Sabine reds, trout and flounder good on soft plastics

A good number of reds are being caught along the Louisiana shoreline of Sabine L
Jeff Myers

Sabine guide Dickey Colburn reports that he’s catching some pretty good numbers of trout and reds on the upper end of the lake. Most of his fish are being caught on soft plastics fished under cork rigs. His best jigs have been Usual Suspects and Li’ Johns.

On the lower end of Sabine Lake, guide Colby Denbow reports good catches of trout and big reds at the jetties on Down South plastics in key lime.

“Fishing under the birds has been hit and miss, but overall that bite is slow,” says Denbow. “Flounder are still stacked up pretty good along the Louisiana shoreline. The water is still not looking to good, but at least it’s no longer raining every day.”

$80,000 CCA Star tagged redfish caught

Jeff Myers is the first lucky angler to catch a tagged redfish and win a boat, motor, trailer and truck in the Coastal Conservation Association’s STAR tournament. That tagged redfish is worth an estimated $80,000.

“There are 59 tagged redfish still out there swimming and four more truck/boat/motor/trailer prize packages to be won,” says Gina Rice, director of operations for CCA STAR. “Keeper-sized prizes can be claimed by STAR anglers who bring in the first 10 tagged redfish. The first five winners will drive home in a 2016 loaded Ford F-150 “Texas Edition” XLT SuperCab, pulling a brand new 23-foot Haynie BigFoot boat rigged with a Mercury 150L Pro XS OptiMax motor and Coastline trailer. The next five tagged redfish winners will each claim a 23-foot Haynie BigFoot boat with a Mercury 150L Pro XS OptiMax motor and Coastline trailer.”

The STAR tournament runs through Labor Day, Sept. 5, and you can sign up at any time. Visit www.ccamembership.org to get signed up today. For more information, including a list of weigh-in stations, instant-entry registration locations in your area and weekly leader board updates, go to www.startournament.org.

“Last year 10 tagged redfish were caught, but only five anglers claimed prizes,” says Rice. “The others, unfortunately, were not registered for the CCA Texas STAR.”

After picking up a quart of shrimp, Myers and his girlfriend, Karin, headed to the Texas City Dike to launch the boat at dawn. Within a few casts he had a bite, and when the red was close he could see the tag. They rushed over to an official STAR weigh station, Pelican Rest Marina, and got the prized fish certified.

“It’s hard to comprehend that you would catch one of those fish out of so many,” said Myers. “I have entered the tournament for eight to 10 years and have never caught one to even enter for size or weight.” 

How to catch a boat, motor and trailer with a big Lake Fork bass

During the recent Skeeter Boats Bass Champs tournament on Lake Fork, Eric Blane caught a 9.04-pounder to win $700 and a Skeeter FX 20 boat powered by a 250 Yamaha, according to Patty Lenderman with Bass Champs.

Blane says he was using large swim baits in 15 to 30 feet of water when he felt a bump on his line. That bite was the big bass of the tourney.

“I set the hook, and the drag gave,” says Blane. “I knew whatever I hooked was going to be good.”

As the fish neared the boat he knew it was a monster. She rolled and dove back down. He got the bass back up to the surface, slipped the net under her and went to the scales.

“This year over 2,200 anglers made the trek to this legendary lake to fish for cash and prizes setting all new records,” says Lenderman.

Lake Fork is a slot lake, meaning that only fish under 16 or over 24 inches are legal. Everything in-between cannot be retained or weighed, and released back into the lake. Skeeter was awarding two grand prizes in addition to the hourly checks for anglers catching the heaviest bass under and over the slot.

Trips to dream destination generating millions for wildlife

The majestic wildlife, rugged landscapes and remarkable history of the African continent make it a dream destination. It is also a land made up of diverse peoples and governments, many of them facing a variety of economic, environmental and social challenges each day. Fortunately, one group of tourists who turn their dreams of visiting the continent into reality is also helping the economic situation for those who live there. According to a recent study conducted by Southwick Associates on behalf of Safari Club International Foundation, hunting tourism contributes as much as $426 million to the African economy each year.

The study examined the extent of hunters’ annual spending and total economic contributions between 2012 and 2014 in eight top African hunting destinations: South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia. More than 18,000 hunters visit these countries every year, supporting more than 53,000 jobs.

Additional key findings in the report include:

• Visiting hunters and their travel party on average spent 14 days in their destination countries with 11 of those days spent hunting.

• Travel parties most commonly consisted of three people, with two of these people actually hunting, while the third provides additional economic income to Africa.

• The United States provides the largest proportion of visiting hunters (74 percent), followed by Europe (16 percent).

• South Africa received the greatest number of visiting hunters (8,387) of those countries examined in the study, followed by Namibia (7,076) and Zimbabwe (1,361).

• Average total spending per hunter is estimated at $26,000 with the average in-country expenses for the professional hunters’ package and fees, transportation, food, souvenirs and more is approximately $20,600.

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