- Rollover Fish Pass, located on
the upper Texas coast, on Bolivar Peninsula, is one of the most fisherman
friendly places you'll ever visit.
- The reason why is simple. You don't need a boat. It is either bank
fishing, or wadefishing. And guess what, it's loaded with trout, reds,
flounder, croaker and sandtrout during the fall. What more could you ask
- Rollover Pass is just that. It is a pass linking East Galveston Bay
to the Gulf of Mexico. It's been there for years, but recently it got a
face lift. The concrete walls forming the pass have been replaced. There
are rails to keep you from falling in the water. And it's handicapped accessible.
- Thousands of anglers converge on this fishing hotspot throughout the
year. But the fall months offer the peak times for angler visitation here.
The reason why is simple - fish, lots of them.
- The big draw is the flounder run. It cranks up in October and continues
into November, depending on the amount of cold weather we get. The migration
of flounder from East Bay through the pass and into the Gulf creates quite
a draw for fishermen to Rollover Pass.
- I've been fishing the fall flounder run at Rollover for decades and
can say from experience it's great. This is one of the few places where
anglers can fish from a lawn chair and catch one of the tastiest fish this
side of Mars.
- And catching those flounder is easy. The most popular method is to
rig up with a bottom rig that's baited with either a live shrimp, mud minnow,
finger mullet or shad. All can either be caught with a cast net or purchased
at one of the bait camps adjacent to the pass.
- There are two tactics to use when fishing a bottom rig. One is to use
enough weight to keep it on one spot. The other is to use just enough weight
to allow the bait to bounce along the bottom with the current. If there
is a crowd at the pass, you are better off using enough weight to keep
your bait in one spot so you don't tangle with other lines. (Reference
the Wells Forecast for times of currents. Editor)
- Dead shrimp fished on bottom is an excellent way to catch an assortment
of fish such as golden croaker, whiting and sandtrout. These are all great
eating fish. But the trick to making them taste great is to put them on
ice quickly. Do not let them dangle from a stringer in the water. They
lose a lot of flavor that way.
- A lot of redfish are caught in the pass by anglers soaking dead and
live baits. A few trout are caught as well.
- The way most anglers catch trout is by wading and using either live
baits or lures. There are two very popular areas for trout fishing. One
is in the surf. The other is in the back bay on the north end of the pass.
- Fishing the Surf
- The surf can be a tricky option, depending on the amount of current
moving through the pass. By the way, current is something that is a factor
in the pass. It's good for fishing, but life threatening if you don't treat
it with respect. Definitely, you don't want to swim in the pass. Conversely,
wadefishing is a very good option. You just don't want to throw caution
to the wind.
- Wading the surf and the back bay is one of the best ways to catch a
mixed bag of flounder, trout and reds. However, fishing the surf, where
the pass meets the Gulf, is definitely the hands down best tactic for catching
- Again, be warned, the currents in the surf can be very strong. Don't
wade out too far. If you can feel the sand being peeled out from under
your feet, it's time to back up closer to the bank.
- Mullet imitation plugs are deadly on surf run trout. Last fall I saw
some incredible stringers of trout caught at the mouth of the pass. Most
were caught on slow sinking MirrOlures. One of the best was the Catch 2000
- That's a color combination that looks a whole lot like a mullet. Other
good color combinations are black/white, bone or white/chartreuse.
- The best time to fish the mouth of the pass is on an outgoing tide.
That's when all sorts of baitfish will be moving into the Gulf with the
current. What I like to do is set up on the west side of the pass and cast
a lure up current and slowly twitch it as it moves into the surf. Quite
often you can find trout bunched up in the guts adjacent to the mouth of
the pass. Generally, where you catch one trout, there will be plenty more.
- The unique thing about fishing the mouth of the pass is that the trout
are normally pretty chunky, as in the 3 to 7 pound class. So go prepared
to catch some hard fighting trout that have the current to back them up.
I like to use a bait casting rig in that situation.
- My favorite is a Pflueger Trion bait casting reel, seated on a Pflueger
Trion rod that's 7 feet long and set up to fish 15 pound test line. The
reel has a silky smooth drag, that is definitely an asset when big trout
take off in the surf. The long rod is perfect for making long casts to
pods of baitfish or trout slapping the surface. Plus it's got enough backbone
to handle the bull reds that roam the surf along with trout.
- To catch those bull reds you'll do best by soaking a chunk of a fresh
dead mullet. Surf fishing ace Terry Harris has caught a ton of bull reds
at Rollover Pass. His favorite bait is the head portion of a mullet. He
says it puts out more scent than the tail half.
- The fall bull red run can be outstanding at the mouth of the pass,
especially on outgoing tides. If you've got a storm in the area that's
creating a strong tidal situation the bulls will go on a major feed.
- Fishing the Bay
- Wadefishing in the back bay area of Rollover is one of the best ways
to catch trout, reds and flounder. On either side of the pass you'll have
2 to 3 foot deep flats. On a high tide the flats can be loaded with flounder
- However, your best bet is to wade the flat and fish the channel drop.
More often than not you can see the drop, it'll have green water flowing
through it. Don't wade into the channel. That could be a problem.
- Soft plastic jigs are best along the drop. I like to rig up with a
1/4 or 1/8 ounce jig head. My favorite soft plastics on the Rollover flats
are the Yum Houdini Shad, Samurai Shad and the Croaker Curltail. The Samurai
is especially good since it looks just like a finger mullet moving through
- A Mansfield Mauler (or similar rattle float rig) is deadly when worked
on the flat during an incoming tide. Actually it's best when worked right
where the flat drops off into the channel. The slush and rattle noise made
by this rig is deadly on trout, reds and flounder in the pass. I like to
fish Samurai Shad or Croaker Curltail jigs about 18 inches below a Mauler.
You want to work this rig with a stop-go-stop retrieve. The noise of the
rattle float will attract the fish. And the slow sinking jig will catch
them. It's deadly.
- Another very good option in the pass is night fishing. Some of the
best anglers here know that trout fishing under the lights can be fantastic.
What they do is set up lights and fish live or artificial baits for trout.
Small soft plastic jigs are good on a green tide. Live shrimp are best
on a sandy tide.
- Rollover Fish Pass is a bank and wadefisherman's paradise. It's good
year round, but it really turns on during the fall. See ya there!
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