Lots of money still up for grabs
Due to the fact that Mother Nature continues to rain on Sabine Lake anglers’ parade, the usual day to day banter in local tackle shops concerning the CCA S.T.A.R tournament has been nonexistent. Not a single fisherman that I questioned earlier this week knew what was leading the trout division on the upper coast and that included everyone from the sales personnel in Academy to the folks running the local tackle shops!
We are talking about a tournament that lasts the entire summer with a $1,000,000 payout in cash and prizes.This isn’t like you might win a gift card or rod and reel…there is some serious money up for grabs.We are talking 18 boat packages, 5 trucks, 3 UV’s and ten youth scholarships worth $20,000 to $50,000 each.
In a more normal year, by the end of June the trout at the top of the leader board is in line for a big payday.I think that is very much the case on the middle coast as a 9lb. 14oz. trout leads that division, but thus far no one has even bested the nine pound mark on the upper coast.While a nine pound trout is undoubtedly a coveted fish, catching a trout that size even on water logged Sabine is a possibility 365 days a year.
It is equally hard to believe that not a single trout has been entered in the Star Teens Division for the Upper Coast to date.Four of the five tagged redfish have been captured, but there is still a ton of prize money still up for grabs.The leading Starteens flounder (5.3 lbs,), sheepshead (7.12 lbs. and gafftop (6.6 lbs.) are respectable, but certainly not unbeatable.
In the Starkids division a 3.3 lb. flounder is leading while a 7.10lb, fish leads the sheepshead division.Nine year old Laken Bellanger of Orange is currently holding down the top spot for the largest Gafftop with a very solid 6.6 lb. fish worth $50,000 in scholarship money.I feel certain Laken and his parents will be nervously checking the leader board every night for the next 76 nights, but I like their chances!
With no end in sight as far as more fresh and dirty water rolling down both the Neches and the Sabine, we canceled yet another outdoor show that we were going to shoot next week on Sabine Lake.Both hosts wanted to take advantage of the diversity of our fishery, but we are currently limited to making the best of a relatively short and crowded stretch of real estate south of the Causeway.
We are struggling to catch any decent numbers of trout, reds or flounder in not only the river and bayous, but ninety percent of the lake as well.Exceptionally high tides have also flooded the backwater in the Game Reserve making it much harder to locate schools of redfish.
I have talked with some kayak fishermen, however, that have done well fishing water that is normally only matted grass.They have been able to spot the reds plowing through the shallow stuff even when they are not blowing shrimp and bait fish out of the water.They are cashing in on the low light conditions at dawn and the last hour before dark.
I am a firm believer in taking advantage of tidal movement when chasing fish, but I cannot figure out the bite on the ship channel south of the Causeway.The tide is still very important, but without ever moving we will catch fish non-stop for thirty minutes only to draw a blank for the next thirty minutes.It’s not like the fish are on the move as the armada of boats less than a cast away experience the same thing.Fortunately, the brief flurries are so good that you can keep a respectable mess of 16 to 20 inch trout pretty quickly!
In what has become a very enjoyable and anticipated monthly event, we will once again meet at Daley’s in Nederland Thursday evening to discuss fishing on Sabine lake.Several guides will be on hand again and Willie Nelson will not only share some of his backwater fly fishing secrets, but how to tie many of the patterns he uses as well. His flies are first class!
As usual, the local guides on hand will talk one on one with you about everything from knots to lure presentation.These sessions are free and as valuable as you choose to make them.We usually get started about four or four thirty…I’ll see you there.
Photo – Redfish like this one in big demand this weekend.