Hello September!

I say this every year…Man, I’m sure happy to see September. The weather’s been terribly hot, same every year, but even if it doesn’t cool down very much, at least the calendar says fall has arrived. Bring those north breezes…I’m sure I speak for lots of Texas outdoors enthusiasts.

As many expected, last month, TPWD extended the emergency spotted seatrout regulations an additional 60 days for Texas waters south of the JFK Causeway. I am very anxious to learn how the commissioners will handle this situation going forward during their regular sessions on August 25-26, 2021. I am also curious whether they will decide to implement similar measures to the Mid-Coast region. Population surveys via bag seine, bay trawl, and gill nets are the primary tools for measuring relative abundance. Coastal Fisheries Division released their spring gill net numbers several weeks back that showed a very significant decline in many areas as a result of the February freeze, which drove the extension decision – but with the caveat that fresh water inundation on the Middle Coast might have skewed the results. Trout cannot tolerate fresh water and are known to move quickly to more favorable habitat.

It is my personal belief that the spotted seatrout fishery in Matagorda, San Antonio, and Aransas bays would also benefit from similar management regulations, even if only a year or two. Trout fishing has been spotty at best in these bays throughout spring and summer, except perhaps in areas near Gulf passes where fish have fled their normal haunts, seeking more favorable salinity. It troubles me when I see social media reports of “quick limits” when, in reality, what’s really happening is that some anglers are simply taking advantage of stack-up situations. Nobody that can afford to hire a guide or own a boat and fish on their own will miss a single meal by practicing more catch and release. We are gifted with magnificent coastal resources; sometimes we just need to recognize how fragile these resources can be and police our activities accordingly. How could we not benefit from erring on the side of conservation?

September also marks the beginning of the very popular cast and blast season across Texas. Doves and teal are the main draw and I cannot think of a more enjoyable way to spend a day than splitting time between the fields and the bays. If by chance you have never witnessed a flight of early-arriving blue-winged teal buzzing your decoys or watched hundreds of white-wings flocking to ripe sunflowers, all I can say is you don’t know what you’re missing.

Don’t let opportunity in the Texas outdoors pass you by…and don’t forget the kiddos!

September Issue Highlights