Mid December; Christmas lights are hung all throughout town and neighborhoods, presents are wrapped and tucked away under the tree and hot cocoa is the drink of choice, merely to stay warm during this harsh winter month.
Not in Southeast Texas, no, here we are still sitting on our back porch drinking iced tea and enjoying a mild temperature day. Yes we have had a few cold snaps, but last weekend I was wearing sandals during the day and a light jacket at night. I am not complaining because the warmer weather mixed with the cooler water temperatures has made Sabine Lake a true “Winter Wonderland”
Friday morning we decided to take Pop’s boat out and I had a game plan of where and how I wanted to fish. High tide was right at daylight and there was a flat I wanted to throw Corkies on, since that was the better tide to fish. As soon as we break into the North side of the lake we spot a group of birds. Of course we do not miss the opportunity and veer off course towards them. Whenever we get to the outer edge of the group I look out to the rising sun and there are birds everywhere! Hundreds of them!
Finally we get into casting range and start to hook up with some solid trout. We put 4 or 5 in the box and the group disappears. No worries though, a short troll over and we are on another group. After an hour of this we have several trout in the box and the birds start to dissipate with the rising sun. Got a little sidetracked but we were back on course in search of some better trout now that we have enough for dinner for a few nights.
We arrive to our flat and start to make some drifts and nothing for the first hour or so. The bite has started to slow and the wind has started to pick up. Soon comes a comment from the peanut gallery (Pops) about why my $8 bait was not working? Not long after I feel an old familiar tug, only one that comes from a Corky, and I set the hook. Instantly I say get the net and as soon as I said that, she breaks the surface with a head shake and that confirmed that I did indeed need the net!
Got her into the boat, quickly removed the hooks, got a picture and she was back swimming in no time. She ended up going 24”, no not a wall hanger, but I have not landed a trout that big since March.
We continue around and can not seem to find any more so we move to an adjacent flat to try our luck there. A short drift and we find a little school. All of us hook up and are running around the boat trying not to lose our fish. Me and Pops both have reds so Rhett expects the same. Well he gets her to the boat and we see a silver flash so we know that he needs a net. He landed her and we did the same, quick picture and sent her back swimming. Oh, and Pops got to photo bomb as well!
We ended up calling it a day with a box full of trout, a pair of reds and got to release some bigger trout that will make plenty more come spring time.
High tide for Saturday was going to be again at daylight and I did not want to miss that. 4 a.m. came early but somehow I rolled out of bed with ease. I snagged a large coffee and was on my way to try and catch some larger trout. When I got to the water I noticed that it looked a little choppy, to choppy for the wind to be doing it. I stop, back up and roll my window down and I could hear and see the redfish schooled up. It is 5 a.m. might I add and still dark. I have never seen this many redfish schooled up, ever! I mean a pile of them!
I jump out of my truck, with it still running and the door open, leaving it right in the middle of the road. This is a rare opportunity and I am not going to miss it. First cast I chunk a topwater into the melee of redfish, my line goes tight and the fight is on! A fat redfish on the other end of the rod made for a fun and long fight.
I proceed to catch 4 more reds that were well over 30″ and break off on another one before the horizon even started to glow! The fish moved a little further out so I launched and started to chase down the school. I fished until about 7:30 and was off the water. While in my kayak I caught 3 more reds, with losing 2, and everyone of them was at least 30″+. Huge school with huge reds! After landing my last fish, I look up and the fish have vanished. I have no idea how so many fish can just disappear without a trace in such an instant.
It is not very often that an angler can catch trout still working under the birds, having redfish still schooled up, and the larger trout are getting into their winter time habits. I guess the unpredictable Texas weather is good for something every now and then. There is a cold front moving in as I sit here and write this, which is going to make fishing this weekend completely different from this past one.
Sunday I plan on going in the search of big trout. My Corky is still tied on and I plan on making some long, slow cast waiting for that hit. I will be bundled up in my best warm clothes anxiously awaiting for that one fish. My toes will be numb, hands barely able to grip the rod and the steam from my breath will be the only visible thing as I look out across the broad horizon. It will all be worth it when she breaks the waters surface with a thrashing head shake and I am praying that my lure remains attached just so I can get a chance to see her.