Stay cool with early-morning action
Here we are, in the waning days of August, and the first hunting seasons are at hand. Besides that, there is still a lot of great fish catching going on. The only problem is deciding whether to go after the doves on Sept. l, the teal Sept.15-30, or to go fishing.
There is still some good saltwater action in the shallows on topwater lures. The action is taking place right at first daylight and continues until just after sunrise. The shallow water tends to cool off a few degrees at night. Once the sun hits, it the water warms quickly. All along Lake Sabine’s Louisiana shoreline, there are usually hordes of baitfish swimming back and forth. When that is happening, there will likely be some larger speckled trout along with some redfish and flounder also. There are rarely large numbers of these fish present, but the ones that are present will be quality fish for the most part. Whenever these fish are feeding, all except the flounder will take topwater lures. Keep in mind that this topwater action is not an all-morning affair. Anglers that choose to use either live mullet, shad, croaker or shrimp can also do well in the early morning shallows. The better places for using the bait is in the mouths of the marsh drains or bayous. The submerged points are also haunts for the fish. I recommend using larger than normal shad, croaker or mullet.
I’ve learned from Capt. Darren Guernsey that to catch the larger quality fish, it is best to use larger bait. He has written a book called “No Wimpy Fish” that explains when and where to put them on a hook. He also explains that when a fish takes a 6- or 7-inch baitfish, it is best to give it a little time before setting the hook. Again, when going after the larger fish, learn to be patient and not expect large numbers of fish.
The use of lures can also follow the same principal. Use larger lures. Some of the lead-head jigs with plastic tails do come in longer lengths. You’ll notice that I didn’t say weights. It is better to use a 1/4-ounce lead head with a large steel hook with the plastic tail. This will allow for easy casting and a more fluttering action when it falls under the surface.
Whenever you are going after speckled trout or red fish with the jigs you may likely take some flounder also. I prefer lead heads such as the new Half-Alive with shrimp or shad inside the plastic capsule. The ever-popular Gulp will also do a good job. Both of these lures are great fish attractors and really durable.
Once the sun has hit the water, it is time to look for feeding seagulls or head to either the ship channel or the jetty. This just means that the water has warmed and the bait as well as the fish have moved to deeper water. Whenever the gulls are doing their thing, catching speckled trout and redfish is almost certain. Many times, but not always, the specks as well as sand trout that are schooled under the birds are the smaller ones. Many of them are not Texas legal. I enjoy fishing under the birds simply because the action is fast. The lead-head plastics are favorite lures here, but nothing works better than live shrimp under a popping float. That’s the case if live shrimp are available locally. Over in East Bay, there is rarely a shortage of them.
Along the Sabine Ship Channel, there is a constant shallow to deep-water drop-off. The places that have shell present are normally the better spots for specks and redfish. These types of places are normally best during the spring. There are a number of places out on the jetty that seem to hold redfish right now. These are the deeper holes along the jetty and out near the end. Whenever the water is clear and not too rough, there will be speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, sheepshead, redfish, and all sorts of pan fish around. When the water is offcolor, the redfish will still be around. Live bait, cut bait, and lead-head jigs are the go-to offerings.
Be ready on Sept. 1 for some hot weather and some hot dove action in the north and central zones.
Billy Halfin can be reached by e-mail at bhalfinoutdoors [at] aol [dot] com.