Flounder Fishing, The Rise of the Forgotten Flounder-Texas Parks and Wildlife [Official]

(Boat motor) >> IT'S SUNRISE ON CHOCOLATE BAYOU IN WEST GALVESTON BAY BRYAN TREADWAY >> OH >> OH, THAT WAS MONEY RIGHT THERE! >> AND ROBERT GOODE FOCUS THEIR FISHING EFFORTS ON FLOUNDER

(Wind and waves) >> CHOCOLATE BAYOU IS AN EXCELLENT SPOT FOR FLOUNDER, IT'S REALLY WE HAVE OF THE SHALLOWEST BAYS IN ALL THE COAST AND REALLY AND TRULY WE HAVE THE ABSOLUTE BEST PLACE TO FISH IN THE WORLD RIGHT IN OUR OWN BACK YARD >> I THINK I'VE GOT A HIT! FISH ON, FISH ON! >> AND IT DOESN'T TAKE LONG BEFORE BRYAN CATCHES THE FIRST FLOUNDER OF THE DAY >> I GIVE YOU THE SOUTHERN FLOUNDER LIVE TO BE ABOUT SIX YEARS OF AGE, THEY CAN GET UP TO 10 POUNDS, THE STATE RECORD'S 13 POUNDS, SO A 20" FLOUNDER IS CONSIDERED A TROPHY FISH! (Water splashes) (Music) >> THEIR FLATTENED SHAPE AND UNCANNY ABILITY TO CHANGE COLORS TO MATCH THEIR SURROUNDINGS MAKES THE FLOUNDER NEARLY INVISIBLE

FOUND THROUGHOUT TEXAS BAYS AND IN THE GULF WHERE THEY SPAWN IN WINTER, THEY PREFER SHALLOW MUD OR SANDY BOTTOMS >> THE EDGE OF THE SHORELINE IS A PRIME EXAMPLE OF WHAT YOU WANT TO FISH IT'S NOT FLAT, IT'S SIMPLY CURVY, AND LOTS OF POINTS, LOTS OF EDGES, DRAINS THAT ARE COMING OUT OF THE MARSH! IT'S JUST A PRIME EXAMPLE OF GREAT GREAT TERRAIN FOR THE FLOUNDER >> THERE'S A FISH! OH! GOT ONE! >> THERE HE IS! >> BAMBINO! GOT A JUVENILE ABOUT 10, 12 INCHES LONG! YEAH THEY HAVE EXTREMELY, EXTREMELY SHARP TEETH, THAT'S THEIR MAIN WEAPON BABY SOUTHERN FLOUNDER! (Water gurgles) >> ONCE NIGHT FALLS ON TEXAS BAYS

>> YOU SEE ANYTHING COE? >> NOT RIGHT NOW >> FOLKS HAVE A DIFFERENT WAY OF GOING AFTER FLOUNDER COE PARKER AND HIS DAD KELLEY SHINE THEIR LIGHTS IN CHRISTMAS BAY (Water splashes) >> OH SHOOT! >> STEPPED ON EM? >> STEPPED ON EM I MISSED EM, LET ME SEE IF I CAN FIND ANOTHER ONE REAL QUICK

I SAW A FEW OVER HERE! >> WITH LIGHTS AND A LITTLE LUCK THE PARKERS ARE LOOKING TO GIG SOME FLOUNDER >> THE TOOLS YOU'LL NEED FOR GIGGING ARE A GOOD GIG TWO PRONGED PREFERABLY I HAVE MINE MARKED OFF WITH THE LEGAL SIZE LIMIT UM YOU HAVE AN UNDERWATER GIG LIGHT, ALONG WITH A 12-VOLT DEER FEEDER BATTERY THAT'S PRETTY MUCH ALL YOU NEED

>> IT'S GOTTEN CLEARER UP HERE, BUT IT'S AWFUL SHALLOW TOO! (Water splashes) TYPICALLY I DO THIS IN THE SUMMERTIME, AND SO LATE IN THE EVENING IT'S NICE AND COOL NOT WORRIED ABOUT A SUN BURN, SO IT'S RELAXING, YOU AREN'T WORKING UP A SWEAT AND IT'S VERY ENJOYABLE, VERY PEACEFUL! (Water splashes) >> AND FOR THE PARKERS, PATIENCE AND A KEEN EYE PAYS OFF >> HURRY, HURRY, HURRY BEFORE IT GOES! THICK CLOUDS GONNA GET OVER IT! GO (Gig splashes as it slams water) >> THAT ACTUALLY LOOKS LIKE A GULF FLOUNDER

>> I KNEW THERE WAS ONE HIDING OUT HERE SOMEWHERE >> YA THERE VERY HARD TO FIND AND A LOT OF PEOPLE FIRST TIME GIGGING ASK WHAT THEY'RE LOOKING FOR AND LITERALLY YOU'RE LOOKING FOR WHAT WE CALL THE IMPRINT IT'S THE OUTLINE OF THE FLOUNDER SO IT LOOKS LIKE A FOOTBALL WITH A TAIL THAT'S HOW I KIND OF DESCRIBE IT TO NEW PEOPLE THAT ARE COMING OUT TO THE SPORT >> SAMPLING SURVEYS THROUGHOUT TEXAS BAYS

