This is part two of a reader Q&A with yours truly.
Q: When I go fishing, I generally target trout or redfish and not necessarily flounder mainly due to my poor catch record over the years for this specie. Can you describe and possibly send me a picture of the best all around bait and presentation which can work for flounder and trout?
A: There are a number of different kind of rigs out there. My favorite for flounder fishing in the marshes and along shorelines in the bays is a 1/4 or 1/4-ounce jighead rigged with a soft plastic curl-tailed grub and tipped with shrimp. I am also getting partial to the same rig but with a Gulp! shrimp or curl tail and no tipping. Probably the most popular and overall effective for live bait and plastics as well is the Carolina rig which you will see in this illustration by former Texas Fish & Game Saltwater Rigs Editor Patrick Lemire. It basically consists of an egg weight rigged above a swivel and attached to a leader and hook or lure.
Q: Can drifting be an effective method for catching flounder?
A: Yes it can if you drift over good structure and drift slowly. There are tons of flounder on our oyster reefs in Texas but these are hard to fish. Using something like the Lindy No-Snagg Sinker in conjunction with live mud minnows over reefs can produce some big flounder. You will need to use a drift sock (or two) and try to focus your runs on trenches on the reef and any kind of subtle drop-off. In bayous drifting live baits slowly with the current can work as well.
Q: Do you think the state record for flounder will ever be broken?
A: Yes. With the new regulations set to cut harvest down dramatically and bycatch at a near all time low due to a HUGE reduction in the shrimping pressure and the bycatch reduction devices in place we could see some monster flounder appear again. An interesting note that I have observed and one that has been verified by Texas Parks & Wildlife Department biologists is while flounder numbers are down, the average size seems to be on the uptick in some bays.
Q: What do you think about the theory redfish are what is causing the problem with flounder? Some are saying there are too many reds and they are devouring the flounder?
A: Some are saying we never landed on the moon too but that does not mean it is true. This is the kind of conspiracy theory stuff that drives me nuts but that is easy to shoot down. Louisiana’s Lake Calcasieu has an amazing flounder fishery, better than any on the Texas coast. They also have by far the best redfish fishery on the Gulf Coast to the point of a limit of reds being no big deal to anyone. By the way, that is a Louisiana limit of five. If reds were the culprit with flounder, Calcasieu would have a terrible flounder fishery but that is not the case at all.