Pretty Darned Good in Texas!

Everett Johnson
No two ways about it, 2012 has been a good year along the Texas coast. Thank the Lord we had no hurricanes. Our state's economy is way ahead of the national average and coastal anglers are taking advantage. Coastal businesses are thriving. Texans should count their blessings.

Fishing will always have ups and downs and the weather doesn't always cooperate, overall though, I think we had a pretty decent year. The guys up at Sabine and Galveston Bays had a banner year with all the big-three fighting for the spotlight trout, reds and flounder. Trout fishing on the middle coast improved over what we saw in the several years previous, our reds were steady and our flounder are plentiful and bigger by the season. I have no clue why the lower coast went into a slump during summer and mine isn't the only head that got scratched bald trying to understand it. Coastal Fisheries says the fish are still there and November fishing reports are much improved. Theories for the sudden lull included too windy, too hot for too long, too much boat traffic, and some I cannot repeat. Whatever happened; I'm willing to bet the lower coast will have a jam-up year in 2013 with lots of big trout and plenty reds and flounder.

Practicing good conservation is the best basic plan for future success, but another primary key to our continued good coastal fishing is obviously the long-term weather patterns. Freshwater inflow is almost never a problem on the upper coast, except when too much. The middle coast trout picture is still a little out of focus, due in part to the effect of prolonged drought. No doubt our 2013 success would be enhanced with a couple flushes between now and early spring. The inconvenience of "freshed out bays" lasts but a few weeks whereas a good flush works its magic for a year or more. During summer we worry sick over tropical storms; in winter we want it cold enough to kickoff the seasonal patterns but no deep freezes, please.

Even though highly influenced by weather; good fishing and all that goes into creating it, will never come as an accident. Our coast teems with fish because our fisheries are well managed. I get to fish in other Gulf states as well as a few places along the Atlantic coast. Nowhere do I see coastal economies thriving like ours and nowhere do I catch as many fish as in Texas.

I think we owe this to the excellent conservation efforts of CCA Texas and the management effort contributed by TPWD Coastal Fisheries. Florida beats out Texas by a nose in recreational saltwater participation, but their miles of tidal coastline is 2.5 times greater than ours. So you'd think their inshore fisheries would be under less pressure and therefore offering consistently better fishing. Well, if it's over there I haven't found it, and it makes me think it's all about the management plan.

Texans are blessed to have such great coastal fishing and we all need to do our part to make sure our kids and grandkids can say the same. Your personal conservation effort will guarantee that it happens.

Merry Christmas Let's Go Fishing!