We have had to deal with a little more rain lately, but it’s the cooler weather that has us digging for our Frog Toggs every morning.

More often than not, I find myself wearing the bibbed bottoms even when I don’t wear the jacket.

The thinner Classic suits work well enough, but the slightly thicker Toad Skinz material is warm even when you are wearing only shorts underneath.

The wind has made things a little uncomfortable lately, especially a northeast wind, but it hasn’t been strong enough to warrant taking the blame for the tougher fishing.

We are catching as many or possibly even more trout than even a week ago, but we are having to grind long and hard to cull limits of keeper fish.

The saving grace has been the small schools of slot reds that show up when you are least expecting them along with a very good flounder bite.

The gulls are working in the river, the lake and the bayous, but we haven’t consistently caught solid specks underneath them.

You may find one flock working over 15 to 20 inch fish only to work another five or six flocks and never catch a keeper.

At least for right now, we are finding better numbers of keeper trout under the birds in the open lake.

It is rare indeed when the largest trout in a surface feeding school won’t hit a She Dog or Skitterwalk for us, but over the past week we have done better with the Tidal Surge Split Tail Mullet and the four inch Usual Suspect.

When we can get them to the bottom and keep them away from the gafftops we are catching more keeper trout as well as decent numbers of redfish.

Any time we hook up with a red on a plastic tail or the Swim Bait it is all but a sure bet that we can catch one or two more provided we have a Hoginar tied on a back up rod.

Hunting for fish with a Hoginar will wear you out, but it is a difference maker with the redfish once you find them!

We certainly haven’t quit fishing tails or the VuDu shrimp under a cork, but the gafftop and small trout will not leave that combination alone.

I don’t know what you can do to keep them off the VuDu shrimp, but a longer three foot drop with a four inch tail like the Flats Minnow or Sea Shad will give you more shots at solid trout.

Texas Roach and Chicken on a chain along with opening night with a chartreuse tail have been our best colors.

We have been fishing the shoreline on the windier days and the redfish have been there even when you don’t see them blowing holes in schools of shad or small brown shrimp.

I prefer to throw the Swim Bait as I feel my chances of also catching flounder are better, but easily the most consistent bait for the reds has been a crankbait.

I think we have caught them on every make of crankbait available as long as it is a square bill shallow running model designed to run 1 to 3 feet deep.

Check your drag before you tie one on because there is nothing subtle about the strike or the initial drag burning run.

We have probably caught the larger percentage of our flounder on Gulp baits, but most of the fish we have caught in the five pound plus class have all come on the Swim Bait.

We are still just swimming it on a slow retrieve, but those big flounder are willing to run it down when they can’t hold tight to cover and ambush it.

Once again the four inch Usual Suspect has worked a little better than the three inch version and space guppy and glow chartreuse have been our best colors.

The rain chased us back to the landing a little earlier than planned Monday morning, but not before Betty Duke won a tug of war with a 24 inch redfish that slammed a swim bait in Black’s Bayou. She and her husband, Jim, drove in before daylight and we started in Black’s rather than take a chance on the cloud shrouded lake.

An absolute delight to fish with, Betty declared her red to be a worthy opponent and a very good present on her 80th birthday!

I am hoping that by the time the weekend rolls around the north wind will have blown some of this water out of the marshes.

It has been so high that there is no reason for the shrimp and fish to even consider moving into the open lake.

With all of the high water there are also numerous floaters in the bayous and the river so be especially careful when running before daylight.

Betty Duke celebrated her 80th birthday with a 24-inch redfish! RECORD PHOTO: Dickie Colburn