“Just about the time you think you have them figured out, Mother Nature serves up another unhittable curve ball,” said L’Rod Theriot, one of several southwest Louisiana bass fishermen currently spending a lot of time fishing the Sabine River.

“I don’t chase bass as hard as we used to back in the 70’s and 80’s,’ laughed Theriot, “but there’s a long list of things I no longer do as aggressively.I thought I was going to have to drive to Jasper to find a crankbait that I have been using, but a friend told me about Rambo’s Tackle and, sure enough, they have them.”

They didn’t have as many by the time he checked out, but it was just one more positive statement concerning the bass fishing right here in our back yard.Initially the hype concerning the improved bass fishing on the lower Sabine River and surrounding marshes wasn’t altogether accurate.The tournaments were based out of Orange, but a lot of those bass showing up at the weigh-ins were caught from Taylor’s bayou all the way to the Calcasieu River!

While that is still the case, the river and surrounding marshes are now producing catches that are drawing deserved attention as well.Big bass, including a recently caught fish that bumped the ten pound mark, will always turn heads, but the average size has drastically improved as well.

“I had a nephew that lives over here call me last year and ask me if I wanted to make an easy trip and catch bass and redfish on crankbaits,” said Theriot. “He said the wind wouldn’t be a problem so I signed on.”

While catching redfish until they didn’t care to see another redfish, his nephew also caught and released two bass in the five pound class.When he didn’t get overly excited about those two fish,” added Theriot, “I knew I would be back.I have been averaging about four trips a month since then and had very few poor outings.”

“I didn’t have to deal with all of the flooding that undoubtedly played a part in rejuvenating your bass fishing around here,” said Theriot, “but between the crazy high tides and all the water getting blown out this month, the bite has certainly changed for me.”

“We spend our share of time fishing the marshes simply because the bite is easier and it is fun watching all of the activity in the shallow water.My best bite for larger fish, however, has taken place in deeper water.We don’t keep any fish, but I have already released five bass over the six pound mark and four of them came out of deeper water.One of those bass ate a jig and the others all ate this exact crankbait,” added Theriot.

The fact that the catching has not fallen off significantly in spite of this extended run of cold weather and shallow drains that have been reduced to muddy trails speaks volumes to just how reliable the bite has gotten.“I used to fish the Houston River when the wind turned Toledo Bend upside down in the winter, but it wasn’t as good as this has been thus far,” noted Theriot.

“I don’t know anyone that is traveling over here to fish that keeps any bass at all, ”he added, “but if the locals keep only the smaller bass to eat, this place could be off the charts in another couple of years.You and I might need to open a boudain-cracklin stand at the landing!”

Local anglers have been fishing Rat-L-Traps on the river since they first hit the Tackle Shops in the 60’s, but more and more anglers are just now learning how effective shallow running crankbaits can be.The redfish will occasionally crash the party as well, but the diversity of the lure makes it a winner.

It will effectively probe a five foot column of water depending on speed of retrieve and doesn’t hang up nearly as badly as the Trap.The one advantage the Trap has is the fact that it can also be fished in much deeper water.As a rule, this matters to those in pursuit of redfish as the bass are not comfortable in the deeper layer of saltier water.

Fishing the lure on monofilament or fluorocarbon rather than braided line will also give the fish a second longer to take a bait in on the hook set.Most of the anglers that prefer braid under any circumstances still use a couple of feet of mono leader anyway.

Another good excuse to fish in nasty weather!