WEATHER HOTTER THAN THE CATCHING
While the headline for last week’s column read, “Old Dogs Can Still Hunt”, I feel the need to point out that it was in reference to a lure rather than the two anglers.Any lure worth its salt will hunt long after John and I have made our last casts and in that column I was truly talking about the Lunker Lure.
I mention this only because of the inordinate number of emails I received from compassionate readers trying to convince me that seventy is the new fifty. While my passion for fishing has not waned, eight hours on the water dealing with the current heat and humidity takes its toll a little quicker than it did twenty years ago!
But, while we are quick to curse the sweat leaking out of our hides within the first hour of fishing, there is a silver lining thanks to those steamy conditions.A significant portion of the unwanted runoff, compliments of last week’s drive-by flood, has literally boiled away rather than our having to wait for it to slowly exit the lake.Given a choice, I’ll gladly take the heat!
Yet another factor that helped the “catching” rebound so quickly was the storm surge produced by Cindy.Fortunately, we dodged most of the rain that made it as far as Lake Charles while benefitting from the wind that pushed a lot of saltwater inshore.
Charles Carlin said the “catching” improved only one day after Cindy’s departure.“The water at the jetties looked like hell,” said Carlin, “but we caught trout non-stop the two days we were able to fish. The majority of those trout were in the three to five pound class and we haven’t been seeing those kind of trout.”
None of the fishermen I speak with have doubted that the trout bite would improve, but there has been great concern over the return of the big trout we were catching as recently as two years ago. We are catching better numbers of large flounder and the redfish are still being redfish, but a five pound-plus trout has been something to brag about.
Everett Johnson, editor of Saltwater Fishing Magazine, all but promised me one day last week that we only need to stay the course and we will once again see better days.“It was so tough from 2009 to 2014 here in the Matagorda system during our prolonged drought,” he added, “that I gave up guiding.”
Thanks to the combination of record amounts of rainfall and trimming limits back to five fish, however, they are currently enjoying possibly the best fishing in the history of that area. You need look no further than the current standings in the S.T.A.R tournament to confirm his assessment.
“We have had many years when catching a nine pound trout would guarantee you a new boat and motor,” added Johnson.“A nine pound trout won’t even get you a place right now and we still have a lot of summer to go.”
While any fisherman would like to have the entire lake to himself, crowding has not been a problem thus far and reduced numbers yield fewer fishing reports.Most recreational anglers wait not only on better weather conditions, but favorable reports as well before giving it a try.I can’t say that I blame them, but on the best of days there is always more fishing than catching taking place.
Mother Nature will have to give us a helping hand, but I feel like more consistent catching is right around the corner.The water clarity continues to improve, we are seeing more and more shrimp in the open lake and I even caught a Lady fish last week.When they show up, the trout may be small, but it is “game on”.
One thing I know for sure.Regardless of conditions, we are now less than a month short of the best fishing of the year.Regardless of how bad it has been, everything turns around for the annual O.C.A.R.C tournament.Maybe we can get John Thomas and the folks at the center to move it up a month!
If you haven’t been on the water lately, pack more water than you ever thought you would need and then throw in one more bottle.Running out of water or nursing the last bottle or two not only shortens an enjoyable day, but can be dangerous as well.