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Bass Catching to the Rescue


Last updated 1/20/2015 at Noon

The trout fishing on Sabine Lake has been an absolute grind over the past week or so.Muddy runoff that has reduced water clarity to less than six inches all over the lake has gotten most of the blame, but that isn’t the real culprit.Surface temperatures that dip into the low forties at night and far too much fresh water are the toughest obstacles for local anglers to overcome.

In response to the massive amount of rainfall that recently fell across the Toledo Bend area, the SRA has had to open two gates at the dam around the clock. All of that water, as well as the water in the flooded creeks and ditches below the dam eventually empty into Sabine Lake.As of Monday evening the lake level was still over the 169 foot mark.

Other than having to work a little harder for their next meal, the redfish never miss a beat, but it is another story altogether for the trout.They will make brief forays into the fresher water in search of one big meal, but are quick to retreat to a comfort zone afforded by deeper water.They don’t feed as often when suspended in the river or ICW and they can be incredibly difficult to even locate.

We scouted three miserably cold days last week hoping to put together some kind of a pattern and caught a total of five trout.The largest fish was less than four pounds so we couldn’t even take solace in the size of the few trout that we caught.Hopefully this little warm-up will help, but we will be stuck with this influx of fresh water for a while.

While the saltwater fishermen are struggling to even locate fish, the bite on both Rayburn and Toledo Bend kicked off early and hasn’t slowed down in the face of rising lake levels and bone chilling cold.Toledo Bend yielded at least two more double digit bass last weekend and the results of the first Bass Champs event of the year spoke volumes about the early bite on Rayburn.

Cory Rambo and Rusty Clark picked up right where they left off last year posting an impressive second place total weight of 24.54 pounds in the first Bass Champs tournament of the year held on Rayburn last Sunday.Rambo and Clark won the 2014 team championship on the Red River and returned home with a new fully rigged Skeeter FX20.

Their strong start Sunday in defense of their title earned them a $6500 check and an additional $250 Talon Bonus.Surprisingly enough, while most of the field had to be thinking, “Here we go again”, Clark and Rambo were not drawing the most oohs and aahs.A pair of Louisiana anglers, Ricky and Ronnie Madole, absolutely blew the field away with a five fish total of 35.95 pounds to drive away with the $20,000 first place check!

The Madoles largest bass weighed just a shade under nine pounds so their other four fish were of the large variety as well.Ray Beck and Shane Hilton took home big bass money with a 9.78 pound fish.Without a doubt, the most meaningful statistic for recreational bass fishermen was the twenty-one 5 fish limits over fifteen pounds brought to the scales.In fact, nearly half the field managed to weigh in a limit of fish.

Meanwhile, over on Toledo Bend, Chelsea Lejeune caught and released a 10.30 pound bass on a Carolina rigged Brush Hog and Shay Byner caught his second double digit bass in the past three months on a jig and craw worm trailer.Both of these fish were caught in less than fifteen feet of water indicating at least a few of the big females may already be headed to staging areas ahead of the spawn.

Both of those fish were caught in the mid-lake area fishing points on the main lake.Prior to the deluge, jigging spoons along the outside bends of the creeks was very productive on bass up to six pounds for a pair of couple of old friends fishing the Negreet area.Cleon Welles said that bite is improving again, but the fish moved closer to the mouths of the major creek channels when they started pulling the lake a little harder.

They also reported that they are once again catching respectable numbers of crappie in 18 to 22 feet of water on shiners.They were starting to do pretty well fishing the Chicken Coop area before it muddied up, but are now fishing the same creeks that they are spooning for bass.Over the past week they have done well by switching to a spinning rod rigged with a shiner anytime a crappie beats a bass to their spoon!

Two consecutive days of sun may or may not have helped the fishing, but it was a welcome alternative to cloudy skies and a cold wind. I know the bass fishing will continue to improve rain or no rain and just maybe…..we’ll start catching a few more trout as well.

Photo - Redfish continue to do their thing on Sabine.


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