Sabine Scene: February 2010

Sabine Scene: February 2010
Even the worst of weather hasn't slowed the redfish bite.

While we can only hope that the fishing on Sabine in 2010 will match what we enjoyed this past year, it certainly has not disappointed over the past month or so. It may have been even better thus far due to less runoff from the lakes and surface temperatures that climb into the fifties on most days.

This is not to say that you should load up and head in this direction expecting an easy outing as any given trip can still be more akin to casting practice than catching. The good news, however, is that when it is good it is very good!

More so as a matter of choice than any other factor, I will spend most of my fishing time on those flats adjacent to the ICW or those bordering drains on the Louisiana shoreline this month. Both are confidence areas in that they hold good concentrations of small mullet with the safety of deeper water nearby.

Do not eliminate any lure in your box that you can fish slowly and still keep suspended off the bottom. The key word is "slowly." A Corky Fat Boy or Devil, a Catch V, and the MirrOdine XL are hard to beat right now.

Everyone has their own confidence colors, but I will trust my outings to pink, pearl-chartreuse, electric chicken or bone. When swimming 5-inch tails like the Assassin Shads or MirrOlure soft mullet rigged on a 1/8 ounce head, I will add pumpkin-chartreuse and red shad to my arsenal.

We seldom fish deeper than five feet with the most productive bite usually taking place in depths of 2 to 3 feet of water. During the colder hours of the morning we do a little better at the five foot mark.

Tidal movement is always the most critical factor for us, but I never pass on the warmer hours of the afternoon.

I know that most of you still cannot force yourself to give this a try, but I continue to have clients that hate the Corky do as well or better than I do by fishing it under a Bass Assassin Kwik Cork. The deadliest combination for me is a 4-inch Corky or Fat Boy fished on 18 to 24-inches of leader under the oval shaped cork.

The rig has the added benefit of the noise factor and the lure remains in the strike zone regardless of how inattentive or cold they may get.

For some reason, at least here on Sabine and Calcasieu, it also attracts more redfish than fishing the same lure in a conventional manner.

There is no question that this rig is easier to fish with a spinning rod. I prefer a seven foot CastAway SLS7-X rod combined with US Reel's 230SX spooled with 20-pound Power Pro. I also use 20 to 30 pound monofilament for a leader rather than fluorocarbon.

Not unlike my inability to explain why I continue to abandon certain lures that worked well in the past, there is no good reason for not targeting the oyster reefs on the south end of the lake from now through the month of May. For years, that was the only area we fished in the winter and we caught a world of big trout. When all else fails, I invariably find myself returning to the reefs and wondering why I don't fish them more.

There is obviously more to it than simply tying on a jig and drifting until you break it off on the shell, but that is a good place to start.

The trout have everything they need to survive even the coldest of days. Depths range from 3 to 22 feet over shell, there is a good exchange of bait which includes sand eels on each tide change, and the salinity level is consistently healthier than any other area of the lake.

There are days, even certain hours of each day, when the same suspending lures and shallow water techniques work on the reefs, but the fish that stack up on the deeper breaks are the main reason for running south. Bring along lots of jig heads as you will leave the lake lighter and include at least one pack of every color plastic that you own.

It is critical that you control the speed of your drifts and tracking them on your GPS enables you to easily repeat a productive trail. The catching can be so incredible when you get everything right that you will wonder why we ever leave it as well!