As we are getting into the Thanksgiving mood and then comes Christmas, most of the outdoor folks are deeply involved in hunting. There are many seasons now open, with the majority of the hunting being either waterfowl or deer. But we are now also into some of the better inland saltwater fishing action of the year.
Lake Sabine is in a position where there are numerous shrimp- and baitfish-laden estuaries draining into it. The marshes along the Neches and Sabine rivers, and the Louisiana marshes on the east shoreline of the lake all contribute food fish to Lake Sabine. Earlier in the year the lake was loaded with millions of shad and mullet along with several other species that the game fish choose to feed upon. Most of those fish would migrate into the lake from the gulf or they would hatch inland. That is not the case during the cooler months where there has been a couple of northers to push the shrimp out of their estuaries. What’s really great about this time of year is that all of those shrimp do not leave the marshes at one time. It would seem that each front with a north wind will push even more bait into the lake, and there will be lots of hungry predator fish for anglers to catch.
First of all, if you can get to the water very soon after the front comes through, then you need to head for the mouths of those marsh drains. An ebbing tide will attract the flounder, speckled trout, and redfish much as a magnet would a piece of steel. The secret is the moving water that is coming from a marsh drain.
To fish such an area, my choice is to cast across the current and fish the bait or lure back through the moving water. Once it clears the current, I’d allow it to free fall and drift with the tide for 20 or 30 yards. The fish will likely be feeding somewhere along that cast area. Should you see bait breaking the surface then, cast slightly up current from it and be ready for a strike. Many times the fish will take your offering before you can engage your reel. This type of action will likely last until the tidal flow slacks off.
For live bait in the above situation, nothing is better than live shrimp. Small shad come in a close second. These may be fished either under a float or on the bottom. For a lure, either lead-head jigs and plastic tails or something like a double speck rig, a little Fishy rig, or a lipless crank bait will do fine.
Once the front has been through a day or so, it is time to either look for feeding seagulls or time to drift over shell, casting ahead of the drift. For this, the lead-head jig with a plastic tail or a speck rig will pay off. If possible, use a 1/4-ounce lead head. There will also be speckled trout and redfish under the birds as well as an occasional flounder. The action may and will likely be hot and heavy, especially under the gulls. Sometimes the specks will be too small to keep in Texas. Whenever