A very good week of fishing
Easily the most extended run of consistently good fishing this fall, regardless of wind direction, finally slowed down a little this past weekend. A dead calm lake Saturday morning gave way to stiffer winds around noon and it was really only more difficult to fish where you wanted than it was to catch fish!
The only bite that could possibly match the redfish action on Sabine has been the flounder bite along the ship channel in Cameron and neither of the two is a well kept secret. At least the redfish bite on Sabine is taking place all over the lake as the flats bordering the Cameron ferry area are packed almost every day.
This is just an educated guess, but Louisiana game wardens should have writer’s cramp by now. I have only squeezed in two trips over there and the bite was even better than advertised, but far too many fishermen from both Texas and Louisiana have just lost their collective minds concerning conservation.
On our first trip we only kept 10 flounder, all of them in the two to four pound class while catching and releasing at least three times that many before leaving to wade for trout. Over that three hour period we watched one aluminum boat with three fishermen leave twice with limits only to return empty handed each time for another round!
I can assure you that they were not alone based on the conversations overheard between boats anchored less than a cast apart. It truly is a phenomenal bite and it may possibly last forever as the local anglers would have you believe, but observing the blatant disregard for such a valuable resource is hard to stomach.
George Cole pulled along side on the lake earlier last week and laughingly offered the tip of the day, “You want to know where to go catch a quick limit of reds…anywhere!” He also was quick to add that he was pretty sure that the redfish had eaten all the specks in the lake.
The trout catching has slowed some, but not to the extent that many folks would have you believe. The user-friendly bite under the birds has slowed down and the larger trout are transitioning from a diet of shrimp and shad to mullet. You are not going to catch them as fast as you do when they are herding baitfish to the surface, but the trout you do catch are usually much larger.
The biggest problem for anglers that look forward to the tougher but more rewarding bite of winter has been water clarity. Ironically enough, it is too clear for this time of the year making it harder to stalk big fish both wading and drifting. Wind, even a little more than we would like, is not a bad thing as it creates enough surface disturbance and noise to mask an angler’s presence.
With the exception of one very cold morning last week, we did even better on trout on the windier days. We also caught more trout in the afternoon sessions on an incoming tide than we did on an outgoing tide in the mornings. I have not enjoyed the much anticipated Corky bite yet as we are still scoring well with plastics.
Spoiler Shads in black-shad and bunker, Assassin Sea Shads and TTF Killer Flats Minnows in glow chartreuse, roach and salt/pepper-chartreuse fished on 1/4 ounce heads have been just about all you need to catch both trout and redfish. We also bounced Hoginars off the bottom on the west bank of the ICW between Cow bayou and East Pass Tuesday morning and caught our first stripers of the year.
They have been doing their thing farther up the river for a while, but I haven’t had any clients that wanted to chase them. We did not expect to find these fish as we were catching redfish at the time and the bite didn’t last long. The six fish we caught were between seven and ten pounds.
One more thing before leaving the topic of soft plastics; we have done better in the open lake with five inch rat tail type plastics, even when fishing them under a Kwik Cork. When fishing the bayous and the river, however, we catch far more fish on the shorter Sea Shad and Flats Minnow with a paddle tail.
I don’t have the time or patience to deal with the frustrations of unsuccessfully navigating the internet, but I recently took a look at the Texas Trout Factory web site while hunting the name of a particular color and found it to be well worth the effort. I not only found out what color Sabine machine was, but was impressed with the videos and information on everything from rigging to how to best fish tails. “Why” is just as important as “how” and they answer both questions in terms that are easily understood.
Redfish on the half-shell is a welcome alternative to turkey right now. Bundle up, tie on a tail, and go catch a few slot fish this week. A few more fronts and it won’t be this easy!