Flounder, ducks make news here in Southeast Texas

Flounder, ducks make news here in Southeast Texas

Even though the water temperature on Sabine Lake is slowly dropping, it’s still an unseasonably warm 66.5 degrees. That’s good news for flounder fishermen on the lower end of the lake and in the pass. Guide Jerry Norris says he’s never seen the flounder fishing as good as it is right now.

“It’s a no-brainer to go out and catch a limit of five flounder,” said Norris. “And it doesn’t really matter what you use as long as it’s some sort of jig worked on bottom. I’ve been flounder fishing on Sabine a long time. It’s never been this good this late in the year. I think we’ll continue to catch some pretty nice flounder until we get a hard cold front.”

The daily limit on flounder in Texas is five per day with a 14-inch minimum length. The only exception is November when it’s two per person on rod and reel only.

Some of the best catches are in Sabine Pass on both the Louisiana and Texas shorelines. Two of the hot spots are at the Causeway bridge. If you go, expect to see lots of fishermen. The bulkhead along the Walter Umphrey State Park has been packed with fishermen. Ditto that for the Louisiana side of the Causeway. Points and shallow sandy flats are good in the pass for boaters fishing with live finger mullet and jigs tipped with small pieces of shrimp.

Duck season reopens Dec. 8

The second split of the duck season reopens on Saturday, Dec. 8, and runs through Jan. 27 in both the North and South zones. I’ve been getting scattered scouting reports from across Texas. The best hunts in the first split were right here in Southeast Texas along the coastal marshes and on flooded fields. Duck hunts on the High Plains Mallard Management Unit in North Texas are very slow. That’s mainly due to a severe lack of water in the lakes. The guys I hunt with up around Waco say the number of ducks there are way off, compared to last season. The coastal flats around Port O’Connor and on down to Port Mansfield are holding good numbers of red heads and fair numbers of pintails. The one thing we need right now is a good push of cold air from up on the northern end of the Central Fly Way. A lot of areas up that way normally have 2 feet of snow on the ground at this time of year. Incredibly there is no snow on the ground in many of those states.

Black bears in the Hill Country

Mike Cox with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department reports that black bear activity is on the upswing in the Hill Country and South Texas

Though historically it has been very rare for bears to be sighted south or east of Val Verde County, so far in 2012 there have been a dozen such sightings, many by deer hunters.

“This is likely a result of a growing number of bears in Mexico dispersing and searching for food after severe droughts and wildfires,” said TPWD biologist Jonah Evans of Alpine, the department’s bear coordinator. “Whether these sightings signify a permanent re-colonization of Central and South Texas remains to be seen.”

While black bears are native to all of Texas, in the early 1900s, heavy hunting and trapping completely eliminated them from the state. Currently, the only established breeding populations are in the Big Bend area of West Texas.

“Black bears are generally not a risk to humans,” Evans says. “But they can become a nuisance if they gain a taste for human food, pet food or trash. We’ve recently received several reports of bears tipping over and damaging deer feeders and a few raiding trash cans along the border.”

Evans says the department’s goal is for people and bears to coexist peacefully.

“By eliminating food rewards, we eliminate most of the problems,” he said. “Many communities in bear country have effectively adapted to live with bears, but it takes everyone working together and doing their part.”

TPWD is asking for people to report all bear sightings. Since black bears are a threatened species in Texas, they cannot be legally hunted or harmed.

If you see a bear, report it to Jonah Evans at (432) 837-2051, ext. 228.