Nice weather improves Sabine Lake fishing

With the river still high and off-colored, I was not surprised that the winners of the second Sabine River Tour event of the year weighed in only one legal bass again last week. As tough as that sounds, the number of teams fishing increased by thirty-three percent, there were three times as many bass weighed in and the top three teams all cashed a check with a single fish.

The team of Ken Ellis and Willie Burton won $542 with the biggest bass and top weight of 1.88 pounds followed by BJ Jones and John Michulka with 1.60 pounds good for $260 and the team of Brent Kemp and Josh Ridgeway with 1.42 pounds which earned them $150. Jonathan Simon said that Simon Outfitters will host the tournament every Tuesday evening through August.

The entry fee is only $40 per team. If you want to increase the odds of at least paying for your gas an additional $5 will get you in their redfish pot and $2 will get you in the trash fish pot. The tournament is held out of the public launch on Simmons Drive.

The lake level on Toledo Bend dropped a little last week and the spawn is just about done, but the fishermen that have targeted the deeper breaks and open lake humps continued to do well on fish up to six pounds over the Easter weekend. There was actually a 10.31-pound bass caught and released Saturday night, but double digit bass are scarce right now.

There are always a few bass residing in shallow water, but the best numbers of fish in the 2 to 4 pound class were caught in 8 to 12 feet Friday and Saturday. Most of the folks I talked with Monday said that they caught their bass in the middle portion of the day after dedicating the morning and late afternoon hours to strolling for crappie.

Joel and Karen Neely said they did well in the evenings, but struggled each morning strolling 12 feet of water with 1/16th ounce tube jigs in the Indian Creek area.“We caught some of the biggest crappie we have caught this year,” said Joel, “but we never caught over 25 fish in a single afternoon.”

Bucky Dials said they caught good numbers on pink-white road runners on the Six Mile flats, but couldn’t catch a crappie over a pound and a half. He added that they took it out on the bass by drifting the outside breaks of the flats with Carolina rigged motor oil centipedes.“We caught a lot of spotted bass,” said Dials, “but we could have easily limited on black bass as well if we had wanted to keep them.”

Giles Manning and Darwin Landry fished Saturday and Sunday night and took advantage of a big full moon.“Darwin caught our only three fish over five pounds in two nights,” reported Manning, “but we probably caught between 60 and 70 fish and we quit about three each morning so that we could get some sleep before taking the kids white perch fishing.”

Giles said they fished small buzz baits and plastic frogs around the boat docks in the back of Toro Bay. He added that they saw some pretty good crappie landed by residents fishing with minnows under the lights on the end of their docks.

We had a very decent week on Sabine Lake, but traveled south most days to get it done. The incoming tide produced a solid trout bite each day for fishermen willing to wait it out. The morning bite had been very good as well, but the water was badly off-colored and the wind was tough to deal with later in the week.

This was the first weekend this spring that there has been a lot of traffic on the lake and the benefit is that with more fishermen you get more diverse reports. I talked with some people that caught trout up to four pounds fishing geaux gleaux flats Minnows under a cork and another group that limited on reds fishing slicks in the middle of East Pass on an outgoing tide.

We caught our largest trout on black-white ribbed She Dogs and a pink-silver sided TTF Flush in 3 to 5 feet of water, but most of our keepers were taken on 5-inch plastics with a paddle tail. The flounder bite has only gotten better, more especially in the bayous leading into the Reserve. Gulp, small spinnerbaits and curl tail grubs tipped with a piece of shrimp have been hard to beat if you are after a mixed bag of redfish and flounder.

Don’t forget that you have to have a non-resident Louisiana license to fish in the canals on the Louisiana side of the lake and that you can only bring Texas legal fish back to a landing in Texas. The Louisiana wardens and the Coast Guard have really been active for the past five weeks so double check your safety equipment and make sure you have you boater registration with you.