Fishing & Boating News

PSSSST!!!!!

by: Ed Snyder, Ed Snyder Outdoors

Flounder like this can be on your table when fishing at Rollover Pass.
Photo by Ed Snyder
Come and enjoy Flounder Fest with us on Oct-22- invites Ted Vega of GCA.
Photo by Ed Snyder
(Oct. 02, 2011 - Rollover Pass, Bolivar Peninsula, TX.)

Swift undulating currents ripped past sea-worn shards of rusting bulkheads as dozens of anglers grip their fishing poles in anticipation. Slow at first, one by one on down the line, waiting poles suddenly began dipping and bending to the hungry bites of outgoing flatfish swimming against incoming tides to reach the Gulf.

At first, in a vain attempt to keep their catches hidden from others, the anglers kept bending poles with wriggling catches out of sight. But their selfish efforts were soon undone when excited whispers began stirring, alerting..."Pssst, the flounder are running!!!"

Swimming off the flats with the first hint of Autumns cooling weather, the flounder start gathering in deeper waters moving towards the bays and passes for their Fall spawning migrations to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way millions of these strange looking, double eyed flatfish would wriggle their way onto millions of dinner plates to be enjoyed by millions of happy anglers.

This amazing annual phenomenon by the flounder occurs every Fall when they swim the gauntlet through the bays and passes to their ancestral spawning grounds in the Gulf Mexico. After spawning in 100ft depths the flounder hatchings, with eyes separated looking like normal fish, begin their massive homecoming towards warming bays where they transform into the species as we know them with eyes rotating to one side developing into flounder like features. After just one year in the shallow bays and sloughs the flounder grow from 8 to 10inches. Then in their 2nd year grow from 12- to- 15inches. Flounder that grow above 12inches become females while those holding at or below 12inches becoming males.

Legal catches in Texas are 14inches minimum with a 5 fish creel from January to October. Then, as a conservational effort by Texas Parks & Wildlife, the month of November resets limits for a 14inch with a two fish a day creel limit. But after November ends the regular limits re-apply. All anglers must comply with Texas rules and regulations with a state fishing license and a saltwater stamp. Failure to do so can result in stiff fines or even jail time.

Rollover Pass, -alias- Fish pass, or Flounder pass, is probably one of Galveston Bays most popular saltwater fishing sites, drawing from an estimated 150,000 visiting anglers who fish its tidal waters each year. Best known for its fishing conveniences anglers can bumper-up next to the action to enjoy "ruffing-it" with the creature comforts of air conditioning, televisions, and frigiddaired beverages. Motor-homes, camper trailers, and cab-over pick-em-ups line up side by side maneuver for fishing spots. Rollover Pass, well known for being user-friendly, makes it possible for physically impaired anglers to access the fishing area for enjoying the enjoyable with very little effort. There are also several RV Parks in the Rollover and Gilchrist area who cater to campers and motor homes.

Located on Bolivar Peninsula's scenic highway 87, betwixt the coastal resort towns of High Island and Crystal Beach, the 50 foot wide Pass cuts through the small, but active, fishing village of Gilchrist. Rollover Pass, reconstructed in 1956 to help improve the fishing conditions in the upper Galveston Bay system, the 1,700 foot long by 50 yard wide Pass allows incoming Gulf tides to breath new life into the bay system each day, with its outgoing bayside tides meeting incoming Gulf tides to help flush out the bay system. This constant tidal action has created a unique outdoor recreational opportunity for 1000's of anglers, as its tidal movements attract popular inshore fish species such as Speckled Trout, Redfish, Sheepshead, Black Drum, Golden Croaker, whiting, or Flounder, including other species such as pompano, Spanish mackerel, and shark.

The importance of this fishing area to the State of Texas, as well as to the 1,000's of fishing families who visit each year, can be re-viewed each time that you visit Rollover, where visitors from all walks of life arrive from "everywhere" to fish among vehicles sporting license plates from as far away as Oregon, Minnesota, and Canada can be seen nestled amongst the more local tags of Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana.

