Jetties and short rigs lead way to Sabine and Calcasieu trout

Jetties and short rigs lead way to Sabine and Calcasieu trout

Fishing along the coast kicked into high gear this past weekend, with good numbers of trout, flounder and even king mackerel being caught.

One of the best fishing reports I’ve got is from Sabine Lake guide Jerry Norris. His top catches of trout, along with a few reds, have been around the rigs east of the jetties in 20 to 25 feet of water.

“I had been catching a few trout in the surf, but all that came to a halt when the baitfish left,” says Norris. “Even with the surf in good shape, the trout just disappeared. That’s when I moved out to the rigs and started to catch limits on just about every trip the past week or so.”

Norris says his best lures around the rigs are forked-tail Bass Assassins in fire tiger or opening night.

Catches of flounder on Sabine Lake are good with live finger mullet and jigs worked at the mouths of bayous on falling tides.

Guide Buddy Oaks, with Hackberry Rod and Gun Club, reports that this past week catches of trout and redfish have been good at the Cameron jetties.

“We’re doing best by drifting live shrimp or finger mullet with a small split shot along the rocks,” says Oaks. “We’ve also been fishing the short rigs a few miles off the beach. We’re catching the trout out there on chicken bone soft plastics.”

Lots of kingfish are being caught anywhere from 6 to 12 miles off the Sabine jetties and on over to Galveston. Most are hitting drifted ribbon fish in 20 to 35 feet of water. The king fish leader in the CCA STAR tourney weighs 62.13 pounds and was caught out of Freeport.

Catches of ling have been surprisingly slow. I talked with one group of fishermen that hit a number of rigs off the Sabine jetties and caught three ling. The heaviest weighed about 45 pounds. They caught those on ribbon fish free-lined 6 feet under balloons. So far there is no entry for ling in the STAR tourney. The minimum for that category is 50 pounds.

CCA STAR tourney tagged reds still up for grabs

About six more weeks remain in the CCA State of Texas Anglers’ Rodeo, and over 50 tagged redfish are still out there waiting to be caught.

“Jeff Myers of Houston is still the only confirmed redfish winner,” says Gina Rice, with the STAR. “So, that means there are still four truck, boat, motor and trailer prizes available to win in the Texas Ford Dealers Redfish Division. Keep in mind, STAR doesn’t end until Sept. 5 at 5 p.m. If you are planning to go fishing between now and Labor Day, do not risk wetting a line without your STAR Insurance.”

New Texas drawn hunt opportunities available

Hunters can start making plans for the upcoming seasons now by applying for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Drawn Hunts. The online system is currently accepting applications and the first hunt category deadline is less than a month away.

This year there are more opportunities available than ever before as additional drawn hunts on public and private lands are being consolidated into TPWD’s online application system, including a new dove hunting category featuring slots on prime private dove fields. Among the other offerings available through the online system are hunts for white-tailed and mule deer, pronghorn, exotic gemsbok and scimitar-horned oryx, turkey and alligator, as well as a guided hunt for desert bighorn sheep.

In addition to drawn hunts managed by TPWD, the system now includes applications for hunts administered by other entities, including about 1,500 big game hunt positions on several U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service National Wildlife Refuges in Texas and antlerless deer permits for U.S. Forest Service properties in East Texas.

“Since moving our drawn hunt application process entirely online two years ago, we’ve seen a huge increase in interest from hunters who offer public hunting opportunities on their lands,” said Justin Dreibelbis, public hunting program director at TPWD. “We had over 31,000 hunters apply last year from every state except Rhode Island and in many foreign countries. Most hunters applied, on average, 6-7 times each to take advantage of the wide range of opportunities available through our system.”

All hunt opportunities can be viewed by category or by area using an interactive map. The entire process is handled online — from browsing opportunities, to applications, fee payments and permit issuance. To participate, applicants will need Internet access, an e-mail address and a credit or debit card. The customer ID number from the applicant’s hunting or fishing license is one of the easy ways to access the system.

The first application deadlines are in August. Aug. 3 is the deadline for the alligator hunt categories, and Aug. 11 is the deadline for archery deer, exotic, javelina and the new private lands dove hunts. Other hunt category deadlines occur from Aug. 23 through Jan. 26. A full list of category deadlines can be found online. Hunters can apply up to 11:59 p.m. on the application deadline, and after the application is submitted, they can check their drawing status online at any time.

The Drawn Hunts program offers affordable hunting experiences throughout the state, including several Youth-Only hunt categories. Application fees are $3 or $10 depending on the hunt category. Adult hunters that are selected may also need to pay a Special Permit fee of $80 for regular hunts and $130 for extended hunts. Some categories, such as the Youth-Only hunts, require no application fees or permit fees.

For information, contact hunt [at] tpwd [dot] texas [dot] gov or call (512) 389-4505 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.