BIG SURPRISE ON A SLOW DAY
For The Record- Capt. Dickie Colburn
We had finally caught three or four trout on consecutive casts after struggling most of the morning when 14-year old Jordan Leander’s cork bobbed once or twice before slowly sliding beneath the surface.“That is a weird bite for a trout or red,” I thought as the cork remained in place even as Jordan reeled in the slack line.
His hook set resulted in a serious bow in his rod, but it was obvious that he wasn’t making any headway as we continued to drift across the flat. The only time he gained any line was when I stopped the boat with the troll motor so I buried my Talon in the mud to wait out the tug-of- war.
Two or three minutes later and neither Jason nor the fish had gained an inch. In fact, his dad, Lawson, had missed a small red and caught another keeper trout when I asked Jason to hand me his rod.I simply hoped to determine if he indeed had a fish or had hung a ghost crab trap buried in the mud when his big fish decided it was time to leave.I quickly handed the youngster his rod, raised the Talon and started chasing it down.
It quickly became apparent that Jason did not have the fish….the fish had him.I suspected that it was a big drum, which none of us had any use for, and was a little miffed that we were being pulled away from our trout. My attitude immediately changed, however, when his dad announced that we didn’t have to catch another trout if his son could land this fish.
For the next twenty-six minutes the fish went wherever he or she wanted to go while we talked about baseball, Jason’s little sister, and why the family likes to vacation in New Mexico.Now convinced that it was a massive drum I was more concerned with what they would consider to be a catch.It couldn’t possibly fit in the net and I didn’t want it in the boat anyway.
The twenty pound test braid eventually took its toll and Jason’s beast elected to take a break idling just beneath the surface.With cell phones in hand for a quick picture, we all took a soaking when our drum turned out to be a huge alligator gar that bolted away in a powerful swirl.Jason was all but in tears as he looked down at the broken tip on his rod and broken line.
I was nearly in tears as well as I watched my promise of a short day swim away.I have no idea how much the gar weighed, but I caught a 78 pounder in the river several years back and Jason’s fish was every bit as large.No pictures, but he will have a tale to tell for years to come!
Of far more importance to local Sabine Lake fishermen, is that we were drifting in 2 to 4 feet of water over scattered shell.The first few trout hit a five inch tail under a cork, but the remainder of our fish ate Assassin’s new Salty Snack and a Catch V.
The bass action on both T-Bend and Rayburn continues to improve thanks to unseasonably warm weather.Even if it didn’t push the fish toward shallower water, the warm-up attracts more fishermen that generate more reports.
The value of these reports is dependent on your skill level.For folks that don’t get to fish a lot it gives them a place to start and some idea as to what to throw.On the other hand, folks that have figured it out are less than happy about the added pressure!
Judging by the reports I have received, once you figure out the most productive depth there are a multitude of baits that will work.That is not unusual throughout the spawn when the smaller males are more aggressive.As a rule, the larger females prefer a bait that is a little larger and fished a little slower.
The Trap remains the hottest choice on Rayburn right now.Several colors are working in both the ½ and ¾ ounce models, but any pattern that includes red is hard to beat.With folks now finding a little more grass on T-Bend, the Carolina rig has been especially good.The bass on both lakes are continuing to move farther back in the creeks.