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Last updated 3/10/2020 at Noon

“When I saw Cal Duncan’s name pop up on my cell phone, I immediately shut down the edger and found a comfortable spot on the deck.I knew the call had to be about fishing or death and if he had died, he wouldn’t be calling!

“O.K.,” Cal answered as if the usual “hello” was a waste of time “I owe you one and as soon as the white perch catching explodes again, I’ll give you a call. Otherwise, I will save a few fillets and you and Karen can drive up here pick them up.”

Back in the late 70’s Cal and I guided together and shared a lot of information.He quickly became the only other person fishing Toledo Bend to know about the Wacky worm and in return, he gave me my first two sacks of Hale’s craw worms and showed me how to doodle sock bass on the bends of the creeks.Not surprisingly, there was more to doodle socking than simply dropping a spoon over the side of the boat!

Prior to last Thursday, it had been a long time since either of us had anything enlightening to share.“When we fished Sabine in December,” he started, “we fished Swim Baits all day and you said that I ought to give them a try when I got back to the Bend.”

Three months later, he pulled out the five or six packs he helped himself to and caught more bass in three days than he had caught in the previous three months.“I don’t know if I will even be able to fish the bait through hydrilla, but there is very little grass right now and it is the ticket.”

“I hate drop shotting and prefer to drag a Carolina rig through grass,” he added, “so this lure is the perfect alternative.Janice caught four bass on it last night while she was talking to Cheryl on the cell phone!

He was genuinely excited which can be a little dangerous at 77 years of age.Now, for the part of the conversation that got me excited as well.As it turned out, he wasn’t even fishing the same Usual Suspect Swim Bait that we had fished with all day on Sabine.

When he started detailing how he rigged and fished the bait, he lost me.“Cal”, I asked. “What’s to rig? The Swim Bait comes already rigged.” Long pause.

“When I helped myself to those packages on your boat I looked at the colors that work for me and that was it.When I got home I discovered that they were all paddle tail grubs and I just put them in the garage.”

It all came together when Cal was watching Major League Bass Fishing and they were catching bass on Swim Baits.“They called it a Swim bait, but they looked like the tails I got from you.The next day I peeled all the skirt off a quarter ounce jig and stuck it in a watermelon-red flake grub.”

He caught three bass on the first five casts and hasn’t put it down since.“This lure is angler proof for anyone that can cast and reel!”Cal added that the best Sabine Lake colors haven’t worked for him at all.“You can have all of that bone diamond and chicken on a chain stuff,” he smugly pointed out.“The only two colors I fish are watermelon and plum.”

I am sending him several packs of jig heads today and eagerly awaiting my white perch invitation.

Over the years, crossover lures and techniques have benefited both fresh and saltwater anglers.Golden Triangle anglers have easily benefited the most with Rayburn and Toledo Bend at the front door and Sabine Lake only a long cast out the back door.

Trout fishermen were dragging worms across deep shell near the Causeway years ago and everything from a topwater to a crankbait will fool a redfish.Very few local anglers have not caught redfish on a Trap in their fishing careers.

On the opposite side of the coin, aside from the Swim Bait revelation, freshwater anglers have caught their fair share of bass on everything from Mirrolure Catch 2000’s to Assassin Die Dappers.Last summer, one of the hottest lures that you could lob amongst school bass was a Mirrodine XL.

Aside from jig and craw worm combinations and popping cork rigs, you would be hard pressed to guess what species local river fishermen are after on any given day.Nice problem to have!


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