December Dreaming

December Dreaming
Redfish will continue to lead the charge into the winter months as they stay on the hunt for their next meal.

I can remember as a kid, thinking it took forever to get from one year to the next. I wasn’t sure how long eternity was but the wait seemed like it. Now as an adult it’s the exact opposite as the weeks and months just seem to fly by in a blur, leaving you wondering where did the time go? As we tear the November page off the calendar and begin making plans for December, all we can do is wonder if we will face the same craziness we have endured the past eleven months or will we finally have a more typical month with predictable weather conditions. For whatever it’s worth, the Farmer’s Almanac has predicted a cold and wet winter, along with another big winter storm, so it sounds like another round of the weird stuff might be headed our way. All I can tell you is that regardless of what that evil villain, otherwise known as the weatherman, throws at us we are still going to fish and make the best of it.

Both Sabine and Calcasieu were spared any major storms this spring and summer, and as a result anglers were rewarded with some of the best water conditions many have ever seen. The overall health of both bodies of water was incredible and that played a huge part in the surge of the speckled trout populations. The overall size is still on the small side but the numbers and quality of those juvenile fish is absolutely fantastic. If we can dodge any real threat over the winter months we will be that much closer to seeing things get somewhere closer to normal.

 I continue to believe that at some point we will see some bigger fish showing up somewhere and somehow. The decline in the past several years of trophy trout has really put a dent in the number of anglers chasing them during the winter months. Traditionally, November and December were two of the best months to find those quality fish and we would see an increase in the amount of wade fishermen on Sabine, especially from out of town anglers. That trend has all but gone away for the most part and in a weird way it has probably helped Sabine’s recovery. The lack of pressure on the very few big fish still hanging around means greater chances of both survival and a successful spawn from those larger females, which does nothing but make the future that much brighter. Trust me; it’s inevitable that someone willing to brave the elements this winter is going to stumble on a few of those big fish. I, for one, will be happy to know that those fish are still around and I also hope that whoever finds them will respect them enough to release them as an investment in the future.

Now going from an unknown such as big trout to a constant like redfish is no stretch on Sabine or Calcasieu. The abundance of redfish on both bodies of water is nothing short of mind blowing. The overall numbers of redfish have provided anglers with some stellar days this year and they will continue to be the prime target for many going forward. It seems that anywhere there is water there are redfish to be caught and many of those are well above the upper-slot length.

Perhaps the greatest thing about these redfish is the fact that you can catch them in so many different ways – all the way from live or dead bait to fly gear. I have taken the opportunity several times this year to explore some old patterns that were tried and true producers in some of the deeper water locales around Sabine, and like an old friend, the redfish were there waiting on me. It’s always fun to “re-discover” something and those trips back to areas that we, for whatever reason got away from, continue to prove to be worthy of attention. I look for the redfish bite to continue to be strong this month even as the water temperatures cool to seasonal levels. You won’t catch me leaving the dock this month without a good supply of crankbaits like Rat-l-traps and Hoginars just for those redfish that will be prowling around eating everything that doesn’t eat them first.

For many anglers the thought of fishing in less than desirable elements is a turn off, so their attention tends to be directed towards warmer climates. December is a big travel month for fishermen who may be in search of a different kind of pull from a larger than normal adversary. The winter months are great times to take advantage of incredible fishing in places like Mexico, Panama, and Costa Rica. Over the last several years I have taken the opportunity to do some winter fishing in Mexico and it has everything one could hope for and more. Making a destination trip to a more inviting climate during the winter months is definitely worth the time and effort and something every angler should do at least once.

Despite the potential for colder weather, December can still prove to be a great month here on Sabine. The obvious factors like rain and runoff will go a long way toward determining how good the fishing might or might not be. Don’t be too quick to dismiss a trip this month because you could be turning your nose up at a career day. Pay close attention to the fronts and the warming days following those fronts when the fish will really turn on. Warm afternoons with good tide changes will be some of the best times you can possibly pick to go chase that big fish you have been dreaming of all year. Also please be sure and remember the dangers as the water temps will obviously be more of a safety concern than they would be during warmer months.

Personal Floatation Devices are always a must when you are on the water but they are even more important during winter. Cold water is nothing to play with so always take precautions such as making sure someone knows where you are planning to fish, and have some sort of signaling device, like a whistle, on your life jackets. A little extra preparation can make all the difference between a minor or a major mishap.

Enjoy your time on the water this month and like always, when you get a chance, please remember to take a kid fishing.