You don’t know if you don’t go!
You should always consider the safety aspect first, but I am a firm believer in the old adage that, “You don’t know if you don’t go” when deciding whether or not to go fishing. I also feel reasonably certain that those words were first uttered by a hard working angler saddled with a miserable weather forecast for his one day off!
The most ardent anglers are quick to point out that a perfect weather day for them would be deemed unsuitable for golf, picnics, or most any other outdoor activity. Cloud cover and even a little rain ushered in on a falling barometer suits their needs perfectly. The inclement weather generally fuels a shallow water bite thus eliminating the need to cover as much real estate in search of hungry fish.
I do not recall ever fishing our way through such a diversity of weather patterns as we have endured this winter. When it snows one day and you are fishing in a short sleeve shirt in seventy-degree weather two days later, you know you must be in southeast Texas.
While we have experienced only a handful of very cold days which are always much colder on the water, we have not had to endure any extended runs of mercury challenged weather.
I have a bad track record when opting to cancel bookings two or three days in advance based on weather forecasts that would render a trip unsafe or the catching especially difficult. More often than not, I fish anyway and there are those occasional days when I quickly realize that I was once again too cautious. Sometimes a front unexpectedly stalls out or thunderstorms miss us all together and I curse the weatherman while catching fish alone!
Only last Thursday night I tried to talk Kyle Couser and John Cotten of Longview out of a Saturday trip, but Kyle was determined to visit his dad here in Orange and take a swing at the trout. The early forecast predicted 15 to 20 mph north winds and rain with falling temperatures during the afternoon hours. The rain would not be a problem, but too much wind dooms most outings.
Kyle won the debate and I glad that he did.
At daylight it was dead calm and 68 degrees. Scattered groups of gulls were unexpectedly working over schools of redfish and the trout were relegated to second place status until the birds quit working. About the same time the gulls took a break, a light southwest wind shifted to due north and the picture perfect weather quickly deteriorated.
Had I been on dry land I would have never even considered going fishing in those conditions. Excessive winds are easily the worst enemy of all fishermen any time of the year and a cold north wind pushing light rain may be the worst of all. Because we were already on the water and in no danger, we pulled the draw strings a little tighter on the rain gear and continued fishing.
Over the next two hours we never made a drift that we did not catch at least one trout. We fished three different flats in an attempt to better utilize the unwanted gale and scored trout up to five pounds on each of them. A variety of suspending lures that included Crazy Croakers, Catch V’s, 2000s and Corkies were still producing solid trout when we decided to call it a day.
In truth, the only reason we quit was out of fear that the combination of north wind and an outgoing tide would make it all but impossible to get the boat back on the trailer. We timed it just right, finished with a very good catch, and got the boat back on the trailer without tearing anything up.
Unfortunately, I canceled Sunday’s trip the same night only to see the weather turn off nicer than predicted, but I went to church and prayed hard for lighter winds this week. I perhaps should have prayed for something less specific as the early forecasts still look a little bleak.
Once again, I called and gave Monday’s group the option of rescheduling, but their unanimous reply was, “We’re just looking for one big trout and you don’t know if you don’t go.”
I could not agree more!