OLD DOGS WILL STILL HUNT
“I am not believing this,” said John Hughes as we idled under the Adam’s Bayou Bridge.“Where the heck is the wind?”As if the ripple free surface wasn’t enough to confirm his observation, I looked back over my shoulder at the flag dangling above the Boat Club.It was indeed hanging limply against the pole.
Depending on wind direction, a starched flag is often the only indication that the wind will be a little stiffer on the lake. That, in fact, has been the norm for the past five months.I was also both pleased and surprised to also find at least a foot of water clarity in the river.
“Can you believe this,” asked Hughes.“Let’s run all over the lake and check the bite from East Pass to the Causeway.” I was in total agreement with his “on the fly” game plan until we cleared East Pass.In spite of the excellent clarity in both the river and Black’s Bayou, the water in the lake was unexplicably more akin to a massive mud hole with four inches of visibility at best.
Only because the wind wasn’t blowing, we stuck with the plan to run as far south as the Causeway.The farther south we ran, however, the dirtier the water got.The water exiting the marsh drains compliments of a weak outgoing tide was only marginally clearer.
The wind was never a problem.In fact, we were forced to make several short runs just to cool off.Over the course of the morning, we did far more running than fishing.It quickly became obvious that we may well be the only folks in southeast Texas unaware of how tough the fishing had gotten over the past couple of days.In all of that running we saw only two other fishing boats mixed amongst the scattered crabbers.No birds, no baitfish…….no nothing!
“The yard is probably dry enough to mow,” offered Hughes as we contemplated plausible reasons for calling it a day.“That is a damn poor alternative,” I replied as we hooked a right and ran up Black’s Bayou.The water looked a little better, but we continued to do more casting than catching.
We were down to Plan C or D when John asked if I still spent much time in the shallow lakes bordering the bayou.“The water is high and we can’t possibly do any worse than we are doing right now.”
We drifted across three ponds before spotting our first redfish milling about in the shadows of a stand of Roseau cane.In spite of several perfect casts with both a weedless spoon and small topwater, it ignored our efforts and continued down the shoreline.
John immediately dumped his small tackle box on the floor of the boat and shook out a battered quarter ounce buzz bait better known as a Lunker Lure.“How old is that thing,” I asked.
“Do you remember when we used to drive all the way to T-Bend with three or four tied on the truck antenna to change the sound of the blade? That’s how old it is, but I have been catching reds on them at home lately.”
His newest tweak included exchanging the skirt for one of the four or five Ribbit Frogs I had left in a zip lock bag.“I don’t think the color matters at all, but the little feet on the frog sure give it a good sound that attracts more fish than it scares away.”He was right.
It probably wasn’t the same fish, but his third strike was intercepted by a red torpedo.After peeling the moss away, he released the oversized fish and a miserable morning was quickly forgotten.
Six keeper redfish later, we continued catching and releasing both redfish and bass until we realized that our shirts were soaking wet with sweat and we were down to our last bottle of water.“Why didn’t we just come here first,” chided Hughes as I raised the Talon and drifted toward a deeper trail leading to the main bayou.
Because he had one quarter ounce buzz bait and I had only a few frogs, I rigged a frog weedless and crawled it across the surface.When the bass would all but destroy one, we would glue it on his buzz bait and catch a few more fish.
One more thing worth noting.We shared the buzz bait when it became evident that the reds would have nothing to do with the weedless frog while the bass were literally jumping over one another to kill the plastic imitation.That night, I added a dozen old well-tuned Lunker Lures and a pound of Ribbit Frogs to my fishing arsenal!