Sabine Scene: October 2016

Sabine Scene: October 2016
– Schooling reds make a great Plan B!

So much for our improving trout bite fueled by less rain. We narrowly dodged the epic flooding in Louisiana earlier this month and, thus far, the SRA has managed to hang onto the lake level on Toledo Bend without any major releases, but we have just been taking a soaking locally on a daily basis.

While the Neches, Sabine and the bayous are high and muddy, surprisingly enough, the water clarity is still pretty darned good. I don't think that diminishing salinity levels have disrupted the trout bite at this point, but we are not currently finding any numbers of keeper size trout herding the shad like they were last month.

The redfish bite has been textbook and just gets better every day, but I cannot recall ever entering the coveted fall months clueless as to what the heck is going on with the trout. Prior to the recent rains they were starting to show up in their traditional fall haunts, but even then the bite was hit and miss at best.

It is far too early to write off the much anticipated bite that takes place in the rivers and bayous every fall. Less rain and a couple of major cold fronts could ignite that bite in less than a week. Even with the less than favorable conditions, we have still caught enough trout in those areas to keep the faith.

And, while they have been as scarce as hen's teeth, we have caught a few trout in excess of five pounds targeting the deeper shell with soft plastics. Tide changes are critical when trying to exploit this deep bite and slower is usually more productive than faster with the retrieve. I am also convinced that I get far more bites by applying a liberal coating of Pro Cure's menhaden scent on my plastics.

Only because this report is of little or no use should it continue raining every day, let's assume that things will dry out this month. Should that happen, the water conditions will improve very quickly and gulls cartwheeling over schools of keeper-size trout will be an everyday occurrence. Tide changes are important even when fishing in the open lake, but the last two hours of daylight can be magical!

Coffee Ground Cove and the lakeside flats behind Sidney and Stewts are hard to beat for both the waders and folks drifting over two to four feet of water. Sea Shads and Lil' Johns fished under a cork and Usual Suspect Swim Baits are excellent choices for trout and slot reds. If excitement is more important to you than fillets, you would do well to keep a She Dog or Super Spook tied on the end of your line.

The kids will not get bored drifting a Gulp shrimptail or a live shad under a cork and you will do a lot more netting than fishing. A two foot leader works well with the Gulp, but a three to four foot leader with a small split shot works better with the live shad.

The bite on the north revetment wall should also quickly improve and it is notorious for holding big trout throughout the fall. Crankbaits like the Swimming Image, MirrOlure's Catch 5 and 2000, topwaters, and five inch tails like the Die Dapper rigged on a sixteenth ounce head are all reliable choices. I know water clarity makes a difference when selecting a color, but opening night and chicken on a chain are our first two choices most days.

I don't know that the redfish bite can possibly get any better than it is right now, but you can expect to see even more schools stomping across the surface all over the lake this month. We are still having to do a little cruising around to locate active schools, but that won't be necessary as the surface temperature starts to cool down.

Main lake points and the mouths of bayous are good places to start before the schooling kicks off each morning. A good outgoing tide will usher shad and shrimp out of these cuts. If you decide to wait on the schools in the open lake, try fishing around crab traps lines that have just been baited. I also catch some of my largest flounder every fall fishing this overlooked pattern!

Take a youngster fishing tomorrow!