THE SMELL OF FRESHLY brewed coffee awakens you before the alarm. The thought of a great day on the water brings you to your feet.
While enjoying your first cup, you check today’s forecast (just like you did several times yesterday): Southeast winds at 5 to 10 mph and a nice incoming tide all morning, then switching around noon—just what you were hoping for.
The butterflies are beginning to wake up in your stomach—perfect conditions for fishing Sabine Lake in February. Pour your second cup and step outside only to be knocked sideways by the REAL forecast—southeast winds 20 to 25 mph.
Sometimes, the brutal realization hits you right then. At other times, it’s as you drive down Hwy 82 South and notice the smokestacks are flat-lining at the refineries. Either way, the sensation in your stomach changes from excitement to worry.
What are we going to do now? We practically guaranteed limits. We killed them yesterday. But that was then. This is now!
In my many years of fishing this beautiful bay system, I have found myself in this predicament so many times that I have almost come to expect it. The good news is that Sabine Lake is laid out perfectly for southeast winds. That is, of course, if you plan on fishing the Louisiana shoreline.
Being protected by that east bank and knowing the success we have had on very windy days, keeps us optimistic and excited. The game plan remains the same: We run the shoreline in search of bait. We find nervous water and our Red Shad or Morning Glory Assassins and Catch 2000s join the mullet at the swimming party.
It is no secret that wintertime fishing can be very productive for trophy trout, but at the same time, it can be very tedious. You have to be able to cope with fishing for hours for one or two big fish. We give this as much time as we want before going to Plan B.
Plan B is what has been gnawing at me since we rounded Blue Buck Point this morning coming from the Causeway. Plan B is often Plan A when the pretty water is white-capping with that stiff southeast wind.
Instead of trolling down the shoreline or hitting the mouths, try making long drifts off the shoreline. Start in about two feet of water and drift out away from the bank. My fishing log is quick to remind me that this can pay off big when that southeast wind gets up over 20 mph in February.
Using a drift sock to slow it down a little can be helpful at times, but sometimes it’s better to go without one and make faster drifts.
The hook-set to fish landed ratio is usually pretty high. These fish usually inhale the lure and swallow it pretty deep so there are very few lost fish. A good pair of pliers really comes in handy.
The trout are also usually pretty solid this time of year without many throw-backs. Most are between 17 and 23 inches. When you drift into the zone there are lots of them.
If you come up empty on a drift, simply move it over a hundred yards or so and do it again. You should cover a lot of water quickly because of the speed of the drift, so you are not wasting a lot of time searching.
Hopefully, your time will be spent in the sweet spot flipping solid trout into the boat. Just remember that when the weatherman throws you a curve ball on Sabine Lake in February, don’t let it get you down. Give Plan B a try.
Location: Mesquite Point
Species: Whiting, Black Drum, Croaker
Baits/Lures: Live Shrimp, Mud Minnows, Fresh Dead Shrimp
Best Times: All day with moving tides
Email Eddie Hernandez at [email protected]