Great weather sets up excellent fishing, hunting opportunities

Lots of trout are being caught on the lower end of Sabine Lake.

There is no way you can complain about the weather here in Southeast Texas over the past week or so. The last weekend in August, a north wind set the stage for some excellent fishing in the surf from the Sabine jetties to the Galveston jetties. To cap things off, the cool mornings we had delivered some outstanding topwater fishing for bass on Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend.

The big news this week centers on the Central Zone dove season opener, college football and some big time hauls of trout and reds along the Sabine jetties.

Guide Colby Denbow fished the Sabine jetties and the surf last weekend and had easy limits of trout and reds.

“Fishing in the surf was off-the-charts good,” said Denbow. “We actually fished over huge schools of reds churning the water up just west of the jetties. We caught them up to 27 pounds on topwater lures and with big streamers on fly rods. The early bite on trout has been very good along the jetties right at daylight. Most of them are solid surf run trout. We’re catching them on topwaters early, then switching over to soft plastics on 1/4-ounce jig heads. Best colors are red/shad, bone and black/chartreuse.”

On the lakes, the topwater action on bass has been excellent early and late, and especially at night with the full moon. Chris Metlock fished on Sam Rayburn on Saturday and Sunday and says they caught 43 bass on Tiny Torpedoes in black/white and yellow/red.

“Our best fishing was Sunday morning with Torpedoes along the edge of grass in 6 to 10 feet of water,” says Metlock. “That bite played out within a couple of hours after sunrise. That’s when we switched over to 1/4 ounce spinnerbaits in white/silver or white/chartreuse.”

Something else you might check out is the crappie fishing on both Rayburn and Toledo Bend. Fishing live minnows over brush piles in 16 to 18 feet of water is red hot. So is the catfish bite on Toledo Bend. The trotline bite at night has been very good. Best baits are small chunks of fresh perch or chicken livers on lines set over humps in 12 to 15 feet of water.

Renew your hunting, fishing licenses

Don’t forget that your hunting and fishing license from 2014-15 has expired; it’s time to renew your licenses for 2015-16.

Every year, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department issues about 2.5 million hunting and fishing licenses through the agency’s 28 field offices, more than 50 state parks and at over 1,700 retailers across the state. Licenses may also be purchased online through the TPWD website at www.tpwd.texas.gov/buy or by phone at (800) 895-4248. Call center hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. There is a required $5 administrative fee for each phone or online transaction, but multiple items can be purchased during a single transaction occasion for the $5 fee. The online transaction system is available 24/7. For online and phone orders, a physical license will be mailed within three business days. During that time period, a transaction receipt will be provided via e-mail that will be sufficient proof of a hunting license that can be used for dove hunting.

Hunting and fishing regulations for the new season can be found in the 2015-16 Outdoor Annual, available in booklet form at license retailers and digitally online at www.outdoorannual.com. You can also download the free 2015-16 Outdoor Annual mobile app on their Apple or Android devices.

Mandatory hunter education certification

In addition to a hunting license, anyone born after Sept. 1, 1971, must successfully complete a hunter education training course or purchase a one-time deferral good for one license year in order to hunt legally in Texas. The certification is valid for life and is honored in all other states and provinces.

“Last year, TPWD certified a record 72,000 hunter education students, yet Texas game wardens still issued more than 3,400 citations and warnings last fall for hunters not meeting hunter education certification requirements,” says Steve Lightfoot with TPWD. “Getting certified has never been more convenient. Hunters who need hunter education certification have several expanded contemporary options including a streamlined, one-day basic course and an option for anyone 17 years of age or older to take the hunting safety training completely online. A combination online home study and four to five hour skills field day course is also offered.”

More information on hunter education certification is available online at www.tpwd.texas.gov/huntered.

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