Y ou have to have patience when fishing. If I had a nickel for every time I heard my dad utter these words when I was a kid, I would be a wealthy man.
Patience really is a key ingredient to successful angling. Mixed with confidence, knowledge, skill, and luck, a little patience can definitely go a long way.
This is never more true than in the month of January. Here on Sabine Lake, a lot of our biggest trout of the year are taken during this month. I’m talking about “gator” trout 26 inches or better that would make an excellent addition to anyone’s trophy room.
These are trout that you are not going to catch if you don’t have patience—lots of it. When fishing Sabine in January, you have to be disciplined enough to grind it out for several hours in less than desirable conditions, hoping for one or two big bites.
Hit the flats and look for bait. Mullet and mud are two of the key components when hunting wintertime trophy trout. Set up in areas that you know have a nice hard mud bottom and make long drifts parallel with the shoreline.
Match the hatch by using mullet imitation plugs and try to keep the depth between three and six feet. Work these areas thoroughly and try to cover as much water as possible.
Wading is never a bad idea when the water temperature drops as “Old Man Winter” is breathing down your neck. These fish are lethargic and it’s important to take your time when presenting your lure to them. They are not feeding as often as they will in the warmer months, but they still need to eat.
They want it big and they want it slow. One of the biggest mistakes some people make in cold water is working their bait too fast. I like to tell my clients that if they think they are working it too slow, slow it down some more.
A trout’s metabolism is down, and they are not feeding aggressively. They are just looking for a meal, and the easier the better. Big, slow-sinking plugs like MirrOLure, Catch V, Catch 2000, and Corky are very effective.
Let the bait do its job and sink slowly. Give it a couple of very light twitches, then give it time to make another slow descent. I know some fishermen who don’t twitch it all. They simply give the reel ¼ of a turn, let it sink, and then do it again.
Natural colors work well, as do lighter colors like Bone and chrome/chartreuse. You never know which one they want, but I think it depends on which one crosses their faces first. Make sure everyone is throwing something a little different so you can figure it out. Keep in mind it’s January, so be patient, and you might just get that new addition to your trophy room.
Location: Intracoastal Canal, Hwy 87 (Sabine Pass)
Species: Redfish, Croaker, black drum
Baits/Lures: Fresh dead shrimp, cut bait
Best Times: Any tidal movement
Email Eddie Hernandez at [email protected]