For The Record- By Capt.  Dickie Colburn

We were still treading water Monday following a month’s worth of rain in a single weekend. Boats would have been more appropriate than floats had they not postponed Friday night’s Christmas parade.
When it comes to weather, we seem to never get a moderate change in conditions.It is either so hot and dry that a weed won’t grow or flooded streets and ditches overnight.We badly needed about a third of all of this rain for parched yards, but the other two thirds is quickly running off into the bayous and river.Next stop……..Sabine lake!
After weathering much of a year that produced record setting flooding and virtually washed out the saltwater bite, the water clarity and salinity steadily improved throughout the fall.The water clarity has been phenomenal and salinity levels have improved enough to put trout back on the north end of the lake.
This extended rain, however, will be a game changer for at least a week.High muddy water is much more detrimental to the saltwater bite, but more often than not the off-colored water affects the confidence of bass fishermen more than the bass.The water was already off-colored Sunday evening and it was raining much harder than we anticipated when we idled up Black’s Bayou in search of redfish exiting the marsh.
Redfish just need water, salinity means little to them, and they were in fact ganged up on the points waiting on the lunch buffet parading southward.A 3-inch Usual Suspect and a shallow running Echo 1.75 crankbait were all we needed to throw to catch not only redfish, but bass as well.
“Why have we been running all over the lake hunting trout when this was going on,” asked an incredulous James Peltier.I knew that the bass fishing had been lights out all year long, but this bite was indeed “stupid good” as Chuck Uzzle would say.
After taking a couple of wild stabs at how many 10 to 13 inch bass we caught and released, we started counting the number of consecutive casts that produced either a bass or missed strike and the number reached 8 to 10 on several occasions.The only time they failed to hit the crankbait was when the hooks fouled in the submerged grass.
We eventually crossed paths with two soaking wet youngsters that weren’t even wearing rain coats and they, too, were wearing the bass out with small topwaters.“We can’t get any wetter than this,” offered the young man running the troll motor, “so why go home now.”
Surely this bite will slow down with all of the runoff, but there is no doubt that the numerous reports that I have been getting were very conservative.Yet another bright spot concerning the red hot bass fishing was recently noted by Gerald Jones.
Gerald is unsurpassed when it comes to catching everything from goggle-eye perch to bass in backwater areas off the river and following a long hiatus, he once again has his old Ray Craft bass boat back on the water.While loading his boat up last Friday he confirmed that the bass fishing was as good as the old days and even better things may be yet to come.
“We are finding lots of bass in the same places they used to be,” said Jones, “and if we don’t beat them up too badly over the next two years, we are going to start catching some much larger bass.” The basis for that prediction was the number of bass that he has recently caught and released that weren’t native marsh bass.
“We are still catching a lot of those chunky little marsh bass, but we are also catching a larger number of true Texas largemouths.“The difference is obvious the minute you hold one in your hands,” points out Jones.“They are longer, more stream lined and sport the longer distance between the dorsal fin and the tail.”
The bottom line is that those bass have the potential to grow much larger than their smaller cousins inhabiting the marshes and lower river.The reduced minimum length enables fishermen to keep more bass, but it could pay huge dividends by giving each bass a more discerning look before electing to keep it!