It comes as no surprise that the first wave of Corkies made only a brief appearance in area Academy stores this past week. While the stores had a pretty generous initial stocking, it took only a hand full of desperate anglers to quickly sack up the more popular colors.

The folks traveling from the Houston area arrived with lengthy lists of preferred colors and models and even resident anglers emptied the pegs if a certain color was still available. There are already more Corkies on the way and the mania will undoubtedly wane over the next month or so, but the frenzy surprised no one.

While the Corky is not merely some fad, having earned its stripes with trophy trout fishermen for years, it is still a seasonal lure for most anglers. Due to a very cold winter thus far, the Corky bite could remain strong through March, but I would not rush out to buy one thinking that you have found the magic lure.

“A lot of these people will fish their new Corky one time and never pick it up again,” predicted Johnny Cormier after buying the last of one color at the mid-county Academy. “You have to let the lure fish itself, it works best on the most miserable weather days, and the average fisherman just cannot fish it slow enough to make it work.”

Regardless of how abundant your supply of Corkies or any other confidence lures, you had to really be mad at the fish to stay with it on Sabine this past week. We had been doing okay on the trout and very good on reds while fishing our way through near freezing mornings and windy afternoons for a month, but the downpours this past week compounded the difficulty factor.

Regardless of how clear the water may be or how protected your limited stretch of shoreline is, you have to constantly remind yourself how much fun you are having when you are standing chest deep in the water with a driving rain forcing its way through any opening in your rain gear. The increased runoff this week will not help, but a few consecutive warmer days could more than compensate for the additional fresh water.

While we spent a week cursing the rain on Sabine, the bass fishing continued to improve on Toledo Bend for those anglers dedicated enough to weather the cold. Depending on how far north and how far back in the creeks you fished, the water temperature ranged from 45-49 degrees.

A current in the lake due to generating and muddy water are being blamed for the slow crappie bite above Pendleton Bridge, but bass fishermen have done well slow rolling red or chartreuse-white half-ounce spinner baits in 5 to 6 feet of water. The most consistent bite is taking place in wooded creeks during the afternoon hours.
J.B. Welles and his son, Arlin, caught 7 to 10 bass up to 8.6-pounds every afternoon last Wednesday through Friday slow rolling spinner baits in 8 to 10 feet of water. They fished grass breaks in both Toro and Housen bay. “We caught more bass in the mornings working 25 foot tree lines with a drop-shot and watermelon-candy Centipedes, but most of the fish were small,” reported Welles.

I am assuming the extremely cold weather is the culprit, but the catching has been exceptionally difficult on Rayburn for the past month. In the January Bass-n-Bucks event only ten teams even caught five fish. The winning catch was a very respectable, or maybe I should say incredible 21.3 pounds considering the poor bite, but even the winners only weighed in four fish and one of those fish was a 10-pounder.

It took just 9 pounds to win the recent FLW Collegiate series last week and those young men can fish. Cory Rambo and Rusty Clark did manage to solve the puzzle to some degree in winning the recent Angler’s Quest event with a solid 19.10-pound limit of bass. Second place, however, dropped to 12 pounds and only four other teams had limits.

If your casting finger is getting a little itchy you might want to simply scratch it and go back to getting your tackle and boat in shape. You have not missed much so far and we still have some more winter to go. If you have the luxury of picking your days, however, even a short warm-up can result in the trip of a life time!