Better get ‘em while you can

I’ve spent the better part of the past couple of weeks fishing on Sabine Lake. During that time, we’ve caught everything but the kitchen sink on a variety of lures from Wedgetail Mullets to Bayou Chubs made by Egret Baits. Without a doubt, the most consistent action has been chasing the birds. That’s where lots of anglers are taking specks, reds and some of the biggest sand trout I’ve ever seen. But the highlight of the fish catching on Sabine Lake and in the pass during the past several days has been the incredible flounder bite.

The annual fall run of flounder is about as good as it gets just about anywhere you can fish along the Texas Gulf Coast. But three of the prime-time spots right now are Sabine Lake, Sabine Pass and Rollover Pass on Bolivar Peninsula.

The only glitch when flounder fishing during November is that the daily limit on flounder in Texas is two. So actually if you’ve never been able to brag about catching a limit of “flatties,” now is the time to earn some bragging rights.

I stopped by Rollover Pass a few days ago and saw quite a few fishermen reeling in big flounder. One guy had a limit of two flounder and both of them weighed about 4 pounds each. That’s definitely some good eats.

This past Saturday, I was on Sabine Lake and after catching enough small trout to sink a big boat, Ken Chaumont and I tied on a couple of 3-inch Wedgetail jigs in black with a chartreuse tail. I got the first solid thump on my second cast. Catching a pair of fat flounder is a no brainer along the south shoreline of Sabine Lake. The trick is to fish the points in the bayous on an outgoing tide.

When fishing bayou points, the best lure/bait combination is a soft plastic jig rigged on a 1/8- or 1/4-ounce jig head. One of my favorites is the 3-inch Wedgetail Mullet. Tip it with a dime-sized piece of a freshly peeled table shrimp and you’re good to go. The tactic is to work the jig/shrimp combo around every little point you can find.

Another good place to fish in the bayous on the south end of Sabine is at the mouths of drains feeding into the bayous.

One of the top live baits for flounder is a mud minnow. Right now you can buy them all day long atthe causeway bait camp where Sabine Lake hooks up with Sabine Pass.

Some of the better catches of flounder in the pass have been on live mud minnows. There are two ways to fish a mud minnow or finger mullet for flounder. The most popular rig is to thread your line through a 1/4-ounce egg weight. Tie the tag end of the line off to a black barrel swivel. Next, take an 18-inch piece of 15-pound test leader material and tie one end to the swivel and the other to a No. 1 Kahle hook. This rig will slide along bottom with the current. When a flounder eats the live bait, it doesn’t feel the tug of the weight. You can also take this same rig and add a float about 3 feet up the line. With this rig you can cast it out along the bank and let it move with the current. When it’s yanked under, set the hook.

When fishing in Sabine Pass, you want to key on all the points and drainages. One popular area to fish is the mouth of Texas Bayou, where it drains into the pass.

You don’t always need a boat to catch flounder. Two of the best places to fish at Sabine Pass are off the Walter Umphrey State Park pier and the surrounding bulkhead. Another option is to fish from the bank on the Sabine Lake side of the causeway bridge.

When I was over at Rollover Pass the other day, you could barely find room to fish. This is a very popular fall flounder fishing destination. Hundreds of anglers hit this narrow pass. It’s like a flounder highway when they are migrating from East Bay to the Gulf. The bottom flounder fishing rig I mentioned is perfect at Rollover Pass. My only suggestion is to use a heavier weight to keep your bait from tangling with other lines.

The water temperature in Sabine Lake and the pass is right at 66 degrees. At Rollover, it’s 69 degrees. When the water temperature falls to about 60 degrees, the run will slowly come to an end. As it is, we probably have another two to three weeks of worthwhile flounder fishing here in Southeast Texas.

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