MOORE OUTDOORS: Windy days make fishing challenging in SE Texas

Published 1:03 am Thursday, March 2, 2017

Wind is not evil but if you finally have a day off work and it is blowing 25 miles an hour from the south, you certainly might look at it that way.

With limited time to fish many of us find ourselves at the boat dock with big spring winds keeping us away from our best fishing holes and scrambling to make something positive happen.

Ever heard this saying?

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“Wind from the east fish bite the least. Wind from the west fish bite the best.”

That is saying most anglers have heard over the years and some believe it is absolutely true. Growing up in Southeast Texas it was something I thought was a regional theory but after doing some research I found it is popular all over the country.

In fact it originated on the Atlantic Coast in the 1600s according to some sources.

In that area, bay fishermen experience some tough fishing conditions during certain times of year on an east wind because it pushes in cold water and air from the Atlantic and can fish lockjaw, particularly during the early spring period.

From Sabine Lake down to the tip of the jetties the truth is west winds are our biggest enemy.

As they blow across the mud flats and unprotected shorelines on the north end of the lake, Sabine Lake muddies up. Ditto for the surf on the west side of the jetties which seems to be a little more silted in than on the east side of the rocks. Sure the Louisiana side gets murky when the winds are strong for the east but not nearly as what a much lighter west wind does to the Texas side.

Our prevailing wind is southeast and that optimal fishing condition for Sabine Lake, the channel and jetties when it is blowing lightly. Over the last couple of years however there has been a change and we are seeing far more west in the wind, which has translated to murkier water conditions more frequently.

The old saying about wind direction we have been talking about has a second half, which brings us to the last half of our equation.

“Wind from the north fish do not go forth? Wind from the south blows bait in their mouth?”

There are no historical references but a north wind often comes with a cold front and the first day after a big front usually brings in high barometric pressure, which in turn gives fish lockjaw.

Barometric pressure is the probably the least understood aspect of fishing and it is one I am continually exploring. High pressure puts strain on fish and typically makes them bit finicky and sometimes not at all. Pressure that is falling or is on a downward trend means a strong bite.

That is why the day immediately following fronts is beautiful (clear skies with high pressure) but the fishing is sub par. Some suggest pressure over 30.20 is too high and if it gets below 29.80 things can get a little shaky. If it is above 30 and falling you have ideal conditions. Remember if you are fishing high-pressure days, use light line, small lures and be ready for a soft bite.

While these signs certainly lead to lackluster fishing, we sometimes have no other option but to fish. By keeping a positive attitude and working around negative circumstances we can make the best out of the absolute worst the coast has to offer.

Here are a few tips for fishing around the wind in our area.

• Launch in Louisiana: I love to flounder fish on the Sabine Lake’s Louisiana shoreline but if the wind is blowing it is dangerous getting across in my aluminum boat.

The best option is to launch in Johnson Bayou by taking Deep Bayou Road off SH 82. You can fish Johnson itself and easily get to Madame Johnson and Willow Bayou without too much trouble. This of course requires a Louisiana license.

• Fish the Channel: On big, windy days I will fish popping corks rigged with Gulp in the ship channel and try to let the cork be pushed by the wind toward the shore.

Typically, small baitfish in shrimp will also be against this shoreline and so will the redfish and occasionally trout and flounder. Make sure you are using a weighed cork so you can make long casts and so the wind does not push it around too much.

  Cut Bait: On windy days when the water is murky simply running into the canals going into Bessie Heights Marsh, fishing the Keith Lake Fish Pass or anchoring over a deep hole in the channel with cut bait can be hard to beat.

Redfish are cut bait connoisseurs and will gladly accept your offerings. You will also occasionally catch drum and trout.

The most successful fishermen are those who adapt to any situation. On a windy coast that can be a challenge but a rewarding one for those who keep their options open.

To contact Chester Moore, email him at You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at