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Texas Sportsman
Galveston Flatfish

At San Luis Pass you'll find a wide-open bay on the north side of the bridge and the entrance to the Gulf of Mexico on the south side of the bridge. The options here are to fish off the San Luis Pass Pier, wade the flats, or work the many guts and the open water from a boat.

Wading the flats and guts on the bay side of the pass is a hoot. I'm talking about some wide-open water. You can just about wade out of sight of land. Waders have the best option for catching the most fish. They can thoroughly fish the flats along the drops, where flounder will be holding on high tides. On falling tides they can work the guts off the flats.

Wading the Gulf side of the pass is an option, but it's a dangerous one. The currents at San Luis Pass can literally suck your feet right out from under you. Many anglers have drowned there. The best option is to wade the bay side of the pass. If you'll be wading the Gulf side, always wear a life jacket.

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Another option is bank fishing. This is a very comfortable way catch flounder in April at San Luis Pass. You can set out a few rod holders, cast out some live baits, and kick back in a comfortable chair.

If you prefer to keep your feet high and dry, just head for the San Luis Pass Pier, located on the west side of the pass. April is a prime time to be pier fishing the pass. It's the time of year when lots of flounder stage on the flats around the pier prior to heading into West Galveston Bay. The pier is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. One of the best times to fish the pier is during a falling tide.

There is a boat ramp on the west side of the pass. You can launch any size boat there. Boat anglers usually anchor along the drops in the pass. If you have a depthfinder, you can ease along and see the small humps of sand and drops in the deeper water on the Gulf side of the pass. That's where flounder will stack up.

The shorelines inside both West and East Galveston Bays will hold flounder on high spring tides. That's when waders and boaters can ease along the banks and find numbers of slab-sized flounder. The points along the flooded shorelines are usually best.

The mouths of cuts leading into the marsh on these bays will also hold flounder.

Live baits are usually best for flounder, however during the spring migration run from the Gulf to the bays they are usually a little more hungry and aggressive.

The most popular live baits are mud minnows, shrimp and finger mullet. Mud minnows are usually available at bait camps surrounding Galveston's Bays. The baits are sold by the dozen. It's usually best to buy several dozen.

If shrimp are available you can find them at local bait camps, as well. It's usually best to buy at least a quart.

Live finger mullet can be purchased at bait camps, too. They can usually be caught in the passes and along the shorelines of the bays with a cast net.

Size does matter when using live baits for flounder. A 2- to 3-inch-long bait is best.

The most popular live bait rigs are easy to build. Run your fishing line through a 1/4-ounce barrel weight and tie the tag end off to a small swivel. Take an 18-inch section of 20-pound-test leader material and tie one end to the swivel and the other to a No. 1 Kale hook. That's it. Attach a live bait, cast it out, and you're good to go.

The best artificial baits are soft-plastic tails that can be rigged on 1/4-ounce leadhead jigs. The most productive tails are anywhere from 2 to 3 inches long. Some of the most popular tails are Old Bayside and Wedge Tail. Best colors are shad, glow/ chartreuse or pumpkin/chartreuse.

Tipping the tail of a jig with a small piece of shrimp is a great way to improve your catches of Southern flounder. Fresh table shrimp is the best way to go. And the tail section will have the most scent.

Pinch off the tail section, peel it and skewer it on the jig hook. About every five casts you'll need to replace the shrimp. It's a trick that some of the best flounder fishing pros have used for years.

For guided flounder-fishing trips at Galveston and on Sabine Lake, call Texas Ultimate Fishing Guides at (409) 782-6796.

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