Fishermen left in unexpected bind
You will have to excuse Jim Thomas if he no longer buys into the well worn adage, “A bad day on the water beats a good day at work!” Aside from breaking down on the water and having to spend a cold night in the company of hordes of mosquitoes, I can think of little else to match the unexpected ending to his day on the water last week.
He and Sean Broussard waited out the storm that roared across the lake at daylight before launching at the public launch in Bridge City located on Cow Bayou off Hwy. 87. When the wind switched around and howled from the opposite direction later in the morning, they chalked it up as another pretty day for a picnic, but not for fishing and returned to the launch.
“Sean jumped out to go get the truck,” said Thomas, “but quickly walked back to the ramp with a look of disbelief on his face.” “Your truck is still here, but the trailer is gone,” announced Broussard.
The equivalent of a turn of the century horse thief had sawed the lock off and stolen the trailer in broad daylight on a main highway right here in Bridge City.”
A first class launch that is accessible in both high and low water conditions with parking spaces in plain view of all passer-bys, this was considered to be the safest launch in the entire county. The major problem non-boaters would probably fail to consider was what do you do with a $25,000 to $60,000 bay boat tied up at the dock with no way to get it home!
Having your trailer stolen while you are on the water is a major inconvenience, but Thomas is a Bridge City resident and was at least able to tie his rig up at a friend’s place on the bayou. Had he been down at the Causeway or any launch further from the house, the problem would have been greatly magnified.
He was forced to purchase another trailer as the police have been unable to track his down at the time of this writing. While the act was disgusting in that not only was he robbed, but left in a bind as a result of the theft as well, it is alarming to think that anyone would be so brazen as to take the time to cut a lock and steal a trailer in the middle of the day.
I spend more time at boat launches than most folks and have had my share of license plates and spare tires stolen and even had the truck broken into, but I at least had a means of getting my boat home at the end of the day. In virtually every case that was eventually solved, the culprits were not fishermen or even boaters.
I had a brand new truck with 53 miles on the speedometer stolen out of the church parking lot on Christmas Eve several years ago and even though my insurance covered it, the entire family was a little paranoid for a while. We hunted lights to park under and every time we exited the show or the mall we half-expected the new truck to be gone as well.
I can guarantee you Thomas will be a little apprehensive on each return trip to the launch for a while as well!
The bite continued to improve on Sabine this week in spite of some very weak tide changes. Tide change is the major player when saltwater fishing regardless of the time of year. The fish hunt when it moves in either direction and rest during slack periods.
The redfish were missing in action for a couple of weeks, but they are finding their way back to the open lake. I have not run into any huge schools on the surface, but when you catch one there are usually several more in the area. I don’t know of anyone that does any better job of cashing in on redfish that are not on the surface than Johnny Cormier. Unlike most other fishermen, when he catches that first one, he usually catches several more very quickly by simply fishing vertically over the side of the boat.
We are still catching the majority of our better trout fishing an Assassin Sea Shad under a Kwik Cork. That program holds up even when there is no surface activity or birds in the area. When the trout and reds are holding a little deeper, we have done well rigging a TTF Red Killer on a 1/8th ounce head and taking advantage of the slow fall.
I don’t know that I have ever seen so many oversized reds in the lake and the bayous as well. We really fought the smaller rat red issue for several years, but that has not been the problem of late. It is only October and I have already had a number of clients use their redfish tags.
I was talking with some members of the Orange CCA Chapter and they participated in a very successful flounder round-up last Saturday on Sabine. I think the final total was 52 flounder that were transported to the hatchery for the breeding and re-stocking program.
They are not one of the larger chapters in the state, but the Orange group certainly ranks as one of the most active. They do a phenomenal job with everything from their annual banquet to cleaning up the bays and beaches. They meet the second Monday of every month at the Rusty Rooster on Hwy. 12 and would love to have you join with them in their efforts to ensure the future of saltwater fishing!