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By Capt. Dickie Colburn
For the Record 

Area Anglers Thawing Out


Last updated 3/2/2021 at 7:29pm

I have seen enough pictures of dead fish over the past couple of days to last me a lifetime.We lost some fish in the immediate area, but nothing

compared to the devastation along the lower coast. The majority of the fish in the pictures and videos I have seen were shad, mullet, sand trout and lady fish, but a staggering number of game fish were frozen as well. In the Sabine Lake and Galveston areas, redfish and drum took a significantly bigger hit than the trout. We will never know how many are currently decomposing in deeper water, but the visual accounting has been better than expected. Area anglers have all but quit even talking about trophy trout on Sabine since Harvey buried us in fresh water which makes it even harder to look at the numbers of 25-inch plus trout washed up against the bank south of East Matagorda. A client of mine sent me a picture of a wheel barrow full of 25 to 30 inch trout they had picked up in less than an hour! It is a phenomenal waste of a resource, but all the conservation measures known to man cannot overcome an irate Mother Nature. I am convinced that the saving grace for our fish was the easier access to deeper water and the fact that surface temperatures had started cooling before our world froze over. Because the water was already blown out, it was a short swim to safer depths. Redfish and black drum are notoriously bad about their propensity for never abandoning the shallow marshes and a high percentage of them invariably pay a heavy price. I have gotten two bad reports concerning reds and black drum from the Keith Lake chain, but we have found very few dead fish on the north end of Sabine thus far. In fact, much to my surprise, we have had no problem limiting on trout on the last three trips. They were once again camped out in three to five feet of water as were a few scattered redfish. Most of the trout have been 16 to 21-inch fish, but the reds have been much too large to keep. At least for us, catching has been all about staying in a small area and waiting out the bite. For that reason, paying attention to tide changes and the solunar table is even more important. We have all but left the trout twice in a row before eventually limiting in a very short period of time. Even when they are actively feeding, strikes have been very much on the light side. That is not all that unusual when fishing Corkies and mullet imitations, but they are hitting five-inch tails the same way.

I think the few wade fishermen we have seen are doing better than we are when drifting, but wading is not for everyone. They have a game plan before they ever climb over the side of the boat, while most drift fishermen are into covering more water and making lots of casts.

There has been little or no visual help in locating the fish as I don’t think I have seen the first school of shad or mullet on the surface. Our best two patterns have been anchoring and fishing the break in one of the Passes on the north end or slowly drifting the shoreline until we catch the first fish. At that point we are burying the Talon and tying on a Corky, Softdine XL or a rat tail Assassin. In the event that you lean to the impatient end of the scale and have no problem with battling more thick shouldered reds than trout, there is a more effective way to target them. Make the exact same drifts with a Gulp shad or Lil’ John rigged under a cork or cover even more water with a Trap or Hoginar. You will get bit and you will have your drag tested……the reds have been too big! I don’t know if they are selling tickets at the door, but a call to Taylor Rick at 713-626-4222 will answer that question. The Sabine-Neches CCA Chapter will be hosting their annual crawfish boil at 6:00 p.m. at the Bob Bowers Center in Port Arthur Thursday night.


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