Rayburn crappie and bass tough to pin down

Trout are difficult to pin down on Sabine Lake and East Galveston Bay. Your best

Fresh water from recent rains has caused bass fishing to surge, but on Sabine Lake, it’s making things difficult for anglers targeting reds, flounder and trout.

Sam Rayburn guide Bill Fondren says the water level there is about 7-1/2 feet high, and the fishing overall is slow.

“The topwater bite is good on calm mornings, but other than that most of the bass are being caught in 10 to 12 feet of water along creek channels on cranks and Carolina-rigged soft plastics.”

The problem on the rivers and lakes is high and muddy water. That probably won’t change too much for the next week or so.

Most bays along the Texas coast from Sabine Lake to Port O’Connor are holding lots of fresh water runoff. That’s definitely the case on Sabine Lake and the Galveston Bay complex. The ticket is to fish at the jetties or in the surf. Sabine Lake guide Jerry Norris says that all the fresh water coming down the lake will push a lot of fish to the surf.

Guide Buddy Oaks on Calcasieu Lake says the fishing there is better than you might think. They are using a lot of live shrimp under corks to catch limits of trout and reds. Soft plastics are best over reefs, with topwater plugs taking some decent trout on early moving tides.

California angler wins Lake Fork tourney and $100,000

California angler Brent Ehrler won the recent Toyota Texas Bass Classic on Lake Fork, taking home a check for $100,000, a fully rigged bass boat and a Toyota Tundra truck.

Ehrler entered the final day of this tourney in fifth place with a total weight of 58 pounds, 4 ounces. Despite averaging over 29 pounds a day for the first two days of competition, the California pro had yet to catch a bass surpassing Lake Fork’s 24-inch slot length.

That changed when he boated a 10-pound, 11-ounce bass to take over the top spot on the leaderboard. The Lake Fork giant proved to be the big bass of the tournament, earning Ehrler a Toyota Tundra valued at $35,000.

“For much of the tournament, Ehrler fished offshore with a trio of baits,” says Larry Hodge with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “Those lures included a shad colored Lucky Craft crankbait, a 6-inch hollow-bodied swim bait in shad on a 3/4-ounce BOSS swimbait jig head, and a 3/4-ounce BOSS Football jig head tipped with a Yamamoto trailer.”

Ehrler says he caught the bulk of his bass slow-rolling the swimbait, but he also caught several fish on the crankbait, and two key fish on the football-head jig.

The key was using his graph to find the winning school of fish early on the first day of practice.

“I saw some fish down there, and on one of my first casts I hooked a 6-pounder,” says Ehrler. “When I was reeling it in, I noticed a bunch of other big ones following the hooked fish back to the boat. I immediately knew that I’d found a spot that could be very productive.”

“He caught a limit weighing 23 pounds off his primary area and then boated the 10-pounder and a 6-pounder off his secondary area in the afternoon,” says Hodge. “Both areas were basically points that extended out into the lake and then dropped off.”

New bass license plate aims to increase funding for fisheries

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is re-introducing its largemouth bass conservation license plate with a new graphic design. Artwork on the new plate depicting a jumping bass chasing a lure was created by well-known wildlife artist Clemente Guzman.

“By purchasing this specialty plate, anglers will help provide critical funding for Texas’ fish management programs,” says Dave Terre, with TPWD. “The more plates purchased by anglers, the more funding will be available to help keep Texas one of the best places to fish in the country.”

The new plate can be purchased online at www.ConservationPlate.org/Bass or at local tax county offices for $30/year, of which $22/plate goes to TPWD.

Kid launches truck, boat and trailer into lake

A Titus County game warden recently responded to a Lake Monticello boat ramp after a truck and boat sank in the lake. A man trying to put his boat on his trailer allowed his grandchild to drive his truck, but the child accidentally put the vehicle in reverse. Both the truck and trailer went into the lake. A second child in the back seat was safely removed from the truck before it sank.