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sabine lake

The Ides of March

Although March (Martius) was the third month of the Julian calendar, in the oldest Roman calendar it was the first month of the year. The holidays observed by the Romans from the first through the Ides often reflect their origin as new-year celebrations.

With the opening of the SNWR for fishing, March 15 marks the beginning of the sight fishing year on the Sabine estuary. And if the first six days of the new years are any indication, we are in for a remarkable year of sight fishing. I was able to get a couple of trips in this past week, when the weather allowed. There are quite a few redfish to be seen in the grassy ponds and they were more than willing to eat a fly earlier in the morning. A strong outgoing tide by midmorning muddied up the water pretty early. Having a solid plan b is important when we’re faced with these conditions.  While not my first choice when water conditions won’t allow sight fishing, we can make a great day casting at wakes and boils throwing conventional spinning and casting gear.

The water on Sabine is as fresh as I’ve seen, since I moved here 10 years ago. On Monday we landed a 14” largemouth bass south of Willow Bayou. The large influx of saltwater from Hurricane Rita and Ike resulted in persistently high salinity levels in the area until last year. Widespread flooding in Sabine River basin last spring really turned the tide and salinities are very low. This results in abundant grass in the marsh ponds, which acts like a filter. These areas are where you will find some of the clearest water and the most copper red colored redfish anywhere on the Texas coast. Did I mention they are big? And hungry too!

One of my absolute favorite things to do this time of year is a combination trip. Poling the flats throwing topwater plugs at dawn and or dusk and sight fishing redfish midday is nothing short of epic. As the pogy hatch gets going, most days have an incredible top water bite early and late. The weather during the early spring really lends itself to long lazy days on the water. Regardless of what technique we fish on a given day, I am on the push pole exclusively as long as we are fishing in water 3’ or less. The push pole offers an unparalleled ability to get up close and personal with game fish, waterfowl, and wildlife like alligators and wild hogs. I take a lot of pride poling you across the flats looking for fish.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The Sabine estuary is something every Texas fly fisherman should experience. The diversity of habitat and the vastness of the marsh make for one of the most unique experiences you’ll find anywhere short of the Everglades. The best part is, Sabine Lake is an easy drive from Houston. At just over an hour from downtown the fishing is within easy reach of anyone in the bayou city. Grab your son, your dad, or your best friend and give me a call. I’ll be happy to show you the finest fishing we have to offer.