Ah, sweet October – cooler weather and all the reds and trout you want to catch under the birds on Sabine Lake. It’s doesn’t get much better than that.
Our first really good cold front moved through Southeast Texas this week, and it’s the icing on the cake if you’re into chasing trout and reds under the birds on Sabine Lake, or even East Galveston Bay and Louisiana’s Lake Calcasieu. Actually the action under the birds has been coming to life for the past couple of weeks. Each cool front has been dropping the water temperature a couple of degrees, and that’s been enough to move shrimp and shad out of the marshes. But this week’s cold front, our best yet, is the one that’s going to really drop the water temperature and move lots of shrimp out of the marsh. And it’s a sure bet that it won’t take long for the word to spread, either. With that you can expect to see lots of boats in pursuit of two of the greatest game fish on the Texas coast – speckled trout and red fish.
I recently talked with Mike Cooper who lives on the lower end of Sabine Lake. If anybody’s got the scoop on what’s happening there from one day to the next, it’s him. He’ll be fishing from his boat during the day and off his lighted pier at night.
“Fishing all over the lake has been good for reds, specks and sand trout,” said Cooper. “The best action under the birds has been good in the morning up until about 10 a.m., then it’ll slow a little bit. With this week’s cold weather, I think it’ll kick into high gear. Aside from reds and trout, we’ve got a lot of good sized sand trout under the birds, too. They are also feeding under the lights at night.”
Some of the best catches of trout and reds have been on the lower end of the lake. That was before this week’s cold front. If we get a three to four degree drop in the water temperature some of the best action will move up to the northeast areas Sabine.
Catches of solid specks have been good while fishing soft plastics rigged on 1/4-ounce jig heads. The trick has been to let the jigs settle to bottom before beginning your retrieve. Lots of smaller trout are holding just under the birds. That’s especially true during the hours of high sun. Early and late, the larger trout, fish in the 2-1/2 to 4 pound class, will be feeding directly under the birds. That’s when topwater plugs like a Super Spook Jr. or She Dog will draw some better trout.
One of the all-time best lures for catching both trout and reds under the birds is a 1/2-ounce Rattle-Trap or a Cotton Cordell Super Spot. The 1/2-ounce lures are best because you can cast ‘em from Beaumont to the SGS bait and tackle shop on Pleasure Island. Best colors will be blue/chrome or chartreuse/chrome. The Traps or Spots can be fished at any level on a fast retrieve.
East Galveston Bay guide Jim West says the action under the birds there is great for numbers of trout. But the only glitch is that most are in the 14 to 14-3/4 inch range, just shy of being a legal keeper.
“There are lots of ‘em under the birds, but they aren’t holding any size right now,” said West.
Capt. Buddy Oaks with Hackberry Rod and Gun Club says the fishing under the birds is excellent on Calcasieu.
“Fishermen that fish Lake Calcasieu on a regular basis call October ‘meat month’ here is southwest Louisiana,” said Oaks. “We call it a great opportunity to get out on the water and experience some of the best light-tackle saltwater fishing in the world. Huge flocks of working seagulls are pointing the way to fast and quick action in big schools of fish. It seems like every day limits of speckled trout and redfish come to the dock for our anglers. It ought to be great for at least the next four weeks.”
Robert Sloan can be reached by e-mail at sloan288 [at] aol [dot] com.