Trout bite rebounding in spite of more fresh water
It took only about as long for the fishing to pick back up as it did for it to temporarily fall off following the rains. Thus far, it appears that in spite of the added fresh water currently being discharged from Toledo Bend the trout and redfish are staying put and that is good news for local anglers.
Decreased salinity is a bigger factor than muddy water and for that reason alone, the trout bite on the Neches has rebounded faster than it has on the Sabine. The current is stronger and the water clarity is far better on the Sabine, but aside from a decent bass bite in a few of the cuts, it has been the redfish that have produced the most consistent bite.
Other than running out of a hot color in the midst of catching fish when nothing else will, no other factor seems to wreck the average trout enthusiast’s confidence like muddy water. Most bass fishermen have learned to compensate for limited visibility with different lures and colors and successfully stick with their original game plan, but the average Sabine Lake fisherman will run all the way to the jetties or stay home rather than deal with 3 to 6 inches of visibility.
Immediately following the hardest of rains last week, the best catches of trout came out of 8 to 12 feet of water that was just a notch above being considered wet mud. The trout were still brightly colored which meant that they had just moved into the dirtier water or that the water closer to the bottom was still clear. Because the water muddied up so quickly I believe the deeper water was and is still much clearer!
And, while temperature is less of a factor when fishing the deeper water, it played a major role in temporarily slowing down the bite in the shallower lake .We fished two days when the surface temperature never reached 49 degrees and we would have done just as well fishing in the middle of I-10.
The following day the water crept back into the low fifties and the bite was on again. The mullet were active in water from two six feet deep and if the redfish weren’t right behind them the trout were. Tide is always the key to an extended bite, but warmer water certainly helps.
I don’t think there is a better choice of lures for enticing a big trout this time of the year than a slow sinking mullet imitation, but you still have to pay attention to what the fish are trying to tell you. Two recent trips just prior to all of the rain were perfect examples of overlooking the obvious.
The first afternoon we were catching big trout at a very satisfactory pace on Corky Fat Boys and Catch 2000’s. As the evening wore on the bite slowed down for us until a trout ambushed a pink Fat Boy that I was hurriedly reeling in to make another cast. We still didn’t really snap to what was going on until another fisherman pulled in to talk a minute and started just wearing the trout out with a topwater.
A couple of days later it was déjà vu all over again, but I realized what was going on a little quicker. When the fish started hitting a Corky or Maniac Mullet almost as soon as it hit the water we initially switched to a Floating Corky and as Captain Chuck often says, “It just got stupid good” for the next hour. Before it was all over, we were all twitching five inch River 2 Sea jerk baits just beneath the surface and color made no difference at all.
Both of these examples lend support to why a number of my clients that are very good with the Corky fish nothing but the floating Fat Boy. If it needs to slowly sink they simply insert a short piece of nail and they are back in business. It obviously beats having to purchase duplicate baits in the same color when a one inch piece of nail can save you big bucks.
When the bite is really strong on the Corky they will eventually tear up which is not a bad thing as far as I am concerned, but more often than not, the first sign that the end is near is that they will start sliding down on the wire harness. In the past I remedied that problem to some extent by simply applying a little super glue and pushing the body back up on the wire. It usually holds through at least a few more fish.
I recently discovered yet a better method of extending the life of the bait. Because the hole around the wire is wallowed out, I dipped a toothpick in the glue and inserted it in the hole next to the wire before sliding the body back in place. I cut off the piece sticking out and I haven’t had a single bait slide back down to date.
Like I stated at the beginning of the column, running out of a certain color in the middle of any bite is second only to dealing with muddy water. This won’t help you with the muddy water issue, but it’s a quick fix when you finally find the fish and are down to that last magic lure!
For the bass fishermen that get their paper early enough, don’t forget that Bassmaster Elite Pro, Ish Monroe, will be at Daley’s Hunt N Fish all afternoon today. He is in town scouting local water, but has dedicated the entire evening to visiting with area anglers. He has been very successful on the tour and will welcome any hot tips you may have concerning our local waters as well.