Fishing

Buddy Oaks photo of three men holding flounder fish

Flounder are some of the wackiest fish we’ll ever catch, but more often than not, they can save the day. That was the case last week during our first good blast of cold air. A few days ago, I was talking to guide Buddy Oaks across the border at the Hackberry Rod and Gun Club. That’s about 30 minutes east of Sabine Lake. He got to talking about their great catches of flounder and sent me a photo. Three guys at the club fished jigs at the mouths of bayous to catch a box full of flounder to four pounds.

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deer are set to be moving and looking for food in this week's cold front

Our first good blast of cold air arrived this week, and that will guarantee that both hunters and fishermen will be getting the jump on game and fish across Texas.

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Allie Thorpe hunting on Running Bear Ranch near Fredericksburg

As we move into the holidays, there will be a whole lot of deer hunters heading out in hopes of filling tags and stocking up on venison. The good news is that this is about the time that lots of does and bucks begin showing up at corn feeders in the Pineywoods and the Hill Country. That makes it a lot easier to fill doe tags, and maybe get a shot at a pig or turkey. December is definitely one of the finest months to be in the hunt for deer – it’s cool and we have very few pesky mosquitoes to contend with.

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Deer photo by Robert Sloan

This past weekend was the opener of deer season across Texas and the duck season in the South Zone. It was the one weekend when hundreds of thousands of Texas hunters put on the camo, loaded their favorite gun and headed outdoors.

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Robert Sloan

The cold front that moved through Southeast Texas last weekend was a game changer that will set up some excellent deer hunting for the opener Nov. 4. Plus, it definitely moved a lot of ducks down the Central Flyway and into the coastal marshes and backwater lakes for the South Zone opener this weekend. And don’t forget about the fishing. The topwater bite on Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend is going strong, and along the coast, black drum and bull reds are on a big run.

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Deer are in good shape in most regions of Texas.

Thanks to our latest cold front, all kinds of good things are happening. Plenty of ducks have started their migration down the Central Flyway, dove hunts have improved, bass fishing is excellent and best of all, we had an excellent season opener for bow hunters.

The bow season that opened last Saturday across the state was perfectly timed with cool temperatures and clearing skies in most areas of Texas. The cool air definitely had plenty of deer on the move, especially in the Hill Country.

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This southern stingray is one you definitely don’t want to step on.

Wade fishermen along the Texas coast know full well that stingrays are abundant just about anywhere you can find a salty tide. It’s not unusual to see them while wading the bays during the warm water months from about May through November. And that’s why stingray-proof wading boots and shin guards are so popular. If you get hit by the poison barb of a ray’s tail, you are toast for a least a few days, and done fishing for at least a couple of weeks.

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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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Being a Texas game warden is not all that easy and at times it can be downright grizzly with lives on the line. It involves extensive night work and dealing with scum of the earth that are most often carrying guns, liquored up and downright mean. I’ve rounded up some of the trials and tribulations that Texas wardens run into on a daily basis. Some are comical, while others are downright crazy.

Sam Rayburn Jet Ski without a driver

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Fishing along the coast is rapidly improving as water temperatures warm.

We are finally settling into a summer fishing pattern on the lakes and along the coast. Water temperatures are in the lower 70s on the lakes, and along the coast from the Sabine jetties to Galveston, water temperatures are in the upper 70s.

Fishing along the coast is good and getting better. Good catches of trout, reds and even Spanish mackerel are coming from the Sabine jetties. Offshore reports are excellent with big kings, ling and dorado being caught along weed lines and around the rigs.

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