Flounder pounders are taking advantage of the fall run

Forget about reds and trout, it’s time to get in on some big time catches of flo

The cool weather associated with last week’s frontal system has dropped water temperatures a few degrees along the coast, and that has set up some very impressive catches of flounder. October is when big-time numbers of flounder begin their migration from the marsh and bays to the Gulf. It’s definitely the easiest time to rack up some impressive numbers of these tasty fish.

Buddy Oaks with Hackberry Rod and Gun Club reports that they are using jigs and live finger mullet to catch limits of flounder at the mouths of drains along the ship channel on Calcasieu Lake.

Catching flounder with a rod and reel is fun, but you can also get your daily limit with a gig at night. That’s what I did the other night, and three of us ended up with 14 flounder up to 4 pounds. We also gigged nine black drum and about four dozen big blue crabs. The great thing about gigging flounder at night is that it’s nice and cool, and there are practically no other boats on the water.

The absolute best way to take flounder on a rod and reel is with a soft plastic jig. A white or chartreuse curl tail Berkley Gulp is deadly. You can also tip a jig with a piece of a peeled shrimp.

On Sabine Lake, some of the best areas to find numbers of flounder during the fall run is at the mouths of bayous and cuts feeding into the lake. Flounder will stage in those places to ambush shrimp, shad and small mullet.

Sabine Pass is an excellent fall foundering option, as well. The Louisiana shoreline is usually best.

During October, we’re allowed to take five per day with a 14-inch minimum limit in Texas waters. However, from Nov. 1 – Dec. 14, the daily bag limit is two per day.

Duck numbers are near historical highs

Ducks Unlimited is predicting that we’ll have a projected flight of waterfowl near historical highs with good habitat conditions in many areas along the Central Flyway. Waterfowl managers and scientists throughout the flyway believe the stage is set for a strong waterfowl hunting season.

“Wetland conditions vary across the Prairie Pothole Region of North Dakota,” says DU biologist Randy Renner. “That could impact where migrating ducks and geese congregate this fall. Dry conditions have persisted in parts of the state since spring while other regions have received timely precipitation, including large amounts of rain in the past few weeks. This mix of habitat conditions led to a slight decrease in duck production in North Dakota this year.”

Dry conditions created less than ideal nesting habitat across much of South Dakota this spring and early summer, including portions of the Prairie Pothole Region in the north-central part of South Dakota, according to DU biologist Randy Meidinger.

The main thing to keep in mind is that we need strong and regular cold fronts to push ducks down the Central Flyway towards Oklahoma and into Texas.

Bassmaster anglers opt to use 10-foot fishing poles

The 40-year-old rule that has limited Bassmaster tournament competitors to rods that were 8 feet or shorter will be changed for 2017, allowing anglers to use rods as long as 10 feet.

“This is something that the anglers wanted,” said B.A.S.S. Tournament Director Trip Weldon. “After discussing it during our annual rules committee meeting, we saw no reason not to expand to 10 feet.”

The 8-foot maximum was added to B.A.S.S. rules by B.A.S.S. founder Ray Scott in 1976.

The rule in question is tournament rule C8, which currently reads in part: “Only one casting, spin casting or spinning rod (8-foot maximum length from butt of handle to rod tip) and reel may be used at any one time.”

Some tournament circuits in the Western United States began allowing longer rods years ago to accommodate the growing popularity of large, heavy swimbaits.

Restrictions on rod length began in the West, and they were the catalyst for the development of the popular and effective “flippin’” technique. Dee Thomas of California, the “Father of Flippin’,” began winning tournaments in that state by “dipping” jigs in stands of tules with a 14-foot surf casting rod. When competitors complained, Thomas developed the flipping presentation, which delivered the lures to the same spots with a 7 1/2-foot rod.