TexasKayakFisherman.com est. 2000

Kayak fishing the Lone Star State...


Please visit our sponsor Slowride Guide Services
User avatar
By Yaklash
#2282016
TexasJim wrote:Unbelievable! All but two Louisiana parishes allow 25 Specks per day, with a 12-inch minimum. I thought it might be time for TPWD to restore the 10 per day limit in the lower Texas coast, not decrease the upper coast bag limit. I know the Red Snapper sportsman regs are in control of the Commercial fishermen, but the Specks? Geez! Y'all go and scream loud! TexasJim

Ahh, the old Louisiana argument. It's about the only thing I know of where people argue that Cajuns are smarter other than food. SMH.

Take a look. Calcasieu has reduced its limits and needs to reduce them more. Can't catch a 5 lb trout there to save your life most days the last 5 years. I used to catch one nearly every trip (10-15 trips there a year from 2001 to 2013) and no small numbers of 6 & 7 pounders, along with 10 or better 2 or 3 pounders almost every trip.

The total population of the state of Louisiana is 4.2 million. Houston alone has more than that all by its lonesome. Count the Houston Metro area and Katy, Kingwood, Cypress, The Woodlands and Baytown and we're talking 6 million people. Consider that Louisiana has many more acres of viable marsh than Texas (yet only a fraction of miles of coast line) and a small fraction of the pressure (we must have 2-3 times the pressure per acre of fishable water).

Comparing Texas to Louisiana is not a good argument

I fish more from Matagorda to San Antonio Bay these days and the 5 trout limits down there have made things better. Before the 2018 January freeze, big trout numbers were rising steadily in the POC area. Matagorda has seen phenomenal fishing, both size and numbers, in the last three years (by people that know what they are doing), as compared to before the limit reduction.
#2282387
I'd rather catch quality in lower numbers than catch high numbers and cull through 30 dinks. Galveston has big fish still, still the top producing estuary on the Texas Coast. Just needs a little break from the pressure it's been getting while the fish have also been concentrated due to freshwater. We'll all still go fishing.
User avatar
By karstopo
#2282401
The data is mostly good from the gill net surveys. Some year to year and spring to fall fluctuations, but trout numbers have been more or less stable. TP&W can take whatever data is available and then make decisions about the data. Some like myself favor being proactive and the conservative approach to limits and trying to boost the numbers of fish in the system as insurance to future strains on the resource. Others are for maintaining limits as they are and reacting to data changes when and if any changes are measured in the future.

That seems to be a legitimate debate. Science and data is what it is and TP&W has about 40 years of standardized sampling numbers to work with. What tools does TP&W have to influence the numbers of fish in the system? Size and retention limits. They know they can’t close retention of fish during the spawn because they will have mass riots and anarchy from thousands of crazed trout folks. Does TP&W try to stay ahead of any future strain on the resource or react when the strain hits?
#2282407
karstopo wrote:The data is mostly good from the gill net surveys. Some year to year and spring to fall fluctuations, but trout numbers have been more or less stable. TP&W can take whatever data is available and then make decisions about the data. Some like myself favor being proactive and the conservative approach to limits and trying to boost the numbers of fish in the system as insurance to future strains on the resource. Others are for maintaining limits as they are and reacting to data changes when and if any changes are measured in the future.

That seems to be a legitimate debate. Science and data is what it is and TP&W has about 40 years of standardized sampling numbers to work with. What tools does TP&W have to influence the numbers of fish in the system? Size and retention limits. They know they can’t close retention of fish during the spawn because they will have mass riots and anarchy from thousands of crazed trout folks. Does TP&W try to stay ahead of any future strain on the resource or react when the strain hits?


Couldn't agree more and very well put. So many see this as a personal attack on their rights than instead of seeing the longterm good for the communities ability to sustain the activity and lifestyle into the future.
User avatar
By Crusader
#2282422
karstopo wrote:They know they can’t close retention of fish during the spawn because they will have mass riots and anarchy from thousands of crazed trout folks.

