The Other White Meat!
Tired of the same hum drum dinner night in and night out? Have you been eating so much chicken you about to sprout feather! Does the word pork sends you scurrying to the nearest mud puddle. Then good news fellow Texan cause it that time of year again when the bays all along the Texas coast are teaming with those beauties that we call Flounder. A particular Gulf Coast species that is just as delicious as it is ugly. As versatile at cooking as it is unappealing, it can be sautéed, grilled, baked, broiled, stuffed or fried. Then there is Flounder soup, Flounder salad, Flounder kabob, Flounder gumbo, Flounder pancakes, Up-side- down and right-side-up Flounder (you get the idea). That double eyed, one-sided flatties that inhabit our bays year round, but for some unknown reason only at this time of year make themselves available to even the novice of anglers. That time of year when catching one of these oddities of the depth is more the norm than the exception. When true connoisseurs of the wonder of nature that for some unknown reason decides around puberty that its better to have both eyes on one side of its head. Then because of its grotesques appearance live the rest of its life burying itself in the sand to hide its hideousness.
For those fortunate Texas anglers just like Mothers of ugly babies we have learn to overlook these strange outward appearances and love them for what they truly are. A platter full of melt in your mouth flavored white meat that has little or no rival along this great gulf coast. A quarry whose cunning and fighting expertise especially when matched with light tackle can stand toe to toe with the biggest of game fish species found in our Texas waters. A saltwater opponent that finally will give you a chance to utilize those long ago forgotten Bass fishing techniques that we had given up when switching to saltwater angling. A chance to dust off those ultra sensitive rods in the closet in order to feel those faint taps of a blanket size flounder. With enough backbone to horse him back to a waiting net once he is hooked. These much-awaited rights of fall are what many Gulf Coast anglers have been waiting all summer for. That along with Holiday season sitting in front of the boob tube with a Turkey leg, remote control and cold brew in hands ( if you have to ask how that is possible with only two hands dont wait for the explanation) makes putting up with the heat the other 8 month all worth while. Tack on that you will be shortly getting that new rod and reel combination, or a new pair on waders from Santa then I guess its true anglers never get old, they just get better/more expensive stuff on their Christmas list.
But what makes this the truly magical time of year, for the most part, the average Joe Blow angler doesnt need to mortgage the house to afford the ultimate in fishing paraphernalia. The only real criteria unless you are truly one of the manliness of men are a good set of thermal waders. That combined with a good four -wheel drive or good set of legs and a map and your all set. Scattered all along the Texas coast with some location being very well kept secret are bays just teaming with elusive flat fish. If wading through knee deep mud flats with a stringer full of flounder in tow is your idea of fun then your time is at hand. A well placed jig (with a piece of shrimp on the tip of the hook), a mud minnow or live shrimp bounced along the bottom is all you need. Wait for that soon to be familiar faint tap and set the hook. Soon one of those Flatties will be swimming through your legs dodging that mud soak net that he is so good at eluding. In a couple of hours youll be heading toward the truck that somehow seems to be a couple of miles further down the beach than you remember parking it that morning. Later that night with aching muscles that you had long ago forgotten and the smell of Mentholatum filtering through your nostrils. You can sit down to one of the most delicious meals you have tasted since this time last year. And say a prayer that night that you were fortunate to catch your limit that afternoon, to give yourself a chance to recuperate before doing it again next week.
That freak of nature is what the entire hubbub is about in fall fishing. Scattered all along those shallow waters that you were so careful not to run aground during you summer fishing. Among all the lower units and busted props cemeteries of the estuaries in our bays is Flounder country in the fall. Like ducks on the water youll find hundred of shallow running boats out on those dreaded flats most with lines bent with flounders on the other end of the line. Busy filling their ice chest full with slabs of delicious white succulent meat. During the next few months anglers throughout the state will be using up there accumulated time off from work. Those that have already used theirs up will be frantically trying to remember the name of the last Aunt or Uncle that died so not to get caught in the proverbially death in the family excuse. More anglers will call in sick to work in the next few months than the average high school counselor receives in a year. Boats will get those finals few runs out into the bay before being put up for a short winter nap. And reels will get those final few droplets of saltwater before hopefully being cleaned and stored. And anglers will get that last bit of fishing in before turning into couch potatoes for the remainder of the year.
For those unfortunate anglers that are still not quite convinced that Flounder is not all that it is cracked up to be, here is the top ten reason for anglers to try Flat fishing..
10. Where else can a full grown man tromp through the mud without recalling those familiar spankings he got as a child or being yelled at by a drill Sargent.
9.Although you may not realize it at the time youll be surrounded by some of the most pristine settings that Texas has to offer.
8. Areas that hold Flounder can usually double as a good duck hunting area as long as the law allows or you dont get caught.
7. If the family dog and kids are along, flounders can also double as a Frisbee, which should keep both occupied for a couple of hours.
6. Those that also enjoy the taste of Stingray will usually come across a couple in the quest for the elusive flounder, if you get my point.
5. When properly dried they make an excellent ashtray or serving dish. Your Mom can finally replace that crappy one you made for her in cub scouts.
4. Because of their flat features they can be stacked very easily and it takes quite a few to fill up a freezer.
3. You will finally be able to prove to your favorite sister in law at least in her case there is definitive proof that she did not evolve from the apes.
2. Those angler bored with catching beyond their limits can usually cull their catch by skipping the smaller fish along the waters and see how many time he skips before finally sinking.
1. And number one reason to try Flounder fishing is because they are so damn good especially when stuffed and accompanied with a cold brewski.