It was still dark when the plastic wrap on a 12-pack of bottled water gave way unexpectedly and Mickey Granger scrambled down the dock in an effort to corral the loose drinks before they rolled off into the bayou. “I have seen 4:30 a.m. a time or two after a long night,” laughed Granger, “but I don’t ever recall starting my day this early!”

While there has been a very consistent bite at the break of dawn, we were leaving earlier and earlier each morning due to the heat factor all of last week. If the mid-morning wind wasn’t too strong, we also had a good bite under the birds going for as long as you could stand the heat, but there was no guarantee each day regarding the wind.

There is already a phenomenal amount of bait in the lake that can only be appreciated prior to the wind churning the lake into white caps. The redfish have apparently discovered this as well as we found them schooling twice last week and it is as much fun watching them as catching them. It is more common to locate a mixture of reds and trout under the gulls, but a school of marauding reds on the surface is something to behold!

The bite at daylight has been enjoyable not only because it is cooler, but because we are catching the majority of our fish on top water lures and the average fish has been larger than those caught under the gulls. The bait is all over the surface on the shallow flats and the fish are under them. If you can reach them with a She Dog, Skitterwalk, or Super Spook, you don’t have to impart much action to get their attention.

The fish at first light have been feeding in water as shallow as a foot, but the best bite is in 2 to 4 feet of water. When that bite slows down we have extended the action by switching to longer tails like a 5-inch Assassin or fishing suspending lures like the MirrOdine XL and Catch 2000.

After using that bite up, if the wind has already made the bird hunting too difficult, we are finishing trips up drifting a little deeper with Crème Spoiler Shads and smaller tails fished under Kwik Corks on a 2-  to 3-foot leader. Opening Night and Bone Diamond were two very good colors for us this past week, but I would keep a few tails in Texas Roach and Chicken on a chain handy as well.

The action that I have not taken time to tap into lately has been the very consistent flounder bite. We have managed to catch at least a couple of nice flounder while drifting the flats most days and we have seen even larger fish ambushing the small shad up against the shoreline. We had a flounder just over the four-pound mark intercept a pink Skitterwalk while trying to cast to a pod of tailing reds. She had the entire lure wedged inside her mouth.

The action on the ship channel has been both hot and cold depending on whom you talk with and the time of day they were there. There has been a good flounder bite going on for both live bait fishermen and those fishing artificial, but most folks are going down there for specks and reds. Lighthouse Cove continues to get pounded, but the east side of the channel and the calmer side of the jetties are yielding the better catches.

I cannot get excited about bass fishing on T-Bend this time of year unless it has to do with night fishing, more specifically structure fishing, and I have apparently already missed out on some great action. I guess it is due to the oppressive heat, but the big bass are already relating to the deeper grass breaks and we are indeed talking about big bass!

I got two reports this week along with pictures and one invitation that I could not make due to Sabine Lake trips scheduled long ago. Mark Bell and his brother-in-law fished the Housen Bay area last Wednesday and Thursday night and both of them caught personal best fish.

Mark’s brother-in law caught a 10.75-pound bass and Mark caught and released a 10. 4 pound bass. They caught 14 bass one night and 9 the following night and did not keep a single fish. The first night they had five bass over 6 pounds including a 9.2 pound fish.

Brad Deslatte sent me pictures of a bass his sister, Stacy Swann, caught while fishing deep structure in Six Mile and it was an impressive fish. She and her husband, Charles, wear the bass out at night every summer and they are off to another good start this year. They, too, catch and release after photographing their larger fish and their camera gets a lot of use.

Her largest fish Friday night was between nine and ten pounds and they also lost a much larger fish at the boat. They caught about a dozen bass and all of them were very solid fish. According to both reports, the best bite was between 11 p.m.-30 a.m. Bell said they caught their bass on 10-inch black grape worms and black neon lizards.

If you are headed out this week do not forget the sunscreen and lots of cold water. More importantly, take the time to stop and use both!