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#2279929
I am curious about your thoughts on this year's flounder run -- in your experience was it bad? good?

It was abysmal to me -- nothing compared to what I've seen 4 years ago at SWP where even with 200 people in the water I still had no problems catching multiple limits.

But this year -- twice visited SWP, few times my own "secret" (lol) holes. All I have to show for few days worth of wading is one 16" keeper. Disclaimer: I didn't fish around that major front that probably pushed most of them out.
#2279931
I’ve read a lot about this year’s disappointing run. Seems like I’ve seen some photos of good catches and big fish, but then heard a lot of reports with little or nothing caught. Seems like that cold spell and big water dump in mid November might have something to do with the spotty results. Flounder numbers are said to be low according to TP&W, too many mild winters in a row hurting the recruitment of young flounder and that can’t help the catch rates.

The last good flounder, one between 4.5-5 pounds, I caught was at the end of October. It was in a large drain on a muddy and shell dotted shelf in about 2 feet of water, the drain itself might be 5 feet in the middle. It was after a front and the water was pretty low. I don’t often fish deep enough for the most part to get flounder during a run and just luck into whatever ones I find. Most every flounder I have gotten has been when I’m out for redfish or trout. There’s a couple of places that I’ll make a point to try that seem to hold flounder in the warmer months year after year and I target those fish if I’m in the area.

I also read they were catching them in water 4-6’ deep, something about water clarity and light. I’ve caught a few since the late October fish, but they have all been 11, 12, 13 inch fish. One might have been 14”, but I didn’t measure it.

The bays are super fresh and have mostly been that way since September and that might have influences on the bait or fish.

It would be interesting to hear from JMiller on this subject.
#2279953
I don't normally target flounder, but in years past it does seem that I had more by-catch of flounder while fishing marsh drains than I did this year. I hooked one flounder this fall - a 12-inch brown tortilla on a slow troll heading down Rawlings Cut into E. Matagorda. I was on 3-4 trips with guys who were targeting them, and they did not do as well as in years past either. I saw an article in the Houston Chronicle yesterday about the spread of black mangrove up the coast and how that hurts southern spotted flounder but has brought snook and mangrove snapper. Personally speaking, I'd rather have a healthy snook fishery over a flounder fishery.
#2279958
This is the first year I’ve ever seen snook in Brazoria County with my own two eyes. And I saw about a dozen that were ~30” long. Had a couple follow a seaducer, but would not commit. Haven’t seen them again, but they are here. Maybe next year I’ll get one.

This November and December has been cooler overall than a few of the previous ones. That might help the flounder with the spawn and recruitment and lead to better numbers. Trout and redfish numbers are near record highs according to TP&W. Snookare showing up all along the coast. The perfect winter would help the flounder and not kill the snook.

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/sports ... 413260.php
#2280003
Cuervo Jones wrote:Flounder are fine but snook are superior. I always enjoy catching them in the Keys, so it’s great that they’re making a return to Texas!


I totally agree. I make a trip once a year to fish for tarpon and snook near Captiva Island, Florida on the Gulf side. Here's me with my biggest ever (37 inches):
Big Snook.JPG


Then, 10 minutes later, my buddy bested me with a 41 incher!
Mark Big Snook.JPG
Mark Big Snook.JPG (38.68 KiB) Viewed 1076 times

Would love to have some of this in our upper coast fishery!
#2280023
This year's run has been on par for me, both quantity and quality of fish caught. Although I haven't caught any real giants this fall/winter yet... There has definitely been more "grind" days this fall than previous years. But the days of catching has been exceptional, so it kind of balances out.

One thing I have found this year, the most productive areas are in the deeper water depths ranging from 8 feet to 18 feet depths along the docks, piers and bulkheads in the Galveston Harbor. Not many fish being caught in shallower depths with the exception of a few good days in November when the fish were active everywhere. This has been the longest period I've seen massive schools of finger mullet in the deeper protected areas of the harbor and the flounder are gorging on them. Large tandem rigs with big artificial baits has been most productive in the deeper water, as well as live finger mullet. As the water temps have been slowly decreasing, the live mullet and live shrimp are now catching most of the fish.

For comparison, here are my tagging stats from 2017 and 2018 during peak of the run:

2017 (Nov 16th thru Dec 10th):
- 15 full day trips (10+ hours fished each day)
- 4 of 15 days were "grind" days (less than 10 fish caught per day)
- 51 quality fish caught/tagged/released ranging from 20" to 25.75"
- Total of 368 keeper-sized fish caught/tagged/released during this period

2018 (Nov 17th thru Dec 9th):
- 16 full day trips (10+ hours fished each day)
- 7 of the 16 days were "grind" days (less than 10 fish caught per day)
- 48 quality fish caught/tagged/released ranging from 20" to 24.25"
- Total of 342 keeper-sized fish caught/tagged/released during this period
#2280052
I'm glad JMiller chimed in. I don't know of any other fisherman that ever posts on flounder that appears to have a better understanding on where the flounder, depth and location, are at any particular time and what they might like to eat. From a lot of the things I've seen, folks really struggled during the run this year. Maybe from reading JMiller's previous post, the flounder ran in deeper water this year than in some others?

