The southern flounder is perhaps one of the most delectable fish caught in the Texas Coastal Bend. The flounder is an unusual fish that swims near the bottom of the bay, parallel to the bottom, and uses his unique camouflage to ambush prey from drop offs, current swept points, and by burying himself in the sandy flats.
Flounder can tolerate a variety of salinity levels from the pure fresh water of estuaries to the high salinity of Baffin Bay. However, the largest populations of flounder will be found in moderately saline waters.
The bays of the Coastal Bend have prolific populations of flounder during March through December. This is the time of year that the larger female flounder come into the bays to feed after spawning. Virtually all flounder caught in the bay system are female. The smaller males tend to stay in the Gulf of Mexico year round.
Male flounder only grow to about 12 inches long, but the females that roam the bay system can grow up to 25 inches. The largest females are commonly referred to as “door mats” along the Texas Coast.
Because they spend all of their life roaming and laying on the bottom of the bay and gulf, adult flounder have both eyes on the same side of their head. Interestingly, they are not born this way! When they are less than a half of an inch long, their right eye begins migrating to the other side of their head and by the time they are an inch long, both eyes are on the same side of their head. This left side begins turning dark to blend in with the bottom and the right side of the flounder’s body is rarely exposed to sunlight and turns white.
The southern flounder is a unique game fish along the Texas Coastal Bend. It is highly sought after for it’s the quality meat and the unique techniques used to catch it.