A New Year of Great Fishing Opportunity

My take on the state of coastal fishing here in the great state of Texas is very optimistic. Reports from all regions of our coast indicate fall fishing success ranging from good to excellent and hopefully this will prove a harbinger of more good things in 2015.

Though parts of Texas are still troubled with ongoing drought, a review of rainfall statistics from across the state indicates that even where precipitation was not received in normal amounts throughout 2014, enough came at the right time to lessen the effect of the drought cycle. Middle-coast bays in particular seemed to get a significant boost in fresh-inflows and this certainly bodes well for our estuaries.

Shrimp and oysters are regarded as indicator species in terms of estuarine productivity and, while oyster season is currently underway and the jury is still out on that fishery, commercial shrimpers I spoke with reported improved catches of both brownies and whites in 2014 and I see plenty oyster boats working locally. It would be my guess that recruitment of speckled trout, redfish and flounder also boomed in 2014.

Upper coast anglers enjoyed exceptional fishing in the Sabine and Galveston systems nearly all 2014 and our team of guide-writers who ply their skills in those waters continue to send glowing reports. On the middle-coast, where trout fishing took a nosedive over the past decade, reports this fall are encouraging and our correspondents are currently more optimistic that I can remember.

Not everybody fell instantly in love with TPW's expansion of the five trout bag limit but the folks I know who have made their living as fishing guides for twenty-plus years on the middle-coast seem unanimous in the opinion that something had to be done. Personally I believe TPW hit the nail on the head. If by chance they missed, the regulation has a built-in sunset and can easily be reversed, although I do not understand how taking fewer could not possibly result in ultimately having more.

Our Lower Coast just keeps rocking along. No matter how wickedly Mother Nature backhands that region on occasion, the Mother Lagoon continues to provide. Just try to book a guide or reserve a rent-house down at Port Mansfield, Port Isabel or South Padre–recreational fishing is truly thriving in those communities.

Somy prediction for 2015 is continued great fishing from Sabine Pass to Boca Chica. Our job now is to get out there and enjoy it. As stewards of Texas' coastal resources we have contributed much to improve and conserve our fisheries for the future. Make plans early, while you're in resolution mode, to pack up the family and get a bunch of friends together. You never know, we may just bump into each other on a long wade somewhere. Happy New Year!