:mrgreen: You guys are romantics... Of course they can -- simply right now species aren't really threatened even if numbers are down. I.e. there is no need for drastic measures yet (from TPWD point of view).
User avatar
By NativeSon
#2282426
I'll throw in my 2 cents, for what it's worth.
Part of this may be being driven by increased population, especially along the coast.
We are having more folks chasing the same finite resource. I have heard that TP&WD is trying to anticipate the effects of future projected growth.
What gets me is why our State is so intoxicated by growth, the political push always seems to be towards bringing more and more people to Texas. People can't wait till Houston surpasses Chicago or Los Angeles. OK great, but you get what you ask for.
As someone who has spent some time along the NE seaboard, especially around NYC, why in the world would you want to emulate their situation?
What Chubbs says is true, habitat is a big part, but with increased population the result typically seems to be degraded, not improved, habitat.
This is all a generalization, but it is what it is.
When I was a kid, there were no limits in Texas. Really not too long ago.
Off my soap box.
User avatar
By Ron Mc
#2282432
NativeSon wrote:...
What gets me is why our State is so intoxicated by growth, the political push always seems to be towards bringing more and more people to Texas. People can't wait till Houston surpasses Chicago or Los Angeles. OK great, but you get what you ask for.....

Equities moving from S CA - the same people who killed the largest estuary on Earth within our lifetime by water usage - the mouth of the western Colorado R. at the Sea of Cortez.
The population of Texas will double within 20 years.
We need desalination for water supply, we need to eliminate phosphorus fertilizers, we need to raise the price of water to promote voluntary conservation.
We wish we could have it 40 years ago, but what we'll get is coming now and we have until the next drought to prepare.
It's a free country - people choose to move here. Growth is going to get its water permits, there will be new golf courses, and we're a small percentage of the people who vote.
It's only the Sierra Club who thinks they can save the shrimp by starving the people.
Image
User avatar
By NativeSon
#2282454
Ron,
You are absolutely right, people in our country are free to live wherever they see fit, and I would be the last person to suggest otherwise (or want people to starve! :D ).
My point was, though, why actively promote immigration, as many of our politicians and entities have done? One such entity is the Greater Houston Partnership, who a few years back stated as their short term goal the attraction of 600,000 new jobs (yes jobs, not individuals) to the 10 county Houston area.
There is also the idea that if all these folks are coming, we better start building the infrastructure now. Sort of a self fulfilling prophesy, has anyone thought that maybe if we don't build it, less people might be attracted to move here?
Perhaps I have wandered way off topic, but maybe not. Again, you can divide a limited resource, but each time you do the pieces get smaller and smaller, can't really see how you can get around that.
As our population grows, I have to believe there will be more such regs. In fresh water, you can build more reservoirs (and likely they will be built), but there are only so many bays and gulf shoreline.
No, you can't go back in time. But you can contemplate the future of our great State, and perhaps challenge some of the visions our "leaders" have dreamed up for us.
User avatar
By Ron Mc
#2282455
we both did that, and I posted a few of my 20-year soapboxes that all my legislators are tired of receiving e-mails from me... 8)

We suffered the last hill country drought, finally putting away our fly rods.
As far as groundwater usage from the Colorado, Guadalupe and Nueces systems, using the middle ground as reference:
In history, the Guadalupe stopped at Spring Branch, where Trinity aquifer sources from the river, once in the 1955 drought of record.
But from 2005 to 2015, the river stopped there in 7 of those summers.

