Trophies are in the eye of the beholder
An unbelievable amount of newsprint gets used up every month covering what many people believe to be the “only”fish out there worthy of catching, speckled trout. Furthermore there is growing legion of believers that subscribe to the fact that catching trophy speckled trout on artificial lures is the “only way”to fish. All other fish and fish catching methods are simply beneath the upper echelon, beneath the real fishermen. In the famous words of game show hosts everywhere, “sorry, wrong answer, and thanks for playing. Johnny tell them what they’ve won”.
Don’t get me wrong, I freely admit that I thoroughly enjoy chasing big trout with artificials. I also enjoy just about every other style of fishing that you can think of as well. Perhaps the only one I would shy away from would be that insane pursuit of catfish called grabbling, the one where you feel around for the fish in the holes along the river banks and catch them by jabbing your hands in their mouth and pulling them out. That method is not for me, but most others are.
I like every other guide on the coast has been plagued by less than desirable conditions for weeks now, one day it will end I am told. Due to this fact we have really changed our target fish and have had a great time in doing so. Sabine lake and Calcasieu are both blessed with an ample supply of marsh and estuariues, these places hold countless opportunities for fishermen of all skill levels. Typical spring patterns have been doing well catching flounder and redfish along protected shorelines while throwing small soft plastics on light jig heads, spinnerbaits, and spoons. The flounder have been scattered but the reds have been good in numbers and a bit small on the size.
Along with the flounder and redfish there have been some other really neat opportunities to take advantage of as well. Sheepshead have been showing up in big numbers along the jetties and are more than willing to give you a fight. In fact for a week or so they were really tailing like reds and made great targets for flyfishermen, tough to catch on fly but very rewarding when it happens. Sheepshead are often called “Texas permit”by flyfishermen because they can very difficult to tempt, catching one on fly is considered a worthy accomplishment.
Another major player that has shown up is the striped bass, these fish have been staging in the Sabine River along deep drop offs in the bends of the river. I have seen some fish over 30 pounds recently that were taken on live crawfish. Now if you have never caught one of these fish you owe it to yourself to do it at least once, they are terrific fighters and grow to huge proportions. Every now and again we find them schooling and busting the top of the water while chasing shad or shrimp. Believe me when I tell you that a trout eating a topwater plug cannot compare to what a striper will do to surface plug, especially when they are 15 or 20 pounds.
Now I know most of you may be saying why in the world would I want to go chase any of these fish besides a trout, red, and flounder. The answer is because its fun and fishing is about fun. Those of you who ride the high horse and make fun of the folks who throw different baits and catch fish that you think are beneath you, I feel sorry for you because you are really missing out. Take advantage of your opportunities and enjoy them to the fullest. Respect your fellow fisherman because we all want the same thing and that’s a bend in the rod and the stretch in the string.