Beware of the styrofoam mine fields
I think there is a pretty good chance that I am out on Sabine Lake as often as most folks and I enjoy lots of good trips while enduring my fair share of bad ones as well. In the process I, too, still cuss the wind, often wonder why boaters drive between the shoreline and wade fishermen, and do my best to avoid frequently repeated bay rage incidents once the gulls start ratting out schools of trout and redfish.
I am finally getting a little more proficient in dealing with the wind and now simply choose to move on and hunt other fish rather than waste fishing time taking issue with folks that may or may not realize that they have been less than courteous in their race to catch a fish. You can choose to take that approach or opt not to do so, but there is not a damn thing you can do about unmarked crab traps!
I do not begrudge crabbers their right to earn a living as they work incredibly hard in all kinds of weather and deserve their share of aquatic real estate. At the same time, they have no qualms about completely blocking off the entrance to a bayou or depositing traps up and down the river channel at distances less than a short cast apart.
The Game Reserve is now open to recreational anglers, guides not included, and folks attempting to enter through Three Bayous or Willow are forced to maneuver through a virtual mine field of Styrofoam floats. What cannot be seen are the traps and the ropes attached to them. You have a pretty good idea of where the ropes are based on current or wind direction, but the real killers are the ghost traps that are no longer marked.
We were 300 yards off the shoreline last Wednesday morning when my big engine shut down without warning. When it would not shift into gear, I immediately knew what was wrong. I raised the engine and sure enough the entire prop and cavitation plate was completely engulfed in a twisted ball of chicken wire.
Aside from the obvious aggravation it was forty-two degrees and raining, the wind was blowing 20 mph out of the southeast and I didn’t have any waders in the boat. After moving to shallow water on the troll motor, off came the clothes and I spent the next half hour cutting the trap loose one piece at a time. I did discover, however, that a heightened degree of agitation helps maintain body heat!
At least for right now I have no idea what the regulations are (these are all on the La. side) regarding crab traps, but a boater or fisherman could find himself in serious trouble should this happen in a storm or even late in the day. Like it or not, fishermen have an obligation to avoid crab traps and the majority do so, but the crabbers make it awfully difficult as the growing number of traps continue to extend further and further out into the lake.
Until there is some resolution, or at least an interpretation of regulations, you are better off leaving your tackle box at home than your tool box and a pair of wire cutters!
The flounder bite has been very good thus far and most folks that fish the Game Reserve target flounder and redfish. Do not forget that the limit is now five flounder per fisherman if you are returning to a Texas launch.
We have been dealing with a stiff wind from one direction or another most days, but it hasn’t slowed the trout bite too badly. While it is more difficult on the anglers as far as casting and keeping their balance, the off-colored water has been the more significant obstacle to finishing the day with a good catch.
When the water clarity is really poor you have to slow down your approach and try to make every inch of your cast count. We have done much better with the longer Assassins and darker colors of late. The longer bait presents a bulkier and easier profile to locate and the darker colors provide a better silhouette.
I fish plastics with some type of scent all of the time, but even if you don’t, this is a good time to do so. It will increase your number of redfish and flounder strikes and the trout seem to hold on a little longer as well.