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Double Up On Sabine lake
Be a good scout and be prepared when you set off to take both speckled trout and redfish at these Sabine Lake sites this month.

Dr. Kelly Rising of Beaumont caught the Sabine Lake record trout -- an 11-pound, 12-ounce monster -- by drift-fishing over a scattered shell bottom.
Photo by Robert Sloan

The water was still a tad chilly as Ken Chaumont and I slipped over the edge of the 22-foot Pathfinder boat on the south shoreline of Sabine Lake. The water was clear and loaded with mullet, the sun was shining, and things couldn't have been better.

"If we don't catch trout and reds here, it's time to call in the dogs and put out the fire," said Chaumont. "These are prime-time fishing conditions."

I had fished that same water two days prior to our trip, and had caught several nice trout and three reds to 9 pounds.

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"We've got a good tide and plenty of mullet," I said. "That's the best one-two combination you can have on Sabine."

I tied on a clear Super Spook Jr., and Ken knotted a bone/chartreuse Stanley Wedge Tail to the end of his line. Both lures -- mullet imitations that are proven big-trout and redfish baits on this bay -- had been hot as a firecracker for several days on the lower end of Sabine Lake. During May, the shorelines of Sabine teem with mullet on which trophy-class trout feed avidly, so it's a classic match-the-hatch situation.

But you never know where the best bite is going to be! Some days it'll be on top; on others, it'll be along the bottom.

It didn't take us long to figure out what was going on. I could hardly make a cast without having the Super Spook Jr. hammered by a big red, and Chaumont was having no problem finding trout on the 3 1/2-inch Wedge Tail. But by day's end, we were using big topwater plugs over scattered shell to catch some pretty nice trout. It was the type of fishing that locals on Sabine Lake have come to expect during May.

Sabine Lake is widely recognized as a trophy-trout venue. One of the most successful anglers here is Dr. Kelly Rising. A Beaumont resident who grew up fishing Sabine Lake, this is the guy who caught the lake-record speckled trout, which weighed 11 pounds, 12 ounces.

When he caught the lake-record speck -- on a chartreuse-colored TopDog, by the way -- Rising was in his Pathfinder boat, drift-fishing over a big flat with scattered shell. That was toward the end of March. From about that time until the beginning of June, you'll see a whole lot of Sabine Lake pros fishing wide-open flats freckled with shell reefs. What was so unusual about Rising's catch is that he was fishing in muddy water, on a tide that was 2 feet high. But like many good trout fishermen, he was keying on two things: scattered shell and plenty of baitfish.

According to Rising, one very important thing to remember is that big trout are very spooky. His advice is to drift-fish from your boat once you're in an area of big trout; he'll even lay off using the trolling motor. He makes long casts, and will almost always be throwing some sort of a mullet-imitation plug.

A few of the most popular mullet-imitation topwater plugs on the lake would be the Heddon Super Spook, Super Spook Jr., She Dog and Top Dog. All of them big topwater plugs that can be cast a country mile, they make a considerable racket with built-in rattles as they waddle back and forth across the surface like some kind of big ol' mullet -- just the type of lure action that drives big trout crazy.

It's the same with redfish. Sabine Lake has one of the best redfish populations on the entire Texas Gulf Coast. They can be caught year 'round, but one of the best times to catch them on topwater plugs is during May.

What's so great about Sabine during May is that you can double up on big reds and trout on any given day. One of the best days of fishing I've ever experienced was on Sabine during May, just a few years back.

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