Star tournament and great bite coincide
All of the positive signs were in place – it was simply a matter of the wind giving us a break. The phenomenal bite that we had been waiting on actually kicked off the weekend before when a handful of skilled trout fishermen posted very respectable weights in the Cabela’s trout tournament.
Albert Bates and Damon Mayfield blew the field away with 12 trout over a two-day period that averaged four pounds per fish – and all of their fish came off Sabine. The water clarity continued to improve and all of a sudden everyone is a good fisherman again!
I am not sure how it worked out that way, but I alternated ends of the lake everyday last week and even fished a little bit of the middle of the lake. Up until the latter part of the week we ran south to catch trout and stayed on this end to take advantage of a very good flounder and redfish bite.
I can only wish that I could still take clients in the canals and bayous in the Game Reserve as the flounder bite in there right now is reminiscent of the bite in the early ‘80s. I made one trip in there while scouting and limited in less than an hour on 15- to 22-inch flounder. I kept no redfish, but caught at least a dozen slot fish before calling it a morning.
The surest bet was fishing some form of GULP or BLURP on a quarter ounce jig head. BLURP is a scented plastic that is not as effective when fished on a jig head as GULP, but it comes in a variety of proven shapes and sizes and is a killer when fished as a spinner bait body. The vibration of the blade and the scent of the plastic are just too much for redfish to ignore and flounder will eat it as well.
The shock for me thus far has been the ratio of keeper flounder to throwbacks. On the last three flounder expeditions we kept a total of 48 flounder and caught only 4 undersized fish. It has been that way all spring which I view as a bad omen for the flounder population. Regardless of any positive effect of reducing creel limits, if we continue to keep only female flounder I am thinking that somewhere down the line there isn’t going to be a whole lot of breeding going on!
The trout bite on the south end just got better every day in spite of more pressure than the fish had seen in a long time. We caught fish all the way from the Causeway reef to the jetties on everything from plastics to topwaters. I feel certain the afternoon bite was to kill for, but we were done early each day and never sampled that action.
The folks fishing live shrimp under popping corks caught a fish every cast as far as I could tell. It was only marginally harder for us most days. The bite would start over very shallow shell early with the fish moving only slightly deeper later in the day. We would start out with She Dogs and Skitterwalks and switch to Assassins in darker colors as the fish moved deeper.
Johnny Cormier caught the largest trout that our group saw last week, a fine 28-inch fish, but the group caught several more fish over the 25-inch mark that were released and a world of 22 to 24-inch trout as well. The redfish were also on the move all over the lake. We hooked up with some very nice slot fish on the reef including several that we could not do anything with in the strong tide change.
Betty Vail won her battle with a huge red while fishing the jetties with live bait last week. She and husband, Robert, made an afternoon trip and she caught the largest red that she has ever taken on a rod and reel. I don’t know how much it weighed, but the picture she emailed filled up the whole screen with redfish!
The STAR tournament is officially underway and folks fishing Sabine Lake are going to take home their fair share of both money and prizes this year. If you haven’t signed up, do so in a hurry as the tournament lasts all summer and it makes each outing a little more interesting. Richard and Peggy Albair over at Bridge City Bait on Cow Bayou are back up and running and, once again, their place is an official weigh-in site.
Gene Locke and I stopped in last week after a great morning of fishing and we could smell shrimp frying before we ever got out of the car. The restaurant is almost complete and you can eat inside, but all of the cooking is taking place in a kitchen out front right now. I usually cannot resist one of Peggy’s shrimp poor boys, but we opted for hamburger baskets this time. It was not only delicious; I love the smothered onions, but possibly the biggest hamburger I have ever eaten!
It sure makes it hard to stay on the water and grind away through the middle of the day when you know you can run right up to their back door in your boat, cool off inside, and eat more than you should ever eat at one sitting!