No gulls necessary
I don’t know that I have ever enjoyed a crazier week of catching and it wasn’t simply because the bite was so danged easy. With the exception of this past Monday, the wind would howl from a different direction each morning only to absolutely die in the middle of the day for no obvious reason.
As soon as the lake slicked off the bite was on and the majority of the trout were very solid fish. We fished all the way from Garrison’s back to East Pass just because we could and it was the same scenario all over the lake. A single bird homesteading a small area was all it took to help you locate the fish. More often than not, the bird or in some rare cases, several birds, would leave long before the trout quit driving shrimp to the surface.
At any given time you could see other boats in the distance with no birds around them, but in no hurry to search elsewhere. Friends fishing on both the north and south end were calling on a regular basis to say they were in the middle of a bunch of fish, but most days there was no reason to leave the middle of the lake or wherever you were fishing.
The most puzzling part of that anticipated user-friendly bite was that none of us were able to put together a solid morning pattern. Over the previous two to three weeks it was absolutely critical that we were on the lake at daylight to cash in on a great topwater bite, but it dried up with the stiff morning winds.
The only early advantage that folks able to fish every day enjoyed was to drift and blind cast the more productive areas even before the wind slacked up. It wasn’t like you couldn’t catch more trout than you ever thought possible once they started popping the surface, but you could never be certain that the wind would quit one more time.
That is exactly what happened to us Monday and while it was disappointing, I can’t say that I didn’t have it coming. The problem was that there was no Plan B and we were limited to probing the river and Cow bayou with Swim baits and Assassins. We did find some nice flounder, broke off two good reds and caught and released several small trout, but that was far short of going through 50 to 75 keeper trout one more time!
The bonus each day has been schooling reds. These aren’t the massive schools of August, but they are showing up in decent numbers and most of them are in the 21 to 24-inch class. They aren’t staying on the surface long and the two groups that we were able to stay with the longest were fish that were stirring up a mud boil in the open lake.
I fished the River 2 Sea folks early last week and while I have no doubt that the fish will eat every topwater or crank bait in their extensive line-up, there was one that especially appealed to me and more importantly, to the fish, for two reasons. The first reason was the size of the lure and the second was the bucktail hanging off the rear hook.
The lure is their “Rover” and it not only casts well, but makes walking the dog a piece of cake. For years I relied on Storm’s Chug Bug because so many reds and big trout fell for the dangling bucktail when the lure was at rest. This lure is déjà vu all over again with an even more appealing body style. It will take me a while to cull out the lures that work best for me, but this one has already earned a spot in my starting line-up.
It came as no surprise last Tuesday when an old friend, John Storm, tied on one of those Chug Bugs and almost immediately started duping some very large trout. After his family sold their business to Rapala several years back, he switched careers and moved the family to Oklahoma. He rarely even fishes anymore, but he hasn’t forgotten how. He brought his two boys with him and they just wore the trout out as well.
Jerry Hamilton bought a fishing trip with Lamar’s head football Coach, Ray Woodard, at a Lamar fund raiser and he and his son, Andrew, also fished with me Monday. Unfortunately, the wind never gave us a break, but we were still able to find a few flounder and small trout before shutting it down around noon.
Due to the deadline we are one week behind on reporting the weekly Sabine River tournament, but they did pay all three places last week. Barry Celestine won big bass and first place with a 1.96-pound bass. He cashed a $500 check for his brief afternoon of fishing. The team of Zenos and Weeks took home $190 with a 1.86-pound bass and Barret Bush and his son earned $95 with a 1.44-pound bass.
With conditions continuing to improve on the river I will not be at all surprised if the bass fishing starts improving as well. Huge schools of small shad are all over the river and the bass are right behind them!