Giving Thanks for Milestones

The events of September 2014 related to the future of fishing on the Texas middle-coast could very well go down in history as significantly as the first Texas bag limits for inshore gamefish and the Redfish Wars.

Highly noteworthy in their own way and also together are the re-opening of Cedar Bayou and the expansion of the "five trout bag limit" to include all Texas inshore waters from Brazos Santiago Pass at SPI/Port Isabel northward to the FM-457 Bridge at Sargent. The original five trout limit was enacted back in 2007 and applied only to the Lower Laguna Madre.

The Cedar Bayou project has "been on the burner" to some degree since the pass silted-in back in the late-90s, but not until the Aransas County Commissioners Court led by Judge Bert Mills and CCA Texas got involved did it make any real headway.

A project as complex as the opening of Cedar Bayou requires many levels of engineering, filing of applications, preparation of environmental impact statements, and Lord only knows how many other hurdles, until a construction permit can be obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Having a permit in hand is one thing; laying $9M alongside it to accomplish the work is quite another. I want to personally thank Judge Mills, CCA Texas, and the throng of volunteers and generous donors who combined their efforts to make the dream of re-opening Cedar Bayou become reality. I was honored to be among the invitees who gathered at the worksite on September 25 when Cedar Bayou rushed to meet the sea.

As for the new middle-coast speckled trout bag limit that was enacted September 1; this too has been a long time coming. Unless you began fishing from the lower end of the Land Cut northward through the Upper Laguna, Corpus Christi, Aransas, San Antonio and the Matagorda Bays, I am clueless to understand how any serious angler could truthfully say our speckled trout fishery has not declined sharply.

I will always credit Jay Watkins as the first to say, "Just Keep Five" in an article he wrote for Tom Nix's Saltwater Angler in July 2002. Jay was referencing the decline that was even then registering in speckled trout abundance, saying, "Don't wait on TPWD. If you think ten is too many–limit yourself." In his article in this issue he very eloquently says it another way, "How can taking fewer not result in ultimately having more?"

In closing I want to say that I am personally gratified to see these two events, singly and in tandem, becoming reality through the diligent and persistent efforts of Texas recreational anglers. Our future is in good hands.

Happy Thanksgiving!