Celebrating the Change of Seasons

Few things stir the interest of outdoors enthusiasts like the change of seasons. Spring is remarkable in many ways but the coming of fall, with all its options, is my favorite by far. Fishing turns on like somebody threw a light switch and, if your interests include hunting, October has no equal.

Let’s start with the fishing. Late summer doldrums affect fish every bit as much as fishermen, and by now we’ve all had enough of hundred-degree days. The change of seasons includes two major influences that kickstart the action – shorter hours of daylight and booming fall tides. The activity level of baitfish and gamefish becomes instantly noticeable as feeding periods occur more frequently and last longer. Anglers, too, display new vigor when afternoon highs remain mostly in the eighties.

Over on the hunting side; if the whistling of duck wings and yodeling of the first flights of specklebelly geese do not raise the hair on your neck, you might need a blood transfusion. And the deer. The rut comes early along the coast. Suddenly emboldened by the urge to breed, normally secretive white-tail bucks are out and about in broad daylight all across the coastal plains. And doves. My favorite early fall pastime is a morning wade fishing session followed by an afternoon trip to the dove fields.

So, amid all this wonderful outdoor opportunity and excellent weather, it occurs that October might be the greatest month for getting family and friends involved in your coastal activities. Our late friend, Dickie Colburn, encouraged taking youngsters fishing more than perhaps anybody I ever met. He was a truly a leader in this regard, taking youngsters fishing on his days off and donating fishing gear to some who were disadvantaged. Like Dickie, I would also emphasize getting adults who have never fished or hunted involved in the outdoors as well. The experience can be life-changing, especially for any who might be struggling with personal problems.

On another note; if reports from the water are any indication, it is growing increasingly evident that the spotted seatrout fishery along the Middle and Lower Texas coast is showing positive signs of recovery. Some areas are thriving more than others but the trend seems to be generally positive overall. While some had doubts when TPWD enacted reduced bag limits and a tight length slot to conserve biomass and enhance recruitment; I would have to say the measures have been effective…even if the majority of the evidence is only anecdotal thus far. As you read what our writers have to say in this issue you might be inclined to agree.

October is a great month; get outdoors and enjoy it!

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