Nothing magic about locating fish
It is no secret that the trout bite on Sabine Lake lit off following the modest front that limped through the area Sunday before last. The lake immediately flattened out, larger shrimp showed up in the open lake and the fish are all over them.
For the past week a large number of area anglers have benefited from the user-friendly light winds and overly cooperative trout. Not surprisingly, however, a small percentage of those same anglers have conducted themselves like the phenomenal bite was a closely guarded secret!
I think the reason for that behavior is that the more consistent bite under the birds just started and there aren’t a lot of birds working at this time. The smallish groups ratting out schools of very respectable trout and an occasional red break up pretty quickly and it is shame on the unfortunate angler that motored up in time to get the blame for scattering the birds .
There will be larger and more numerous flocks of gulls as the summer wears on, but for right now, no one wants to share their flock if they are the first to arrive on the scene. The best news is, however, that you don’t need the birds to have a successful day on the water.
Acres of juvenile shad are schooling up all over the lake and we are also starting to see much larger shrimp skipping across the surface. Those shrimp are not out exercising and locating fish can be as simple as quietly waiting on the next shrimp to disappear in an audible slurp. We are already doing exactly that and it has paid huge dividends on trout up to seven pounds.
First of all, in spite of all that you have heard and read about the VuDu shrimp, there is no magic bait. It works awfully well, but the more important factor and one that will serve you well for the remainder of your fishing days is locating the fish and keeping your lure in front of them. Believe me when I tell you that it is possible to be in the middle of the fish, but never get your lure in front of their face.
There is something special about the weight or possibly it is the size of the VuDu shrimp, but the main reason it catches so many trout is that when it is fished under a cork it stays in the strike zone all of the time. Any lure that you have to cast and retrieve may not be in the strike zone at any point during the entire retrieve. That’s a scary thought, but a very real possibility!
After limiting in less than an hour one day last week my clients and I were catching and releasing fish with no birds in sight when another boat slowly idled our way. I waved them in to share the bite, but they waited until we stopped to rehydrate and add another layer of sunscreen.
“We don’t want to mess up your fishing,” said the angler in the front of the boat, “but we lost our last VuDu shrimp and were hoping we could buy a pack from you. We can’t catch fish on anything else.”
The entire time they were watching us my clients were catching fish on Swim Baits, Assassin Sea Shads and TTF Flats Minnows.“What other baits have you tried,” I asked as I troll motored in their direction. I tossed them a pack of the VuDu shrimp, they assured me color didn’t make a difference, and the driver held out his rod with a proven 4-inch tail in a very good color tied on the end.
“Your only problem is that ever since you lost your last shrimp you have been fishing beneath the trout with that heavy jig head.” I cut his bait off and tied a Sea Shad on in the exact same color, but rigged on a lighter one-eighth ounce jig head. His first cast produced a keeper trout and he was obviously convinced that he had discovered yet another magic bait.
I left them a few of the lighter heads and a pack of Assassin violet ghost Sea Shads and we went in search of another bunch of fish. I received a very nice email from them that night saying that they limited without ever cranking up the big motor again.
There is no telling how many fish they had been amongst over the course of the morning, but were fishing below them with the heavier jig head. Color can be a critical factor at times, but fishing a jig or any lure that sinks too quickly is a deal killer in most instances. There are those days when the fish are right on the bottom, but I would rather figure that out with a slow sinking bait.
Falling in love with a single lure or color can thwart your catching as well. While some combination of glow or pearl and chartreuse has been hard to beat of late, it seems that I discover a new favorite tail every other day. A client tied on an Assassin Lit’l Tapper only because it was the hot color at that time this past week and I still have one tied on two of my rods.
We fished it Whacky worm style on T-Bend earlier this spring and caught a lot of bass, but the trout apparently don’t know it is a bass lure. It fishes very well on the lighter head and casts like a bullet into the wind.
The bottom line is that there is no magic color or magic lure and the improving bite on Sabine is no secret. Try to fish during a good tide movement, fish with the lightest lure you can get away with and watch for bait on the surface when the birds aren’t around to help you.
Take the kids every chance you get as the bite won’t get any easier than it is right now until this fall and they will be back in school by then. Get out and win some of that CCA scholarship money!
Jason Guidry fooled this nice trout with an Assassin Lit’l Tapper!