Robert Sloan

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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The good news is that the teal season is open through Sept. 24, but the bad news is that most of the very popular public hunting areas in Southeast Texas are closed due to the wrath of Hurricane Harvey. But with a well-timed cool front last week and the full moon Sept. 6, we had a load of teal migrate down the Central Flyway and settle into flooded fields in this region of Texas.

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We’re just a couple of weeks away from the opening of dove seasons across Texas, and that is going to be followed up by the mid-September teal season, with the bow season on deer the first week of October. It’ll all be here before you know it, and right now is the right time to start getting ready for bird hunts. It all starts with getting your new hunting and fishing license, which is on sale right now.

All current Texas hunting and fishing licenses expire Aug. 31.

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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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A snake-eating snake, this rarely photographed 7-foot long indigo was seen on a
Bald eagle resting after being shot from the nest by a teen.

This has been one of the warmest winters on record for Texas, and with all that sunshine comes bad news in the form of snakes.

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Sabine Lake guide Jerry Norris with one of many trout caught on 5-inch Shad Assa

We didn’t leave the dock until about 10:30 last Thursday morning, but it really didn’t matter. The weather was drop-dead perfect for fishing on Sabine Lake.

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The Vaughan gang had a blast during an early season youth duck hunt on Nov. 5. F

Saturday’s duck season opener in the South Zone was fantastic if you had water and happened to be set up where ducks wanted to be. A lot of hunters reported excellent hunts – especially in parts of the J.D. Murphree Wildlife Management Area in Port Arthur. Ditto that in flooded fields near China. But others came up high and dry, with virtually no birds.

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The September teal season has been great for a lot of hunters. Best hunts are on

Fishing on Sabine Lake and at the jetties is good for trout and reds, with more bull reds showing up each day along the rocks and in the surf. Both trout and reds are good under the birds on the lake. Trout are on the small side, but if you fish long enough, you’ll box enough to make it worth your time. Reds are best on the upper end of the lake under small groups of birds feeding on shad pushed to the surface by reds. Best lures for catching the reds are glow/chartreuse paddle tail jigs on 1/8-ounce heads.

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Both teal and dove hunts have been fair across Southeast Texas. Best teal hunts

The teal season opener last weekend was very good – if you were on the right water. For example, Bobby Vaughan, who hunts in the China/Nome area west of Beaumont, hasn’t seen a duck since last season. On the flip side, hunters south and north of Winnie got fast and easy limits.

At the J.D. Murphree Area in Port Arthur, the average was about two teal per hunter, according to Area Manager Mike Rezsutek.

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Big king mackerel like this one can be caught within a few miles off the Sabine

By the time we make it to the Fourth of July, you can bet your boat, motor and trailer that fishing on the lakes and along the coast is going to be red hot.

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