Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

Cooler weather equals hotter bite

Cooler days and lighter winds have contributed to more “catching”, both in Sabine Lake and up at Toledo Bend. Even when salinity, water clarity and good tide changes all line up on Sabine Lake, there is still no substitute for light winds.

Fishing where you “want to fish” rather than where you “have to fish”, is a critical factor regardless of conditions. The best bite in the world is useless when white caps are rolling across the flooded grass you hoped to fish.

And, while some small portion of the lake may still be fishable, it is void of any structure like you have been fishing for the past week. If you have been fishing grassy shorelines and the mouths of drains and bayous on the east side of the lake, you are in trouble when a south or southwest wind howls. There isn’t a single bayou or stretch of grassy shoreline on the west side of the lake.

It’s the same story for the angler that has been bouncing crankbaits and soft plastics off the revetment walls when the wind blows out of the opposite direction. In general when the wind is too high out of any direction, safety takes precedence to catching and its back to the Intracoastal or ship channel to salvage a trip.

A light wind is far more preferable than no wind for lure presentation, but just the fact that you can fish more areas is the game changer. If an outgoing tide stops at the mouth of a bayou, you still have the option of running the lake in search of everything from bird activity to slicks. Most importantly, your confidence doesn’t take a hit!

“The water on the north end of the lake wasn’t as clear as I thought it would be,” said Darryl Spell, “but Connie and I caught three keeper reds in Coffee Ground before we ran further south.”

Not surprisingly, because that is all she usually fishes, Connie caught all three keepers fishing a watermelon Lil John under a cork. Her secret may not be color or technique, but the fact that she was talking to her Mother on the cell phone when all three fish buried her cork.

“I was really hoping to find some better trout, but that didn’t happen for us,” reported Spell. “We talked with three other groups south of Garrison’s that had already limited on trout when we got there, but all of the fish were less than fifteen inches in length.”

“Connie and I easily caught twenty-five trout or more on a clear Chug Bug and her Cork rig, but only one of them was over fifteen inches,” added Darryl. “We only caught four more keepers all morning, but the bite never slowed down. We fished the birds from Blue Buck all the way to mid-lake.”

Last week’s Lamar Sabine Lake Showdown yielded some very decent winning weights in every category, but big trout were still hard to come by. Several of the teams reported catching trout everywhere they fished, but could not box a single Texas legal fish. In fact, the heaviest trout

outweighed the heaviest flounder by only two ounces.

The good news is that the numbers are improving and most of these fish will not only have a chance to spawn, but will be legal fish as well in one more year.

I don’t know if it is simply a case of a handful of folks avoiding the attention or simply a case of late schooling activity, but I got more reports of school bass on Toledo Bend in one week than I have all

year. Every report, however, came from an area north of the Indian Mounds.

I would never plan a trip to Toledo Bend or Rayburn targeting school bass, but they are fun when they are doing their thing and it’s even better when they are two to three pound fish.

Larry Cowen, a crappie guide that works only small corporate groups, said that it had been dependable enough this past week, to merit an hour or so of chasing them with his pontoon boat. “It looks crazy when a bunch of guys are throwing crappie jigs on light tackle, but every hook-up is

an adventure.”

He added that the fish are usually already schooling when he pulls up on his first brush pile, but they aren’t chasing them until later in the morning. There was a time in the late seventies when school bass fishing was a part of every guide’s program!


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