Tommy Fruge’s unexpected invitation was one that I could not refuse in spite of the fact that I would have to back up a home project yet another couple of days.“Meet me in DeQuincy tomorrow at noon,” said Fruge.“We’ll drive up to the lake, fish a little while in the evening, eat some of Carol’s crawfish etouffee and bread pudding and fish a couple of hours after dark.”

“The next morning I need to chase bass a little while and then we will hit my brush piles for a limit of crappie.All you need to bring is an appetite and an ice chest to take fillets home.”

Aside from eating until I was miserable, the afternoon plan went poorly.Tommy caught five or six bass up to three pounds on a crank bait and I missed two fish on a swim jig.This would be his only opportunity to scout prior to the upcoming Sealy Big Bass tournament and weight was far more important than numbers.

He was in between shift changes so we only fished a couple of hours that night, but it was long enough for him to miss a good bass that hit a lizard in eighteen feet of water. I know where we are going to start in the morning,” he announced while hooking up the battery charger.

I was finishing off the last of the bread pudding when he stuck a good fish drop shotting a finesse worm in sixteen feet of water.He won his battle and released the solid six pound bass.“Look at the depth finder,” he said excitedly, “there’s more of them wadded up on the north side of this hump!”

I dropped a Carolina rigged Centipede straight over the side and watched the screen as the bait disappeared in the tight pod of fish.Before I could lift it off the bottom the line was tight and I set the hook on what would be another bass about the same size as Tommy’s.

“Don’t drop down there again,” he ordered.“We’re going to check out two more spots like this and it’s crappie time!”

There was no grass on the second spot, but the third quickly yielded two more bass in the four to five pound class.“A little grass is the key,” he said with confidence as we changed set-ups and eased over to a nearby bush pile.

We put twenty-five nice crappie in the box in less than an hour and headed back to camp.“If it weren’t for that Sealy tournament this is all I would be doing right now,” said Fruge.“We are going to have a heck of a crappie year.”

I wasn’t surprised that those heavier bass were hanging out that deep, but it was a 180 degrees from the much shallower bite at night.We didn’t catch any real good fish the night before, but Tommy pulled off a pair of fish that were much larger than anything we boated before moving to deeper water.

I talked with two other fishermen that fished Toledo Bend last weekend and they caught good numbers as well, but nothing over four pounds.They were drifting with lizards and ten inch worms in fourteen feet of water.They fished their plastics both Carolina and Texas rigged and saw very little difference in the number of strikes.

For those of you that side with Tommy and would rather take advantage of the crappie bite, there is more good news.The only full time crappie guide that I have talked with lately said he is catching easy limits of crappie up to a pound and a half and is back in by noon most days!

The trout bite in Sabine Lake is still tougher than it should be and I think it’s only due to the badly off-colored water.With little or no rain over the past month, there is no obvious reason for the water to stay that dirty.The wind might be the culprit in the open lake, but the river and bayous are muddy as well.

The extreme south end of the lake, however, has seen much better water clarity all the way to the jetties and the bite has been much more consistent on everything from oversize reds to keeper size trout.The flounder bite in the ship channel has improved as well.

Hopefully, the whole lake will be back in play for the annual S.A.L.T. Memorial Day Tournament set for the end of the month.This is a great tournament for the entire family to enjoy!