South Zone opens for dove as teal season slows

Dove seasons are open across Texas.

Opening weekend of the September teal season was a smash hit for many hunters, but after that initial blast of teal, things slowed down big time. The main problem has been the lack of additional cool fronts to move more birds down the Central Flyway.

Chris Holmes with Delta Waterfowl says Louisiana hunters have been seeing excellent numbers of teal since opening day.

“Louisiana teal hunters are riding high as a result of fair habitat conditions and a steady stream of bluewings filtering through the state,” says Holmes. “For many hunters, opening weekend offered fast-paced shoots, and the consensus is that the majority of teal hunters went home happy.

“Although the official duck count was cut short, Louisiana Waterfowl Study Leader Larry Reynolds reports that the abbreviated survey still reflected higher teal numbers in the state than were tallied in the 2013 and 2014 surveys combined. The stars seemed to align for the 2015 teal season as a cool front swept across the state in time for opening weekend.”

Hot weather remains in the forecast

Even though summer is over and it’s now fall, you might want to leave parkas in the closet for the time being. Over the past few days, we’ve had afternoon highs in the low 90s across much of Texas. That’s just about perfect for dove hunters, but a sweaty option for hunters setting up deer stands for the archery season opener that’s set for Oct. 3.

Dove hunters take advantage

The dove season is now open in most counties across Texas. The South Zone opened on Sept. 18. Many of the hunters I’ve talked with did well with full or near limits while hunting south of Winnie and on down to South Texas. The best hunts have been over grain and sunflower fields.

Dove hunting in comfort makes for a better overall experience. Other than having plenty of shotgun shells and a favorite gun, it’s important to go afield prepared. Take along plenty of cold water, and maybe an energy drink. Don’t forget about the dogs; they need water too. A comfortable swivel seat is a must, one that straps over a shoulder and is easy to carry. Last but not least, don’t forget to take along your new hunting license with a photo ID.

Topwaters take bass on Sam Rayburn, T-Bend

Once we get a couple more cool fronts through East Texas, the topwater bite on Rayburn and Toledo Bend will be excellent during the day, and at night under a full moon. One of the most exciting topwater baits you can use is a Stanley Ribbit frog. A Heddon Tiny Torpedo in black/white, nickel plate or perch is perfect for catching big bass over and along the edge of hydrilla beds. One of the all-time best lures for fishing at night is a black Arbogast Jitterbug. Cast it out and reel it in with a slow, steady retrieve.

Hit the rigs for big ling

Big ling will be holding close to oil and gas production rigs for the next couple of months. When I say big, I mean fish in the 40 to 60 pound class. Some of the best rigs to fish will be from 12 to 18 miles off the Sabine jetties in 20 to 35 feet of water. The drill is simple. You idle up to a rig and look for ling on the surface. If nothing is there, toss out a few chunks of chum and see what shows up. Ling will race to live bait like shrimp, mullet and pogies. They will also blow up Heddon Super Spooks all day long.

Coastal pier fishermen get in trouble

Recently, two game wardens noticed several individuals fishing off a private pier. After making contact, the wardens discovered they had an ice chest with 17 speckled trout, 10 of which were undersized. The wardens wrote one ticket for possession of undersized trout and one for fishing over the daily bag limit. The wardens seized the fish, and restitution is pending.