As far as Nueces water usage, Corpus has been drawing their water from the Nueces since 1980, and is contracted to continue to 2040. But since 2003, Corpus water usage has exceeded the Nueces discharge needed for environmental health of the bays - Before the last drought began in 2004. The Guadalupe and Colorado are right behind (San Antonio and Austin).
Last edited by Ron Mc on Thu Feb 14, 2019 11:31 am, edited 4 times in total.
User avatar
By spektakler
#2282612
TroutSupport.com wrote:Sorry Guys, it's all my fault ;-) I've taught too many anglers to be effective and given them the lure of lures ;-) trout just can't keep up with that unparalleled effectiveness. I've been threatened by PETA because of the videos, and even had one angler give me a cease and desist letter about the lure telling me not to tell any more anglers about it since he wanted it all for himself.

;-)

I tell everyone about it for your sales T, But I don't show pics of all I catch on it. 8) I have thrown all my C's in the trash though. As far as the limit reduction, I changed my personal limit to five when they changed it down south. I release all my BIG girls unless injured badly. Five 18-20 a day keep me plenty full without adding my reds and flounder. LOL
By Kayak Kid
#2282627
As said in some parts of Texas, "Is all is I can say is", back in the fifty's and early 60's, we abused that no limit period to the max.
A bad fishing day, and they were very rare, was when we only filled a giant Igloo ice chest three quarters full. Most days fishing on or near any West Bay reef produced specs at will. The Galveston jetties saw few days that didn't produce bunker specs.

How our gluttony effected the present decline in our fish population Is difficult to determine. However, I doubt that it did any good toward that end.

Due guilt, my ever growing love of the environment, or perhaps just a my having acquired a modicum of maturity, my outlook about fishing has turned completely Thoreauvian. While my fishing knowledge and consequently my fishing success has improved exponentially over the years, I have not kept any fish that saw fit to inhabit my landing net in the past 25 years.
The one exception being the pompano I've caught in the surf

In short, I'm for anything that assures the future generations the unparalleled joys of fishing.
User avatar
By karstopo
#2282631
I’d still fish if it was only catch and release. I grew up in the culture that if it was legal and a keeper, by gosh, you kept it. I like being untethered from that idea. Still, I like keeping at least some fish. The five proposal seems like a good idea. Less pressure on the fish. Keep a few if you want. Fish win or lose less, we get to have some fresh fish if you like. Generations to come get a shot at good fishing.

I actually like the work TP&W does. Commercial fishing for trout and redfish is in the past. Not true in some states. Manage the resource for the future. My daughter and son like to fish. Don’t pass on some gutted out fishery. Two through nines, it doesn’t have to be wide open or shut down.
User avatar
By Ron Mc
#2282637
I think we've covered on a few threads how catch and release was born of need from angling pressure, and most people didn't consider it before about 1980.

Anyone who grew up in an outdoor culture grew up meat fishing. Working people really didn't have leisure time for fishing until after WWII, and a market was created just for them. Our folks/grandparents who grew up in the great depression relished their little sport time, but meat was always the purpose. Kit was also pretty simple, a bobber, hook and line - cut a willow branch for a pole. Anyone who knows me knows I'm a tackle historian. Angling for fun and the tackle it developed came about after the Civil War, and the initial market was the wealthy. After WWI, the professional class joined in, and working people after WWII. The outdoor rags from 100 years ago and further back show strings hanging hundreds of fish between trees, and usually The President was in the party - they also report fishing alongside yachting. The resource was large and the pressure was small. Being geared up like most of us are now is a 21st century thing. Also 100 years ago, environmental pressure on the resource was small but growing - today and in the near future, the environmental pressures are the greatest threat on the resource.

In most of Europe and the UK, catch and release is outlawed, you must kill all you catch, and cease the activity at any bag limit - which are quite small there - as small as one or two fish. Here, all of us should keep our bag limits in our back pocket, enjoy the fishing, and we all have our priorities about when and if to take meat (part of mine is not having any interest in eating frozen fish).

