Load Your Family & Head for the Bay!

Everett Johnson
March means spring-like weather will soon sweep across Coastal Texas, and while hardcore grinders will long for one more good push from the north to extend their coveted "winter trophy" season, a far greater number of Texas salts will be happy to see Ol' Man Winter packing his bags.

The month of March will include many anglers heading to Texas bays for their first outing of the year, kids onboard, everybody suffering spring fever, anxious to wet a line. But, are you ready?

Many times I've witnessed anxious spring anglers attempting to launch for the first great day of the new season only to find the boat isn't ready. A host of gremlins can creep into even the best and newest of rigs and unless you're capable in a mechanical sense, a visit to your neighborhood boat dealer for a spring check-up is probably good advice.

Ethanol-blend gasoline left from last season has a way of creating havoc you will not enjoy discovering at the ramp, worse in the middle of the bay, and electrical systems exposed to marine atmosphere – well everybody's probably already been through this at least once – and batteries will play possum on you when you least expect.

I cannot imagine a better way to disappoint a boat filled with kids looking for spring break fun than a boat that will not get them out there and bring them back safely, with a fish supper in the ice chest, huge grins, and digital cameras filled with great photos. Always remember the parable of the six Ps: Proper Preparation Prevents P--- Poor Performance; please pardon the French.

Another aspect of early-spring fishing trips that deserves mention is weather. Do not, under any circumstance, even if the skies look inviting, head out without checking the local marine forecast. Weather systems can arrive suddenly and calm bays can turn ugly faster than you can speed to the dock.

Packing slickers and extra dry clothing should be on everybody's spring checklist. I'd rather pack it a hundred times and not need it rather than need it once and not have it, especially when you have the family with you.

The final and perhaps most important items on the checklist should be your best on-the-water etiquette and sportsmanship. You can bet there'll be a crowd out there and everybody will be just as anxious as you to enjoy a fun day and reel in a great catch. But please do not allow your zest for a great outing cloud your judgment being a good sport oftentimes means turning the other cheek even when the other guy is acting like a complete jerk!

The fishing reports and forecasts you will find in this issue are prime indicators of a great season ahead.
Our inshore fisheries are in good to excellent shape all up and down our great coast and we need to get out there and enjoy the fruit of good management and solid conservation efforts. Keep what you can enjoy fresh and always remember to take a kid fishing!