It's good to know from someone that might be more on top of flounder than anyone else there are still good numbers of quality fish. I don't catch a ton of flounder, but I like to try for them when the fish are shallow. I would hate to see them disappear. The shelf waters where flounder are said to spawn are running a little below average temperatures so far this season. Maybe the fish will have a really good spawn and recruitment this time around.
#2280092
karstopo wrote:I don't know of any other fisherman that ever posts on flounder that appears to have a better understanding on where the flounder, depth and location, are at any particular time and what they might like to eat.


I also appreciate JMiller's hard work. But the best flounder guy on this board that I can recall was FlounderGuru. That guy could catch floundies all day - and big ones too.

https://www.2coolfishing.com/ttmbforum/ ... ost3181926
https://www.2coolfishing.com/ttmbforum/ ... p?t=270239

Oh, wait. It's the same guy! I like how he keeps us guessing. Jantzen - whatever you are calling yourself these days, you are the best flounder fisherman out there. Keep it up!
#2280586
UPDATE as of 12/24/2018 - Both deep water and shallow bank fishing spots are now producing equal numbers of fish. Fish are mostly scattered, but incoming tides have been good late in the afternoon and bringing in some better quality fish along the banks. Lots of flounder movement and the fish are stacking up very briefly in some areas.

Here are my 2017 and 2018 stats:

2018 (Dec 15 thru Dec 24):
- 5 full day trips (10+ hours fished each day)
- 1 of the 5 days were grind days (less than 10 fish caught per day)
- 14 quality fish caught/tagged/released ranging from 20" to 24"
- Total of 96 keeper-sized fish caught/tagged/released or retained during this period

2017 (Dec 11 thru Dec 24):
- 6 full day trips (10+ hours fished each day)
- 3 of the 6 days were grind days (less than 10 fish caught per day)
- 10 quality fish caught/tagged/released ranging from 20" to 22.25"
- Total of 73 keeper-sized fish caught/tagged/released during this period

12/16/18
BF270059-edit.jpg

stringer.JPG


12/23/18
stringer3.JPG


12/24/18
stringer.JPG
#2280591
Nice fish. Seems late in the year for catches like that according to the wisdom of the herd, not that I necessarily put stock in that.

I wonder when or if there’s a period with no larger flounder or almost no large flounder to be found inshore? If most or almost all do leave for offshore, when do they begin coming back?

These fish were caught as January is just around the bend. I know I’ve caught nice flounder way into a secondary bay in Early March. Just wondering if mature female flounder or most mature female flounder truly leave for the gulf and go out 20 to 80 miles as I have read? They are covering some stretch of water pretty quickly if they are leaving the pass in late December and are already back inside by sometime in February or Early March.
#2280599
Some flounder never leave the bay systems.

Late January to early February is usually the toughest time for me to catch flounder in size and numbers. Usually because it's the coldest time of year and weather and water conditions are brutal to fish. I feel this is the time that most flounder have completely left the inshore waters and the ones that still remain are resident fish or a few big ones moving out very late. Mid to late February is usually when been the big female fish start returning through the channels, unless the weather is still crazy. Consecutive days of mild weather in February-March, especially during the full moons/ big incoming tides is what brings them into the channels.

Out of the thousands of fish tagged externally and 60 fish tagged internally, a lot have been tracked leaving the bay system, channel and jetties very quickly. One internally tagged fish was reported caught at Skyline Drive in Texas City and then a couple days later, tracked at the end of the south jetty following a strong cold front. When they move, they can move good distances and quickly if they want to.

To my knowledge, none of the tagged fish from previous year were tracked or recaptured returning into the bay systems. Not a single one. Now that is interesting. Next year my goal is to tag at least 200 migratory fish in Sabine Pass during the fall run, in hopes for some recaptures in the spring around Galveston or another bay system further south.
#2281121
JMiller wrote:
To my knowledge, none of the tagged fish from previous year were tracked or recaptured returning into the bay systems. Not a single one. Now that is interesting.


That is really interesting! I was just reading this in Texas Saltwater magazine about the flounder spawn.
"Adults return to their original bays and estuaries soon after spawning. However, the yearly migration does reshuffle the deck to some extent; some flounder elope to territories different from where they originated.(3) The spring homecoming is gradual, unlike the large concentrations characteristic of the fall emigration."
Kinda goes with your findings.
Do you work for a research center? My son started working at TPWD Sea Center in Lake Jackson early this past summer and they have been doing more research with flounder since November. Since then he has absolutely fallen in love with flounder and the study of them.
#2281125
Cityfisher wrote:"Adults return to their original bays and estuaries soon after spawning. However, the yearly migration does reshuffle the deck to some extent; some flounder elope to territories different from where they originated..."

I wonder if they get carried south by Gulf currents? Or maybe North? This would help explaining why Sabine area has good flounder fishing.

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