This year’s Crab Trap Clean-up on Sabine lake is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 19. The drop off site for traps collected has been moved to the Pleasure Island Marina Boat Ramp. For more information you can call TPWD coordinator Jerry Mambretti at 409-736 9035.

Not surprisingly, Scott Bandy, president of the Orange County CCA Chapter announced that the chapter will once again assist in this event and that he can also be reached at 409-988-3867 if you would like to participate. If you would like to know more about exactly what you do at the clean-up or would simply like to join the chapter give him a call.

The Orange County Chapter is still young and growing, but they absolutely have not suffered the first misstep along the way. Their first banquet was a huge success and they readily participate in everything from flounder round ups to volunteering for anything that has to do with conservation. When they don’t have something going right here on Sabine they are helping other chapters.

Before you know it the annual STAR tournament will kick off and aside from the conservation benefits of supporting CCA, the opportunity to win trucks, fully rigged bay boats and college scholarships for the kids every time you fish makes signing up each year a no-brainer. Each and every bite across the entire summer could result in a huge payday and at least one youngster from this area has reeled in a college scholarship almost every summer.

How could any loving wife and mom not appreciate her husband’s willingness to dedicate his entire summer to taking the kids fishing every off day? How is that for a spin guaranteed to get you more fishing time.

It looks as though we are finally going to get some relief from two solid weeks of bone chilling weather. We will literally be starting all over again as far as putting together any consistent patterns, but that is as rewarding as the actual catching unless you are a paying customer.

Just prior to the arrival of the deep freeze conditions, the redfish were still very much on a tear and I had finally put together a consistent trout bite. It will be interesting to see if that was just a temporary find or if the fish will move back into the same areas once the surface temperatures start to climb.

I am even more eager to see if swimming larger versions of the paddle tail plastics like the new Die Dapper and the Flats Minnow XL is the real deal or nothing more than the right bait at the right time. Because the right time theory held up for two weeks, I am leaning toward the larger baits at least being more effective during the cold weather months.
It could very well be that they more closely resemble a mullet than do the smaller Sea Shads and Flats Minnows. For whatever reason, the bulkier lures were working on days when we couldn’t even catch a trout on a Corky. There was no doubt that every strike was more aggressive and the vibration of the tail made it much easier to stay in contact with the bait.

It also did not take long to figure out that the larger five-inch tails performed far better rigged on a one-sixteenth or one eight ounce head. Because they are larger they are still easy to cast a long way, but they sink slowly as well and that is important. They also swim much better when tied on with a loop knot or even a small swivel-clip like the Tony’s clip.
I have had no problem finding the XL’s at Academy, but as of last week the only place I could find the new Die Dapper was at Terry’s on 39th street in Groves. I certainly hope they are easier to find than Stinky Pink was this fall.

A good fishing report has far more credibility when it is delivered along with four packs of white perch fillets. Joel Hughes said they have enjoyed one of their best years fishing the chicken coop area on Toledo Bend, but the fish he brought me last week were caught in Six Mile.

Not unlike a lot of folks fishing that area the last couple of weeks of January, they had been catching their crappie on shiners in 10 to 12 feet of water. Joel said they weren’t as large as the fish they caught around the Chicken Coop, but they were still very nice fish.
He said that they couldn’t find those shallow fish last week, but still managed to catch 23 crappie and a pile of yellow bass in three hours of fishing 18 to 22 feet deep with shiners. He is convinced they will move right back on the shallower breaks once the water temperature rises a little. He was also pleased to add that they have a little more water in the lake than they had a week ago and that is good news.