Got flounder?

For the past couple of weeks, flounder fishing has been good, and it seems to be getting better as the water warms and we get closer to the first day of summer — June 21. The great thing about living on the upper Texas coast is that there is no shortage of flounder fishing spots. Two of the best are located in Sabine Pass. Two other very popular flounder fishing holes are at Keith Lake fish pass at Sabine, and Rollover Pass on Bolivar Peninsula.

There are two piers in Sabine Pass. One is located at Walter Umphrey State Park adjacent to the causeway bridge. The other is at Sabine Pass Battleground State Park and Historic Site, located a few miles south of the town of Sabine. Both piers offer excellent spring and early summer flounder fishing. The Umphrey park pier has just reopened. It’s lighted for night fishing and is open 24/7. Even better than that, there’s not cost to fish on both piers. Ditto that for Keith Lake fish pass and Rollover Pass.

If I had to pick between the four locations, I’d go with the pier located next to the causeway. The reason why is simple — I’ve caught more flounder in that area than anywhere else in the pass. It’s kind of a bottleneck in the pass. And the pier is located on a big sand flat where numbers of flounder migrating into the pass from the Gulf will stage. Actually, this particular area is good year round. But during the spring migration, it’ll stack up with flounder. This pier is located at Walter Umphrey State Park. The shoreline is rimmed with a bulkhead, so there is ample opportunity to fish from the bank. On a high tide, I’ll ease along the shoreline and work jigs close to the bulkhead.

The shoreline next to the causeway boat ramp is another good staging area for Sabine flounder. On a good incoming tide you can bump jigs along bottom and stand a very good chance of catching a few big flounder.

Rollover Fish Pass, located on the middle of Bolivar Peninsula, is an excellent spring flounder hotspot. And that’s no secret, either. When the word is out, both sides of Rollover will be loaded with anglers. Lately it’s been attracting a pretty good number of anglers and campers.

What makes Rollover Pass such a good spring flounder option is that it’s a direct link from East Bay to the Gulf. It’s like a highway for migrating flounder.

The most unique thing about Rollover is that its user friendly and open to the public free of charge. You can fish from the bank on both sides. Or you can wade fish the bay side of the pass. Lately this has turned into a kayaking hotspot. The back bay is perfect for kayaking. The flats are wide open. What I like to do here, especially when the walls of the pass are jammed with anglers, is kayak the back bay. The channel that leads from the pass to East Bay is perfect for wading. What you can do is kayak away from the pass, stake out the yak and wade the flats.

The good thing about fishing from the bank at Rollover is that you can back your vehicle right up to where you want to fish. That’s the way most anglers do it. They put out a couple of comfortable chairs, cast out two or three lines and sit back and wait for a bite.

When the bite is good at any of these fishing hotspots, you can catch a lot of flounder. The best way to do that is to rig up with a Texas flounder rig. This is the best live bait rig you can use for flounder, and it’s easy to assemble. First you thread the tag end of your fishing line through a half ounce barrel weight. Then tie the line off to the end of a barrel swivel. Next take a 14 to 20 inch section of 20-pound test monofilament leader material and tie one end to the barrel swivel. The final step is to tie on a 2/0-thin wire live bait hook. That’s it. The best live baits will be fresh caught shad, finger mullet, mud minnows or live shrimp.

Regardless of where you go for the spring flounder run keep in mind that they are aggressive fish and will hit just about anything you drop in front of them. I’ve even seen them jump out of the water while chasing mullet and shrimp. Soft plastic jigs are flounder killers. I normally rig mine on a 1/4-ounce jig head. You want to use just enough weight to keep the jig on bottom with a bump-and-wind retrieve. Best colors are green in just about any clear water situation. But on Sabine, where the water is usually stained, you might want to go with a fire/tiger or chartreuse Stanley Wedgetail. In off colored water, it’s usually best to use a jig that has a lot of vibration like the Wedgetail.Another very good flounder lure anywhere along the Texas coast is a Heddon Swim’N Image in a shad color. This is a shallow running crankbait that’s deadly on big flounder. What I do is run it fast enough to bump bottom. It’s especially good along muddy shorelines.

If you go don’t forget to take a net. Flounder can be awfully difficult to land by hand.

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