Sometimes the fishing situation is not exactly as one would believe. By exactly, I mean the action is not always limited to the crack of dawn or dusk. Sometimes during the summertime, there is some hot action during midday.
The way that I discovered the midday speckled trout and redfish action was purely by speculation. There was a time several years back when many of the local bass fishing anglers would head by boat to the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana. Since there was a limited horsepower size for outboard motors inside the compartments, we would use the 20 horsepower engine to travel the 45 minutes. Black Bayou is a winding bayou that connects Texas waters to Louisiana across the marsh.
The bass fishing back then was so extremely outstanding that limit catches would often happen within a couple hours. On the day that we first discovered the midday fishing, bass limits were taken by 10 a.m. My fishing partner Tolbert Crowder Jr. and I decided to head on back to Texas. This was a rare thing for us to do. Most of the time, even with limit catches, we would continue to catch and release the bass all day long.
When we were going near East Pass, there were some seagulls working out in Lake Sabine. The water was calm and so we decided to head out and give the specks a try. It was near mid-day, there were no other boats in the area, and we had come to catch fish. Without hesitation we headed for the feeding gulls. We could see the fish striking and feeding on surfacing shrimp or shad from quite a distance.
During this time of year, the seagulls and fish don’t hang around very long whenever anglers and boats come too close to surface feeding. The cure to that is to look and listen for the feeding fish. They will usually still be present close by. I recommend that fishermen should remain in a given area for 15 minutes or so before moving on. Certainly the weather will be extra warm and uncomfortable, but by being patient and not bumping things in the boat, the fish will likely show themselves again.
Another thing that could be a help for midday speckled trout school fishing is to pay attention to the direction the fish are traveling. That is accomplished by simply staying back and watching the seagulls as they follow the bait. Then by moving a hundred yards or so in the direction that they are traveling, it is likely that the specks will feed right to your location. Should they appear to be going to miss your spot, then use your electric troll motor to correct your location. Don’t approach too near the feeding fish. Sometimes it is OK to ease into within casting range and maybe catch a fish or two, but normally they will sound. By not going to them but allowing them to come to you, it is possible to catch several fish before they have moved on by. Once they are gone, then locate them again and move ahead of them again
Another extremely popular method for locating summertime schools of speckled trout or redfish is to look for shiny oil slicks. Whenever the fish are feeding on shad, the action just naturally creates the shiny oily sheen on the water’s surface.
The practice of fishing the slicks is especially proper in East and Trinity Bays. Over in Big Lake in Louisiana, the slicks are also prime fishing spots. The smaller the slick, the fresher the action and the more likely there are hungry fish still around and feeding. As the slicks grow larger, they are still worth trying but are not as likely to be active.
Fishing the slicks is done in Lake Sabine, but it doesn’t seem to be as popular as in the other bays and lakes. That is except for the guides; they fish in slicks.Sometimes there are gaftopsails or hardhead catfish under the slicks or even the seagulls. Also, the crabbers use shad to bait their crab traps and this will cause a slick. If there is a crab trap marker nearby, then don’t spend time fishing in that false slick.
Capt. Eddie Hernandez found some midday specks just recently, but he also advised anglers to be out fishing early just in case the better bite is early. He said you never know for sure. Just go fishing. Golden Hook Guide Service can by reached at (409) 673-3100.
Billy Halfin can be reached by e-mail at bhalfinoutdoors [at] aol [dot] com.