Gigging The Night Away
The joys of Corpus Christi and North Padre Island seem to be limitless during the day, but what about for that fisher-person at night? As luck would have it, Corpus Christi’s proximity to the Gulf of Mexico makes it a great activity for the whole family – and a boat is not required, although there are many guides that can plan an awesome and fun gigging trip!
Flounder gigging opportunities across the Gulf Coast of Texas are plentiful throughout the year, but be sure to click here for the most up-to-date bag and length limits for saltwater species from Texas Parks and Wildlife. And in case you were wondering, yes this tasty flatfish is a relative to the other species such as soles, turbot, plaice, and halibut, depending where you call home.
So how does one gig for flounder without a boat? First, you need a fishing license. Many bait shops and outdoor stores sell these for daily or yearly use; just make sure you get a saltwater endorsement. Now that the legal paperwork is out of the way, the two most important items are a gig and light. Pioneers of the sport will still hold true that walking the flats with an old-fashioned or battery operated lantern, peering into the shallow depths for our camouflaged prizes is the best way to go. Others employ high-powered, battery operated submersible lights, with batteries being waterproofed and towed behind in inflatables or strapped in backpacks. Yes, it can make you look a bit like a Ghostbuster, but that’s part of the fun!
You will also need some shoes for wading the flats. People have used old sneakers, wading shoes or diving boots. Just watch out for stingrays. They tend to get startled when stepped on (who wouldn’t?!) and will expose their only line of defense: a barb, which could end your gigging trip relatively fast.
Depending on how far you want to walk the flats and how long you plan on being on the water, drinks and snacks are a must! Hydration is important!
Let’s also not forget an adventure isn’t complete without proof, so bring a camera. You will see a lot of interesting creatures in the shallows, ranging from crustaceans to fish, and showing off your catch is always worth showing your friends and family!
The gig, our other main piece of equipment for this adventure, a special apparatus used to take the fish out of the water to place on a stringer, or in an ice chest/bucket. This sounds difficult, but actually, it’s pretty simple with some practice!
What exactly are you looking for when gigging? Well, at first, it can be a little tricky. Since flounder are ambush predators, the “bury” themselves in the sand and change colors to blend in with their surroundings. What you are looking for is basically a camouflaged, flat football of sorts in water ranging from 2” – 2’ deep. Below is an example of what to look for:
And this is where a flounder was recently!
It's highly recommended to keep your electronics and license in a Drybag/Ziplock Bag. It was an expensive learning experience that someone in our fishing group (eh – hum not me) recently discovered and resulted in replacing a two-week old iPhone.
BONUS: If you’re gigging flounder or catching any other fish for that matter, you should check out our article Coastal Bend Seafood and have it freshly prepared by some of Corpus Christi’s top chefs. It really is rewarding to eat your own freshly caught catch seasoned and grilled (or fried) to perfection!
We hope to see you on the water and if you have any questions, please feel free to “drop us a line” :)