While local saltwater anglers continue to struggle with the trout bite 
on Sabine Lake, their freshwater counterparts are cashing in on the 
spawn on both Rayburn and T-Bend. This past weekend a huge number of 
talented young anglers competed in the SETX High School Assn. tournament 
held on Rayburn and the final results confirmed just how good that bite 
has been.

Thanks to a whopping 11.1 pound kicker bass, the Barbers Hill team of 
Ricky Bailey and Paden Dugat weighed in 21.28 pounds to nail down first 
place honors.The Orangefield team of Drew Tran and Koltin Marshall 
posted the top weight among County anglers and tied for the thirteenth 
spot with a 14.49-pound bag.

The LCM team of Garrison Byerly and Will Henson finished right on their 
heels with 14.43 pounds.Thirteen county teams finished in the top 50 in 
a field of over 500 teams and 269 teams weighed in at least one bass. 
There were also three bass that bested the nine pound mark brought to 
the scales.

Congratulations to the Association and all of the County High School 
teams that participated!

While it is evident that most of the eighteen and under anglers were 
exploiting Rayburn, at least a few were making their mark on Toledo 
Bend.Seventeen year old Sam Conich and his brother, Allan, were drifting 
Carolina rigged Centipedes across a shallow flat in the Tennessee Bay 
area when Allan thought he had hung his lure on the bottom.

When the snag started moving on its own, both youngsters sensed it may 
be the bass they were looking for.After a chaotic struggle that included 
kicking the net overboard, Sam finally got a grip on his brother’s bass 
and lifted it over the side.

“He wanted to keep it,” said Sam, “but his ten pound bass didn’t quite 
weigh nine pounds and I convinced him to immediately release her to 
grant her another chance of growing that big.” It didn’t help Alan’s 
noble cause when they showed Dad the pictures and he said that his 
scales were not at all accurate.He later admitted that he was only kidding!

A little further south in the Arnold’s Bay area, sixteen year old Jamie 
Lenz caught and released a bass that did nudge past the ten pound mark 
while fishing with her Uncle.“He said the bass weighed 10.2 pounds and 
would have kept it had I wanted to,” said Jamie.“I felt sorry for the 
fish,” added the youngster, “especially after he said she was full of 
babies.”

Her Uncle Cal reported that they have been catching a lot of really nice 
fish in that area jerking Long A’s down in six to eight feet of water.He 
caught an eight and seven the evening before the kids arrived.“We are 
catching all of our larger bass in the afternoons when the wind allows,” 
he later added.

And, last but not least, Jeremy Sams enjoyed the thrill of the bite, but 
had to settle for a nine pound gaspergou.“My Dad said that if I added a 
little crawfish scent to my lizard that I would catch a bigger fish and 
he was right, but it was the wrong kind of fish.”

Jeremy is not the first person to share that experience, but he later 
added that the Fatherly tip also resulted in three bass over six pounds 
in two days of fishing. “I had never caught a five pound bass so I’m not 
complaining,” said Jeremy.They were vertically jigging craw worms and 
lizards along the edges of hydrilla in twelve feet of water.

I got in a couple of days on Sabine Lake last week and it was more of 
the same for me.We could not fish the lake due to the wind on Friday and 
had to settle for fishing a muddy Cow Bayou.We quit early, but still 
managed to catch a handful of small bass and several undersized reds on 
crankbaits.

Louis Whitley said he and two friends found some solid slot reds 
Wednesday afternoon drifting three to four feet of water between Madam 
Johnson’s and the Gator Hole.He added that they caught their fish on 
Gulp jerk shads rigged under a popping cork.He also said that it was the 
clearest water they could find on the east shoreline.Clear measured 
eight to ten inches!