So much for no cold weather
“You don’t have to worry about us flaking out,” stated the first client out of the truck.“We expect to fish in bad conditions this time of the year and we will grind all day long for one shot at the right trout.”
I cannot tell you how many times those same words have been a part of the introduction process while standing in the predawn shadows at the launch. Judging by their attire, however, there was certainly no reason to question their commitment to staying the course.They had donned their waders before ever leaving the LaQuinta in Bridge City and every piece of their high end foul weather gear sported a Simms tag.I don’t know if Simms makes underwear as well, but if they do they were probably wearing a pair!
I had the boat in the water thirty minutes prior to their arrival and a steady drizzle at that time had given way to a frigid downpour that showed no sign of breaking up.I had on enough clothes to sufficiently break the 15 mph wind chill of a 38 degree morning, but the driving rain had already managed to creep under the hood of my rain jacket.I wasn’t sharing their enthusiasm as we eased away from the dock, but I reminded myself that I was at least getting paid for my discomfort.
The Roseau cane lining the northeast shoreline offered only minimal relief from the wind as they did indeed diligently grind away to no avail most of the morning. We were strategically scattered out in waist deep water and four hours of casting and changing lures had yielded only five suicidal redfish and not a single trout.I correctly assumed that none of them had been blessed with a swing at a big trout when I started hearing their cell phones ringing at more frequent intervals.
I had gotten one unexpected shot at a six to seven pound trout that shook my lure as I reached to pick her up, but I knew better than even mention that single opportunity.They were already plodding my way and their body language indicated that the fish and the weather had won. I was too cold and they were too young to risk sharing any motivational information!
Rather than return to the launch, we opted to hook a left into Cow Bayou and run to Peggy’s on the Bayou to warm up and eat a bowl of gumbo or, in Jason’s case, two bowls and a shrimp Po Boy.The highlight of their morning may have been the fact that a friend heading back to town after lunch agreed to run one of them back to the launch to pick up their truck.
After making the slow and seemingly even colder return trip to the Boat Club alone, I was pleased to find a couple of logs still glowing in the fireplace.About the time that I was warm enough to dread having to go back outside and load up the boat, my cell phone rang.“Hey Captain…..we decided to drive over to Lake Charles and gamble tonight and were wondering if you could fish us on Big Lake tomorrow.It looks like more of the same weather, but we won’t have to deal with as much fresh water.” I was suddenly very cold again!
“Let me get home, make a pot of coffee and check with the wife,” I replied. “I might have to go shopping with her or mow the yard or something important like that. I am much too old and wise to even consider such nonsense and my finger tips still haven’t thawed out, but you know…… the water over there will be in better shape with all of this runoff and maybe…….meet me at seven o’clock tomorrow morning!”
In talking with a number of Big Lake (Calcasieu) guides at the Houston Boat Show last week it was evident that their big trout bite had improved over the past two months.The trout bite, regardless of size, was off much of last year and a number of their guides were running over to Sabine on a regular basis.They did have one significant advantage when chasing the gulls in the fall in that they were launching in Louisiana and could keep more and smaller fish.
Most of the Texas guides trailer to Big Lake only to chase trophy trout in the winter or take advantage of the more liberal limits during the flounder run every fall.I have no idea, nor do the Big Lake based guides, as to why the trout bite all but dried up for a scary period of time last year, but it had the recreational fishermen equally concerned.
We have done so well on trout over seven pounds fishing Sabine over the past several years that the annual eastern migration of Texas anglers has decreased significantly. Having said that, I still think your odds of catching a trout over nine pounds is better on Big Lake than Sabine.I don’t know that the numbers of fish that size are any greater, but the ship channel basically splits the lake and there is a greater abundance of the type of structure that attracts big trout.
The secret to consistently locating and catching any fish, especially the wiser trophy trout, is eliminating non-productive water.That is easier accomplished on Sabine as there is much less shell, but that modest advantage also results in more fishermen beating up on fewer key spots.There is virtually no shoreline or flat on Big Lake absent of shell.Isolated reefs tend to take a beating from the oyster fishermen, but there is more than enough shell for everyone to fish.
Hopefully, it will quit raining sometime this month and freshwater will not further scatter the trout on Sabine.We were already enjoying unusually clearer and saltier water than usual for this time of the year so the hit could be marginalized.Cold and dirty is a bad combination, but the fish have to deal with it and they will adjust.Will you?