WARMER WEATHER SHORT LIVED
“Man….I would never have found these fish,” said Joe Perrin while carefully sliding the net under his daughter, Ellen’s, three pound flounder. “You must know these waters like the back of your hand!”
I learned long ago to never take credit for something that wasn’t the result of anything I did or didn’t do and the truth of the matter was that I was as surprised as the Perrins that we were catching any fish at all…must less flounder. It was a warm morning for a change, but the wind was just howling across the open lake and the few fishermen that were overly determined to catch fish were stacked up in East Pass and Black’s Bayou.
After catching two small slot reds over the first three hours I decided to run up the more protected Intracoastal and see if we could find a few more reds holding on a couple of submerged rock piles in 15 feet of water. If that didn’t work I was going to suggest calling the trip off and rescheduling for another day. We quickly lost three jigs to the rocks before one of the inevitable hang-ups started swimming toward deeper water.
Joe set the hook and after a brief fight I netted the first of nine keeper flounder that we would boat off that one pile of rocks. We didn’t catch a flounder larger than Ellen’s three pounder, but they were all very solid sixteen to nineteen inch fish. Thirty minutes after boating our last fish, the wind finally got the best of the Perrins and we headed back to the landing.
I spent the entire time I was cleaning fish assuring Joe that except for the fact that I knew where those rocks were; catching those flounder was pure luck. Had they not been there it would have been nothing more than a long bumpy ride as we never caught the first redfish and the trip would have been over an hour earlier. This is not typically the time of year that I even expect to catch numbers of flounder on the north end of the lake.
We were fishing a Gulp mullet out of desperation when we caught the first two fish, but what the flounder really wanted was a four inch pumpkin-chartreuse Sea Shad rigged on a quarter ounce head and tipped with a small piece of the Gulp. Joe never switched from the Gulp Mullet and Ellen just wore him out with the tipped paddle tail.
The following day we ran straight back to the rock piles and never caught the first flounder. The good news was that we did catch several nice specks and four keeper redfish before the tanker traffic shut down the bite.. I have had days, however, when those manufactured waves would ignite a bite so you just have to take the bad with the good. The lure of the day proved to be a morning glory Diedapper rigged on a quarter ounce jig head.
The wind was the pits, but the three or four day stretch of warmer weather was a welcome respite. We canceled Monday and Tuesday as we just couldn’t make ourselves do the “freezing hands” thing” again. Hopefully, we will start enjoying longer stretches of more bearable weather in the very near future.
I spent both Thursday and Friday night last week watching baseball in Jasper while talking bass fishing with a couple of retirees that fished both days prior to making the games. One of them lived outside Huntington and fished Rayburn while the other one lived in Jasper and had a camp on the south end of Toledo Bend.
They had worked together for years, but very seldom fished together as they were each sold on their own lake. The Toledo Bend report was easily the best both nights. While they agreed that the big female bass were already staged up in spawning areas, neither had caught a fish over seven pounds over the past month.
They had no idea that I would mention our discussions in a column, but at the same time were obviously more than willing to share their reports with any fan within ear shot. Both reports were entertaining, but the most interesting aspect of the Toledo Bend report was the choice of lures.
Wednesday and Thursday Ryland limited on bass up to five pounds fishing a spinnerbait over the grass on windblown main lake points. He said that they never put the troll motor down and just made repeated drifts across the points. It was their choice of spinnerbaits, however, that I found the most interesting.
Not unlike the original Fuzzy Wuzzy, they were fishing a single spin harness with a 4/0 gold Willow leaf blade. The body threaded on the attached jig head was an Egret Wedge Tail designed to catch saltwater fish. Ryland said the tail provided much more vibration and the bass especially loved two of the Egret colors. I brought him three packs back as promised the following night and he was waiting on me when I pulled in the parking lot!
When I refused to let him pay for the tails, he invited me to fish with him on Sunday, but that wasn’t a viable option for me. He also assured me in parting, as did his friend, they had never fished saltwater and never would.“Why would I have ever thought otherwise?”