Colburn: Unwanted visitors crash the party
More often than one would expect, the reply is the same when new clients call and the first question I ask them is, “Is there a technique or something specific that you hope to learn about fishing this area?”
While I would like to know in advance that I can even do what they are going to pay me to do, the generic answer is, “We’re not particular…we just want to catch a limit of trout, reds, and flounder.”
While I long ago accepted that daunting challenge as a basic premise of the guiding profession, a larger percentage of folks call with more practical expectations.“We just want to have a good time” is number one followed by the more specific desire to learn more about the lake or techniques that differ from the ones they have already mastered.
Robert’s reason for booking a trip last week was even more to the point.“I know the fresh water has hurt the bite, but my nephew is in from Kansas and I only have two days to try and put him on a redfish.” Thus the reason both he and I were smiling in the rain as the line peeled off fourteen year old Tyson’s spinning reel.
“Mission accomplished”, I thought as I turned the bow of the boat in an effort to help him regain some line. Five minutes later, which is an eon in fishing tug-of-war time, I knew that the fish on the other end of the line could not be a red fish. Because the salinity levels were so low due to all of the rain, I seriously doubted that it could be a jack, but Tyson’s fish exhibited that kind of speed.
Miraculously enough, considering the fact that we were using no leader material with 12 pound test mono, Tyson eventually slid what appeared to be a totally exhausted shark within a few feet of the boat. I have no idea what kind of shark it was as I don’t do sharks or sting rays so it might as well have been a great white!
Robert guessed it to be 3 to 4 feet in length, but had no guesses as to what kind it was either. Tyson was prying the shark’s mouth open with the net handle to get a better view of the teeth (I had already decided the lure belonged to the fish) when the supposedly exhausted animal flipped over, exploded into the side of the boat in a shower of spray and raced away in an awesome display of power.
Tyson eventually caught several reds before the morning was over, but I am yet to figure out what sharks are doing on the north end of the lake when it is so fresh. We expect them in drought conditions, but even the trout search out saltier water when the runoff from extended rains is significant.
Even more unnerving for someone that has been doing a little wade fishing of late is the fact that at least two other local anglers have encountered sharks over the past month. Phillip Fuller emailed me a picture of what was left of a very nice trout that was bitten in half while he was reeling it in. A sizeable shark, aren’t they all sizeable, cut it off right behind the head.
Larry Strickland, a Sabine Lake fisherman that would rather catch a trophy trout than eat, recently caught two bull sharks in the four-foot class within 500-yards of the ICW. The first one was an unexpected encounter, but to my way of thinking he was asking for it with the second one!
After pointing out the fact in a conversation last year that big trout love ladyfish, Strickland foul hooked a small one on a Super Spook and allowed it to flounce around on the surface. His patience was rewarded when an eight pound trout ingested the lure, ladyfish and all.
Thus the reason for dragging a small lady fish impaled on the treble hooks of his Spook behind the boat while he continued to cast another lure last week. The violent strike produced the only adrenalin rush as he quickly knew that he had something other than a trout. Why he felt compelled to ever try the same thing again I do not know, but it cost him two Super Spooks.
Here’s the scary part if catching any shark isn’t scary enough for you. All of these sharks, including ours, were hung on the flat south of Stewt’s Island. Phillip never saw his shark, I don’t have clue what kind our shark was and Larry may well have hung the same shark on two different occasions. The bottom line is that they are still around there somewhere and the fresh water doesn’t seem to be a deterrent.
On a brighter note, it was still raining Tuesday morning, but the trout and the redfish are back to chasing both shrimp and shad in the lake. The water is a little more off-colored as expected, but it hasn’t bothered the fish. Geaux Gleaux and red shad have been very good colors in a Sea Shad or Flats Minnow. We have also done much better fishing under a Kwik Cork or rigging the tails on the lightest head that you can throw a reasonable distance.
Don’t forget about the upcoming OCARC and Cops Helping Kids tournaments scheduled for the first weekend in August. Both events are fund raisers dedicated to helping out the mentally challenged and needy children in Orange and Jefferson County. For more information call the OCARC at 409-886-1363 or Tony Viator at 409-284-7934.
Photo: Phillip Fuller went fishing Saturday morning just off north end of Pleasure Island. When he reeled in the fish, he found quite a surprise.