There has been much concern about the drought and our fish and wildlife. Sure we will get some showers and even possibly some heavy rains, but it will take several days of that to break the dry spell. Since there were so many folks concerned, I went to the most knowledgeable resource of information that I’m familiar with.Mrs. Terri Looney is the conservation resource agent for both Jefferson and Chambers counties. Her specialties include all things aquatic. Looney confided that a prolonged drought such as we have experienced could — repeat, could — have detrimental effects on area wildlife. Both marsh dwelling arrivals such as fur bearers and alligators as well as birds do need fresh water for survival. It seems that many of them could die, and all of them must move in search of water. Feeding and reproduction will suffer. None of these things are good right now, but with a bumper crop of ducks heading our way in a few months, the lack of water will not be conducive to their staying around.
So far as the sea life is concerned, the oysters that are recovering from Hurricane Ike will be in trouble. Oysters can survive in pure saltwater, according to Mrs. Looney, but they will be susceptible to disease. This would also be the case in prolonged periods of too little fresh water. Dead oyster reefs do, however, attract many game fish.As of now, the local saltwater fishing action has been really good. With saltwater now in our rivers, there are saltwater fish being caught all the way up to the barrier on the Neches River. A heavy rain will serve to put more fresh water in the rivers and help move the fish back into the lakes and bays. Several tropical storms will move the fish down to the south end of Sabine Lake, Big Lake, and out to the jetty.
Inland saltwater fishing has been best for speckled trout, sand trout, and in some cases, large croakers. There has also been some good flounder action taking place. Should there not be some major change in the weather and with so much bait around, the fish catching will remain top notch. The specks are attracting the most attention There have been some fairly strong winds occurring from mid-morning until after dark each evening. After that it seems to wane, which allows for smother water and some good night angling. Folks with generators to furnish electricity for portable floodlights have enjoyed some really top-notch action. The shrimp and baitfish will be attracted to the light being spotted on the water. The specks will come along to feed upon the bait. Whenever the speckled trout arrive, you can actually see them like fast shadows under the surface or you can hear them strike the bait. It’s not normally a strike such as a bass taking a topwater lure. There will be a telltale popping sound that is easily identifiable as a speck. Whenever that sound begins, get a bait or lure into the area of the sound and expect a quick strike.
What I’ve found over the years is that speckled trout will feed in intervals. They will show up in good numbers for awhile and suddenly they will disappear completely. Sometimes the lull will last an hour or so and sometimes it will last much longer. No mater the pattern, there seems to be a trigger that sets the specks to feeding right at daylight, so be ready for that.
When heading out for so some night speckled trout fishing, be sure to check on the wind and weather. Still, humid nights are best. Any windy or stormy weather would not be good times to head out.
There are several types of lights that are productive for the night fishing scene. There are green, black and plain high wattage spotlights. All of them will attract the bait, thus the predator fish.
The lighted fishing piers such as the Walter Umphrey Pier at the southeast end of Pleasure Island is a popular night fishing area. Hackberry Rod and Gun in Louisiana has gone a step further. They offer a big air-conditioned boat rigged just for night anglers. This situation is super comfortable with a load of amenities for the night antler’s comfort. It’s cooler at night also.
You may contact Mrs. Looney at (409) 835-8451 about pond care. Hackberry Rod and Gun’s telephone number is (888) 762-3391.
Tune in to KSET 1300 at 6 p.m. on Thursdays for Billy Halfin Outdoors and listen to the updates daily at 7:25 a.m., 12:25 p.m. and 6:25 p.m.