feed, such as the Matagorda Locks.
The Matagorda Locks are located at the confluence of the Colorado River and the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) in the town of Matagorda, Texas. You can drive to this spot and fish from the bank, or take a kayak, canoe, or small boat across the ICW and fish the opposite shoreline. You cant anchor between the east and west locks in a boat; the lockmaster will chase you off. But the hot spot for flounder is right next to the lock gates on the south side. Some fishermen take canoes, kayaks, and little row boats across the ICW, giving a wide berth to recreational boats and barges. When they reach the south shore, they have to pull their boats completely out of the water.
November is the peak month for flounder migration and this is the reason that Texas Parks and Wildlife reduces the limit on flounder from 5 to 2. Some other bank fishing spots that may yield flounder in November are County Road 256, which runs parallel to the ICW east of Matagorda. There are several places along this road where you can park and fish the ICW. Two public piers are on the Old Colorado River between Matagorda and the jetties. The jetties are accessible by four wheel drive vehicle, go past the Matagorda Bay Nature Park building and turn onto the beach, then take the sand track which goes left at the base of the jetty rocks, this will take you parallel to the jetty.
Redfish are often found in schools in November along East and West Matagorda Bay shorelines. Just past Rawlings Bait Camp on FM 2031, where there are no more houses, is a cut into East Matagorda Bay, locals call it Rawlings Cut. You can launch a kayak into this cut and paddle for miles along the south shore of East Matagorda Bay. I launched at this spot before dawn in late November; the tide was low and outgoing, water temperature was 68°F, it was a comfortable 72°, sunny, and the wind was light from the south. I paddled about three miles east and saw and fished four or five schools of tailing redfish.
Early November is a great time to look at the sky for a clue telling you where to fish. If you see gulls and terns aggressively swooping down to the waters surface and coming up with shrimp, you can bet that fish are forcing the shrimp to the surface. Drifting either East or West Matagorda Bays, or wade or kayak fishing the lakes and bayous, can put you in position to cast to one of these fun filled feeding frenzies.
Matagorda flounder fisherman, Ronny Stilwell, likes November because it is the month when the decreasing water temperature reaches the magic 65°F, the temperature at which he believes flounder move offshore in mass. Others like November in Matagorda because of the action under the birds, and some fishermen like to sneak along the south shore of East Matagorda Bay in a kayak looking for tailing reds. Whatever your fishing pleasure, the Matagorda area in November offers opportunities to pursue it.
THE BANK BITE
Location: Oyster Lake Bridge
Species: redfish, black drum, speckled trout
Baits: live shrimp
Tips: Falling tides force shrimp and redfish out of the back lake, where they funnel under the bridge en route to the bay.