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.
“I was lucky last week and got out on Sabine Lake on a calm day,” said guide Jerry Norris. “I hadn’t planned on fishing but got up at daylight and went outside and knew something was very wrong – there was no wind.”
So what did he do? Called a friend, loaded up the boat and headed out on the lake. The end result was a box full of solid trout in the 2 to 6 pound class.“I had fished a couple of other areas on the lake a few days earlier and caught no fish,” Norris said. “So I went to some old hotspots that I know normally hold fish this time of year. I was on my way to one spot and noticed a single tern diving on the water. I moved up on the bird with the trolling motor and on the first cast caught a nice trout. That one bird was feeding on shad being pushed to the water’s surface by trout. That was right out in the middle of the lake.”
After that bite played out, Norris worked Assassins and Stanley Wedge tails over open water reefs in 5 to 7 feet of water.
“If we can get a break from the wind, there are some good fish holding over shell in open water,” Norris said. “Something to key on are slicks and birds working small schools of shad.”
Sabine Lake guide Dicky Colburn reports that during the past several days, fishing for both trout and reds has been excellent, as long as the wind isn’t howling. He recently got a call from a couple of anglers that caught 13 trout, with one weighing just over 7 pounds.
Colburn said that on a recent trip, he and a single client caught limits of both reds and trout up to 5 pounds. They fished from the north revetment wall to Green’s Bayou. Most of their reds were in 2 to 3 feet of water.
“We caught our fish Wednesday (May 4) with a pearl-lime tail Tidal Surge Mullet and did pretty good with it Friday, as well, but there was no doubt that they wanted the Bug Juice Flats Minnow even more,” said Colburn. “I don’t know what the water looked like on the south end of the lake, but it was in great shape everywhere we fished.”At the Sabine Jetties, catches of trout have been excellent on calm days. The Louisiana side of the east jetty has been giving up some great boxes of trout on soft plastics and live baits. When using jigs, the key has been to fish the down-current side of the irregular rock outcroppings. The best report I’ve got is from Randy Ortego. He used bone and chartreuse Assassins on 1/4-ounce jig heads to catch 19 trout to about 5 pounds recently.
“The wind wasn’t blowing too strong, so we hit the Louisiana side of the east jetty right at daylight,” said Ortego. “The water was green with an incoming tide. And there was plenty of mullet moving along the rocks. We rigged up with jigs and stayed with the baitfish. That’s where the trout were. We caught most of them about 200 yards from the end of the jetty.”
I’ve also had some very good reports from fishermen using live baits like shrimp and shad along the channel side of the east jetty. One group fished shad under slip corks at about 6 feet deep. Another group anchored just south of the boat cut and free-lined shrimp to catch a box full of trout, reds and sheepshead.
On East Galveston Bay, guide Jim West says that he’s been drifting over shell reefs on the lower end of the bay to catch good numbers of trout and a few reds.“It’s been tough with the wind,” said West. “But if you can get out there, the fish are biting.”
West says he’s using soft plastics in a variety of colors over shell in 5 to 7 feet of water. The best bite has been on outgoing tides.
The very popular south shoreline of East Bay has been a good place for waders to find reds, trout and flounder, even on windy days, according to West.
The water temperature on the bays is in the upper 70s. Based on the reports I’ve had this week, fishing on the upper Texas coast is good and getting better. There is one other option that you might want to keep in mind. Whenever the surf goes flat and green to the beach, you can bet the farm that trout are going to be running the first and second guts.
Robert Sloan can be reached by e-mail at sloan288 [at] aol [dot] com.