Big Lake gives up big flounder

November is prime time for doormat action in the Calcasieu Ship Channel at Big Lake.
November is prime time for doormat action in the Calcasieu Ship Channel at Big Lake.

Starting in mid-October and peaking in November, saltwater fishermen enjoy some of the best fishing — then feasting — the coast has to offer in the Calcasieu Ship Channel along the western edge of Big Lake.

Fishing success for flounder — I’m talking doormat-size flounder — will be good to great in November along that stretch, according to Capt. Kirk Stansel.

The smaller males start biting in October, but the bigger ones — the females, which grow faster — go on a tear in November.

“November is the month,” Stansel said. “The cold fronts came and the big females come out (of the marsh), really nice big flounder.”

Most of the action happens up and down the Calcasieu Ship Channel from Hackberry to the Cameron Jetties, said Stansel, one of three brothers who co-own the Hackberry Rod and Gun Club. Any nooks or points can harbor the hungry flatfish, or they might be on a ledge in 10-foot depths, he said.

Some of the more likely places to hook up with doormats are at the Older River Washout and the jetties. Look for eddies in the shallows and fish slowly, dragging the bottom with your presentation, and probe the depths.

“You’ve got to figure them out,” Stansel said.

His favorite flounder catching technique is to use a tandem-rigged Gulp 3-inch mullet combination on ¼- or 3/8-ounce ljigheads. He uses a 6 ½-foot medium rod as opposed to a medium-light stick, and braided line attached to a 30-pound monofilament leader — with one of the lures 18 inches below the braid, and the other 9 inches below.

If the flounder fishing is slow, tip the artificials with shrimp. That works, but if croakers (and there are plenty of them now) eat the shrimp off the hook, use one of the croakers for bait. Cut a thin strip about 3 or 4 inches long with some skin and meat and put that on the hook — results should be rewarding.

Carolina-rigged live cocahoes also account for many flounder this time of year, Stansel said. Fish them on a 1/0 or 2/0 kahle hook under a 3/8-ounce egg sinker or split-shot weight, the latter of which is quicker to work with. Stansel noted he employs a surgeon’s knot to tie on the leader.

The clearer the water, the better, he said, adding that he prefers to fish for flounder on a falling tide.

There is a hotspot that gives up plenty of flounder to anglers in boats as well as wade fishermen, he said, noting the area around Louisiana 182 between the Gulf of Mexico and the Cameron Ferry is a honey hole.

Many a wade fisherman, some armed with 10-foot poles, mop up on the flatfish around there, he said.

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About Don Shoopman 450 Articles
Don Shoopman fishes for freshwater and saltwater species mostly in and around the Atchafalaya Basin and Vermilion Bay. He moved to the Sportsman’s Paradise in 1976, and he and his wife June live in New Iberia. They have two grown sons.