On Stewardship and Sporting Ethic

When we first began publishing, our primary mission was to provide the absolute best and most educational fishing content available on our coast. Along with equipping anglers to become more successful in their angling pursuits, we have also been dedicated to the mission of promoting conservation of coastal resources and sporting ethic. Bottom line has always been that if we are to teach fishermen to catch more fish we also need to teach them to be good stewards of the fisheries they enjoy, and good citizens on the water.

I do not often use this column to discuss this publication or its content but I will make an exception this month as I point out three pieces I feel are highly exemplary of TSFMag writers "walking the walk."

First is our cover story. Eric "Oz" Ozolins has distinguished himself as a master surf angler and one of Texas's best shark fishermen of all time. Oz's skill in targeting and landing sharks from Texas beaches has grown legendary in a relatively short span of years, ditto his dedication to catch and release ethic that has helped shape the modern-day mantra of shark angling in Texas. Oz's account of assisting in the capture-tagging-release of a mako to enable marine research at Harte Institute is highly notable in my view.

Next is Jay Watkins. Jay began his career as a fishing guide in the late-70s and distinguished himself along the way as one of the most talented and successful to ever advertise his services. Jay's achievements in competitive angling–as a guide, tourney partner, and individual angler–are equally impressive. To paraphrase Bum Phillips referring to Earl Campbell, "If Jay's not at the head of the class it doesn't take long to call the roll." Through his monthly Ask the Pro column Jay explains fishing strategies and tactics in his unique and sometimes humorous style. This month he gives us a serious, introspective look into the fundamental elements of his personal sporting ethic and the many anglers and guides who he believes have contributed to his career.

Ernest Cisneros has been with TSFMag for at least a decade and I have fished many days on his boat. Perhaps his most endearing quality is his humble nature. Ernest is a true gentleman and one of the finest stewards of coastal resources I have ever met. My first day on the water with Ernest was a snook trip and while we discussed details on the telephone he said, "I hope you will understand, all my snook charters are catch and release only." And this was fine with me. How Ernest has managed a 130-150 day-per-year charter business while holding down a full-time teaching job is testament to his incredible passion and durability. In his column this month Ernest is announcing his latest promotion of catch and release angling, a commendable endeavor that has been embraced by all the major fishing-related companies who contribute to his enterprise as sponsors.

Thank you for reading. Practice conservation and be courteous to your fellow anglers. Take a kid fishing!