A fishing trip not soon forgotten
Dustin Socha stared in the direction of the frothing water and stated matter of factly, “You don’t see this kind of stuff fishing from the bank!”
His parents had given him a guide trip for graduation and we had already canceled the trip three times in an effort to at least get the weather conditions in our favor. While I felt honored to even be called for such a special occasion, I also felt more than the usual amount of pressure that comes with putting clients on fish.
Dustin’s Mom was obviously pleased that he was so excited when she called to line up the trip and the fact that you can only earn that gift one time in your life was not lost on the guide. As it turned out, we could not have picked a more perfect day and the fish came to the party as well.
The sight that prompted Dustin’s profound opening statement was a half acre of schooling redfish stampeding their way across the glassed over lake. As soon as we were in casting range he launched a morning glory Trout Killer into the melee and hooked up instantly while his girlfriend, Ashley, photographed the happening.
We ran down two or three more schools with the same results before the largest school of the morning decided to run us down. It is a very special moment to simply stand there rod in hand and watch at least a hundred redfish swim directly at the boat as if it did not exist. That would be the last school of the morning, but it was the icing on an unforgettable day!
Those fish never show up when I am struggling to catch a single keeper and this trip was no exception. We had already spent the entire morning catching redfish and flounder that were blasting away at the schools of small shad parading down the shoreline in East pass and the mouth of Black’s.
As a matter of fact, we were already limited on reds when we stumbled up on the schooling fish. We kept a nice mess of flounder as well, but we missed far more than we caught. Dustin was much more adept at getting a redfish to the boat than a flounder, but he certainly caught his fair share over the course of the morning.
We were catching most of our fish on a “River 2 Sea” Swim bait, but Dustin did much better with the flounder when he switched to a Gulp Mullet. The fish held onto it a little longer and he missed far fewer strikes. Catching flounder on artificials takes a little getting used to, but he got it going in very short order.
As if we hadn’t already been blessed with an even better day than I could have hoped for, we ran across two gulls picking at shrimp in the open lake on the way back and caught trout until we got tired of catching them. Maybe I should say “Until I got tired of catching trout.” I think Ashley silently shared my assessment as she was slowly baking away in the sun, but as far as Dustin was concerned…..”Just keep casting because this wasn’t going to happen once it was back to bank fishing!”
The entire week was incredibly good, especially for the flounder fishermen. It has not been this easy in a long time and the average fish is easily in the 2 to 3 pound class. Amazingly enough, the bite is as good in the river as it is in the bayous or the lake.
I feel certain most folks know that the limit is five fish per person, but the temptation to keep more has just been too much for some local anglers of late. Unlike trout or redfish, catching and releasing flounder after you have limited is not very practical. Any time we are fortunate enough to limit quickly we leave them alone and chase specks and reds rather than take a chance on killing fish that apparently need at least some degree of protection.
The local Game Wardens are also aware of how good the flounder bite is and they are making more rounds in hopes that just their presence will keep folks honest. The fine plus the replacement cost of a game fish is significant!
The Tuesday evening river tournaments continue to grow regardless of weather conditions. Forty teams fished last week and the Gopher Industrial sponsored team of Trey Smith and Hunter Gothia won again with 3 bass that weighed 4.68-pounds. Darren Youngblood and Chad Koonce had only one bass that weighed 3.02 pounds, but it was good for second place and the big bass pot as well. Steve Henson and Gary Loke took home third place money with a 2.54 pound fish.
While most of the teams said that they caught a lot of small bass, only one three fish limit was weighed in. Extremely high tides and acres of bait fish have really scattered the fish in the river lately.