Never over til it’s over
Dickie Colburn – For The Record
It is rare indeed when most Plan B’s save a trip for me in the face of 20 mile per hour winds or for that matter, simply when the fish suddenly abandon a pattern that has been very good for several days. I have always scouted enough water to have a few viable back-up plans and up until this past Monday, believed that I had exploited most every possibility.
It didn’t take the wind long to crank up Monday morning and the lake was white capping before local anglers had even netted their shad and finger mullet at the Outfall canal.As the wind increased, even the handful of boats that ventured out into the lake returned to share the more protected waters of Black’s, the river and the ICW.
While the water clarity was still good, a big incoming tide escalated by the howling wind scattered the bait and the fish.Kudos to Eric Ellison who caught his limit of trout as well as a couple of flounder and redfish before the sun even cleared the horizon, but he was quick to point out that as good as that bite was…it didn’t last very long.
We struggled just to keep five solid trout and a lonely slot red after fishing everything from live bait to jigging Hoginars in five to eighteen feet of water.While picking up more sunscreen that afternoon, I ran into Kyle Lucas who was digging through packages of GULP lures at WalMart.
“Do you know if GULP baits come in anything that look like a small squid,” he asked. “I just killed the fish on the real thing this morning, but I don’t have any left and I can’t find anymore. The fish wouldn’t bite anything else for me today.”
At that point I was immediately even more frustrated by my own inability to catch fish and hoping that he would share a little information.I didn’t even know what kind of fish he caught, but as soon as he said that he was fishing the Entergy Outfall I assumed that he had caught black drum and possibly some redfish.
When he stated that he was fishing there not only because of the wind, but because he could fish an outgoing flow of water, I knew he had something good to share.Kyle said that he started out fishing very small pieces of the frozen squid in hopes of catching smaller bait fish.“I don’t know where the croaker went, but they weren’t there this morning,” he added with a smile.
With nothing left to try and only two small thawed out squid remaining, he threaded one on a Carolina rig and lobbed it in the middle of the canal.“I don’t think it hit bottom before a 22-inch black drum picked it up. The next four fish that literally tore it up, however, were slot reds so my day was pretty much made.”
With another hour or so left to fish, he cut the remaining squid into strips in order to make it last a little longer not really anticipating the same results and he was correct in his assumption.His bite only improved.About five minutes after the first cast he was holding the rod between his knees and opening a bottle of water when the rod doubled over.
In less than an hour he had ten two to four pound trout in the box and had released two specks over six pounds as well as four more redfish. “Squid is tough bait,” he pointed out, “and I still had a couple of small strips left when I quit.”I suggested that he might look for anything white that resembled one of those strips, but he was convinced that the smell may have been more important than the shape. He caught fish…I didn’t!
So……there is obviously always one more thing to try when the bite is tough.I haven’t personally looked for any frozen squid as of yet, but I have used it when the sand trout run begins and a single piece will survive a lot of bites.We also used strips of squid rigged on jig heads many years ago when fishing for flounder in Kelso Bayou.
No matter how large the turnout, the folks over at the S.A.L.T. Club always wish more parents would bring their kids to their annual Kids tournament, but the gang that did show up had a great time Saturday morning.After winning cash and trophies, they were all treated to hot dogs and drinks provided by Ancelet’s.
The biggest winner of the day was Avery Saunders.Thanks to Dawn Jones of Lee Team Realty, she will never have to buy another fishing license.She won the drawing at the end of the tournament and walked away with a lifetime license that I hope she will use and appreciate for years to come!
Congratulations to everyone involved that took the time to make it a day to remember for the youngsters and their parents!