Wind Tough on Local Anglers
Gary Devers twitched the tip of his new Laguna medium light casting rod with its cyclone wrapped eyes for the first time and his black-chartreuse She Dog struggled a short distance across the surface before pausing to rest a moment. Before he could retrieve the slack line the topwater lure silently disappeared in a bulge of chocolate colored water.
Setting the hook required little more than hanging on as the fish plowed across the shallow flat just beneath the surface. “That has to be a redfish,” I offered as he backed off his drag and flashed a satisfied smile. Somewhere between the hook set and the net, however, the redfish turned into a 26-inch trout that we photographed and quickly released.
“And you wanted to cancel this trip,” Gary barked while checking his leader for any worn spots. Less than thirty minutes and two small keeper trout later found us surfing across the shallow flat in a 20 mph southwest wind. The already dirty water yielded the last six inches of visibility and there was little doubt that once again the game had changed due to the wind.
The following morning, Peggy Roberts Carroll was still mastering the basics of casting into the wind with a seven foot medium action spinning rod when a solid fish rudely interrupted the practice session. Setting the hook proved to be the quickest learned part of the process and, not surprisingly, she even managed to maneuver her personal best five pound trout around the big engine and into the net.
The Houston Memorial Park LPGA teaching pro who was in town for a Stark High “Class of 64” reunion is obviously more comfortable with a three wood in her hands than a spinning rod, but athleticism accelerates the leaning curve in fishing as well. Within the hour the wind was one again howling and what appeared to have the potential for a decent morning quickly disappeared in the whitecaps.
Peggy would later point out that both casting a lure and hitting a golf ball too high into the wind produces the same miserable results. I can simply position the boat upwind to rectify the casting issue for my clients, but you golfers will have to schedule a practice session with her as turning around and hitting the ball in the opposite direction is not a practical option on the golf course!
Before you declare this to be the windiest spring you can ever recall and resort to golfing to best enjoy what has been otherwise beautiful weather….consider trailering your rig to fish more protected water rather than making those long wet boat rides. I detest the idea of trailering as fish cleaning facilities, etc. are more important to me as a guide, but that is a viable option for the recreational angler that refuses to give in to the wind.
The same day last week that we eventually caved in to a 25 mph wind trying to fish the north end of the lake, a friend drove around the lake and launched in the back end of Johnson’s Bayou on the south end. It required an extra hour on the road, but they fished well past noon and finished with a dozen trout and five redfish.
The most determined fishermen will tell you that the wind doesn’t diminish their confidence level nearly as much as poor water clarity and that can be a problem even in the semi-protected areas. Remember…when fishing the lake, no area is totally impervious to the negative effects of silted water as it spreads throughout the system on tide changes.
In spite of the fact that I log countless hours on the water when I could be doing something more responsible, I still struggle with these same conditions. More often than not, however, I can salvage a number of days with two minor changes in my lure selection. At least on Sabine Lake, I firmly believe that there is no better color in plastics when hunting trout and reds in yucky water than red shad.
I also turn to a single-spin spinner bait when probing the shoreline for flounder and redfish. The vibration factor produces far more strikes for me than simply crawling a jig across the bottom. I will switch between pink and chartreuse, but my most effective body on the spinnerbait is a GULP swimming mullet.
I was very much impressed by the winning weights in this weekend’s Riverfest tournament. In spite of all of the wind the winning trout caught by Jim McVey was 28.6 inches long and weighed 8.09 pounds. Steve Derouen’s winning red was less than 27 inches long, but still weighed in at a healthy 8.75 pounds and Jeff Broussard won the flounder division with a very nice 5.61 pound flounder. Wind or no wind….those were quality fish!