Autumn Bounty and CCA-Texas Reefing

It was 63 when I began this morning's stretching exercises. The coolness was so refreshing I added a half mile to my normal two-mile jog.

Teal season opened Saturday. We love family waterfowling – kids, grandkids, friends and black dogs all crammed in one big blind. We enjoyed great shoots and nine-year-old Shelby Kay earned rite of waterfowling passage with her first blue-wings. Saturday supper was chicken-fried teal, Duck Dynasty style, the whole clan 'round the table. I strongly believe that getting kids involved in hunting and fishing is more important today than ever.

October's promise of better fishing is almost impossible to imagine as September has been nearly unbelievable. Trout, redfish and flounder are in good supply all along the coast. Surf and nearshore action is reportedly also on fire although my crew has yet to make it past the jetties. Bay fishing has been that good.

This is definitely the season for the hardiest of outdoors-folk as there's virtually no end to the fun. Two weeks of early-teal remain and South Zone Dove opens Friday. Deciding whether to fish the flats at dawn or set a spread for teal is a tough call but, toward afternoon when doves fly to feed, grabbing a shotgun is a no-brainer. If you're not worn out come sunset you can always pick up a gig and lantern. Monday morning drowsiness usually results – caution is advised.

I mentioned nearshore fishing being on fire and with that I would like to draw your attention to John Blaha's article on page 58.

For a long time oil and gas platforms have supplied much of the productive fishing structure that can be accessed by small-boaters from Texas ports. However, following Deepwater Horizon, our government has greatly increased enforcement of its "Idle Iron" policy. Idle iron is the name given offshore platforms no longer producing oil or gas. Thus, an idle rig is removed, no matter how irreplaceable the structure may be to the surrounding fishery.

Working with Texas Parks and Wildlife and other partnering agencies and organizations, CCA Texas is embarked on a program of artificial reef creation through its Habitat Today for Fish Tomorrow initiative to replace the vital habitat and fishing structure that will be lost as rigs are removed.

Projects of this magnitude were impossible to imagine twenty years ago, but with growth in CCA Texas's organizational strength and influence, they are becoming reality. CCA is a grassroots organization and we, the members, are the source of that strength and influence. John's article recaps the milestones of CCA's reefing efforts and more can be learned on their website. If handing down better fishing to future generations is our goal, we need to become more involved in this process.

If you are not already a member, I hearty encourage you join CCA Texas today. Inviting non-member friends to attend a local fundraiser banquet is a great way to get them involved, too.