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Last updated 6/26/2018 at Noon

Your first real look at how badly last week’s unexpected flooding set back the “catching” on Sabine Lake could come as early as Thursday afternoon.

The SETX Series will host their second of six afternoon events out of Ancelet’s and both redfish and specks are part of the winning catch.The first event showed just how tough the trout fishing has been lately, but it was still a very successful opening tournament for the group.

Aside from the competition aspect, the tournaments are designed to accommodate folks that have to work for a living.They fish from 5 to 9 p.m. The first place winners took home $900 and the second place winners cashed a $400 check and that isn’t bad money for four hours of fishing at the end of a work day!

The format involves weighing in the combination of a single redfish and a single trout.A trout could be a huge difference maker as the weights of upper slot reds are always within a few ounces.There is also a side pot for the largest red or speck as predetermined.The winning trout in last week’s side pot was worth $100 a pound.

There is still time to sign up for tomorrow’s event.You can drop by Outcast Tackle in Groves or contact either Brian Quebedeaux or Steve Simmons.

Easily the biggest problem in determining how badly the latest runoff slowed the bite in the lake was a 20 mph wind that howled for three straight days.The fishing has been tough enough without getting beat to death just covering ground to determine water clarity.

Port Arthur and the west side of Bridge City took the biggest hits in total rainfall last week thus the water running out of the Neches and Cow Bayou proved to be the muddiest initially.By the time it reaches the lake it is already mixing with clearer water, but the glut of fresh water did us no favors.

Prior to the major flood events over the past few years, normal flooding forced trout and other saltwater species to only move into the deeper water in the river and ICW.The heavier saltwater was on the bottom and they were content to wait out major rain events without having to run further south.That, however, is no longer the case and it has made catching much tougher.

For years my Plan B and many times my Plan A for catching trout was exploiting depths of 15 to 22 feet of water in the Sabine River.Very few people fished this program and it was not unlike having a gold mine in your back yard.

Then came the unprecedented flooding that actually started with Ike.The major release from Toledo Bend took place too soon thereafter followed by Harvey and the layer of saltwater that kept trout close by was history.

After far too many dry runs I simply wrote that bite off, but my suspicions were confirmed recently when I watched two visiting Bassmasters catch bass in practice drop shotting deep water south of the Port.There was a time when bass couldn’t live in that layer of water.

As unbelievable as this may sound to today’s trout fishermen, from the mid-70’s through the late 90’s the only thing that prevented you from catching 75 to 100 trout a day was your bait supply.Many of the trout were undersized, but the bite itself was virtually non-stop following the first cast!

I was looking through some old columns for a friend last week and came across one of Capt. Chuck’s columns regarding live bait.His message was to refrain from trying to cram too many live shad in a livewell only to have them die before you reached the lake.

The reason local anglers made that mistake was because they knew they could catch a trout on every shad they could keep alive!

The bite under the gulls was just insane and any angler with a handful of lead heads and plastic grubs was in the game.Exotic colors were not in demand.Pearl-pink tail, chartreuse-glitter and watermelon or smoke were all you needed regardless of water clarity.

The bite was so good, in fact, that only a handful of anglers knew that there were bragging size trout to be caught for those fishing topwaters in shallow water.It didn’t take long, however, for that news to leak out and the rest was history.

Will we ever see a bite like that again?I am convinced the answer is not in the immediate future.Our only hope is angler conservation and a helping hand from Mother Nature.


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