Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

"Ultra Hot" options

"Be careful what you wish for because you just may get it" is what I was often told as a kid. Things that seem like great ideas at the time will often turn out to be unwanted nuisances that are worse than the original option. For months Texas anglers, myself included, cursed the constant high winds and prayed that they would stop in order to make the bay systems mote user friendly. Well, the winds have subsided and the now the temperatures have just gone through the roof making it almost impossible to spend an entire day on the water without a cooler the size of a stand up refrigerator stocked with refreshing liquids. As the mercury continues to climb fishermen will need to make some adjustments in order to combat the heat and come out a winner.

Easily the most reasonable option to deal with the heat is to go early or late and avoid the mid-day melt down. For quite some time anglers here on Sabine have been making the pre-dawn trek to the jetties and just having their way with some quality fish. This pattern is both solid and exciting as the action on good tide changes is almost non-stop on some days. The topwater bite along the rocks is as vicious as you can imagine and only magnified when it happens in the dark or during low light. Once the sun breaks the horizon you can switch over to shallow running crank baits or stick baits and continue the assault until about an hour after sunrise when this program plays out. After the sun gets up the bite usually slows considerably and makes sticking it out under the beaming sun much less desirable. Anglers who use the inverse pattern, going at sunset and staying after dark, will also get their string stretched as the bite gets cranked up as the sun goes down. Fishing in the dark requires some preparation and more attention to detail than during daylight hours. Everything from fish to boat problems are magnified in the dark so plan accordingly and take all necessary precautions to stay safe.

Boaters are not the only ones who take advantage of the darkness during the summer, wade fishermen will adopt the same patterns as well. Being waist deep in the water for a pre-dawn wade over a protected flat under the right conditions is what dreams are made of for many anglers. The potential for a truly big fish hangs thick in the air as the anticipation washes over your every thought. Once the silence is broken by that first vicious strike and subsequent thrashing along the surface all that's left to do is enjoy the moment. That magical hour or two before the sun comes up is well worth the effort it took to reach that destination. Some of the best trout I've ever seen caught were taken in the pre-dawn hours by wade fishermen so I have a great appreciation for this pattern. Just like the boat anglers who fish late and stay past sunset the waders will also take their fair share of good fish as well. There is something about how the water calms down as the traffic lightens up and the light begins to fade that cranks these fish up to become active feeders. By taking advantage of the reduced traffic and better feeding conditions anglers can beat the heat and increase their odds exponentially of tangling with a big fish while escaping the heat at the same time.

Now if a stealth mission in the dark is not your idea of a good time you have other options too. For years we have made great use of the deep water patterns in the Sabine and Neches Rivers. During the summer months the run off from Toledo Bend, Sam Rayburn, and all the other miles of watershed area becomes minimal as saltwater begins to creep farther up the rivers. When these conditions exist those who know how to take advantage of them are often rewarded with some of the easiest and most productive fishing possible. The live bait pattern really shines under these circumstances. Most local anglers will castnet live shad and fish them on a Carolina rig along the breaks and depth changes. Underwater structure that causes eddy's or current changes will concentrate big numbers of both speckled trout and redfish into relatively small areas. Being precise as to where you anchor in proximity to the depth change or structure is vital so paying attention to your depth finder is a must. Once you set up correctly you can absolutely wear out the fish and enjoy some truly relaxing fishing. If you set up wrong you may as well be fishing in the desert. This deep water pattern is a favorite of mine because of how simple it is and how productive it can be. I have spent many days posted up on anchor dunking shad whilecatching just as many fish as the folks running by me headed for the open lake. This program works and is so easy that it's almost funny. Easily a great way to beat the heat.

Well so far we have discussed how to stay out of the heat and still catch fish, a common goal for most anglers for sure. There is one more pattern for this time of the year that is without a doubt not for the faint of heart or health but is certainly an exciting option. If you are healthy enough to stand the heat you can patrol the open lake about mid-day when most anglers are heading in to find some air conditioning. Many times during the summer the lake will just go completely flat and resemble a big bowl of mercury. Any surface commotion can be seen or heard from great distances. Often times the shrimp will get bunched up and the speckled trout and redfish will go on a vicious feed while giving away their location. It's during these times a careful angler can stay with a group of schooling fish for a long time. During other times the shad and pogies will get herded together by big schools of oversized redfish and that's exactly where the big party starts. If you've never stumbled up on one these big gangs of redfish and watched that carnage you can only imagine the chaos. Those big reds will blow holes in the water that will take 2 minutes fill back up, they are incredible. Anglers willing to brave the temperatures and spend a little time looking around can usually find an active school of fish that will keep them busy for as long as they want. With temperatures creeping close to triple digits it doesn't take long to get your fill.

Now that you are armed with plenty of options for beating the heat you can take your pick and enjoy any of them. Regardless of which pattern you choose please take proper precautions. Staying hydrated and protected from the sun are keys along with being aware of how you feel. Many times it's after the trip before you really feel the effects of a day in extreme heat. Enjoy the consistent weather pattern and the great fishing that summer presents because it's truly a great time of the year.


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