Shutdown forces early closure of game reserve
The entire time I was in the process of helping a Mr. Sensat and his nephew cut a crab trap out of their prop, he was going off on the government.
He seemed oblivious to the fact that his dilemma may have had at least a little something to do with the veritable mine field of crab traps all but blocking the entrance to Willow Bayou.
The wire mesh was tightly wound around his prop, but the more he cursed the faster we hacked our way through the wire and we were through in less than thirty minutes.
He thanked me for the use of my side cutters and the help before adding, “I ain’t never expected the damn government to do much more than lie and take care of themselves, but when they cost a working man his job and then jack with his flounder fishing that is too much!”
He was hot, but he would have been even hotter had he been inside the Game Reserve.
He was initially the most ticked off about the fact that due to the Shutdown he could not fish in Willow or Three bayous.
They both access the Federal Game Reserve which normally closes on Oct. 15th , but were now off limits to anglers.
“That just shows you even our own state congress people don’t know nothing when they shut down the Reserve right in the middle of the best flounder fishing of the year,” stated Sensat. As mad as he was, he still had the good sense to stay out of the Reserve and do the best he could fishing on the lake side of the posted signs.
A surprising number of area fishermen that should have been aware of yet another negative aspect of the Shutdown either didn’t care or didn’t think the Reserve would be monitored. They were wrong and the Wardens were on hand to point out the error of their ways while adding to the cost of their fishing trip.
I not only agree with Mr. Sensat on all accounts, but also have a problem with the excessive number of traps clogging up navigable waters.
The catching in general has been very good all week long in spite of a little too much wind and lots of boats at times.
The disappointed flounder fishermen that look forward each year to the first two weeks of fishing in the Game Reserve are still catching good numbers of solid fish along the Louisiana shoreline and in the ship channel south of the Causeway.
Finger mullet, mud minnows and Gulp Swimming Mullet have all worked well on the ship channel flounder.
That bite will get even better after a few cold fronts and after last year’s phenomenal bite the crowds will be even larger.
A conservative estimate of fifty to sixty percent of the local flounder enthusiasts still continue to make the short journey east to fish the ship channel near the Cameron Ferry landing because they can legally keep both more and smaller flounder.
The catching, however, is just as good right here on the Sabine channel.
Saddled with a two fish limit for the month of November, rather than continue to catch and release and potentially hurt a number of fish, last year we caught our reduced limits very quickly and went back to the business of chasing trout and redfish. The bonus was that the flounder we kept were usually very much on the XL size!
Even the flounder running the shorelines in the lake have been very solid fish.
We haven’t fished live bait at all and have had no problem catching fish on Gulp rigged on a quarter ounce head, Swim Baits and smoke-blue flake tube jigs. The high tides and added rain fall have kept the water level up in the Roseau cane roots and that is where the flounder are waiting on schools of unsuspecting mullet.
The bite in the open lake has also been very good in spite of a lot of boat traffic of late.
Along with the increasing number of local anglers that enjoy chasing the gulls we are also seeing a larger number of Galveston and Calcasieu guides.
I talked with a couple of the Calcasieu guides last week and they said they were really struggling on their home lake.
Lord knows I have spent my fair share of time on Calcasieu over the years, but it still hurts sharing a flock of gulls with them on Sabine and watching them keep small trout. Like it or not, it is perfectly legal as long as they launch on the Louisiana side of the lake.
The only fly in the ointment would occur should they venture to the Texas side of the lake with small fish in the box while chasing gulls and get checked by Texas wardens!
Your day will be much more enjoyable if you leave the dock having accepted the fact that you are going to be competing with lots of other folks that may or may not even be aware of how to best approach birds hovering over schooling fish.
If possible, I would suggest hunting your own group of birds before even considering approaching birds that other boats are already camped under.
Don’t expect the same courtesy as soon as their birds break up, however, but that’s life on the lake for the next two months!