Hello 2018! I trust everyone enjoyed a wonderful Christmas holiday as we set our sights on the dawning of what promises to be another great year of fishing along the Texas coast. Despite Harvey having ravaged coastal communities, we certainly still have a lot going for us on the water.
Jay Watkins might have said it best describing recent fishing success in the Rockport region. “It’s better than good,” he relates in this month’s column. “Better actually than I really care to report,” no doubt hoping to avoid a jinx. Jay went on to reflect upon the regenerative surge, so typical of what major tropical storms create within inshore ecosystems. Anglers who frequent the Matagorda and Port O’Connor bays have been sending equally glowing reports.
Down on the Lower Laguna Madre, Ernest Cisneros says that though trophy-size specks were very stubborn in showing during early-winter last year, his charters have already been providing encouraging action for larger-than-average fish.
In this month’s Conservation Section we have a piece from CCA Texas Advocacy Director, Shane Bonnot, highlighting the contribution of State Rep. Dennis Bonnen of the 25th Legislative District to the future of the Texas oyster fishery. Rep. Bonnen skillfully championed HB 51 through the legislative process, adding critical amendments along the way to further insure the beleaguered fishery can make a swift recovery. Bonnen also worked alongside TPWD Commissioners after the bill became law to help craft oyster harvest regulations that took effect September 1, 2017.
While oysters are a valuable commodity and provide economic opportunity for commercial harvesters and seafood dealers, they also play a vital role in filtering enormous quantities of water as they feed upon suspended organic matter, thus improving water clarity that allows sunlight to penetrate to the bay floor and enrich seagrasses, among other things. Oyster reefs help stabilize shorelines and also provide critical habitat for a long list of marine species that includes spotted seatrout and red drum. Recent research places oysters above even seagrass as a contributor to overall estuarian productivity.
In recognition of his role in achieving the passage of HB 51 and his work with TPWD, CCA Texas recently presented Bonnen with its Conservation Hero Award.
Bonnot writes; “Sometimes you need a champion. Sometimes you need a hero…for all of his efforts this past year, CCA Texas would like to recognize Rep. Dennis Bonnen as our Conservation Hero.
Apart from great wintertime fishing, another January highlight will be the boat and sport shows. Serious boat shopping will be on the agenda of some while others simply enjoy tire-kicking and learning about new brands and models. Tackle shopping and meeting guides and outfitters is another great reason to attend, not to mention the benefit of escaping cabin fever.
If Ol’ Man Winter sends a chill down your neck and cancels fishing plans, but you still yearn for fishing-related entertainment, pack up the family and spend a fun and informative day indoors instead.Happy New Year and Great Fishing in 2018!