Fishing for the big three on Sabine Lake

By Capt. Bill Watkins


It has been nearly eighteen years since I began my guide service on Sabine Lake. In the beginning, I kept a log book on the days fished, the conditions of weather and water on those days and what lures that we used to catch the fish. After several years, I decided that I no longer needed the log book but rather committed everything to memory; probably more laziness on my part more than anything else. Even though memory has served me well there are times that I can’t quite remember what years were better than others for catching speckled trout, red fish, and flounder. When I first started, the fishing at Sabine was really good for all three species but as time passed there were up and down fluctuations in both numbers and size of the three species of fish.


In 1999, there were a lot of five to seven-pound speckled trout in the Sabine bay system. The pressure was put on the lake by publicity and many of the large trout were caught and a rapid decline began. However, there were still vast numbers of small to medium trout and the recruitment was strong. By about 2001 the numbers and size of trout had fallen. It probably wasn’t very noticeable to occasional fishermen but to those of us that were out there over a hundred days per year it was obvious.


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