Great Start to Summer

Great Start to Summer

It’s no secret, the string of hurricanes, floods, and freezes that occurred along our Upper Coast region over the past decade had significant negative impact on our fisheries. Luckily, the past couple years have delivered a rebuilding trend, and although it has been a slow process, we are finally seeing signs of progress. Summertime is here and that means there are a lot more anglers on the water enjoying our resources. What is different from years past is that I have been noticing a huge increase in fishing reports and pictures of fish being caught. Hopefully this year will be the turning point and we will continue to see plenty of reports of healthy fish in our lakes and bays.

Among the positive signs, we enjoyed a day recently that began with light north wind, just enough to keep the temperatures cool and the water calm. Normally, during late-spring, we get short windows of only a day or two with light wind. This one was very different, it stuck around for a little over two weeks. A very unusual pattern, and boy, did the fishing turn on! Greenish-blue water from the Gulf came rolling in, all the way to the beach. I cannot recall ever seeing the water at the Sabine jetties so clear. You could see the rocks plainly, nearly all the way to the bottom.

Along with that wonderfully clean water came the pogies. Now, seeing schools of pogies is nothing rare on the beachfront, or even in Sabine Lake for that matter. However, what was astonishing was their numbers. I saw schools just outside the pass that you would have to measure in tens, if not hundreds of acres. It was truly an incredible sight and hopefully an accurate indication of how healthy our estuary and the Gulf have become.

Once getting on the water and seeing the amount of bait that was present, I knew the gamefish could not be far away…and they were not! You could see them jumping, thrashing and crashing the huge school of pogies. The jack crevalle and bull reds roamed thick along the beachfront and this made for fun mornings. I know most people don’t mess with the jacks, but I just can’t resist. They’re explosive, aggressive, and arguably one of the hardest-fighting fish that you will ever hook into. I had a few buddies that have never had the opportunity to catch one and told them to get on the boat – It’s time. It didn’t take long to find them and they quickly hooked up. Needless to say, they fell in love and quickly learned what all the fuss was about.

In addition to the endless amounts of jacks, the bull reds were also doing their thing within the first few sandbars of the beach. It never ceases to amaze me watching them destroy everything in their path. A well-placed topwater or larger swimbait is all you need to trick one into eating!

While running around looking for schools of jacks and bulls I began noticing numerous tripletail floating at the surface. Knowing they can be picky, I decided that a well-placed shrimp pattern fly would likely be the best approach. The smaller ones could not resist but the bigger ones weren’t quite so easy to fool. It is still fun and challenging because an accurate cast is a must with these fish.

The surf was a great place to be for a few weeks at the beginning of summer but Sabine Lake was equally as good. Whether fishing from a boat, kayak, or from the shore, you had a great opportunity to land a few fish. We have been seeing great reports from several people fishing off Levy Road on Sabine. Multiple people were catching limits of trout and the location along the miles of road didn’t seem to have an effect on the outcome; being there at daylight was the key. Out on the lake there was no shortage either. A good outgoing tide would begin to pull some shrimp out of the marsh and all you had to do was look for birds hovering above them to find fish.

I spent one day on the Louisiana shoreline after my trolling motor batteries died. I had planned on staying in the marsh looking for redfish but that quickly came to an end. I figured I might as well fish the best way I could and decided to try a new spot, hoping to find a few trout. That spot didn’t disappoint as I got into a steady trout bite that lasted at least an hour. The beautiful thing was that every trout I caught was between 16”-20” and never a smaller fish in the mix. It has been years since I have been able to put together a limit of five trout without weeding through dozens of 12-inchers. I can’t express how wonderful it is to finally see good numbers of great fish being caught on Sabine.

So far, fishing has been lights out and it feels good to be able to say that. Hopefully the weather will cooperate as summer rolls along and the trend will continue. Summer has arrived and right now is a perfect time to get you and the family out to enjoy our resources.