Dickie Colburn: Respecting the conditions
I don’t know that the catching could have been much easier in Sabine Lake and the river than it was across the Thanksgiving holidays. There was a ton of folks fishing and even the added pressure didn’t have a negative effect on the bite.
The only problem and it was a serious problem that had to be dealt with safely each morning, was the fog. The massive and tragic pile up on I-10 that involved some 150 vehicles Thursday morning was the product of too much speed in limited visibility conditions. I know three different families involved in the pile-up and they all agreed that they thought it would never end as vehicles continued to slam into cars stopped behind them in the fog.
The reason I even mention the tragic pile-up is that cars at least have brakes and boats don’t. If you can’t dodge a stationary or oncoming object when driving a boat you are going to hit it before you can coast to a stop. And, while dodging at the last minute is the only option that may save your life, it sometimes has its downside as well.
In one morning alone last week we fished a stretch of the bayou while three other fishermen a hundred yards away struggled to push a 24 foot center console out of six inches of water and two feet of mud. They ran up on the shallow flat after very narrowly missing an anchored boat at the mouth of East Pass.
Thirty minutes later, we heard another fisherman grinding to an expensive halt on the shallow shell behind Rabbit Island after just missing a crabber running his traps. They were eventually able to plow their way back to deeper water minus a blade on their prop and doing significant gel coat damage to the bottom of their boat.
Fog shrouded mornings and evenings are the rule rather than the exception throughout the month of December. The combination of very good fishing and the extended holiday break will also add to the traffic on the water most days. A large number of these occasional anglers seldom navigate the local passes and bayous and fog only compounds the problem.
If you can’t wait until the fog clears, keep your running lights on and drive ”SLOWER THAN SLOW”!
After a sensational morning of fishing last week, Darren Terrell, his son, and Darren’s brother were headed back into Ancelet’s Marina when he reported that they noticed the police cars stopped on top of the Veteran’s Bridge. Darren got out his binoculars and saw the officers pointing to an object floating in the water.
They could see just the head of an individual that had jumped off the bridge, but were able to pull him aboard alive and get him to the Marina. What a way to finish off a morning of fishing!
One more thing before getting to the catching. The one piece of equipment that I will not leave the dock without is a slicker suit and you shouldn’t either. I don’t care if yours leaks a little, they all do in a driving rain running 35 miles per hour, it will break the wind and keep you much warmer.
I wear a slicker suit to start most days even when there is no rain in the forecast. Even a cheap throw away suit beats a poncho or nothing. Nine months out of the year I rely on the thinner Frogg Togg Classic suit, but in colder weather I wear their significantly warmer Toad Skinz suits. If you are a fisherman opt for bibs over pants. Mom…this is a Christmas present that will get used!
The birds are still doing their thing in the ICW and the lake making it much easier to find fish. The most pleasant change has been the average size of the trout and schooling redfish. We have done well with TTF Trout Killers, Assassin Sea Shads and 3-inch Usual Suspect Swim Baits both under the birds and drifting the flats on the north end of the lake.
Chicken on a chain and pumpkin chartreuse have worked well for us as have black shad and Cock of the Walk in the Swim Baits. As easy as it has been, I feel certain that a world of other colors and baits are working as well. I saw a number of fishermen catching fish last week throwing nothing but chrome half ounce Traps.
Judging by the countless packages of Gulp still flying out of tackle shops, the flounder bite hasn’t slowed down much either. We caught a few very nice flatfish in the river last week, but it’s the bite in the ship channel that is still drawing most of the attention. The bite at Cameron apparently improved a little while the bite on the Neches ship channel slowed just a tad.
With shrimp still exiting the marshes as far north as I-10, the bass fishermen are catching bass up to four pounds on everything from small topwaters to clear sparkle beetles rigged on 1/8^th ounce heads. We still haven’t caught any stripers, but it is getting to be that time.
pictured: Keeping warm makes catching even more enjoyable!