Again, the best thing the state has done for specs is limit taking female trout with the 1/day over 25 inches. If people would stand for it, they could eliminate that harvest altogether, and that's one of those serious personal choices. Can always bring a camera instead of a stringer.
#2282639
karstopo wrote:I’d still fish if it was only catch and release.


same here; I grew up bass fishing lakes with tight slots and we just started throwing everything back. I mounted an 8lber and the experience of releasing a fish far exceeds the experience of putting it on the wall. Most of my trips now are all catch and release unless someone wants just a couple for a fresh dinner. I know each person should get to be able to decide that and I also agree with you that I think the state is doing a fair job. it's not easy to balance objectives and try to keep everyone happy especially when the loudest are the few and MAD as hell.

The largest biomass for the spawn comes from all the 2.5-5lb females. You know, all the ones caught by croaker. LOL. But yes the 25"+ help as well and it would certainly be great to see them all released.

I believe that there are numerous factors involved with the decline. It's not just the pressure, but the pressure is certainly part of it. Grass dying, draught killing oysters reefs, reduced croaker in the bays due to by-catch, I think forage quantity numbers are down as well, might be other water quality factors (although they've improved on many levels, I think there is still room for improvement), I'm sure there are other factors too as Ron listed several more as well.

I'm just glad the future of the sport is being looked after.
User avatar
By karstopo
#2282640
Yaklash wrote:
TexasJim wrote:Unbelievable! All but two Louisiana parishes allow 25 Specks per day, with a 12-inch minimum. I thought it might be time for TPWD to restore the 10 per day limit in the lower Texas coast, not decrease the upper coast bag limit. I know the Red Snapper sportsman regs are in control of the Commercial fishermen, but the Specks? Geez! Y'all go and scream loud! TexasJim

Ahh, the old Louisiana argument. It's about the only thing I know of where people argue that Cajuns are smarter other than food. SMH.

Take a look. Calcasieu has reduced its limits and needs to reduce them more. Can't catch a 5 lb trout there to save your life most days the last 5 years. I used to catch one nearly every trip (10-15 trips there a year from 2001 to 2013) and no small numbers of 6 & 7 pounders, along with 10 or better 2 or 3 pounders almost every trip.

The total population of the state of Louisiana is 4.2 million. Houston alone has more than that all by its lonesome. Count the Houston Metro area and Katy, Kingwood, Cypress, The Woodlands and Baytown and we're talking 6 million people. Consider that Louisiana has many more acres of viable marsh than Texas (yet only a fraction of miles of coast line) and a small fraction of the pressure (we must have 2-3 times the pressure per acre of fishable water).

Comparing Texas to Louisiana is not a good argument

I fish more from Matagorda to San Antonio Bay these days and the 5 trout limits down there have made things better. Before the 2018 January freeze, big trout numbers were rising steadily in the POC area. Matagorda has seen phenomenal fishing, both size and numbers, in the last three years (by people that know what they are doing), as compared to before the limit reduction.



All those photos I see from Louisiana with a boat deck littered with 12-13" trout are just a big yawn for me. When I talk with my buddy and we compare our latest fishing reports, it might be "How'd you do?" " I ran into a bunch of Louisiana keepers" instead of saying a bunch of dink trout. I think if the limit was 12" and 25 fish here, you'd see a bunch of the same kinds of photos here that you see coming out of Louisiana.

