Looking Forward to Fall Fishing

The autumnal equinox will occur September 22, the day when hours of daylight and darkness become equal, and the official beginning of the fall season. Don’t get too excited just yet for an immediate temperature drop but at least there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Schedules get very busy with school back in session, football games, doves, teal, and archery whitetails; but September can also be a spectacular month for fishing – offshore, nearshore and bays!

Labor Day weekend is the final hurrah of summer for some angling families and they head to the coast in droves. Some readers may not receive their magazine until later in the month but, if you see this early enough and are planning a big holiday on the water and haven’t already registered for the CCA Texas STAR Tournament, you might want to fix that. As of this writing there are still four boat-motor-trailer packages available in the Tagged Redfish Division and at least 50 of the 60 tagged reds that were released back in May are still swimming. As redfish have already begun to school near passes to the gulf, enhancing angler’s ability to bag more redfish, the odds of landing a tagged fish are actually better right now than all summer. STAR ends at 5:00 PM on September 3, 2018. It’s not over ‘til it’s over, so do not discount your chances to win one of these great prizes. There have been final weekend winners in past years…but you have to be entered to win!

Writing this on August 13, there are eight days remaining to fish for red snapper in federally-managed waters off Texas. I was informed last week that landings thus far in the projected 82-day recreational fed-water season that began June 1 has not yet reached 50% of the allocation granted to Texas anglers. Couple of key points here…

First – It would appear that Texas anglers have been right and the feds have been wrong all along as regards recreational harvest of red snapper, and the ridiculously short seasons of recent years have served no purpose except to deny the recreational fleet angling opportunity. June seas off Texas are generally too rough to allow participation in the amount the feds have traditionally built into their models. Hopefully we have put that behind us.

Second point is data collection. While dockside creel surveys will always be very useful in tabulating actual landings, voluntary reporting via electronic apps may be even more valuable. TPWD and USFWS survey teams cannot be at every dock every day. Hence, the allocation has historically included generous buffers to preclude underestimating the harvest. Enter iSnapper.

Reporting snapper landings electronically is the best tool recreational anglers can employ toward gaining longer seasons in the future, and possibly even more generous bag limits in federal waters.

Take a kid fishing, practice safe boating, and remember The Golden Rule everyday on the water. Fishing is a great pastime – even greater when we can all enjoy it equally.