I cannot recall the catching and the weather coming together any better for an OCARC tournament, but at least at this writing it is about as good as it gets. The toughest part of the day may be finding suitable shade at the final weigh-in as it has been hot even at night.

In spite of last week’s deluge, the salinity level remains high in the lake and we are seeing species that we don’t normally incur. Richard Lewis and his wife were catching reds on the south end of the lake this weekend when they hooked up with a small 10 to 12-inch fish that turned out to be a ling.

Damon Sills and his partner couldn’t get their big engine started fast enough when they saw a school of redfish churning the water on a flat just north of Willow Bayou. When they arrived, small specks and mullet were doing their best to get out of the water. It didn’t take long to figure out they were not in the middle of redfish.

Both fishermen cast Hoginars into the melee and were broken off immediately. Two more casts and Damon and his partner were both attached to sizable sharks. “We landed one which was over 4-feet long, but we never had a real shot at the other one as it was much larger and apparently had even sharper teeth!” said Sills.

We had a decent early morning bite in the back end of Coffee Ground Cove quickly put to rest by a porpoise last Tuesday. I guess the fishing in that area was pretty good, as she was still in the area around noon.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was that the one day flood had almost no effect on the fishing at all. Because it had rained for several days prior, I thought we may get more runoff than we did. It cloudied up the river temporarily, but the fish never quit biting. We have really got a lot of mullet and shad in the bayous as well and the fish know they are there.

The bass fishing had been very good, but some of the hottest areas were not accessible most of last week due to the floating duckweed. It was so thick that Adam’s Bayou looked like a pasture all the way to the main river channel. We had no problem running through the matted vegetation outside of hitting a floater or two, but I think it would be almost impossible to fish. The main bayou was starting to thin out by the weekend.

As good as the fishing has been for anglers fortunate enough to spend some time on the lake and figure out the fish, it still hasn’t been real user-friendly for most folks. The easiest bite has come under the birds, but they aren’t working everyday and they certainly do not hold very long.

We are spending a great deal of time in very small areas, basically because we know the fish are there even when there is no surface activity. It is hard to develop that confidence if you haven’t been out in a while. The solution is to not abandon any area where you find bait on the surface or more than one tern hanging around.

When the fish are not on top, we have done best hunting them with soft plastics fished under a popping cork. If you are not getting strikes, but feel like the fish are there, experiment with not only different colors but lengths of plastics as well. Ironically enough we are catching our better numbers on lighter colors, but the largest trout we caught last week all hit black or Texas Roach which is a dark combination as well.

If you haven’t been on the lake in a while and don’t know who or what to believe, here are two programs that will put you in the game. If you can catch finger mullet at the DuPont Outfall, run a half mile or so out into the lake through Middle Pass and start drifting towards Pleasure Island in 4 to 7 feet of water.

Rig your live mullet on a 4/0 Kahle hook and add one or two small split shot a foot or so up the line depending on the size of your mullet. Drift the bait on at least forty-feet of line and hang on. If you can only catch menhaden, do not despair. Even dead shad will catch these fish if you put them on ice immediately and keep them fresh. The only thing I would do different with the shad is fish them under a cork rather than free-lining them.

I think that pattern is as close to a guarantee as you can get. My second choice is almost as good, but requires more determination under a broiling sun. Scrape the remaining chrome paint off a couple of your old Rat-L-Traps until the entire lure is bone colored. Dab a little red paint on the eyes and prepare to cast ten jillion times on the same drift.

Don’t just drag your lure behind the boat. Make long casts in the direction you are drifting and alternate between a slow steady retrieve and bumping it off the bottom. A Hoginar will do the same thing, but a bone Trap has been especially good on both reds and trout lately and you can cover a world of water effectively!

Come out Saturday and support the OCARC.

About Dickie Colburn