Sabine, Calcasieu redfish are ready to inhale your lure if fished slow enough
The majority of anglers let their fishing gear acquire dust during January, but they may really be missing out on great opportunities to catch plenty of fish. If you are willing to brave the cold weather, the fishing can be incredibly easy.
In my opinion, January is one of the easiest months to target and catch large numbers of redfish. However, there will certainly be those days mixed in where there is very little catching, if any. Limiting the latter is important.
Without a doubt, redfish will be the easiest species to target on both Sabine Lake and Lake Calcasieu. They tend to gang up on consistent and predictable locations each winter, making them easy targets. Many times, you can anchor and catch redfish until you are physically tired. Typical haunts include main points, shallow shell reefs, the downcurrent point at the mouth of a bayou and, of course, weirs.
Depending on depth and current velocity, jighead size may vary from 1/8- to 3/4-ounce. Choosing the appropriate size can have a profound effect on the number of bites you get. Remember, during these colder times, think “slow.” If fishing an area with a faster current you may need to tie on a heavier jighead to allow yourself the ability to get deeper in the water column and fish the area more slowly.
When fishing shallow, shell reefs and humps, I opt for a lighter jighead to slow the rate of fall, which allows me to fish the area slower without getting hung up as much. I prefer using somewhat larger soft plastics during the winter, as fish tend to feed less frequently and on larger meals. Texas Tackle Factory’s Red Killer and Egret’s 5-inch Wedgetail in their darker colors are good choices.
When it comes to trout, I target trophy quality fish. There will be days when I will wade for hours for only a handful of bites; however, the size of the speckled trout at the end of the line make it all worth it to me. I expect my best fish to come on slow-sinking or suspending twitch baits. Over the past several years, I have spent more time throwing MirrOlure MirrOdines in colors EC, 21 and 808, even preferring these lures to the Corky Fat Boy. Don’t get me wrong; my wade box still has a spot for several Fat Boys every time I get out of the boat; I just spend more time slinging a MirrOdine for several reasons. First, the MirrOdine is easier to work; there is less operator error. Simply twitch as if working a topwater, pause and repeat. This manner of working the lure is adjusted until the preferred cadence is discovered for the conditions. Second, the construction of the MirrOdine allows the lure to last longer compared to the Fat Boy. There is no wire to realign after a trout crushes it. Last, the MirrOdine is slightly easier on the wallet.
To increase my odds of catching trophy fish during the winter, I place a special emphasis on using quality equipment as well as wading instead of fishing from a boat. In my opinion, a quality rod paired with quality line is of paramount importance. When I leave the boat for a day of wade fishing, I am carrying a 6-foot-5, medium-power, fast-action Free Bird by Sarge Custom Rods. It offers superior sensitivity to the subtle, cold-weather bites, and it is incredibly lightweight to reduce fatigue from casting all day.
I spool my Lew’s Lite Speed Spool with 30-pound FINS Windtamer braid attached to a 20- or 30-pound leader of Big Game monofilament. The braid offers increased sensitivity as well, and the monofilament leader provides just a little stretch to help avoid pulling hooks out of the mouth of a hungry trout, plus those annoying breakoffs when an unwanted backlash occurs. I also thoroughly check the Solunar forecast, and I highly recommend fishing during the major feeding periods and not moving from spot to spot during that time. Get out there and give it a shot, I believe you will be delighted with the results!
Capt. Adam Jaynes specializes in light tackle with artificial lures in the year-around pursuit of speckled trout and redfish. You can find him at justfishsabine.com.