Sabine Scene: March 2015

Sabine Scene: March 2015
After closing out 2014 with excellent water clarity and salinity we are not accustomed to in December, Mother Nature served up a cold and wet January that has been a challenge for even the most persistent anglers. The freezes were not lengthy or that brutal, but they coincided with back to back major rain events that flooded the creeks and river from Toledo Bend to Sabine Lake.

Because they are still pulling water out of Toledo Bend, adjacent low-lying regions are slow to drain and the effect of additional rain is only magnified. Bottom line–we've got lots of fresh muddy water in the lake with more on the way!

Our saving grace has been that any time the wind lies down or stays out of the southeast for a few days, the water along the Louisiana shoreline clears enough to at least boost angler confidence. Before you assume that local anglers just can't handle a little off-colored water–we're talking water so muddy that your lure bounces when it hits the surface.

We are catching a few trout when we can find a foot of visibility, but the redfish bite is reliable with even four inches of clarity. We suffered through eight to ten days of 42- to 44 water, but as soon as it climbed back into the high-40s catching redfish was all but a guarantee. As a rule we are still hunting magnum trout with the Corky, Soft-Dine XL and Maniac Mullet, but we switch to more durable hardbaits like the Catch 5 or 2000 when it becomes apparent that redfish have crashed the party.

Once the surface temperature climbed back into the mid-50s in late January, the trout bite improved significantly. We began to see more bait activity on the shallow flats and the larger trout started competing with the redfish for their next meal. In the dingier water we are doing far better with dark or opaque colors that provide a better silhouette–red shad and morning glory.

Because the vibration factor is also an asset we are more often leaning toward the Assassin Die Dapper and 5-inch Sea Shad to take advantage of the paddletail. Inserting a small rattle helps as well and there is no doubt that we are enticing more trout with the longer tails as these fish are looking for one big meal. Adding your favorite scent also makes a difference and we have had good luck with Pro-Cure gels.

It may not be in your starting line-up, but don't overlook the power of the cork on even the coldest of days. It is not unusual at all for us to catch more fish under a TKO cork than swimming the exact same tail on a jig and the technique is as productive right now as it is in the spring and summer. Expertise aside, just the added noise and keeping the bait in the strike zone throughout the retrieve are decided advantages.

By the time you read this much more of the lake should be user-friendly and the pressure will be a little lighter on any given area. A great deal of our scouting will be done with the four inch Usual Suspect swimbait as both trout and reds love it and you can more quickly and efficiently cover new water. A slower retrieve is still important, but it casts well into the wind and long casts are important when drifting in the boat.

As soon as we miss a strike or catch a fish I bury the Talon and we dissect the area with everything from topwaters to tails before moving on. Should you discover that the fish are holding over shell, mark it on your GPS as small isolated reefs are potential gold mines on Sabine! The Talon and Power Pole have made the drift fishermen much more efficient as they can immediately stop rather than continuing to drift over what could be a group of active trout, but the odds of duping the largest trout still favor the wader.

Wading the east side of the lake is more physically demanding than wading the flats bordering the Intracoastal, but both areas will yield big trout this month. Never pass any opportunity to fish, but it is hard to beat an incoming tide on a warm afternoon and that bite can easily last well after dark. The flats along the ICW would also be my first choice immediately following several days of especially cold weather.

Hopefully, we will start seeing longer stretches of warmer weather this month and we can get the kids back on the water with fewer layers of clothing and greater expectations!