A New Year of Fishing

A New Year of Fishing

Earlier this morning while heading to the boat ramp, an old familiar song came on the radio and I couldn’t help but sing along. Larry Joe Taylor’s “Third Coast” was blaring through my speakers as I drove and sipped my morning coffee. That song always reminds me of warmer days with the romance of being a beach bum and just lying around and fishing all day. One line of the song always seems to strike a chord with me; “If I ain’t sleeping, well I better be fishing.” If that doesn’t sum up this past year and something to strive for this year, then I don’t know what would!

When reflecting on the past year I am reminded of my accomplishments and also my failures. Most of my failures were small enough and thankfully I was able to take them in stride; well, sort of. This was a year when everything just seemed to wear out or break on me. If you own a boat or anything else with a gasoline engine you already know what I am talking about; it all seems to happen at once. However, this is just part of many days on the water and certainly not the tallest hurdles in the big scheme of things.

As far as accomplishments, there were several that I am pleased to have been able to achieve. Without a doubt the greatest was being able to check off a top species from my bucket list – the roosterfish. What made this even more pleasing was that it came in one of the most pristine and picturesque places on the Pacific coast of Panama. Another great accomplishment was being able to guide a buddy to his first-ever redfish, and on the fly, no less.

I met Charlie through a mutual friend on a camping trip a few years back in the Colorado mountains. He grew up in Kalispell, Montana and learned fly fishing in the rivers and mountain streams up that way. Naturally, our mutual friend and I told him all about coastal fishing and that he needed to get down south and catch some redfish. Well, it really didn’t require a lot of persuasion, plans were made and I met them at the airport this past summer in New Orleans and we headed to Grand Isle for a few days. His first fish was a beautiful 32-inch red, and then promptly set the bar even higher with his personal best 40-incher. The high-fives and praise after he landed that first fish is indelibly etched into my memory. Words alone cannot describe how much I have grown to love showing people my side of the fishing world. Needless to say, I think he will be coming back again next year.

Moving forward to the coming year, I cannot be more excited about the opportunities that await. One of these being the chance to target some better trout on Sabine Lake this year. I think it is fair to say that our Sabine trout fishery is the best we have seen since Hurricane Harvey in 2017. It is truly encouraging to witness the recovery after a series of several years of devastation from historic flood events. I have been seeing a few reports of some bigger trout being caught; no giants or wall-hangers, but certainly some picture-worthy fish. This is a great sign of things to come, just as long as Mother Nature will continue to work with us.

Another thing I plan on doing this year is getting out of the pressurized routine that has more or less become my norm and just go fishing. I often get stuck in my ways and think there is only one way to fish. And although, sight-casting redfish in the marsh is hard to beat, there are certainly other opportunities to catch fish. I guess this probably comes out of the kayak fishing mindset, where you can only access so much water, and you don’t pass any of it up. This past year I did exactly that and found a few new promising spots. I plan this year on stopping to fish every random point, pocket, and or other irregularity in our Sabine Lake shorelines from my skiff and also along the ship channel. A good number of these might prove to be a bust but if I can find one or two that hold fish reliably it will be worth it.

So, the new year is here and I could not be more excited about it. I am especially looking forward to wintertime fishing, fully expecting that it has potential to be the best we have seen in quite a few years. I’m also excited to see what the warmer spring days while have in store for us as our trout fishery continues to rebound.

Back to what Larry Joe was saying earlier, “if I’m not sleeping then I plan on spending any spare time on the water trying to learn something new…and encourage you to do the same.“

I will end this with another line from Larry Joe that I believe we all can relate to; “All in all, I’m doing pretty good, since I hit my third coast.”