Fishing in Texas
Fishing is the activity of catching fish. Fishing techniques include netting, trapping, angling and hand gathering. The term fishing may be applied to catching other aquatic animals such as different types of shellfish, squid, octopus, turtles, frogs, and some edible marine invertebrates. Fishing is not usually applied to catching aquatic mammals such as whales, where the term “whaling” is more appropriate, or to commercial fish farming. In addition to providing food through harvesting fish, modern fishing is both a recreational and professional sport. According to statistics, the total number of fishermen and fish farmers is estimated to be 38 million. Fisheries provide direct and indirect employment to an estimated 200 million people. In 2005, the worldwide per capita consumption of fish captured from wild fisheries was 14.4 kilograms, with an additional 7.4 kilograms harvested from fish farms.
Fishing is an ancient practice that dates back at least to the Paleolithic period which began about 40,000 years ago. Archaeology features such as shell middens, discarded fish bones and cave paintings show that sea foods were important for survival and consumed in significant quantities. During this period, most people lived a hunter-gatherer lifestyle and were, of necessity, constantly on the move. However, where there are early examples of permanent settlements such as those at Lepenski Vir, they are almost always associated with fishing as a major source of food. The ancient river Nile was full of fish. Fresh and dried fish were a staple food for much of the population.The Egyptians had implements and methods for fishing and these are illustrated in tomb scenes, drawings, and papyrus documents. Some representations hint at fishing being pursued as a pastime. In India, the Pandyas, a classical Dravidian Tamil kingdom, were known for the pearl fishery as early as the 1st century BC. Their seaport Tuticorin was known for deep sea pearl fishing.
The paravas, a Tamil caste centered in Tuticorin, developed a rich community because of their pearl trade, navigation knowledge and fisheries. Fishing scenes are rarely represented in ancient Greek culture, a reflection of the low social status of fishing. However, Oppian of Corycus, a Greek author wrote a major treatise on sea fishing, the Halieulica or Halieutika, composed between 177 and 180. This is the earliest such work to have survived to the modern day. Pictorial evidence of Roman fishing comes from mosaics. The Greco-Roman sea god Neptune is depicted as wielding a fishing trident. The Moche people of ancient Peru depicted fisherman in their ceramics. September and October are months of change along the Texas Coast, as it unofficially marks the end of the long hot summer and the beginning of cooler temperatures. Some of the changes here in the Coastal Bend include less fishing pressure, cooler water temps, nicer weather, higher tides, and overall better fishing conditions than July and August. Another welcomed event is the beginning of our dove hunting season.
As for the fishing, it doesn’t seem to matter which species you are intending to target, chances are you’ll begin having better opportunities for catching them. Let’s start off with my favorite fish, the ol’ Speckled Trout. In the months of September and October we normally get some much needed rain, welcomed higher tides, cooler water, and we also begin to see less boat traffic. Obviously, all of this helps in the aid of catching our adversary.
Plus, the trout welcome the change because they are coming out of their most stressed time of year – the invasive hot summer. The bulk of my time will be concentrated on wade fishing the shorelines of our bays that have an abundance of hard sand/grass, sand/shell bottoms, and lots of nervous, bunched up baitfish. With this kind of scenario early in the mornings, or late in the evenings, it’s almost a slam dunk. Boat fishing the reefs of our northern bays with live baits or plastics will also produce lots of fish as well. You can also find a good bit of trout Redfish, during the month of September, will seem to be almost everywhere, especially on the flats and shorelines. And by early October you’ll find the species schooling in large pods, heading for our jetties and passes for their spawn. Any kind of bait you have on the end of your line will do the trick. Normally, it’s pretty easy to spot these groups of fish.
The obvious and easiest way to find some of the schools is to look for lots of boats in a small area. The boats will be huddled together while the anglers are picking fish out from the sides of the school as the meel around, commonly referred to as a “Redfish Rodeo”. The not so easy signs of finding these schooled up redfish include looking for “nervous” water, or many wakes in a small area. Even running by the large schools in a boat will make these fish “hump up” which is a easy way of finding them, but don’t do this in a way to make other fisherman mad. “Red/gold” looking colored water, and birds hovering or working a small area over a flat or shoreline is always a good sign. A large area of “nervous looking” water is also a very good sign there is a school of reds there. Wade fishing the shorelines will yield better catches most of the time because you can keep up with the school as they move down the shoreline. If you’re not willing to wade, another way to stay with the school is to use a trolling motor, as you can move your boat with the fish without spooking them. Be sure and stay just inside of casting range to the bay or deeper side of the fish, and position yourself even with, or just ahead of, the leading fish in the school. September and October usually give-up quite a few flounder too, especially during the latter part of Setpember. Look for these “flatfish” in and outside of the many creeks and sloughs running into our back lakes. You need to fish up tight to the shorelines and fairly shallow, in about 1 to 2 feet of water. Concentrate your efforts on and around the points of land jutting out from the creek, and also into and inside the creek. Sandbars and small deviations in contour of bottom help out a lot also. Keep in mind, you must have some kind of current running through the cut or slough when fishing for flounder.
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