“I don’t get up to the Chicken Coop enough to even guess how much longer the crappie bite will last,” reported John Mires, “but it has slowed down for me with the muddy runoff out of the major creeks. ”Mires added that they had 23 and 19 fish on their last two trips and all of their crappie were caught on shiners.

He was also quick to add that it was time to bass fish anyway. “We spent a lot of time this past week fishing four to twelve feet of water that had surface temperatures in the high fifties in the more protected coves. We had a lot of rain this past week and the water is just the right color as far as I am concerned.”

I talked with some very good bass fishermen that drove over to Daley’s to talk with Ish Monroe last Wednesday and most of them agreed that the bite on T-Bend seemingly turned on overnight. Because the majority of them compete on one or more tournament circuits they weren’t into being quoted, but there was a common theme to their recent findings.

Grass or no grass, the longer points that extend out into deeper water at the mouth of major creeks were attracting larger numbers of bass every day If there is a good grass line so much the better, but it didn’t seem to make a big difference even as far as the size of the bass.

They caught bass this past week on everything from finesse worms to jerk baits, but most of them were fishing a Trap at some point during the day. You can catch fish simply casting and winding the lipless crankbait, but getting the most out of the venerable lure requires the right tackle and attention to technique. In short, luring the kind of bass that will win a tournament out of the grass with a lure with two treble hooks is a physically tiring process.

The most popular alternative lure for locating and catching these same bass is the spinnerbait. There’s any number of quality spinnerbaits on the market today and technique is every bit as important as the weight or blade selection. With the water temperature in the fifties and the bass still holding tight to the thicker grass on the breaks, slow rolling a spinnerbait can be deadly on pre-spawn bass.

Mires is a great fan of slow rolling a spinner bait and did just that almost exclusively this past week. “I am too old to jerk a Trap through the grass all day,” he confided in spite of some good natured teasing on my part, “and much too impatient to soak a jig and pig and wait on a bass to track it down.” He said they caught bass up to seven pounds slow rolling a half ounce single spin with a big Colorado blade that generates more vibration on a slow retrieve and more flash on the fall.

They were able to speed their retrieve up in the afternoon hours and even switched to a tandem willow leaf when the bass moved a little shallower and bit more aggressively. He also added, “We are loading up our spinnerbaits with two skirts and a plastic split tail trailer to give them more bulk and hopefully attract bigger fish.”

I believe we still have some more winter to endure, but there is no doubt that the largest of the sow bass are already checking out staging areas on both T-Bend and Rayburn. You might have to endure a little nasty weather to get it done, but at least you don’t have to wade around in the mud in leaky waders like the trout fishermen for a shot at the best of the best!

The warmer weather was just too much to resist even on the windier days for local trout fishermen hunting their prize fish. Depending on wind direction, some areas of the lake got a lot of pressure, but there were still some very nice trout up to eight pounds caught and released.

Hunter Gothia sent me a picture of a 28 inch trout he caught on a tail last weekend and it was a beautiful fish. He said he just doesn’t understand all of the fuss over catching big trout as there isn’t much to it. Just tie on a tail, chunk it out in the middle of a few surfacing bait fish and reel the trout in!

The three hottest baits on the lake right now have to be the Corky, Maniac Mullet, and a five inch soft plastic tail. We have caught fish on Swim Baits, Topwaters, and Catch 2000’s, but most of our largest trout have eaten one of the first three choices.

Pink and Dayglow have been the most popular colors in the Corky and Mullet while chicken on a chain and glow chartreuse are the leading vote getters in the soft plastics. The paddle tails on both the Assassin DieDapper and TTF Big Minnow add to the package by creating more vibration on a slow retrieve.

Because most of our fish are coming out of water five feet deep or less, we are rigging the tails on a one eighth or one sixteenth ounce head for a slower fall. I have very few problems with line twist fishing the Corky or a tail on a loop knot, but the Maniac Mullet is much more forgiving when fished on a Tony or Norton speed clip.

Corky is a popular choice for Sabine lake trout!