As a rule, fishermen are never satisfied with a bird in hand. They want less wind, clearer water, cooler days, cloud cover minus the rain and beyond all else; and no other boats on the lake the day they choose to fish!

Mother Nature humbled us this past week after serving up seven straight days of incredibly easy fishing only a week earlier. Even then we griped in unison that the birds were working all over the lake and the fish were easy to catch, but too many of them were small. By the time Saturday afternoon rolled around, we would have killed for those same small fish.

We overlooked the fact that while we caught and released an incredible number of small fish, we were still able to cull solid limits of 16-inch trout as well as a few slot reds each day. As a matter of fact, we had been working that program long enough to establish which lures were fooling the larger fish as well as which sections of the lake seemed to be holding better fish.

Even when we weren’t chasing the bite under the gulls, we were able to fish enough shallow water flats each morning to put together a decent box of trout and slot reds. We could wade or drift virtually any shoreline on the lake and even get a swing or two at a bragging-size trout most days, but even that wasn’t good enough!

That all changed for us Wednesday evening and there has been hell to pay ever since. We continue to get our less than accurate daily wind predictions, but the only place I have found 5 to 10 mph winds since then is inside the gas station each morning!

Even after a week of winds that have howled both day and night out of the south or southeast, the water clarity is still not bad in the lake. Portions of the Louisiana shoreline are phenomenally clear, but even the mid-lake area is still in good shape. Coffee Ground Cove and the flats on the north end have taken a hit, but they could clear overnight with lighter winds.

The wind has kept us pinned down on the Louisiana shoreline and we have been making long drifts in 3 to 5 feet of water. Slot redfish have saved our grits most days, but we occasionally stumble up on a school of decent trout. We have probably caught more fish drifting a 5-inch Assassin under a Kwik Cork, but some days they want it rigged on a jig head and crawled across the bottom.
Richard Smith purchased a trip I donated to the CCA and he and his two sons, Cameron and J.R. fished with me Friday morning. After a long fishless morning, J.R. said to heck with the cork and was just going through the motions of swimming a morning glory Assassin through the grass when he almost got his rod jerked out of his hands.

He eventually won the battle with a 27-inch redfish that weighed 9-pounds on the Boga-grip. When we cleaned it at the end of the trip it had a 6-inch mullet and at least two crabs in its stomach. It was his personal best redfish and it was an especially good fish on a tough day.

An additional problem, more especially on the north end and Louisiana side of the lake has been exceptionally high tides bolstered by the gusting south winds. The water is up in the grass and we are seeing both redfish and flounder feeding back in the flooded vegetation.

The solution to such conditions in years past has been to turn to live bait and concentrate our efforts in the deeper waters of the ICW or Sabine River channel. I haven’t really tried to establish that bite because the shad are still very small and finger mullet can be hard to catch when the water is this high in the bayous and back lakes.

If the wind persists this week we will either have to get more diligent in our efforts to catch bait or simply cancel parties due to the conditions. Finding more bait is obviously the better option.

I talked with Scot Bandy as well as chapter secretary, Fortune Ford, last week and they said that the Tri-chapter CCA Kids fishing day scheduled for Saturday, June 19, has been postponed. “We will still host it at a later date,” promised Bandy, “and it will be even bigger and better given more time to solicit additional sponsors and volunteers!”

In the meantime, if you have any interest in saltwater fishing I would encourage you to join the Orange CCA Chapter. Their monthly meetings are excellent, well-planned and the food is always good at Cornbreads, and they work their tails off to guarantee the same fishing opportunities for their kids and grandkids.

The leader board is still wide open for those of you that have not signed up for the STAR tournament. I don’t know that the weight would have held up all summer, but I have already had two clients boat gafftops while trout fishing that would have put them in the lead for a new boat and motor. Neither of them had signed up for the summer long event!