The unappreciated return of daily gale force winds kept us out of the lake for the most part last week, but the possibility of some much needed rain could possibly settle things down through this weekend. I will have to see rain and get wet to believe it!

I was only able to get in three out of seven trips that I had booked this past week and had you just shown up at the fish cleaning table at the end of the day you would have left thinking that we really did well. The truth was that we took a beating to catch those fish and on all but one day we caught fish only thirty minutes or so out of eight hours on the water. It was, however, as exciting a bite as Sabine has to offer!

The wind was blowing a steady 15 mph even before daylight, but we were still able to scratch out 3 to 5 solid trout on topwaters before the whitecaps got taller and the sun got hotter. We would then faithfully drift one small flat over and over hoping that the redfish would school on top just one more day.

Our patience was rewarded each day, but the duration of the topwater bonanza was dwindling by the time the weekend arrived. I will be the first to admit that it is easier to be patient when it is the only game in town!

Each morning the reds would start churning the surface blowing shad out of the water about thirty minutes after the incoming tide got going. I feel like there were probably four or five small schools of fish working the shallow flat, but it looked like one huge school when they were all doing their thing at the same time. You could have caught them on anything in the tackle box, but because we wanted to maximize the enjoyment of the brief bite, we stuck with topwaters.

We are obviously going to have to catch a break with the wind to best exploit any bite, but there is no doubt that most local anglers are missing out on a very good flounder bite in their haste to chase the gulls or schooling reds. Most of the veteran flounder anglers were forced to fish marsh cuts and the bayous last week, but they still caught excellent numbers of flounder up to three pounds.

Jason Bourne caught a 5.24 pound flat fish on a piece of cut mullet fishing the Entergy Outfall Wednesday and said that they limited four days in a row. Everything from finger mullet to frozen shrimp has worked, but easily the most productive bait has been a Gulp shrimp rigged on a quarter ounce head.

One of the better flounder fishermen in this area recently told me that he does much better with the Gulp 3-inch mullet than the shrimp. He also said that he extends the life of the expensive little baits by adding a drop of Super Glue to the shank of the hook. No one that I know catches more redfish, flounder and trout on Gulp than Jerry Roberson, probably because that is all that he uses, and he also rigs them a little differently than most folks. Jerry cuts the little fan tail off the 4-inch Shrimp and hangs the bait on the hook rather than threading it on the shank. He says he gets more bites and he is only poking a small hole in the lure every time he re-hooks it!

Due to the fact that this column goes in just prior to the weigh-in of the weekly river bass tournaments, every report is a week old, but at least it gets reported. That said, at least to this point it’s just been more of the same as three or four teams have really dominated the field. That may well change as more and more local anglers get back in the groove, but there is no doubt that spending time on the river is the key to consistently cashing a check.
Thirty boats fished the tournament on the 14th and Kevin and Kenny Vaughn took home $480 with a first place catch of 5.36 pounds. Chad Koonce and Aaron Youngblood finished second with 4.84 pounds and Trey Smith and Hunter Gothia finished third with 4.22 pounds. Koonce and Youngblood also took home big bass money with a 3.96 pound bass.

Jackie St. Julian and his wife were bass fishing Thursday when a strong fish sucked up a four-inch tube jig that he flipped into the rocks lining the east side of Conway’s bayou.
“I immediately knew it wasn’t a bass, but it was much too fast to be a redfish,” reported St. Julian. “I was really hoping that it was a striper because I have never caught one, but it turned out to be big jack crevalle!”

Several tagged redfish have already been caught in this year’s S.T.A.R. tournament, but only one of the anglers was signed up. Most of the categories are still very much wide open with a lot of money, boats and scholarships still up for grabs. The leading trout for the Upper Coast is currently 8. 8- pounds which is a very good fish, but not unbeatable.

The kids divisions are all up for grabs. If the wind will settle down, look for some area youngster to weigh in a big gafftop at Peggy’s on the Bayou. The best part of weighing in a fish at Peggy’s is that it gives you an excuse to go eat a shrimp Po-Boy!

I continue to get lots of e-mails about the availability of Crazy Croakers, especially Tiger Gleaux and pumpkin-chartreuse. I haven’t talked with the owners of Tidal Surge Lures, Shawn or Dana, lately to confirm this, but I heard from a good source that they are also going to start making the old pumpkin with a chartreuse tail pattern again. Don’t forget that they work much better fished with a small in-line swivel or a quick clip with a swivel as they will twist your line otherwise.

You can find out with a quick phone call if they have received any and even have them put some back for you by calling Keith or Eric at Daley’s Hunt n Fish. The phone number is 409-736-3999. They are closed on Sunday and Monday!