A fishing trip way overdue
I wasn’t brimming with confidence having skipped out on church as I idled into a cold and fog shrouded Sabine Lake Sunday morning.I am usually in church on Sunday mornings praying that the fish will bite the rest of the week, but this was a donated trip that we had been unable to consummate for a year and a half.
Larry Dierker, former Houston Astro pitching great, club skipper, and television announcer following his playing days had bid on and won the trip, but for one reason or another we could never make a scheduled date work.You would assume that it was due to his hectic schedule, but his Grandson and partner for the trip, William, also stays on the go with elite soccer, etc. and any off-days that coincide are rare indeed!
We actually set dates that worked for the two of them four different times only to cancel due to the weather.After all of that, we were finally on the water and the conditions could not have been better for everyone except William.He was about three layers of clothes shy of even expecting to be warm enough and the fifteen minute boat ride chilled him to the bone prior to ever making his first cast.
Much to my surprise and delight, the north end of the lake was covered up with huge flocks of gulls working over solid trout and slot redfish.It was even a little colder than expected and the fog kept us damp at best, but when you are missing or catching a fish on darn near every cast, a little discomfort is easier to ignore.William, however, would undoubtedly take issue with that statement.
For the better part of two hours I was either handing William a rod with a fish hooked up, fighting a fish of my own or netting Larry’s fish and it was non-stop as the next flock of gulls was never more than fifty yards away.William didn’t initially admit to how cold he was getting, but I eventually noticed that he was struggling just to grip and turn the reel handle.
At that point, I dug out a pair of gloves, a rain jacket that reached his knees and a thermal skull cap that he said smelled like fish, but he pulled it over his ears anyway.We immediately aborted the trip and ran back to the launch to warm up in front of the fireplace.Unlike Larry or I would have……. he thawed out as quickly as he had chilled down, but quickly nixed the proposal to go back out with warmer clothes!
Prior to the Sunday trip we had been catching very good numbers of solid trout including a beautiful 29-inch nine pound trout that I caught while scouting a few new spots with Gene Locke last Friday.That fish ate a four inch Usual Suspect in 12 to 15 feet of water and was holding on a break less than a long cast away from the same area where I caught several fish in that weight class back in October.
This is normally the easiest time of the year to consistently limit and catch and release redfish until your arms tire, but that has not been the case for me of late.We have still managed to get our redfish each day, but we have had to work for them.They stacked up in the bayous and deeper water for a couple of weeks following our only major cold front, but the water and bait flooded the surrounding marshes again and they followed the buffet.
Apparently, a number of them also followed small shad and shrimp into the open lake because there were at least a few under each flock of gulls we fished.Every red we caught was in the 22 to 24 inch range and they were full of small shad and shrimp.
I am forever being asked by clients how fast our redfish grow and Johnny Cormier recently helped answer that question.He caught a red back in the fall that had been tagged by the state of Louisiana and received a t-shirt for sending in the tag as well as some interesting data concerning the growth rate of redfish.
His fish measured just over thirty inches, but it was only 16 inches long when first caught and tagged in 2011.Originally caught in Black Lake, Johnny’s red fish traveled 23.6 miles before making the same mistake.He added that research conducted by the state showed that a four year old redfish on average was 27 inches in length.
Apparently redfish do little else but eat all the time and grow at an astonishing rate…especially as a youngster.The research data showed that a one year old fish was approximately 11 inches in length, but grew 8 inches the following year and was usually 24 inches long by the time it was three years old!
God bless and best wishes for a Merry Christmas for everyone!
Photo – Larry Dierker and grandson, William, shared a special morning on Sabine Lake!