I'm glad Texas isn't trying to be like Louisiana and attempting to mirror the neighbor to the East high limits. The more Texas gets away from managing the fishery like it's simply a take all you want meat market, the better. I think Louisiana runs with that mentality a little too much.
By Mr. B
#2282763
Well I think you all have a large misconception of 12" + Trout cause I was raised most of my life in south Louisiana and still fish down there regularly. Many, Many people down there will take a 12" to 15" trout over larger trout they are fantastic size for frying, etc which is why a lot of people like and prefer them. I have fished with people who have thrown the bigger trout back in the water and kept smaller one's and I have done it myself. When I used to have my place down there I would go out and fish the small channel across the road and pick up 5 or 10 x 12"/13" trout and be tickled pink cause I was gonna have a nice fish fry for me and the family. Not everyone down there keeps 25 trout even if they can catch them. Many just keep what they gonna eat and maybe a few more and then get some more later. I think often what you see when there a photos of people with large numbers are either guides cause they paid a lot of money to go out or they are snowbirders or folks that go down every once and a while and if they hit a school they keep all the limit they can. A few years ago when I was down on Grand Isle at the local town meeting there was LWF in for a talk and they were speaking about starting to look into possibly reducing the number of trout to say 10 or 15 but not the size it would have stayed at 12". Not sure if it ever got much traction or they still thinking about it. They have lost a lot of marsh and some areas have not come back from BP Spill
By mwatson71
#2282952
I'll add that I am a guy who will go out and catch 20 keepers and only keep 4 or 5 depending on how many people I plan on feeding, or I might catch 5 keepers and keep zero if I am only fishing to fish. Rarely do I freeze any fish that I catch. But I will keep my limit of 10 if I am having neighbors over for a fish fry or if I plan on giving a friend a few fillets because they love fresh fish. And when I fish with a guide in Louisiana, I will keep every fish that I am lawfully allowed to keep and not because I think a 12" trout tastes better of fries up better, but because I dropped $600+ dollars to do so and I will parse it out to neighbors and friends. There have been times where I have dropped that same $600 and left with not a single keeper so I think it all comes out in the wash. If I had to guess, I would say I keep about 50-60 trout per year over the course of 2-3 guided trips, 10 kayak trips, and 10 surf trips.
#2283014
If I want frozen fish I can get whatever species I want from the store, so a five-fish limit for specs is more than enough to enjoy fresh fish for me. The fisheries biologists who determine what limits are needed don't set them to spite fishermen (most of them are fishermen themselves) and work hard to balance maintaining a good fishery against economic interests. They know that recreational fishing feeds the economy along the coast and Draconian limits could affect that, but they know overfishing would definitely affect that in the long run too. Population growth on the Texas coast has been enormous in the last 20 years, and plenty of those newcomers like to fish, putting more pressure on the fishery, and along with that we've had habitat loss from human activities as well as two major hurricanes. Those are some significant reasons additional limits were needed.

If you want meat, there are plenty of other species to target with looser limits. Sand trout tastes just like specks when it's fresh, smaller black drum are delicious, and sheepshead beat any of the big three in flavor in my book. Too many fishermen I've talked to are too finicky about what they will eat, I've known guides even who wouldn't touch reds, would only eat trout and flounder. A lot of the aversions to species outside the big three aren't even from experience, they're passed down from generation to generation without intervening generations ever having tried the "undesirable" fish firsthand. If more fisherman were more catholic in their tastes, and spread their eating habits among a wider range of species, we wouldn't need to keep tightening limits on the big three so much or so often.
User avatar
By Ron Mc
#2283016
We ate 14" redfish when I was a kid, and as a teenager, landed 24" red and 28" trout - they were Surprising catches.
The progress with redfish alone since then shows what good resource management can accomplish - in the balance, they're a better gamefish than table fare. And yes, TPWD works the business of recreational fisheries into their formulas.

My 35-year association with GRTU and the Guadalupe tailrace, the winter economy it produces is a big factor in TPWD support for that fishery, and something they evaluate continuously through surveys. If you meet a game warden on the river, they'll offer you a questionaire that everything it asks is about your travel and expenses.
TPWD have to justify their costs constantly, reporting to other state bureaucracy, plus the governor can take their funds at any time to spend on any budget item he chooses.

Kayak and mirage drive is in great shape. Has a fi[…]

Jackson kayak, Bonafide, Trailer

Big rig is sold. Cuda $700 Bonafide $700 Trailer […]

Thanks for that ROLLOVER update, Capt. Shoffer. L[…]

Can of ranch style beans, a bag of Fritos and a pl[…]