Glorious November!

Every month brings opportunity to enjoy the great Texas outdoors in its own way but November presents a virtual cornucopia. Bay fishing is excellent for speckled trout, reds and flounder. The surf zone teems with a smorgasbord of species. Nearshore gulf fishing is action-packed and, with seas usually calm between northers, a great last chance for small boat anglers to target migrating pelagics.

And hunting! Good Lord! There was a time I was absolutely nuts about deer hunting. Now it’s waterfowl and upland birds that keep me tossing and turning until the alarm goes off.

Long ago I realized that to maintain any semblance of sanity I would have to divide my November days carefully – fishing when the weather and tides were most promising and hunting nearly all the rest. Some days I do both. Darn the luck!

Seems we cannot let go of the Hurricane Harvey story, even if the major media has been ignoring the recovery effort. But here on the home front, where the story is still very real, it is just so amazing to witness the continued outpouring of generosity from Texas businesses and private citizens coming to the aid of their fellow man. Texans are a special breed, with much to be proud of and thankful for.

A couple of very encouraging news items. Texas oysters got a big break in Austin on August 24 when the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commissioners adopted sweeping conservation measures put forth by the agency’s Coastal Fisheries Division. Commercial oystermen will be fishing under a 30-sack daily limit, reduced from last year’s 40-sacks, with greatly tightened tolerance for undersize oysters (less than 3-inches) retained. Harvest is being restricted to weekdays only – no Saturday. In addition, six minor bays have been closed, and a buffer zone of 300-feet from shore has been established as a no-harvest zone in all bays to protect intertidal reefs. Hopefully, after suffering ravages of extended drought and repeated fresh water inundation, both of which are extremely harmful to oysters, we will see a rebound of this critical and precious resource.

Breaking last week was the long-awaited EPA decision on the San Jacinto River Waste Pits. Created in the 1960s and 70s for disposal of paper mill waste, the waste pits have been likened to a ticking time bomb. A series of cap-in-place measures had been applied but proved inadequate, again, as Harvey’s deluge raced downriver. Post-Harvey sampling applied an exclamation point to the need that conservationists and environmentalists have been screaming about for years. EPA’s ruling specifies containment via coffer dams to isolate the entire site for complete removal of the hazardous material. Not a day too soon, the way I see it.

November is a great time for outdoor recreation, whether your passion is fishing, hunting, or both. Include your family and especially the young ones when planning your outings. And, as you gather around your Thanksgiving table, give thanks to God for all that we are so richly blessed to enjoy.

God Bless!