The fact that I could see the foot of the troll motor after lowering it over the bow was a welcomed change.My grandson, Andrew, and I had just slowed down to check out a small group of terns and that was the first time that I had noticed that the water in Sabine Lake had cleared up a little bit.

The terns were excitedly working over the top of some small trout so we quickly moved on after catching and releasing four or five fish.It wasn’t until we returned that evening that we noticed that the clearer water played out just south of Madam Johnson’s.

The best part of the entire day, in spite of the fact that we were only spectators, was watching anglers in two aluminum boats work a small school of reds that were boiling the surface under a handful of gulls.I don’t know how long the bite lasted as they were already catching fish when we shut down the big engine to watch them.That action was all taking place just west of Blue Buck.

As the incoming tide strengthened throughout the morning, the water continued to clear and we caught not only some very solid trout and redfish, but drum and an unwanted sting ray as well.For the most part we have relied on three colors in three different baits to catch our fish this week.A Tidal Surge split tail eel in pumpkin chartreuse, a Lil John in purple demon and a space guppy colored Usual Suspect are basically the only plastics we have even tried.

I had recently fallen in love with the versatility of Assassin’s new Swim Bait hook but I had also been very selective as to when to fish with it for two reasons.The first being that because it is a little more expensive and I am supplying clients with tackle, I prefer they lose only the less expensive conventional jig heads when hanging up on scattered shell.The second reason was that I have been fishing the Lil John a lot lately and because it has no paddle tail for added vibration there was no reason to rig it like a Swim Bait.

I have since changed my mind on both accounts.The first being that because you can rig the Swim hook weedless, I decided to see just how weedless it really is and bounce it across the shell.After losing only one hook all morning and missing no more strikes than I normally do, I realized I was able to do more fishing than re-tying and have fished nothing else since!

The Lil John, which is shaped more like a suppository than anything that resembles a bait fish proved to be even more pocket book friendly when rigged on the Swim Hook.Not only does it not hang up as frequently, but the consistency of the Lil John is very tough enabling you to catch a world of fish on a single tail.

While a recent netting survey in East Pass and part of Coffee Ground Cove yielded only bream, small yellow bass and a few channel cat, more of the of the lake is apparently still getting a little saltier each day.Toledo Bend is finally holding its own and the reduced flow in the river has already started paying dividends.If we can dodge any more major rain events over the next week or two the trout, redfish and flounder bite should improve all over the lake.

All of this could not come at a better time with three area tournaments right around the corner. Both the saltwater and freshwater folks will be busy on July 25^th. Simon Outfitters and Bass Kandi lures will team up to host the Sabine River Challenge for the bass fishermen and the Jefferson County Sheriff Association will host the sixth annual Cops Helping Kids tournament for the saltwater fishermen.

The following weekend John Thomas and the folks at OCARC will host their 28^th annual fishing event and that tournament not only caters to both fresh and saltwater fishermen, but the entire family as well.Once again, the weigh-in site will be the City of Orange Boat Ramp on Simmons Drive.Both the Cops helping Kids and OCARC tournaments are much anticipated charity events.

It is definitely time to get on the water and do some scouting.Do not forget that your Louisiana fishing license expired at the end of June!

Photo – Schooling redfish are much anticipated!