Sabine ship channel wide open for July specks

The author’s nephew, Fisher Jaynes, had a fantastic evening catching his limit of nice speckled trout in the Sabine ship channel.

It is always a thrill to see the excitement and joy of new anglers catching fish, especially kids. That has been even more gratifying for me here lately, due to the fact that my wife and I are expecting our first child in a matter of weeks. I have been able to fish with my nephew, Fisher, more frequently lately, and he is living up to his name. For a 7-year-old, he is one heck of a little fisherman. His ability to cast and reel in fish is impressive.

I was fortunate recently to take Kelly Ford, his son Landon, and his father Lee, fishing. Landon, 6, was on a boat for the first time and was a pure natural. His interest and excitement about fishing is second to none. Kelly and I went to school together growing up, so it was great to get to catch up with him and his father.

We started the morning with a pretty long boat ride, but I wanted to put them on some good speckled trout I had found the previous evening. Water conditions were drastically different, but the fish were still there. We fished a strong incoming tide all day, and in combination with a howling south wind, the water was more sandy and less green than the day before.

With the trout having transitioned into a more predictable and consistent summer pattern, we were targeting them on drop-offs in 6 to 8 feet of water in the Sabine ship channel. Banks with more structure, such as oyster shell and riprap, are the most productive. The structure, providing current breaks, gives predators such as trout, redfish and flounder easier opportunities to ambush their prey. In turn, successful anglers target these areas.

Lures to use

I find topwater lures such as a Heddon Super Spook in clown color or a white Rapala Skitter Walk to be the most-productive in the early morning hours and late in the evening. After the topwater bite subsides, I recommend switching to soft plastics that mimic shrimp or menhaden. There is no telling how many trout and redfish fall for a Vudu shrimp rigged under a cork. Swimming a 4-inch Sea Shad in the opening night color on either a 1/8- or 1/4-ounce jighead is another favorite during summer. I prefer to fish the Sea Shad with a steady retrieve, at times making short, subtle pauses. Multiple factors determine the speed of the retrieve, including water depth, wind and current velocity and the aggressiveness of the fish we are targeting.

Kelly Ford and his son, Landon, released this great catch of a redfish after cheesing for a quick picture.

Kelly, Landon and Lee all got to battle their fair share of trout, with a couple of oversized, bonus reds. Landon’s enthusiasm and curiosity was the icing on the cake.

Barring any major storms and torrential downpours this pattern should only get better and last well through the summer. It would be remiss of me if I did not encourage you to fish the jetties when the weather allows. Both the Cameron and Sabine jetties can be absolutely loaded with fish and give new and young anglers the opportunity to catch different species of fish.

If you get the chance to take a kid fishing make sure and capitalize on it. They are the future of the sport and the memories made will last a lifetime!

Capt. Adam Jaynes can be found at