"The Flounder are probably our #1 species among our many fish attractions for the anglers, informed Ted Vega, President of the Gilchrist Community Assn; explaining the main popularity of Rollover Pass for the visiting anglers who target Rollover each year are during the major flounder runs of spring and Fall. "We experience in excess of 80,000 fishing public here each year during those flounder runs, adding that Rollover Pass is a maintained by the GCA for everyone to enjoy. "But", he reviewed, the Pass is under threat of being closed to the public by the GLO Gov: Land Office, and the Gilchrist community Assn; formed together to take over the legal battles for this "very important" fishing facility to keep it open to the public! "But to be able to do this, he petitions, "we need the help of the public keeping up with their trash around their fishing areas to help keep the area clean and neat for the next family of anglers to enjoy.

"We also hold several fund raisers throughout the year, Ted informed, stating the GCA also welcomes financial support from the public, by either joining as a supporting member, or through personal donations which are collected from the GCA jars placed throughout the Gilchrist and Bolivar Peninsula business community. "This helps us maintain the Pass as well cover the expense of our legal endeavors for keeping the pass open. We are hosting our first ever "Flounder-Fest" this year, with a tentative date set for the weekend of October 22, 2011. So we invite you all to come out and enjoy the festivities as well as the legendary flounder fishing that Rollover Pass is famous for.

Primetime flounder movements through the Pass will always pulse with the incoming or outgoing tide-changes, with the best action occurring during the high tide changes. Good sturdy rod & reels of medium to medium/heavy action, with strong-geared spinning or bait-casting reels spooled with at least 17 pound test lines, are recommended, but most any fishing tackle will suffice.

"It?s bottom rigging here folks, as Flounder are bottom feeders which require terminal tackle with 1oz no-roll type sinkers, and or, 2/0 circle or #8 treble drop-hooks, being used as a simple slip-rig with -sinker-swivel-3 ft leader-swivel-hook-bait. Best baits are fresh-dead shrimp, but the best producers are live finger mullet, live mud-minnows, or live shrimp. But for you sport anglers fly and ultra-light tackle can be fished on the flats where flounder often feed on the surface.

Artificial anglers use bottom bumping jigs with soft plastics or spoons definitely catch their share of flounder, with the new Berkley Gulp baits being among the best choice for artificial anglers. Another good choice would be the "Cajun-rig" which requires using 2inch long strips from the white belly of a flounder impaled on jigs which are then bounced or -massaged- along the bottom to attract the flounder bite. My personal choice for flounder however are the Berkley Gulp soft plastic lures, which are a soft plastics imbedded with an attracting scent. The Gulps really do work.

"JIGS" are NOT recommended however for use within the Pass due to snag-ups with bottom structure or "other" anglers are 100% assured. Most arti-anglers will fish the Gulf, or Bay side of the Pass, where they can either wade-fish or cast out into the less obstructed, and congested fishing areas.

Flounder, for the most part, are finicky feeders, with most anglers giving them time to swallow the bait prior to hook-setting, but experience has taught me to "immediately" set the hook as soon as I can feel the Flounder bite. Being of the flatfish family, the Flounder, which has both eyes on the color side of its body, is unique in that it will provide four filets- two from the upper color side and two from the bottom white side for the anglers to enjoy. Flounder are usually grilled or baked with crab and shrimp stuffing- or- my favorite, Cajun style Boudin - yum-yum- with others cut into strips, dipped in a tempura or Cajun fish fry seasoning then deep-fried to crispy purr-fection and served with seasoned French fries with your favorite chilled beverage ... ..."Oh My"

For more info on the Flounder-Fest scheduled for October 22, 2011-
Call Ted Vega at 713-545-6846 - or click to the rolloverpasstexas website -
or go to Face Book -intro- Rollover Pass
11-7-DSC-34- One Year old outgoing flounder with a one month old incoming hatchlin
Photo by Ed Snyder
1st Annual Flounder-Fest- Rollover Pass TX - Oct-22-2011.
Photo by Ed Snyder