Coastal fisheries history was made twice this week.
The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department’s (TPWD) staff at Sea Center Texas gave flounder anglers a huge jolt of enthusiasm and our bays a big boost of baby flatfish.
On Tuesday the first-ever flounder stocking occurred in the Galveston Bay Complex off of Bob Smith Road in the Jamaica Beach area. There TPWD officials released nearly 3,500 baby flounder that were the offspring of fish caught and donated to a large extent by recreational anglers concerned over the fishery.
Then yesterday TPWD officials visited Sabine Lake for the second-ever stocking there and it showed exponential growth in comparison to last year when 700 fish were released. More than 6,200 (nine fold increase) flounder were released into Old River Bayou near the site of the historic Bailey Fish Camp.
Courtney Moore of Sea Center examines some flounder in a beaker before releasing them.
These little flounder had full stomachs, were full of energy and dispersed quickly into the waters of the Sabine Lake marsh.
Two years ago we were hoping TPWD would be able to one day stock these fish and now we are seeing monstrous growth in the program in the span of less than a year.
The work David Abrego, Shane Bonnot and all of the staff at Sea Center Texas in Lake Jackson are doing is amazing and they deserve our admiration and respect.
We are living in a truly revolutionary time for southern flounder and should rejoice at this week’s stockings and know far more will be coming in the near future. In addition, the hatchery at Corpus Christi is getting in on the flounder program and will most likely have fish to stock in that area next year.
The Coastal Conservation Association also deserves credit for helping fund some hatchery improvements necessary for large-scale flounder stocking and they have recently helped them secure a boat specifically designed for catching flounder broodstock. More on that next week.
For those of you who subscribe to this blog or visit on a regular basis I do not have to tell you how exciting this is for me and how much this motivates me to do more for the fishery. Seeing dedicated people like Bryan Treadway, Wayne Pedigo, Jason Fregia, Capt. Phillip Samuels and so many others who take time out of their schedule to catch these fish and help organize roundups shows there is true momentum to this revolution and the future is far brighter than the recent past.
I hate when people talk about past “glory days”. I’m someone who likes to look to the future and I know this week’s stockings along with last year’s regulation changes and several other factors show me the “glory days” for flounder lie ahead.
Always dream BIG!