The days are rare when I have more than enough good fishing news to report in this column. The unseasonable front that skipped through the area so quickly that you may have slept through it, apparently did very little to slow down the bite both on the lakes and right here on Sabine.

I know we are in perhaps the toughest time of the year for Rayburn and Toledo Bend fishermen as the bass transition to deeper water following the spawn, but that is no reason to sell out on your dreams of catching a double-digit bass. If the massive field of anglers competing in last week’s Big Bass Splash on Rayburn did not bolster your confidence with that truckload of big bass, perhaps this report off Toledo Bend will!

Friday night, prior to the front, Davis Peltier caught and released a 10.33- pound bass that he caught in fourteen feet of water on a black-red flake lizard. He said that he missed two other big fish before boating the best bass of his life. That fish came out of the Toro Bay area.

Over a seven-day span prior to that catch, three bass over 10-pounds were weighed in on the Louisiana side of the lake with the largest only a fraction of an ounce shy of 12-pounds.

If bass fishing is not your thing, the recent crappie bite has more than made up for the dismal winter bite at the Chicken Coops on the north end. The Falgout family spent all last week at the lake fishing for nothing but crappie and they had a ball.

“We were going to fish at night after doing well the weekend before, but we were able to catch all we wanted during the day last week,” reported Dane Falgout. They strolled 1/16th-ounce smoke-silver flake jigs in 12 to 14 feet of water to catch most of their fish.

“Our largest crappie weighed maybe a pound and a half, but we caught 30 to 40 nice fish every day,” said the retired pipe fitter. “Our bite would end around ten o’clock each morning and kick back off around four
o’clock in the evening.”

I also talked with Stuart Greer briefly this week and he could not wait to get back up to The Bend. Much better known for his bass catching talents, Greer said that he had been wearing out the big crappie fishing small jigs on the outside of the moss in 10 to12 feet of water.

The best part of Greer’s report was that he had not been strolling to catch his fish. “They are holding so tight that once you find them you can back off and cast to them like we used to do,” he said. It has been a while since you have been able to cast to a single school of fish and catch them every cast. Outside of vertical jigging a brush pile that is as good as it gets.

Right here on the home front, the fishing news is equally good from the river all the way down to the jetties. The water has just gotten clearer every day in the bayous and the river and local anglers have been all over a variety of fish.

The bite that is no longer a secret thanks to Barry Leger’s three nice catfish last week has involved fishing the tide changes in cuts around the Vinton Drain Ditch or the Shell Cut. A number of local anglers have been catching very good numbers of both bar fish and channel cats up to five pounds over the last couple of weeks.

Leger said that he arrived at his favorite spot too late Wednesday so he opted to look for less crowded water in another drain off the Intracoastal. After catching several bar fish and a couple of drum, the big catfish found him. “I caught three catfish on consecutive casts that weighed 46-pounds and had to leave because I didn’t have a big enough ice chest. I was afraid to put them on a stringer,” he added.

The bar fish, gaspergou, and channel cats have been active all week long in areas like Burton’s and the mouth of Conway’s Bayou. Clarence Byers and his son, Keith, used fresh shrimp to box a very good catch in Black’s Bayou Saturday evening. They kept four big flounder, a slot red, nine catfish, and two Texas legal bass.

Gerald Sheane drove down Sunday morning from the Jacksonville area in hopes of catching a big trout off the south end of the lake. “We fished the reef hard all morning and caught only two keeper trout,” reported Sheane.

After running to the jetties and tearing up a troll motor prop fishing the Lighthouse cove reefs, they returned to finish the day on the reefs north of the Causeway. “We drifted the Louisiana side which was shallower and had less shell only because we had done so poorly on the more popular Texas side that morning.”

A quarter of a mile south of Blue Buck, Sheane’s brother-in-law caught their first nice trout of the day, a five-pound fish that they released.

Only a handful of casts later, Sheane stuck what he thought to be a big slot red on a five-inch Morning Glory Assassin.

“It turned out to be the biggest trout of my life,” said the still excited angler. “She weighed 9.88-pounds on my digital scales and still had half of a ribbonfish sticking out of her mouth. We took a picture of her with our cell phone and let her go. I am a bass fisherman so length didn’t mean anything to me, but I think she was about four-feet long,” laughed Sheane.