ON OUTDOORS: Warmth offers excellent local fishing

Published 9:44 pm Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Hot and cold within a day.

That is what we experienced last week and if the pattern hold we will have a yo-yo type of winter with shorts on one day and coats on the next.

This makes things interesting on the water with spring-like opportunities for several species.

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Water temperatures on local waterways have not yet taken a nosedive and anglers are finding fish in the same depth they would in October or March in some spots.

In the Gulf and the large reservoirs in particular prolonger periods of cold weather are what get the temperature down drastically enough to make big changes in fish behavior and we have not had that occur yet.

In years past it has never happened and the normal winter patterns were off.

This could be one of those years but if it is not, there are always days and even weeks where temperature are spring like. When this happens local anglers can score on a variety of species.

Here is a run-down of what to do on those warm winter days.

Shallow Bass: Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn are full of grass in the shallows and many anglers would be surprised to find out how many bass are in that grass and on the edges of it on warm days.

Sunny afternoons in particular are excellent as they give the shallows time to warm up.

Large soft plastic worms fished on a Carolina rig and jigs fished at slow to medium pace can score on big bass during these periods.

Flounder: I’m going to call it despite how crazy it might sound. We will be catching flounder all winter in the Sabine area. The migration out was delayed due to warm conditions and a lack of big Arctic cold fronts. The majority of the migration is over now but there will very likely be far more holdover fish than we normally catch during winter.

Target drop-offs in the channel and also main points on the southern half of Sabine Lake and Lake Calctsieu with Gulp shrimp or Swimming Mullets or curl-tailed grubs tipped with shrimp.

Bull Drum: The Energy Outfall Canal and the intake side are good places to catch oversized bull redfish right now. There are also good numbers at the Sabine Jetties and also at various small reefs south of the causeway.

Although you can’t keep these brutes they are fun to catch and if you rig up a blue crab or big hunk of dead shrimp and fish it in one of the above locations there is a very good chance you will get into some serious rod-bending action.

Topwater Trout: The same scenario that draws big bass to the shallows will bring in some of the biggest trout in our area to mud flats along the Intracoastal waterway and along some of the deeper bayous along the Louisiana shoreline of Sabine Lake.

Slow-sinking plastics are great but I prefer topwater and when things warm up, our trout will glad take surface plugs.

Walking lures are the most popular but consider using chuggers. They are great for getting those extra big trout when other lures fail.

Rainy Catfish: Local bayous are full of eating-sized channel and blue catfish and on rainy days the action can be red hot.

If there is one thing we tend to get in winter it is rain and savvy local anglers to advantage of the situation.

Fishing a spot where a ditch joins a major bayou or a small drainage canal that has an overflow of murky water can yield big catches. My preferred bait is chicken liver fished on a small treble hook under a cork.

I tend to go old school on the bobber using the classic red, white and blue plastic ones.

Whiting: The beachfront whiting fishing can be tremendous especially on days when a light north wind is blowing and the water is running clear to sandy green.

Dead shrimp fished on the bottom is irresistible to whiting and anyone who has ever eaten these fish finds them quite tasty.

Very few anglers fish the surf this winter but if you get the right conditions take a trip to Sea Rim State Park or High Island and soak some shrimp.

The payoff could be a wonderful winter fish fry.

(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at chester@kingdomzoo.com. You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI.)

About Gabriel Pruett

Gabriel Pruett has worked with both the Port Arthur News and Orange Leader since 2000. A majority of the time has been spent covering all aspects of Southeast Texas high school sports. Pruett's claim to fame is...being able to write his own biographical information for this website.

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