>> GOT A FEW NICE REDS COMING! >> SHOW THAT THE OTHER TWO POPULAR SPORT FISH, SPOTTED SEA TROUT AND REDFISH ARE DOING FAIRLY WELL >> 493 >> BUT THOSE SURVEYS DO INDICATE A DECLINE IN THE NUMBERS OF SOUTHERN FLOUNDER >> PRETTY! >> WE'VE HAD A SLOW BUT STEADY DECREASE IN FLOUNDER POPULATION THROUGHOUT THE COAST OF TEXAS THERE'S BEEN WORSE IN SOME BAYS THAN IT HAS IN OTHERS BUT IT'S JUST BEEN A SLOW DECLINE

(Flounder splashes water) >> DATA SUGGESTS A LOWER NUMBER OF FEMALES, OVERFISHING, AND LOSS DUE TO SHRIMP BY CATCH ARE SOME OF THE MAIN PROBLEMS (Trawl dumps catch) SO NOW COASTAL FISH HATCHERIES NEWEST CHALLENGE IS TO BOOST THE SOUTHERN FLOUNDER POPULATION >> THE WHOLE POINT OF THE STOCKING ENHANCEMENT PROGRAM IS TO BE ABLE TO SUPPLEMENT THE NATURAL POPULATION WITH FISH >> THERE COMES SOME EGGS! FLOUNDER ARE TOTALLY DIFFERENT FROM REDFISH AND TROUT IT'S A WHOLE NEW BALLGAME SO WE'RE AT THE BEGINNING STAGES OF LEARNING HOW TO CULTURE THIS FISH >> ONE OF THE PROBLEMS FOR SHANE AND THE STOCKING TEAM IS THEY NEED MORE OF THESE MALE BROODERS TO FERTILIZE THE FEMALES

(Boat engine) >> THEY'RE ALMOST ALWAYS NEXT TO THESE REEFS >> USING NETS THE STOCKING TEAM IS ON THE LOOKOUT >> LITTLE BIT DEEPER HERE! (Air boat revs) YOU HAVE SO MANY FACTORS THAT CAN GO AGAINST YOU, WHETHER IT'S THE WIND OR A STRONG TIDE, AND THEN OF COURSE THE VISIBILITY IS NOT OPTIMAL >> I TRY TO LOOK FOR A TRIANGLE, CAUSE LIKE IT'S, THE EYES AND THE NOSE THEY KIND OF FORM LIKE A LITTLE, LITTLE BITTIE POINT THAT I'M LOOKING FOR >> AND IT DOESN'T TAKE LONG BEFORE THE ACTION HEATS UP

>> OH! I'M GONNA GUIDE THE BOAT TO IT (Music) HARD DOWN, THERE YOU GO! >> DID I GET HIM? >> I THINK YOU GOT EM! THAT'S A NICE FISH

>> I WAS NERVOUS I ALWAYS THINK I GOT EM TILL THEY SWIM OFF! (Music) >> YOU BRING THAT LITTLE FELLA IN HERE! THAT IS A GOOD SIZE MALE! GO AHEAD! GOT HIM! >> THE TEAM NEEDS SEVERAL MALES ALIVE AND WELL! >> WHEN YOU COME OUT HERE AND CATCH ONE OF THESE GUYS AND PUT YOUR HANDS ON EM AND KNOW THAT YOU'RE GONNA TAKE THEM BACK TO THE HATCHERY AND THEY ARE POTENTIALLY GOING TO PRODUCE THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF FINGERLINGS YOU CAN'T EXPLAIN IT, YOU CAN'T PUT A PRICE ON IT SO WERE VERY HAPPY TO BE ABLE TO DO THIS AND BE PRODUCTIVE AT DOING IT! NICE WORK! THERE'S A LITTLE BIT OF MILT COMING OUT IT'S JUST THAT CLOUDY WHITISH LOOKING SUBSTANCE >> WITH MORE BROODERS BACK AT THE HATCHERY THEY ARE ABLE TO PRODUCE THOUSANDS OF SMALL FLOUNDER LARVAE

(Waves) AFTER THREE MONTHS IT'S TIME TO HELP BOOST THE WILD POPULATION WITH THESE HATCHERY RAISED FLOUNDER >> WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO IS RELEASE SOME OF THESE FINGERLINGS INTO THIS NICE ESTUARINE HABITAT AND WE'VE GOT A REALLY GOOD INCOMING TIDE AND REALLY GOOD SHORELINE WITH A LOT OF GRASS, A LOT OF COVER AND PROTECTION FOR THESE FISH >> IF WERE ABLE TO STOCK FISH INTO AREAS THAT ARE NEEDED, THEN THAT IS JUST ANOTHER ADDITIONAL TOOL TO HELP THE POPULATION RECOVER >> IT'S A BEAUTIFUL THING! (Music) >> I'VE CAUGHT A LOT OF FISH OVER THE YEAR'S RIGHT HERE! >> YOU GET HIM! >> FOR BRYAN AND ROBERT THE THRILL OF CATCHING FLOUNDER KEEPS THEM FISHING ALL DAY, ALL YEAR LONG >> WHAT A NICE ONE! >> AND HOPEFULLY, FOR ALL ANGLERS, THESE FISH WILL BE PLENTIFUL AGAIN

>> THE WAY THEY'RE SHAPED, THEY'RE REALLY FLAT, AND THEY GO FROM JUST BEING NOTHING AND THEN IT'S LIKE A BASS! I THINK THE FLOUNDER IS ON A HUGE UPSWING, AND THEY'RE STARTING TO LET EM GO! I MEAN THEY LET A TON GO LAST YEAR IN PLACES THAT NEEDED IT! YA KNOW IF THEY CAN DO IT WITH TROUT AND RED FISH THEN HOPEFULLY THEY CAN DO IT WITH THE FLOUNDER

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