It’s official – as of Tuesday, March 20, Old Man Winter is history, and spring will be upon us. But hey, who needs to wait for the official spring opener? We’re looking at a run of really fine weather for Southeast Texas, and that translates into some excellent fishing options.
All the rain we had last weekend did one very big thing – it flushed out the Sabine and Neches rivers. All the trout and reds that had moved upstream during the drought (which is pretty much over for this area of Texas) have moved back into Sabine Lake. But there is good news and bad news associated with all that runoff from several inches of rain during the past few weeks. Sabine Lake is going fresh and is about as muddy at it gets. How has that affected the fishing?
“It’s good, and getting better,” said guide Jerry Norris. “We needed a lot of fresh water to move the trout and reds back into the lake. We’ve got that, and the bite right now is good over deep shell with jigs bumped on bottom. The best bite has been in 7 to 12 feet of water.”
But there is another problem thanks to all that rain – mosquitoes.
“I had a group of fishermen meet me at the Sabine Pass Marina a few days ago and we just about choked on mosquitoes,” said Norris. “We couldn’t even breathe. What I’m doing now is leaving the dock about an hour or so after daylight. That way most of the mosquitoes are gone.”
If you want to catch big fish, as in black drum, head to the Sabine jetties. That’s where lots of hard fighting drum can be caught on half of a fresh crab or a hunk of mullet. The black drum are mixed in with bull reds. Actually, you’ll do best on bull reds in the surf along McFaddin Beach and Bolivar Peninsula. That’s where anglers fishing fresh chunks of mullet are taking plenty of reds up to about 35 pounds. The good thing about the spring run of bull reds is that they bite best in a rough and muddy surf. It might not be pretty, but it’s definitely loaded with reds.
A friend called the other day and said he and his girlfriend had caught a cooler full of blue crabs while fishing along the bank of Texas Bayou. A couple of other good crabbing areas are just across from the RV park on Pleasure Island and on the north side of the revetment wall that runs from the yacht club and up toward the mouth of the Neches River.
Flounder are just now beginning to show up on Sabine Lake. For the best results, fish jigs tipped with a dime-sized piece of peeled shrimp at the mouth of a bayou on a falling tide. For the time being, Rollover Pass on Bolivar Peninsula is still open. That’s where any moving tide can produce some pretty good numbers of flounder and reds.
Don’t forget about the Walter Umphrey Fishing Pier about 100 yards from Causeway Bait and Tackle. The lights are now working at this public pier. It’s been completely rebuilt, is open 24-7 and it’s free. It’s an excellent place to catch flounder right about now. Trout and reds can be caught under the lights at night. Live mullet and assorted tackle, as well as a fishing report, can be acquired at the Causeway bait camp.
On the freshwater fishing scene, the hot white bass bite on the Sabine River is history for the time being. Guide Bill Fondren says the water is up so high they can’t find white bass. He says that more than likely they have moved up the creeks to spawn. He also says that the river should settle down within a few days. That’s when the white bass action will kick back into gear.
The big crappie bite on Sam Rayburn is still going strong. The only problem is that the lake has come up a foot and half this week. That’s got crappie scattered over hydrilla. But that rising water is really going to perk up the movement of bass to the shallows to spawn on both Rayburn and Toledo Bend. Right now some of the best catches of largemouth bass are in 3 to 5 feet of water in the creeks. Top lures are jigs, cranks and red or crawfish colored Traps.
As you can see, the fishing options are many, and for the next four to five weeks, it’s only going to get better.
Robert Sloan can be reached by e-mail at sloan288 [at] aol [dot] com.