Last updated 3/31/2020 at Noon

Capt. Dickie Colburn

For the Record

While lots of folks are leery about even going to the grocery store for necessary items, they apparently aren’t afraid to load up the family and go fishing.If you can proactively survive gassing up the boat and avoid the crowd at the launch….the fish aren’t going to give you the virus.

Strictly out of boredom, I made a long slow ride around Orange Sunday afternoon and I now know why there are no lines at the stores or restaurants. They are all fishing, boat riding or taking advantage of area parks and walking trails.

Judging by the number of cars jammed in the parking lots, we may be the fittest sick people in the country by the time this is all over.A local retiree that fishes virtually every day, predicted even before the practice of “social separation” became the new “norm” that his fishing hole was about to get crowded.

“They’re going to have to eventually shut down the schools,” he warned, “and when they do there is going to be lots of home schooling taking place on the water!”Recess is about to be a whole lot more enjoyable!

He was quickly proven right on both accounts.I haven’t guided or even fished with anyone else as the only thing worse than dying for me would be to give the virus to someone else.I fully intend, however, to go down with a rod in my hand and I can tell you that the “catching” has been very much improved of late.

While area launches have been extremely crowded both early and late, do not expect a helping hand from the next boater in line and rightfully so.That is at least a shot at “social distancing” to some extent.I saw two Dads launch their boats, tie them up at the dock and then go get the kids out of the truck.They then took a long walk well clear of the launch to board their boats.

But, while that was at least an attempt to avoid others, I also saw an incoming angler toss his bow rope up on the dock and ask another boater to tie him off.Before even picking up the rope, the young woman walked over to the trash barrel and fished out a plastic grocery bag to wrap around her hand.She was concerned about touching that rope, but never gave a second thought as to how that sack got in the trash in the first place.Not that open garbage doesn’t already harbor a germ or two, but there was no doubt that at least two other people had handled that sack!

I also spoke with Tommy Lee as he was loading up and I saw him putting away rods.When he then climbed into his Jeep I assumed that the fishing had been tough.“No,” he replied.“We limited on trout and kept four slot reds in less than two hours.I have been cleaning my fish at home rather than rubbing elbows at the cleaning table.”

Due to some runoff and more wind than we need, parts of the lake have been very dirty depending on the direction of the wind and the strength of outgoing tides.In spite of the dirtier water, the bite has remained very consistent for keeper size trout and slot redfish.

I have not run into the first school of reds, but you cannot fish much shoreline without seeing one two or three fish blowing shad up on the bank.It would be hard to beat a weedless gold spoon, Usual Suspect Swim Bait or spinnerbait with a 4-inch Sea Shad body when fishing this program.

Fishing the venerable Johnson weedless spoon without a swivel to prevent line twist can lead to lots of wasted casts.Rather than trust a snap swivel I prefer to attach two feet of mono leader to my braid with a barrel swivel.You can then attach the spoon with a loop knot and get the maximum action out of the lure.

For some reason, and I tend to think it simply has to do with the bait fish, I am finding the trout tight against the bank one day and a hundred yards off the shoreline the next day.On occasion, the move has taken place during the same morning.

If you are fishing with the kids, tie on a cork and Vudu shrimp or plastic tail and get the net out.Both the Lil’ John and Sea Shad have worked really well.

Don’t compromise your safety and we will get through this!


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