SMITH PROVES A POINT
The water in the Sabine River didn’t look nearly as good as it did in Sabine Lake, but the wind had forced us out of the lake early and we were hoping to save the day with an “iffy”Plan B. The switch in gears was foreign to my guests as they spend the majority of their fishing time wading waist deep water in search of trout and redfish on the lower coast. It was apparent that some degree of immediate success was imminent if this trip was going to last very long.They reluctantly clipped off their saltwater offerings and tied on a three inch Usual Suspect or a Chatterbait.We chose a bank with more holes in the scattered moss in hopes of duping a few redfish. Two missed strikes kept them in the game, but they remained dubious until a jolting strike on a chatterbait resulted in a screaming drag.I was pleased that it was any kind of fish, but their confidence level rose a notch when a three pound trout cleared the submerged moss. “You have got to be kidding,” said an elated and surprised Kyle Nance. “This is just crazy catching a trout this far up the river.“At the time I was thinking, “You haven’t seen crazy yet.” Sure enough, only a handful of cast later a three pound largemouth exploded into the air with Buzz Pardie’s swim bait dangling in his jaw. “Do y’all catch a lot of bass this size,” he asked while admiring his catch. “On average we don’t, but we catch great numbers of 12 to 16 inch fish and a bass over six pounds is not all that uncommon.” “We’ll let this one grow a little larger,” said Pardie, as he eased his bass over the side and replaced his mangled swim bait. We made it until noon before Kyle, announced that his early morning kolaches were no longer doing the job and he was ready to search out something more substantial.I don’t know how many fish they caught and released, but it was a diverse catch.They caught bass, redfish, trout, flounder, drum, goggle-eye and one very irritated grinnel. While they unloaded their gear, I cleaned six bass, four redfish, eight trout and two flounder.Not bad for a Plan B!
I didn’t know what to expect when we were forced out of the lake, but I did know that our chance of catching at least a few bass was very good.I was only afraid of the possibility that catching small bass would not be good enough for two guys expecting to catch trout and redfish in the lake.Having talked with Trey Smith the day before, however, I felt like we may catch some larger bass as well as a redfish or two.The trout bite was totally unexpected. Trey was one of the first local bass fishermen back on the water following the hurricane and he said the silver lining to all of the misery was that the bass fishing had been very good of late.While I have never doubted any information Trey cared to share, he backed up that assessment with a really impressive performance in a team tournament on the river only last weekend. “The bass weren’t exactly where Mike Bass and I expected to find them,” said Smith, “or I feel like we may have done even better.”Their winning catch was still “Toledo Bendish” as the duo hung a 16.02 pound bag on the field.Their big bass was a 4.19 pound fish which means they caught a lot of solid fish. Even though he was obviously pleased with the win, he was equally excited about the catches the rest of the field posted.“There were three bass over four pounds weighed in and half of the 16 teams brought double digit weights to the scales.” While they may not know exactly where Trey and Mike fished, most of the field knew what they were doing to catch their fish, but if they were doing something different they obviously had no reason to change.Logging time on the water as often as possible, even if you aren’t catching fish, is the ultimate key.Technique is strictly about confidence as the fish on the river are susceptible to the same lures and techniques used on T-Bend and Rayburn. Based on the limited time that I now spend on the river, I couldn’t agree more with Smith’s assessment of the local bass fishing.We are fortunate to have this resource right here in our own backyard and it is only getting better!