New Regs and Proper Planning

New Regs and Proper Planning
Cole of Midland and his big stingray.
I have only recently been made aware of some new rules concerning PINS and will pass along to you those effecting fishermen. Please direct any questions concerning these rules to them and not to me as I'm simply passing along the info.

The number of fishing poles is limited to 6 per person. All fishing poles and lines will be maintained at the surf's edge.

The use of artificial light or spotlighting for fishing is prohibited.

Seine nets, trot lines, and jug lines are prohibited in the park.

Sand pumps are restricted (prohibited) in the park from October 01 through June 30. From July 01 through September 30, sand pumps are permitted for the collection of ghost shrimp.

I'd like to remind everyone that northbound traffic has the right-of-way on the PINS Beach. There have been some real issues arising from this lately.

I was really anxious to run the panga north of Port Aransas yesterday to see if I could intercept the first schools of tarpon headed south of P.O.C. in the surf. I knew it was the only day to do so before we came under the influence of Hurricane Gustav. I didn't go because my hands and fingers were swollen and quite sore from a number of cuts acquired the past few days. As bad as I wanted to go it just didn't make any sense to go solo with my hands in that condition and things are too tight financially to throw away the gas money that could well be used later with healed hands and tarpon closer to home. So, I started rubbing the injuries with Corn Husker's Lotion to aid quick healing and will use the downtime from Gustav to get these writing assignments completed on time and fine-tune my tarpon tackle.

The point I am trying to make here is that there are lots of small issues that we often ignore when we're determined to make a trip. Some of these have real potential to ruin the venture. Sure, I understand that we sometimes need to go fishin' immediately before going postal. But when making trips of this type that's all we should expect; to go fishin', not catching.

Money is tight and as a fulltime guide I am all too aware that a lot of folks are cutting back on the number of fishing trips they can afford to make. All the more reason to plan carefully and not waste precious personal time and high dollar fuel.

Seems folks have unusual perspectives when planning trips. They are Keenly interested in the moon phase but few inquire if there may be a major tournament in the area during the timeframe of their planned trip. Tournament can have a much greater negative impact than any moon phase. Excessive vehicle or boat traffic on weekends often kills quality catching that's been going on all week and will return on Monday.

It's very common for numbers of anglers to go fishing together to keep down the individual expenses of a trip. Make sure you are teamed up with like-minded and purposed individuals or these trips often turn into nightmares.

Bait fishermen are prone to stay in one area while lure grinders are constantly on the move. Fly fishermen can work relatively well with "grinders" but very poorly with bait fishermen. Monitor available fishing reports from the area you intend to fish. There's sure no shortage of them available.

If the bays are slow due to freshwater runoff or heat consider other venues. If surf fishing is off and the water is murky and unproductive don't expect it to change because you showed up. Consider near shore ventures or a change of bay systems.

It's always saddened me when anglers show up ill-prepared because I want them to have a good day and a lot of fun and get their strings stretched plenty so that they might want to come back and also recommend the trip to their friends. One of the saddest things I experience as a guide is when we have one of those rare days with perfect conditions and the customer shows up without polarized eyewear. There we are with perfect sightcasting opportunities and I know right off we are going to encounter large speckled trout and redfish shallow on the beach and he is not going to be able to see them.

By the way, every one is always bragging on their sunglasses so I want to take the time to give mine a plug too. I've worn Smith's Action Optics for 10 years and wouldn't trade them for any other brand out there. The amber shallow water lenses are far superior to any others I've owned and are easier on the pocket book to boot.

When booking a trip, take time to talk with your guide and let him know what your hopes and expectations are as well as any physical problems you may have. Last week I had a fine fellow on a beach charter and there were miles of ladyfish up to four pounds easily available. He said, "Boy, I sure wish I had my fly rod." I was heartbroken and told him I had 12 at the house and could easily have brought him a setup if I'd had a clue he was interested in fly fishing.

If your timeframe for a trip is restricted to a certain time of year, find out what species are available during that season in the bay, the surf and near-shore and then pick the trip that will likely deliver the highest potential for a good outing. My website includes a page entitled "Best Times" which lists availability of the most commonly sought species during each month of the year in the PINS surf.

Purchase and use medicines and over-the-counter remedies that may be of assistance to you. Sea sickness is no reason to miss out on some spectacular near-shore fishing. Dramamine and other medicines will prevent it before it starts. Wrist bands are inexpensive and strengthen weak wrists and tendinitis braces work miracles.

I want to take a moment to brag on my longtime sponsor, Daiwa. They have a new Saltiga Inshore baitcasting rod that is to die for. The SA-GC 661MLFB is the finest and best balanced baitcasting rod I've
thrown in a long time and I've thrown most. It is very light in weight and sensitive. The 6'-6" model is recommended for 6-14# line and 1/8-1/2 ounce lures. The Saltiga delivers high quality and excellent performance at a reasonable price.

Enjoy the fall; it is after all the season of harvest. Be Careful. Be Courteous. Be Kind.
Capt. Billy L. Sandifer