IF YOU HAVE ANY intentions of making a trip up the coast to fish Sabine Lake in January, it would be best not to think of it as a wintertime fishing trip. A more accurate perspective would be to think of it as a Southeast Texas wintertime fishing trip.
Winter and Southeast Texas winter can be and often are at opposite ends of the spectrum. We really never know what we’re going to get from day to day. It can be bone-chilling and blustery one day, and the next day we’re wearing shorts and t-shirts.
Many days here on Texas’s uppermost coast, the temperature varies almost that much from morning to afternoon. I like to refer to these as thirty-eighty days. These are the days that you wake up to lows in the upper 30s and have sunshine-filled afternoons with highs pushing 80 degrees.
It’s like having the best of both worlds. How often do you get to fish winter patterns in the morning, then switch gears and fish spring-like conditions in the afternoon?
Break out the waders at daylight on a nice, hard mud bottom, armed with topwaters and slow sinkers and there’s a decent chance you’ll get to do battle with your personal best trout. Then go for numbers as you tempt them with soft plastics while drifting flats and structure in the afternoon.
Locate mullet, and your odds go way up in either scenario. Sometimes the obvious signs such as nervous water, or actually seeing schools of finger mullet on the surface are not an option. Therefore, savvy anglers have learned to rely heavily on their sonar to locate pods of baitfish on points, ledges, guts and ridges over mud and shell.
Even though it may not always feel like winter, the baitfish can be pretty scarce this month. So, it’s a good idea to use every tool available to keep the advantage in your favor.
Finding baitfish is super-critical in the winter months. It can be the difference between putting fish in the ice chest or going home empty handed. Key on points, ledges, drop offs and even changes in water color that the trout will use as ambush points.
Whether you don the waders on a brisk morning or drift on a sunny afternoon, if you can find the mullet, there’s a good chance you’ll also find the fish.
Location: Intracoastal Canal, Hwy 87 Sabine Pass.
Species: Redfish, croaker, black drum.
Baits/Lures: Fresh dead shrimp, cut bait.
Best Times: All day (Best with moving tide).
Email Eddie Hernandez at [email protected]