Sports

Wed
29
Jul

Where have the red fish gone?

Where have the red fish gone?

Way back in 1999 when I first started my guide service at Sabine Lake, fishing was really good. There were still enough flounder to target them from spring through November. Had I chosen to do so I could have made my living off flounder alone for most of the year. The spotted sea trout fishery was ridiculously good. It was no problem to catch trout twelve months out of the year. However, when the conditions got tough in the dead of winter and the temperature of the water would fall into the middle to upper forties there was always a constant supply of red fish. They were everywhere; up both the Sabine and Neches Rivers, in the vast Louisiana marshes, Taylors Bayou, Keith Lake, mid-Sabine lake, the ship channel from the Neches River to Sabine Pass and into the Gulf of Mexico. They were almost always around and if I really needed a few extra fish in the box, it wasn’t too hard to catch a few of them.

Wed
22
Jul

Bay boats just keep getting longer

Bay boats just keep getting longer

Just when I thought that the size of bay boats had reached a maximum practical size they seem to just keep getting longer. While waiting at the Causeway landing for my crew this past Saturday morning, a young friend of mine pulled up with a new twenty-six-footer. I can’t remember the brand name of the boat but it was a cat or twin hulled low-profile fishing boat with a flat deck connecting the two hulls. In the middle of what seemed like an acre of casting deck, both on bow and stern there was a small, self-bailing cockpit area where the center console sat with two of the finest padded captains’ chairs, I have ever seen. The hull contours of this boat showed that someone had done some incredible engineering and from my experience it looked as if it would take the waves really well. In a boat of this length the ride would have to be good because the bow would be in the next wave well before the stern left the last one.

Wed
15
Jul

Fishing hot water speckled trout

Fishing hot water speckled trout

It is hot! Due to southwesterly winds last week the mid-day temperature has been edging slowly closer to the century mark. This past Friday I had to go out and hook up the boat for a Saturday fishing trip. My truck had been sitting in the sun all day and was smoldering. When I cranked it up, I happened to notice the temperature gauge on the dash panel. It was 127 degrees on top of the truck. The actual air temp. was 96 and that was at 4:00 pm. The heat was so stifling that I broke into a dripping sweat within a few minutes. It was no fun checking lines on my customer loaner reels, filling my wash down system in the back of the truck, checking the boat batteries for charge, and all the many other little things that one has to do to get a boat ready for a fishing day. It takes about a half hour to go through my check list and by then I was completely washed out and retreated to the house for the evening. When I pulled out of my driveway at 4:30 am Saturday morning it was still hot.

Wed
08
Jul

When to run and when to stay put

When to run and when to stay put

We watched as the sun rose out of the Louisiana marsh like a huge ball of fire. There were no clouds anywhere in the sky this past Friday morning so nothing was obstructing our view. It is amazing how fast the sun seems to move when you view it against the horizon. We were sitting on a small shell reef just north of the Causeway Bridge, which separates Texas from Louisiana, facing east across the marsh. As cool as the sunrise was, it didn’t take long before it was uncomfortable to look at it so our focus came back on the task at hand; catching speckled trout, red fish and flounder. As yet, we did not have one of either in the boat. There were small bait fish moving through and across the reef on the outgoing tide but there were no gamefish to disturb their movement. Whenever I pull up on a reef that is small enough to almost cast across it, I expect to get a fish to grab on to my lure within ten or so casts.

Wed
01
Jul

Game Warden Field Notes

Bare Necessities

While patrolling near Lake Sam Rayburn, a Sabine County game warden noticed a naked man running across the road from the water into a makeshift tent. The man soon emerged wearing an oversized pair of pants. The warden then contacted dispatch, who advised that the subject was wanted on three felony warrants out of Sabine County. The man’s actions and demeanor led the warden to ask a female subject with the man for consent to search their vehicle but was denied. A canine officer was called and upon arriving to the scene quickly alerted to the presence of narcotics. Meth, along with the man’s wallet, was located inside a pair of pants in a bookbag found in the bed of the truck. He was arrested and taken to Sabine County Jail. The case is pending.

Having a Baaaad Day

Wed
01
Jul

The end of Rollover Pass

The end of Rollover Pass

After a protracted legal battle that dragged on for several years it is finally over. Rollover Fish Pass has been filled in with sand. It is pointless to go over what transpired along the way because the death of one of the best bank fishing destinations on the upper Texas coast is finished. The folks that made their living from anglers that came to fish Rollover will have to make their way somewhere else. All the many anglers that came year-round will have to move on to other destinations. I had heard that the pass was filled in but I had not been down on the Bolivar Peninsula for several months due to the Wuhoo Flu pandemic. My wife suggested that we drive down and look at what had been done and go out to eat at one of our favorite seafood restaurants. It is not hard to talk me into fried shrimp even if I have to pay the tab so this past Sunday, we made the trip. It was easy enough to imagine what the pass would look like filled in so that was pretty much as expected.

Wed
24
Jun

Don't be a one trick pony

Don't be a one trick pony
Don't be a one trick pony

Bill Watkins

For about four weeks, speckled trout were bunched up in Light House Cove. Almost everyone who fished on that reef caught trout. All one had to do was figure out where to be on what tide and the fish would finally swim by. Boats were far back into the middle of the cove in the shallow areas and still others anchored up right on top of the reef and some tried to anchor on the drop-off into the ship channel and still others crisscrossed the reef with their trolling motors. At first there were just a few boats, then when the word came out on Facebook and text and crowds soon came. The fish were there from mid-May through mid-June before they moved again.

Wed
17
Jun

The end of my time in the Sabine River bottom

The end of my time in the Sabine River bottom

For me, it began when I was very young, somewhere around the age of twelve. For those that have read my column for several years you have read the stories about my crazy uncles and my dad and how I followed them into the woods in search of fish and game. How we seined fish and bait from the old oxbow lakes in the Sabine River bottoms. How we ran trot lines and set hooks in the sloughs and creeks and the river as well. As I grew up the river became a large part of my life. In the fall and winter, we hunted the seasons. Squirrel season came first then deer, wood duck and hogs. My uncle Silas and uncle Henry taught me how to trap bobcat, coon, otter, and fox. In those early years I learned how to feed cattle, chicken, and hogs. I learned how to milk a cow, make clabber, churn butter, and pasteurize milk. I helped tend a garden both in Belgrade Texas and at my home in Beaumont.

Wed
10
Jun

Bass fishing with floating plastic frogs

Bass fishing with floating plastic frogs

It was gray, overcast morning on Big Sam but the wind was completely calm and there were no waves on the main lake. As we launched the boat, I noticed the faint smell of willows in the air mixed with the smell of fresh water. “Sweet water”, I said aloud though I was really just talking to myself. My friend Randy Hicks answered quietly, “Yeah”, and that was all that was said. There is a difference between the smell of salt water and fresh water and those of us that love both know the difference. There were no waves as we crossed from the west side of the main lake over to the east side near the Five Fingers area. There was a lot of torpedo grass and underwater aquatic vegetation (lily pads and hydrilla) in those creeks and that was what we wanted to target with our floating frog lures. As we entered Five Fingers my son William, pointed to one of the many main lake points in the area and said, “I fished that one yesterday and there is under water hydrilla there”.

Wed
10
Jun

Game Warden Field Notes

The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s law enforcement reports.

Hook, Line, and Sinker

While patrolling Lake Lewisville, two Denton County game wardens responded to a call of an assault to find that a bank fisherman had flung his lure towards a boat, hooking a female occupant in her right hand. As the woman pulled the hook loose, she lost her phone. Charges are pending.

Float On

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Sports