Last updated 11/23/2021 at 2:29pm
As a youngster growing up fishing every piece of water I could find from canals to stock ponds as well as the occasional trip to the river or lake I can always remember carrying what I thought was the ultimate arsenal of fishing lures. On the top tray of my little orange 2 drawer tackle box was always a couple of spinner baits because they were just "money in the bank" as far as I was concerned. Beetle spins and H-n-H's in all manner of colors still attached to the cardboard display filled the compartments. In every shade of water from stale Yoo Hoo to gin clear it seemed like the spinner baits would produce.
Fast forward a few years to high school and the first few trips into the salt or at least brackish water of the Sabine it all started again. There was no way in the world I would ever get caught without a genuine ½ ounce Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap in either chrome or gold. I have no idea how many casts I threw or revolutions I wound on that old Abu Garcia 5500C as my fishing partners and I just covered shoreline in the "chunk and wind" fashion. Most of those trips that were really memorable usually coincided with cold weather and low water conditions. The sound put out by the Trap was more than most any respectable redfish could ever ignore and it made no difference what the water looked like because they would track it down and just absolutely crush it. The violent strike against cold numb hands is a feeling that is almost difficult to describe but something you never forget. I still enjoy fishing that same pattern to this day even though I don't do it nearly as much as I once did.
Again I roll the calendar forward several years and find myself doing many of the same things today. This has been the year of the swim bait, either soft plastic or hard crank bait style; these have been the staple of almost every fisherman's arsenal for months now on Sabine. If you took all these baits and lined them up together it would be obvious what they all have in common and that is excessive vibration or noise. Spinner baits, crank baits, swim baits, and all the others in that category provide that tell tale vibration that is the equivalent of a dinner bell to fish. The vibrations put out by these baits make it easy for fish to find them as well as trigger strikes.
I'm a firm believer in the fact that 90% of the time vibration will not hurt you. The majority of the fishing population spends nearly all of its time in 2 to 6 feet of water so the added benefit of the vibration helps fish find your bait. On the contrary the ultra shallow crowd at times needs the super silent approach afforded by other baits but that's a very specific style of fishing. In general the average fisherman will certainly help their cause with a little extra added vibration or sound.
Another form of good vibrations that always helps out fishermen is the courtesy one gives to a stranded boater. I have towed more boats back to the dock this year than I can ever remember for some reason. I felt like I worker for Sea Tow for a while during the summer as it seemed every trip we ended up running into a fellow fisherman in need of assistance. It's amazing when you talk to folks who have been stranded for whatever reason and hear them tell you about how many boats actually ran right by them as the were waving for help. I remember on one Thanksgiving Day I got a phone call at 4:45am from a fellow duck hunter on my lease that was broken down in a high traffic area of the marsh. I hadn't planned on hunting that day but I loaded up anyway to go help. The narrow winding canal was buzzing with hunters trying to make it to the blind before legal shooting time and it appeared that most of them were just blowing by the stalled out boat. As I eased up to them to offer assistance I asked "how many people stopped to check on you guys?" Much to my disappointment the answer was "very few, only 2 even slowed down and just one of those asked if we were okay." That just left me shaking my head in disbelief. In the past I have come across the same situation and offered not only to pull the guys in but to let them hunt with us first and then come back to grab the boat. You just have to figure that eventually those folks that don't stop to render aid will one day be in the position where they need help. I hope they bring plenty of mosquito spray for the long wait because more likely than not the old saying about "what comes around goes around" comes into play.
I have to say as this year slowly comes to a close I have been really excited about the shape our fishery is in compared to 2019 and 2020. The health of the overall fish population as a whole is getting better, the redfish numbers are through the roof and the number of flounder caught this year so far is above average. About the only thing we have not seen so far are the bigger trophy trout, they are still few and far between. I'm hoping that some of those really big fish will show themselves in the coming weeks as we really get into the big fish mode. If the big fish don't show that will be fine, 2021 has certainly been a rebound year for us on both Sabine and Calcasieu. I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving and enjoy your time outdoors. Remember, be courteous and when you get the chance be sure to take a kid or someone new with you the next time you head outdoors.