PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Sports

March 15, 2014

Chester Moore column: Big flounder can be caught near oyster reef

PORT ARTHUR —   Some of the best flounder caught in the Sabine ecosystem come from the big oyster reef on the south end.

     Reefs are difficult to fish for something that lives on the bottom but they can be fruitful for anglers seeking really big flounder.

    Flounder fishing in these shell-studded locales involves a totally different method than in the marshes in the Keith Lake chain for example. Oyster reefs have pretty much the same depth throughout, and as such, drifting while fishing a bait on the bottom is the prime way to locate the fish.

    Live bait like large mud minnows rigged on a jighead are usually best, but plastics are also good. The Norton Sand Eel and Gulp eel imitations are good options. Keep the jighead moving and never let it drag on the bottom. Keep it hopping or you will spend more time hung up than fishing.

    And yes you will get hung up anyway.

    Another piece of equipment that is a big help to drifting anglers is a wind or drift sock. These are parachute-like bags that are put into the water and used to slow down your drift, and it can mean the difference between catching fish and not catching fish especially if the current is extra-strong. I have used a homemade drift sock, but again, there are several quality commercial drift socks.

    The section of ship channel between a bay system and the Gulf is another great spot for big flounder.

    Targeting these deep-water flatfish requires electronics. There are, after all, no openly visible markers to go by. Underwater, however, there are plenty of signs that point to possible flounder "holds" or areas in which the fish congregate.

    The ideal flounder hold is a small spot or shelf on the edge of a steep drop-off. This hold might be a 20-square-foot area in 15 feet of water that borders a 30-foot drop-off. In most situations the 15-foot zone will gradually get shallower as you move toward the bank, but then drop off suddenly into the main channel.

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