Captain Dickie Colburn – For The Record

While I prefer to believe that no one needs this reminder, there are still a lot of folks in Orange and Newton County that need help getting back into their homes following the flood.It is far from over for them!

At least one trio of working women, all of whom assured me that they would have to kill me if I mentioned their names, have been using their noon breaks to unexpectedly provide lunch for random families burdened with the chore of cleaning up. “It makes you feel so good as they are genuinely surprised and appreciative when we drive up,” stated one of these good Samaritans.  “Because we are eating on the fly as well, we have been alternating between fried chicken and soft tacos, but so far no one has complained,” stated one of the anonymous caterers.Hats off to these generous ladies that have found yet another way to make a difference!

While the saltwater scene is going to take a huge and most probably extended hit from the glut of fresh water, the local bass fishing has only improved.Unlike most floods, the massive flow of water exiting Toledo Bend was clear and the bayous and marshes draining into the river are as clear as I have ever seen them.

That fact has not been lost on local bass fishermen.I talked with Greg LaPointe at Lottie’s landing last week and he said that his eight day break could not have come at a better time.“I had a great February on T-Bend.We caught a lot of five pound plus bass and I even caught my first double digit bass, but my bite was slowing down up there,” stated the local angler.

“We were shocked when we saw how clear the bayous were around here and we have been catching bass up to three pounds every trip.”At the time, he had just pulled in to pick up a friend and said that he had already caught over twenty bass that morning.

The easiest and most enjoyable bite, according to LaPointe has been working a topwater like a Chug Bug or Yellow Magic through small schools of shad on the surface.“Most of these bass are small,” he pointed out, “but it is non-stop action.” He added that there might not be anything they won’t hit right now as they have caught fish with shallow running crankbaits, spinnerbaits and flipping craw worms and Texas rigged worms in the cypress knees.“You would not believe how many bass will stack up on the downstream side of a laydown log on an outgoing tide.”

I think the water clarity will help some as we dig our way out on the saltwater side of things, but at least for right now the best trout bite is predictably south of the Causeway.The redfish bite remains pretty solid for those willing to hunt them, but once again these fish have the luxury of scattering all over the marshes to more easily run down their next meal.

While a lot of the redfish pros prefer probing the jetty rocks with crankbaits and tails or GULP under a popping cork, a greater percentage of them are far more confident in stalking the marshes.For that very reason, the pros rolling into Orange next week for the upcoming Redfish Elite tournament should be more than pleased with these conditions.

The Classic Kickoff Event will take place April 8th through the 10^th right here in Orange.The field consists of the 2015 Yellowfin Elite Redfish Series qualifiers. The event will be hosted by the Orange Chamber of Commerce and presented by Stark Cultural Venues.

The pros will practice Sunday through Thursday with the first day of competition scheduled to kick off at 7:00 Friday morning.Weigh-in is set for 3:30 each afternoon.Not unlike the Bassmaster pros, the redfish pros will be accessible all week long at different community functions and businesses in the area.

Louis Moore invites everyone out to the Orange CCA chapter meeting at 7:00 p.m. at Roberts Steakhouse on April 4^th .Once again, not unlike the visiting bass pros, several Elite Redfish pros will be on hand to answer questions and share tips that will make you a better fisherman.The majority of these pros list this area as one of the top two or three spots on the entire Gulf Coast and very much look forward to fishing this event!