TWEAKING A TECHNIQUE PAYS OFF BIG
It isn’t unusual this time of the year for fishermen in this area to spend their work week trying to decide whether to chase big trout on Sabine or big bass on Rayburn or Toledo Bend Saturday morning.While we are blessed to be able to fish for either species year round, the next couple of months will produce the largest fish of the year.
I was talking with Larry Picou, an angler equally passionate about fishing for both species, at Outcast Tackle earlier this week and he said Mother Nature had definitely helped him with that decision for now.“If I am up at the lakes I am always thinking that I ought to be wading on Sabine Lake,” said Picou, but not this week.All of this rain made my decision much easier!”
Both the Neches and Sabine Rivers are running high and muddy due to the heavy rains above the lakes and local rains have only contributed to the glut of fresh water working its way through Sabine Lake.“We were still catching redfish through the weekend,” added Picou, “but our trout bite has just died.At the same time, however, the bass bite has only improved.”
Picou’s only decision was whether to fish Rayburn or Toledo Bend. “I grew up fishing Rayburn, but I have caught my biggest bass three years in a row on Toledo Bend.We are already catching some very nice fish that were staging in six to ten feet of water on both lakes.My nephew caught a 10.9-lb. fish last Friday on T-Bend so we will probably start over there.”
Picou had a package of worm weights in hand and was looking for a particular color in a Strike King Rage tail.I’d probably be more tight-lipped if I tournament fished, but I have had lots of folks share lots of information with me over the years and I share everything, but an exact spot.I am looking for Green pumpkin.”
“Jason, my nephew, caught his big bass on a jig and craw worm, but I seldom fish a jig anymore since the grass got harder to find.I had such good luck fishing trick worms and tubes on a drop shot that I decided to try drop shotting bigger baits on heavier tackle and it has worked for me.”
Picou started out fishing only craw worm style plastics, but has since added lizards and baby brush hogs to his arsenal.“All I did was swap my spinning gear out for a seven foot medium heavy casting rod and rig everything the same way on 30-lb. braid.I add about three feet of fluorocarbon leader because I think it is harder for the fish to see than braid.”
A three eights ounce weight and a plastic tail threaded on a 4/0 Wide Gap worm hook complete the rig.“I fish it exactly the same way, but I have to use the heavier rod to drive the weedless rigged hook through the plastic.I have more confidence in the fact that I can hold the weight in one spot and shake the bait a foot or so off the bottom.”
The irony is that I had customers fishing the exact same set up with a four inch paddle tail when the water in Sabine lake was so clear a month or so ago.We found the fish holding on isolated patches of shell and the more time their lures spent on those small spots the better their chances of inducing a strike.They also lost fewer lures to the shell!
“I am carrying on about fishing this technique, “said Picou with a smile, “and all three of my three largest bass hit a different lure.One hit a ¾ ounce Trap, one ate a spinnerbait and the largest of the three fell for a free-floated lizard.” That confession did little to diminish my eagerness to give the upgraded technique a shot on my next trip north.
They have continued to cut back, but the SRA is still having to release a little more water than usual so it could be a while before the trout catching in Sabine Lake rebounds.In spite of the dirtier water, thus far the redfish bite has hung in there.A north wind for a couple of days should speed up the recovery.