And just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water! Warren Brister called me last week and started our conversation with, “I was just a little too late when I told Brandon not to cast.” He and Brandon, were fishing just outside of East Pass when he initially thought a redfish was plowing just below the surface and pointed it out to his son.

“Brandon’s cast was already in mid-air when I saw the fin rise up above the surface,” Warren added, “and the shark jumped all over his Bass Assassin Sea Shad as soon as it hit the water.” The next forty plus minutes were both exciting and tiring, but the younger Brister finally wore the 28 pound bull shark down with 15-pound test mono.

A picture of Brandon’s shark is posted on the KOGT web site and it is certainly big enough to inflict a serious bite. Only two days prior to that, Jake Delhomme said that he saw the largest bull shark that he has ever seen as far north as Bessie Heights. “I know bull sharks sometimes stray way up both the Sabine and Neches,” said Delhomme, “but I had never seen one in the Heights.”

He said the shark narrowly missed grabbing a croaker just as they were hoisting it over the side and it got everyone in the small boat wet. “They look a whole lot larger when they go ballistic right in your face,” added Delhomme, “but he really was a pretty good size one.” He added that they had seen it further down the canal earlier and it didn’t take it long to swim their way.

With the salinity level continuing to rise we have caught everything in the Intracoastal over the past two weeks from Spanish mackerel to jacks. Some of the larger jacks have been caught by the live bait fishermen working the DuPont Outfall as well as several small sting rays. I enjoy catching Spanish mackerel, but that is the only one of that bunch of rare visitors that I care to deal with.

As the trout and redfish start to school up and ride herd on acres of shad and shrimp in the open lake a wider variety of lures and colors will work, but I am yet to figure out why I ever gave up on most of those lures in the first place. I didn’t buy them just because they looked good way back when and I can’t honestly say that the fish ever quit eating them.

New latest and greatest colors are easily the number one reason most anglers move on to other lures and relegate the old proven winners to the “has been” storage box. Thus the reason for the countless bags of tails stacked high in the back of the garage!

I carry a world of different colors with me every day strictly out of self defense as it is not a good thing for the guide when folks in a boat a short distance away are catching fish on every cast and you don’t have that color on board. Even if it is nothing more than the confidence factor it gets uncomfortable.

Catching fish under the gulls is not a fair assessment of any lure, but would you call off a trip if you didn’t have any opening night, chicken on a chain, violet ghost, Texas roach or stinky pink tails in your tackle box? Those are all very good colors, but how many fish have you caught over the years on glow-chartreuse, red shad, limetreuse or even the venerable white with a pink tail?

Lures like the Corky, MirrOdine XL, Maniac Mullet and Usual Suspect enable us to fish specific depths of water more efficiently, but for the most part the same depths can be fished with longer tails on a weight specific jig head. It would be more difficult keeping the tail in the strike zone, but nonetheless you would still be in the hunt most days.

For my money that is the main reason fishing tails under a cork is so productive. The popping noise helps, but more importantly the tail stays in or slightly above the strike zone the duration of the cast. Even in colder weather the odds or a heck of a lot better of the fish feeding up rather than down.

I am equally guilty of abandoning proven topwaters as well. I cannot recall the last time I fished a Jumpin’ Minnow, jointed Redfin or a Chug Bug and I have no legitimate reason for not doing so. Somewhere along the line they were replaced by She Dogs, Skitterwalks and Super Spooks. When was the last time you broke out the trusted gold spoon?.

Line has gone the same route as the lures and colors for me as well, but I do still fish some monofilament for certain applications. I would not stay home if I didn’t have any braided line, but even with the aggravation of wind knots and occasional irreversible backlashes braid offers advantages that are undeniable. The thinner diameter, absence of stretch and increased strength are all factors that make the catching part easier.

I am not about to get into new boats and motors versus older models as your wife may accidentally read this after having read everything else in this week’s paper, but you know……!

The Orange County CCA Banquet will kick off at 6:00 pm Thursday night at the new Orange County Convention Center on Hwy. 1442. If you haven’t already purchased a ticket you can still do so at the door. For more information call Scott Bandy at 988-3667 or Louis Moore at 988-4845.