Bulk up, slow down, and score big trout.
In all the major bay systems along the Texas gulf coast die hard big trout hunters are licking their lips in anticipation of finding that one truly big speckled trout of a lifetime. The late fall and winter months are regarded as the best times to pursue real wall hanger size trout, and here on Sabine lake we are no different. In the past couple of years we have seen some amazing things come our way to change the way we as anglers looked at fishing. Some or most of these ideas are not for everybody, they involve more than your fair share of empty grueling hours in less than ideal conditions so beware and be prepared. I am not by any means trying to persuade anyone not to try this type of fishing, I am only being honest about what kind of effort it takes to reap rewards that were long thought impossible for our lake. I will promise you this though, if you try these tactics and experience even minor success you will understand how addictive this whole process can be.
Fishing in the winter months, after the gulls seem to have left for vacation and the shrimp have all but disappeared, means you must do a couple of important things in order to be successful. Finding the warmest water in your area and finding baitfish such as mullet in that area is a great sign. According to Parks and Wildlife studies water temperatures in the 60 to 80 degree range are the best for catching speckled trout. During the winter months as the surface temps dip into the 50’s it is a must to slow your presentations and offer up a little bigger bait.
Much has been made of the wade fishing phenomenon in the past year, this style of fishing is definitely the preferred mode when targeting big speckled trout in shallow water. This technique is one of those “love it or hate it” subjects, some fishermen cannot stand the work involved or the cold water temps while others thrive under these conditions. All I can tell you is to try it out and see for yourself, the results are often worth effort.
If wade fishing proves not to be something you are willing to pursue don’t worry, you can drift over the scattered shell reefs on the lake and still have a good shot at catching that big fish. One of the best baits for these areas is a Norton Sand Eel, this bait really came on strong last year during the spring when the trout were stacked up on the big reef at the south end of the lake. During the year I really used this bait and had good success on big trout and redfish alike while drifting over shell in the open water of Sabine lake. This big tough soft plastic has great action and plenty of bulk to slow the fall of the bait, this slow fall is what drives fish crazy.
As the mercury dips down outside as well as on the water, don’t let that stop you from fishing in these coming months ahead. These are truly the some of the best times to catch really big trout and the occasional redfish. With a little bit of planning and some effort you may be rewarded with a “tough weather trophy”, the only way to make it happen is to get out there and try. Please use caution during these colder months, if at all possible never fish alone and always wear some sort of life jacket or personal floatation device. Good luck and good fishing.