Well another year has come and gone and I hope everyone had as much good fortune as I did. My year has been full of fish, traveling and learning a great amount about our sport of kayaking. A new year is upon us and like most people, we often try to plan our year and set certain goals. We look at it as a new chapter and strive towards these aspirations in hopes that we will achieve them. The typical New Year's Resolutions that we hear are geared towards people's plans of losing weight or going to the gym more frequently and eating better. These are all great intentions but they are not something that satisfies the mind of an angler!
Every resolution that I have for this year revolves around fishing in some way. Like all goals, some are more obtainable and realistic than others but if you don't have something to aim toward, you will surely miss. I figured I would share some of my hopes and aspirations for the upcoming year. In turn, I hope that I can inspire you to make your own set of goals to fulfill. So here we go, these are my kayaking resolutions.
I believe that this is something that I personally need to work on and others should as well. I try to promote catch and release along with conservation as much as possible. I also get angry when I see careless companies destroying our fisheries by polluting our waters. Rightfully so, because these are the things that I love and I want to help protect the environment for future generations. This is usually as far as I get though; I just get mad and talk about it and there is no action taken going forward.
A buddy of mine, Eric Porter, lives in Austin and is worried about the regulations of our state fish, the Guadalupe bass. Currently there is not a size limit on the fish and as any conscientious angler should be, he is concerned about it. So instead of just talking about it, he has acted and has a petition going around for people to sign so he can present the issue to TPWD. He has already talked to other people in the field and is working to create a solution to protect the species.
A few months back I had Tony Keill call and say he was coming over to our area to fish. We met up and spent several hours together on the water. After getting back to the launch, before even loading his kayak, Tony walked around and picked up every piece of trash he could find. He cleaned the entire launch area at a place he has never even been to.
These are both prime examples that everyone can make a difference in their community. It starts with something little and if we all combine our efforts it will turn into something great. So, I plan on trying to keep our area clean, getting to know some of the leaders of our local CCA chapter, and if there is an issue, write to TPWD or state congressional representative to express my concerns. Don't talk about it, be about it!
GO FISHING IN ANOTHER STATE OR THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF TEXAS
I have come to realize that the Gulf Coast is immense and there are no two places alike. Along with the scenery changing, so do the fish and the culture of people that live in the area. By going to another state, it forces you to get out of your comfort zone and experience a completely different kind of fishing. The opposite side of Texas fits in that category; south of Corpus Christi reflects Florida and East of Galveston is close to Louisiana fishing.
If you keep heading east though, the fishing gets even better as you enter south Louisiana. That area is truly a Sportsman's Paradise and every kayaker needs to experience it! Within a quick five-minute paddle to any particular marsh, you are ready to start sight-casting redfish; it is hard to beat. Florida is another area that holds great fishing but not an area that I have visited much. This is a place I am going to try and fish more often this upcoming year. Traveling is always about experiencing new things and there is plenty of opportunities along the Gulf Coast.
TARGET A BUCKET LIST FISH
I know every angler has this list engraved in their minds and you are always thinking about the fish that tops it. My personal list-topper is a tarpon. I want a Texas tarpon out of my kayak. If I can accomplish this, my life will be fulfilled for a while anyway. This past year I had a legitimate shot at one rolling in our surf and I cannot even explain how excited I was to even just see it. Another on my list is a billfish. I really am not too concerned which species, just so it's a bill. I may have to get in a boat for this one but we will start from there. It's time to start checking some fish off that list!
FISH A TOURNAMENT THAT IS THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT YOU NORMALLY DO
I am an inshore angler that loves to chase redfish in the shallows of the marsh. This is my comfort zone and plus it really is the greatest way to fish. I also like fishing tournaments because it challenges you as an angler; it also is a great way to visit other areas and meet people that share the same passion as you. I want to plan on fishing a few bass tournaments and I am considering doing a BTB tourney. I know enough about bass fishing to get me through but anything off-shore is pretty new to me. I suppose there is only one way to figure it out!
Overall I am excited for the new year and the opportunities that await. I am ready to experience new places, meet new people and catch a few new fish. These resolutions are what my sights are set on and I hope that I can reach these goals. I wish that everyone has a safe and productive year on the water with it being full of memories and fish. Also, remember that you can make a difference for the future of fishing on the Gulf Coast. Pick up trash on and off the water, practice catch and release, and speak up when you see a conservation issue.
Tight lines and Happy New Year!