Boating

Robert Sloan

Last Sunday morning, the perfect storm blew through Southeast Texas, one that could easily sink boats.

“I got up at 7 a.m., went outside and the wind was dead calm,” says Sabine Lake guide Jerry Norris. “The forecast was showing that the front would be moving through around noon, or maybe a little earlier. We had been catching a lot of trout on the north end of the lake, and it was tempting to load the boat and head out. But having been caught on the water with a cold front moving through, we decided to cancel the trip and set up for another day.”

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Catching a bunch of fish in 100-degree heat can be borderline impossible — but it can be done. Some of the best fishing right now is on East Galveston Bay and on Calcasieu Lake for trout and reds. Crappie fishing on Sam Rayburn is excellent, and catfishing on Toledo Bend is very good at night.

Fishing on Sabine Lake has been slow overall. Your best bet is to fish the jetties with live mullet for reds, or live shrimp for trout. The short rigs have been fair for trout on jigs. The rigs farther out are holding ling, small snapper and bull reds.

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The Fourth of July holiday weekend always sets the stage for a mega surge in boating here in Southeast Texas and, of course, the lakes and rivers of the Pineywoods. In fact, what makes the right side of Texas such a big draw for so many boaters are the many options. Along the coast we’ve got Sabine Lake, the Sabine jetties, Keith Lake, the surf and East Galveston Bay. In Beaumont, we’ve got the Neches River; in Lumberton, there is Village Creek; on the Texas-Louisiana border, there is the Sabine River. Farther inland is big Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend.

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photo by Robert Sloan

One thing is certain about boating – its unpredictable adventure on just about every trip out.

A Texas game warden got a call about a missing boat that was last seen on Lake Somerville. The boat’s occupants were already two hours late getting home. The wind was blowing over 30 miles an hour that day, and the waves were over 4 feet. The boaters got lucky. They were found. The high waves had caused the boat to take on water and sink, forcing the occupants to swim to shore. One of them was taken to the hospital for hypothermia, but they were otherwise OK.

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Texas Parks and Wildlife personnel recovered the body of a Lumberton man who fell overboard while on a boat with a friend at Adams Bayou April 30.

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Boating accidents happen when you least expect them to. Just recently Texas game

Last year, the U.S. Coast Guard counted 4,064 accidents that involved 610 deaths, 2,678 injuries and about $39 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents. Operator inattention, improper lookout, operator inexperience, excessive speed, and alcohol use rank as the top five primary contributing factors in accidents. Topping the list is running a boat while intoxicated. Alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents.

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If you really want to enjoy fun living in Southeast Texas, buy a boat. It’s your

Over the past 45 years or so, I’ve owned a number of boats both new and used, and during that time I’ve figured out one thing — there is nothing worse than not owning some sort of boat here in Southeast Texas. When it comes to fun on the water, we’ve got it all from rivers and lakes to Sabine Lake, East Galveston Bay and the wide open Gulf of Mexico.

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