, Port Arthur, Texas


July 10, 2013

OUTDOORS COLUMN: Live bait tops for summer flounder

PORT ARTHUR —  I am not a fan of live bait fishing for flounder. You have to fish live bait

slow for yours truly but there is no debating its effectiveness particularly in the summer months.

    Let us take a look at live bait and some strategies for using them this time of year.

    1. Mud Minnows: The live a long time on the hook, can be readily

bought at bait camps and are super wiggly. I think flounder like that.

    2. Mullet: Mullet are easy to catch in cast nets, can be bought at a fair

number of bait camps and live a fair amount of time on the hook.

There is a different in their hook lifespan being dragged across the

bottom, cast and thrown versus set out for use for redfish and trout.

    3. Croaker: Believe it or not, live croaker makes killer flounder bait. In

the spring flounder bellies are often filled with tiny croaker and these

can be caught in cast nets and bought at many coastal bait shops,

especially those in Galveston Bay on south.

    4. Shad (Menhaden, Pogy): These are great live baits for flounder but

they do not stay alive on hooks for a long time after drag fatigue sets

in. My favorite way to use them is under a popping cork. Think

fishing around the riprap/rocks.

    The basic rig for most flounder fishing is the Carolina or Fish Finder Rig.

It typically consists of an egg sinker rigged above a swivel and attached

to a leader. I have been using the Mr. Crappie Trolltech Sinkers from Bullet Weights for Carolina Rigs.

    They are made for trolling and are designed to have no line twist. And since you essentially attach the line to each side of the sinker instead of putting an egg sinker on you avoid other problems as well. These are absolutely killer and I highly recommend them on Carolina Rigs.

    Bullet Weights also has chrome egg sinkers that are being used for fluke

and halibut. I have tried them but cannot say if they give any

advantage or not just yet. Anglers on the West Coast swear by them for their

flatfish so there may be some validity.

    In terms of hooks I prefer wide-gapped hooks like the Mustad Ultra Wide

Gap Croaker Hooks.

     We are living in the best flounder fishing era of the last 30 years with the specie’s numbers growing by the year. More and more flounder are growing to their full potential and I suspect it will take a nine pound fish to win the CCA STAR tournament this year.

    Right now the leader is Paul C. Gaylord with a  7 pound, 10-ounce fish and there are still six weeks left in the tournament.

    I have no question there is a nine pounder somewhere in the channel in the Sabine area or lurking around some of the structure in the Bolivar area. And whoever catches it will most likely do so with live bait.

    That is enough to inspire me to tie on a big mud minnow and start seeking out that winning fish.

(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at

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