Depending on your location at the moment, you may or may not have found yourself in the middle of a rapidly moving thunderstorm recently, but none were severe enough to seriously threaten the improving salinity levels in Sabine Lake.In fact, the recent weather has been textbook for this time of the year with brief storms and the accompanying wind cranking it up during the mid-day hours.

While the water clarity is still just “okay” at best on the north end of the lake (a foot to eighteen inches on a strong incoming tide) we are finally starting to catch a few trout in places where you would expect to find them in July.I wouldn’t even rate the current bite as “average” as of yet, but it is at least a start.

Tasting the water for the slightest hint of more salt would do little to convince you that things have improved, but I saw more signs of improved salinity in one morning of fishing last week than I have seen in the past four months.We saw porpoises in the ICW on the north end of Pleasure Island and ladyfish chasing small shad along the revetment wall. Two days later we caught gafftop and a shark!

If the weather will hold out we will get a very good read on the lake this weekend.The 7^th annual “Cops Helping Kids Tournament” will once again host a huge field of anglers looking to win significant cash prizes and support local youth charity organizations.The Captain’s meeting and banquet are set for Friday night at the Pt. Arthur Civic Center with the tournament kicking off the following morning.

Tony Viator said that they currently have over 200 fishermen signed up, but just as in year’s past, a lot of local anglers will wait on the latest weather forecast before committing.If you rank among that contingent, you will be able to sign up to fish right up until the morning of the tournament, but I cannot imagine passing on the steak dinner and auctions at the Captain’s meeting the night before.

I haven’t seen the final results from the two pro redfish tournaments that fished last weekend, but a significant portion of those two fields obviously elected to make the long run and take their chances in the marshes east of Sabine Lake.While several of the teams fishing the Galveston Redfish Series and Rudy’s events were still running east in the ICW when they passed Adams Bayou, most of them cut across the lake at the north tip of Pleasure Island.I was a little surprised by the number of tower boats that headed up the Neches and Cow Bayou.

Further adding to the backwater traffic jams, the Triangle Tailchasers were hosting their final qualifying event out of Ancelet’s Marina on Saturday as well.Jim Morrissey reported that the field was a little smaller than usual as several of the same teams that regularly fish the Tailchaser events also fish the other two circuits as well.

The final winning totals were also a tad lighter than usual, but that was to be expected as no local angler was in any hurry to run to his favorite spot with visiting pros swarming all over the same marshes. Consistently catching winning redfish is all about ferreting out the best concentrations and quietly stalking those fish.There is nothing quiet about a tower boat roaring across skinny water looking for redfish on the fly!

Jeff Simmons and Will Tawney cashed the first place check in the final TailChaser qualifying event with a three fish limit that weighed 21.27 pounds.Michael and Kevin Vaughan finished right on their heels with 21.11 pounds and cashed the biggest red check with a 7.89 pound fish.Eddie Roberts fished alone, but still finished third with 18.96- pounds.Tony Viator and Miranda Green finished fourth with their three fish limit and Aaron Hommell also brought a limit to the scales to finish fifth.

Thirty-seven qualifiers will fish the club championship set for August 20^th. Morrissey said the club has already ordered two of Sarge’s Custom rods for the winning team.He also noted that the club, as usual, also handed out four Academy gift cards Saturday and thanked Darin Johnson and Del Papas for providing refreshments and a beach umbrella won by Eddie Roberts.