The Record Newspapers - Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

By Capt. Dickie Colburn
For the Record 

Time to thaw out

 

Last updated 2/17/2021 at 5:22pm



I knew before Jay even answered the phone that he and Laura were either freezing their behinds off in their trailer on Toledo Bend or had optedto ride the record freeze out with their son in Leesville.

That question was answered when he announced, “It is cold in Hornbeck,” without even saying hello. Their waterfront trailer actually sits on a huge piece of land on the Louisiana side of the lake, but he enjoys claiming Hornbeck as his adopted home town. Hornbeck makes Deweyville look like a metropolis!

“Since you have spent a little time outdoors in your life, I have a question for you” started the veteran crappie guide, “Explain the value of knowing the chill factor. If I am outside already freezing my butt off in ten degree weather do you think I give a damn if the weather man tells me it feels more like four degrees?”

He had half-heartedly (he used a cruder term) made preparations for the approaching cold front, but as he put it, “Who the hell knows what you need to do any differently for ten degree weather.”

“One valuable lesson I did learn back in 97’,” said Jay, “Was to leave my boats in the water.I didn’t do that last time and I lost two lower units with them parked on trailers. I also can’t wait to see if

quick-frozen shiners come back to life!”

Jay said he would make a list of the things that he should have done and will share it with us when this is all over. “I did this after the last hurricane,” he added, “but my list only had three items.Buy more gas and water and cut down every tree that could reach the trailer.”

He wasn’t into speculating as to how the deep freeze conditions would affect the fish, but he felt pretty sure the crappie that were in the middle of spawning in the shallows would move back to the brush piles a little quicker.

He also felt this would affect the bass fishermen more than the bass. “I’ve caught them on buzz baits when it was snowing and it doesn’t look like the lake frozen over. The strikes may be a little less aggressive, but those bass aren’t going to move far.”

I haven’t talked with anyone that was mad enough at the local fish to check out the bayous and river. The biggest concern not being whether or not the fish are still biting, but how many may have died.

The water actually started cooling down a couple of days prior to the bottom dropping out and I hope that advanced warning was enough to push them into deeper water. I have seen some horrendous fish kills over the years due to extended freezes and we certainly don’t need another with the trout finally rebounding.

Two of the worst kills I have seen due to a freeze were both especially hard on the redfish population.In a day’s time we found redfish already dead and floating and possibly even more struggling for one more breath. All of these fish were either in a shallow marsh pond or in the

back end of the bayous.

This will be a concern shared by anglers all the way from the lower coast to Big Lake as the entire coast was wrapped in temperatures in the teens. It was already sleeting in Corpus Christi when it was still 42 degrees in Orange.

Before your next fishing trip, check your boat batteries before ever leaving the house.They are much easier to re-charge when your boat is still on the trailer.

If any of your reels were filled with monofilament or fluorocarbon and were exposed to the cold, this is an excellent time to strip the line and re-fill them after things warm up.Casting is no fun when your line comes off the reel like a slinky.

Here’s hoping this edition of The Record isn’t frozen to your driveway tomorrow morning!

 

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