Old but not forgotten
Last updated 6/22/2021 at 4:05pm
“Have you got a second,” asked the approaching gentleman that appeared to be nearly as old as me.“My name is Harold Steele. I know you don’t remember me, but I want to return something you gave me a long time ago.”
“My grandson was digging through my old tackle boxes and he found a lure that you gave me while fishing on Toledo Bend in the early seventies. I told him he could have everything else, but I was going to give you the lure back after all of these years. I knew I would see you here sooner or later at the H.E.B. and have been carrying it around.”
The front prop was missing and being a wooden lure it was a little chewed up, but otherwise the perch colored Devil’s Horse was still fishable. As soon as he handed it to me my mind was flooded with years of past fishing trips.
Prior to Toledo Bend stealing the show, all of my bass fishing was done in marshes from the Sabine refuge to the Big Burns south of Lake Charles and we fished one of two lures every trip. Johnny Mere and I either free-floated lizards or relied on the Devil’s Horse with no reason to try anything else.
When I decided to guide on Toledo Bend in the early 70’s, I immediately discovered that my arsenal of scarred Devil’s Horses worked equally well on impoundment bass. From the moment we dropped the troll motor over the bow the catching was just insane.
To catch a hundred bass before noon was almost expected as they could not resist the enticing sound of the small propellers on the topwater stick bait. Even years later after my fishing had become too sophisticated to simply tie on the bait and catch bass all day, I still carried a handful of them in chrome for duping school bass.
I do not know that I ever found a better bait for working school bass than the Devil’s Horse and another lure now riding the bench, the Near Nuthin’. That same Devil’s Horse worked equally well on speckled trout and redfish, but they just destroyed the paint job all too quickly and the wooden lures were quickly relegated to bass fishing only.
Before handing Mr. Steele his battle scarred lure back and thanking him for his gesture, I recalled why the front prop was missing. We discovered that removing the front prop would cause the lure to sit vertically in the water rendering the action even more appealing.
Today, it is just one more fish catching weapon that can no longer earn a spot in most starting line-ups. That list of once reliable lures no longer utilized increases every year and I can only hope that his grandson gives that old Devil’s Horse a try. Every strike elicits an adrenalin rush and he won’t have to worry about the competition!
While the struggle continues for Sabine Lake anglers looking for the bragging size trout that were taken for granted prior to Harvey’s arrival, we are finally seeing positive signs that the coveted bite is
slowly recovering. The numbers game has rebounded much quicker, but we are currently seeing a few three and four pound trout on a more frequent basis.
The S.A.L.T. Club hosted their monthly tournament last weekend and the top three fish were all over the three-pound mark. Brodie Cooper weighed in a 3.60 pound trout to earn the top spot followed by James Sparrow with a 3.05-pound fish and Kyle Wagstaff with a fish one small grass shrimp shy of three pounds.
High water is still making the lake a little tough, but the bite in the channel south of the Causeway has been very consistent for keeper size trout and redfish. I have talked only with folks fishing the jetties in the evening and their bite has been really good when the wind and the occasional thunderstorm allows.
The bass fishing in the bayous and the marsh has been more productive than the main river lately. The Tuesday afternoon shootouts have drawn a few less fishermen lately, but they continue to post very decent numbers.
Seventeen boats dodged storms last week and six of the teams managed to weigh in limits. Gavin Deshotel took home most of the money with a big bass weighing 4.42-pounds and three fish stringer totaling 9.28-pounds. David Burman and Myron Waldrop cashed the second place check with a
Due to The Record’s editing deadline, the Shootout reports are always one week behind. Hopefully, they caught a break in the weather yesterday.