Outdoors

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to fish from Sabine Lake to the Lower Laguna Madre, and during that time, I used a passel of lures to catch trout up to the 7-pound mark. One thing that I’ve found to be true for many years, especially here on Sabine Lake and East Galveston Bay, is this: When in doubt, whip the soft plastic out.

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For the past couple of weeks, flounder fishing has been good, and it seems to be getting better as the water warms and we get closer to the first day of summer — June 21. The great thing about living on the upper Texas coast is that there is no shortage of flounder fishing spots. Two of the best are located in Sabine Pass. Two other very popular flounder fishing holes are at Keith Lake fish pass at Sabine, and Rollover Pass on Bolivar Peninsula.

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During the late spring and early summer, there are some nights that turn warm. There are times, however, when the winds continue to blow, but there are also some hot, still, humid nights. These are the times when the very best bullfrog catching takes place. Another thing to note is the moon’s phase. Dark nights are far superior times for going frogging. Yes, it is possible to catch frogs during adverse conditions contrary as those aforementioned, but it is much more productive to have all of nature’s ducks in a row.

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April and May are just about always windy months, but what we’ve been through lately is enough to make you want to give up fishing and go fly a kite.But the good news is sweet indeed. The fish are biting on Sabine Lake, and if you can catch a day that’s halfway calm, your chances of catching trout and reds — and lots of them — on Sabine Lake, the Sabine Jetties and East Galveston Bay are excellent.

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With the arrival of May, we traded wild turkey hunting for squirrel hunting. Squirrel season is open the entire month of May in East Texas. However, with the lack of rainfall, it can be tough. The few showers that have come through have been welcome, but the woods are still dry.

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With our warming weather, it’s guaranteed that snakes, and lots of them, are slithering around somewhere near you and me.

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I’ve got good news and bad news from Sabine Pass. The good news is that the Walter Umphrey State Park pier has finally been rebuilt since it was completely destroyed when Hurricane Rita made landfall between Sabine Pass and Johnson Bayou on Sept. 23, 2005. But the bad news is that the wind has been blowing so much lately that fishing off the pier, and just about anywhere else on Sabine Lake, has been about as bad as it gets.

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Several of the lakes in our state of Texas have been introduced to both striped and hybrid striped bass. These fish do grow to large sizes and offer some really good action for anglers. Lake Livingston and Toledo Bend are great places for taking both species. Sam Rayburn has some hybrids remaining, but none have been introduced since a malfunction at the hatchery. Hybrids are not usually able to reproduce and are available through put-and-take efforts. According to Ronald G. Habron of Southern Region Aquaculture Center, striper can actually spawn.

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As the local saltwater areas become warmer, some super fun outdoor activity picks up. We are fortunate to be in an area where the blue crabs are plentiful. Historically, the pursuit of these tasty crustaceans has been a family adventure. Cold weather means cold water, and the crabs don’t move around much. With the type of winter that has just passed the water was chilled for quite a time. That trend has been changing and with the warmer water comes some really fine times to head out to the areas where the crab action is.

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The water temperature on Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend has finally topped the 70-degree mark, according to guide Bill Fondren, and with that warming water temperature, crappie are beginning their transition from shallow to deep water.

“They started moving out of the shallows last week,” said Fondren, who runs guided crappie fishing trips on both lakes. “On Sam Rayburn, we’re catching them on the upper end of the lake around brush in about 8 to 11 feet of water. But on Toledo Bend, the most consistent action is over grass in 8 to 10 feet of water.”

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