There was no doubt that with the thermometer on a steady rise all last week that the fishing pressure on Sabine Lake would increase by the time the weekend rolled around. Even at that, when the fog burned off Friday morning I was still amazed at the number of boats working the Louisiana shoreline all the way from East Pass to Green’s Bayou.

You certainly couldn’t blame anyone for wanting to get out and take advantage of the cream puff conditions following two solid weeks of 28 to 33 degree mornings. By mid-afternoon we were down to T-shirts while a number of other fishermen we saw were shirtless and beet red!

Even with the ideal conditions, a lot of the folks that e-mailed me over the weekend still did not catch many fish…more specifically, trout. We, too, did much better on the trout Tuesday through Thursday, but there were two reasons for that. The first being that we fished a very low tide all morning long only to take advantage of a strong incoming tide later in the day.

Friday morning we were greeted with a very high tide that flooded the flats and scattered the trout. The redfish were still there, especially the oversized variety, but what is new about that?

The second reason we caught more trout earlier in the week was that we were still pretty much the only boat drifting the flats. The trout have not been relating to structure nor competing with the reds in the shallow water and we were catching our fish at depths where most folks were sitting and casting toward the bank.

Once the reality sank in that it’s difficult to locate fish and figure out a pattern the first day back on the water, too many boats were idling around in prime water looking for bent rods. That scattered the open water schools of bait and the fish put it on cruise control until later in the day.

We abandoned some areas early due to the traffic that had been very good all week and ran further south in search of the same type water. Not surprisingly, the fish were there as well. We caught and released several limits of slot reds on each of three different stops. It was just a matter of fishing some water that didn’t feel like you were fishing in the middle of I-10.

There was one major surprise in that we found gulls working and slicks in the open lake and there were trout underneath both. The slicks did not surprise me, but the birds came as a shock as this is very early in the year for that to be happening. The key to catching those fish, and they were all trout, was to fish deeper and slower. Color did not seem to matter as long as you slowed down your retrieve.

Brad Deslatte called me twice during the day to say that they had experienced the same thing, but could only catch a few trout each time. They were targeting slicks exclusively and had the best luck bouncing a TTF Trout Killer off the bottom. Either there weren’t many fish in each school or the fish just wouldn’t hold very long, but each slick was still good for two or three nice trout.

I am convinced the redfish will eat anything they can catch up with, but the trout we are catching with any consistency have been far pickier. We have caught a few with Corkies as you would expect this time of the year, but we are still faring far better swimming five inch paddle tail plastics like the Assassin Die Dapper and the TTF Flats Minnow XL.

I was totally locked into the TTF Red Killer when fishing with a cork all of December and January, but I think the trout like the beefed up XL even better. The new DD sinks slower and can be retrieved a little faster without rolling over, but it’s a toss-up when fishing either of them under a cork. Anything that can be fished on a pretty quick retrieve right now is tough to beat once you find the fish.

Fishing pressure may not be much of a problem in the very near future if the gentlemen I fished last week were once again on the money in discussing gas prices. They were right the last time they guaranteed $3 a gallon gas and while all three agreed that $5 a gallon gas was not going to happen anytime soon, they felt $3.50 a gallon could be here by summer time.

That prediction precluded any catastrophic event in the mid-east and that is certainly no guarantee right now. The last time gas hit the $3 mark the boat launches around here looked like ghost towns. Excluding the cost of additives to combat the ethanol problem, oil, and water separators my gas bill already runs $45 to $60 a day!

The S.A.L.T. Club will host their annual membership drive March 1 at 7 p.m. at Southeast Texas Starter located on the corner of Twin City Highway. and Hogaboom Rd. This is a family oriented fishing club that host tournaments all year long. The evening will include a meal, raffles, and a guest speaker. For more information contact Cliff Burke at 409-626-2606.