S.A.L.T. Tourney posts impressive numbers
It was a soggy Memorial Day weekend in southeast Texas as well as much of the state.If you got caught outside you not only got wet, but got your table cloth blown off the picnic table as well!
Through it all, the dedicated members of the Saltwater Anglers League of Texas managed to pull off yet another successful Memorial Day tournament on Sabine Lake.In spite of the relatively brief, but potent storms that danced across the area, the winning anglers weighed in some very impressive catches in virtually every category.
In the big three alone it took a redfish over nine pounds, a trout over eight pounds and a flounder over four pounds to earn first place money. Not only was there a winning fish in every eligible category, but those numbers would have been impressive in even the best of weather conditions. And, as if the local weather wasn’t problematic enough, an already fresh bay was steadily taking yet another hit!
Once again, the SRA is doing all it can to keep Toledo Bend below pool level and, at least for the short term, that translates to a massive infusion of additional fresh water and decreased salinity levels in Sabine Lake.As of Monday, both generators were running 24/7 and nine gates were cracked open as well.The water was discharging at almost 28,000 CFS and the lake level was still at 172.2 feet.
While the impoundment has taken a direct hit from daily storms that continue to park over east Texas, the flooding and all of the rainfall making the news in the Dallas area will eventually have to be accounted for as well.Fishing our way through this is inconvenient, but the greater concern is any flooding below the dam that could result in property damage for folks living near the river.
Without a doubt, the biggest surprise for me thus far has been how well the trout and flounder have adapted to all of this fresh water.It has limited my guiding, but at the same time it has provided an opportunity to examine techniques and areas I wouldn’t normally fish.The silver lining is that I have also enjoyed hunting the fish with friends that I seldom get to fish with as well as other desperate guides!
In all fairness, especially for recreational anglers that have the option of trailering in order to save both gas and an unpleasant boat ride, the bite on the extreme south end of the lake, has remained reasonably consistent.I have fished that area several times without clients over the past month mainly because launching alone at the Causeway is tough and I am not into cleaning fish in the parking lot.The bite itself, however, is worth fishing with a friend that can help handle the launching chores as both numbers and size of the fish have been good.
With any break in the wind at all, most of the folks that prefer to fish south anyway are either opting to run to the jetties or piling up in Lighthouse Cove as a first choice.There is no doubt that it has been more crowded as the playing field has been greatly reduced, but we have also caught some nice trout simply drifting the breaks on the ship channel.
Without a doubt, the second most dependable area has been Keith Lake, but it is small and the best spots get crowded in a hurry.Launching is no bargain either and even when you are the first to arrive, boat traffic can be a problem.Unfortunately for me in that I prefer to fish the north end of the lake, the areas that have taken the biggest hit are most of the north end of the lake, the Sabine and Neches rivers and the bayous.
I have no doubt that a lot of trout are waiting things out in the deeper water, but locating them is like hunting a needle in a haystack. Thus far, we have caught just enough trout to confirm the fact that they are they are still there.Those are the same fish that enable the bite on the shallow flats on the north end of the lake to rebound so quickly following freezes.
We have done far more casting than catching lately, but we have managed to stumble up on a few things, both lures and techniques, that have enabled us to still catch trout in the main lake when the wind allows.I am ready for the easier bite of summer to return, but it will be interesting to see if any of these different approaches work then as well.
I signed on to speak at the first session in what Daley’s Hunt N Fish plans to make a monthly event hosting not only guides but electronics experts and tackle reps as well across the summer.The first item on the agenda will be sharing the changes that have helped us deal with the fresh water.We will also discuss everything from tackle and techniques to getting the kids started with the right gear.
Both Bass Assassin and Mirrolure products will be given away and there will be at least one drawing for a special door prize for the youngsters.If we can’t fish…we can at least talk about it.See ya’ there from 4 to 7 pm Thursday night May 28^th .