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April is perhaps the best time of year to catch flounder in quantity as they move in and out of the passes around Galveston. Here are some hotspots you should be checking out right now!
Ken Chaumont opened up a bag of lures and pulled out a new soft-plastic bait that I hadn't seen before. He held it up.
"This is a flounder-catching magnet," he said. "It's the short version of a 5-inch Stanley Wedge Tail. Here -- try it."
We were fishing at the mouth of a cut with a hard incoming tide. It was early April, and the flounder bite on Galveston Bay had just perked up. I rigged the 2-inch-long lure on a 1/4-ounce jighead and made a cast to the shoreline.
"Just bump it along bottom and you can feel the tail vibration," said Chaumont. "In murky water that vibrating tail is the key to being successful on flounder migrating into the bays from the Gulf."
On the third cast I was slowly working the Wedge Tail 2 feet deep in the current when I felt a sudden thunk: definitely a flounder bite. I set the hook, and a big Southern flounder was flapping on the surface.
"Get the net -- this is a big one!" I yelled.
Chaumont scooped the fat 3-pounder up in the net. That was the first of many to hit the ice that day. The "flatties" were holding off of one little point at the mouth of a cut just off a major pass leading into the bay.
Flounder fishing is really popular during the spring. As the flatfish migrate from the Gulf to the bay, they can be caught in big numbers. In fact, it's about the only time of year that you can actually expect to catch a 10-flounder limit.
April is generally when the first warm tides of spring prompt a major movement of flounder from the Gulf to the bays. And one of the most popular areas to find and catch some of those tasty flounder is on the Galveston Bay system. Two of the most popular areas are East and West Galveston Bays.
Rollover Pass feeds into East Galveston Bay. It's a major hotspot for migrating flounder each spring. On West Galveston Bay the No. 1 hotspot is San Luis Pass. Both are big producers of flounder year 'round, but they shine best during the spring run. Both are open to the public and free to fish 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Rollover Pass is located at about the middle of Bolivar Peninsula. It's several hundred yards in length and offers anglers the chance to fish from the bank, wade or even work it from a kayak or other small boat.
The section of the pass that connects to the Gulf of Mexico is bounded on each side by a concrete wall. It's handicapped-friendly, and offers a relaxed and comfortable fishing environment. On any given day during the spring you can find anglers fishing from lawn chairs along those concrete walls.
On the bay side of the pass you'll find anglers wading or fishing out of kayaks. What a lot of anglers do is park at the pass and wade into the Back Bay.
Waders make the best catches of flounder while fishing lures and live baits along the edge of the channel drop. What you want to do is wade out on the flat, usually about 2 to 3 feet deep, and cast to the area where the flat drops off into the pass channel. Lots of flounder will hold along that drop. On high tides you might want to work baits along the flat several feet off the channel drop.
Anglers fishing between the walls of the pass will usually be fishing live baits such as mud minnows, finger mullet and shrimp. The best way to fish between the walls is to cast your bait out and let it wash downstream with the current. That's a good way to cover lots of water -- and you'll usually catch more flounder, too.
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