Fish Texas – August 2017

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Fish Texas

In This Issue:

NEW This Season

Your Fishing Dollars video link

The fishing season officially started Sept. 1. Be sure you’ve got a valid license and are familiar with the new fishing regulations

NEW this year in freshwater fishing: Alabama bass has been added to the list of game fishes, and catch-and-release-only rules now apply to bass and sunfish in specific areas. See the list of new fishing regulations for details.

NEW this year in saltwater fishing:

  • Minimum length for scalloped, smooth and great hammerhead sharks is 99”
  • Minimum length for gag grouper is 24”
  • Daily bag limit for black grouper is 4
  • No harvest is allowed for Nassau grouper

Your guide for all fishing regulations is the 2017-2018 Outdoor AnnualIt also explains the different types of licenses available. To satisfy all your fishing impulses, get the All-Water License Package for $40 ($22 for seniors), which includes a Resident Fishing License, and endorsements for freshwater fishing and saltwater fishing with a red drum tag.

100% of fishing license fees go to conservation efforts including fish hatcheries and stocking, enhancing fish habitats and protecting waterways. Thank you for supporting our natural resources. 

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Pursuing the Powerful Silver King

tarpon in water video link

Landing a tarpon is a premier achievement for saltwater anglers. These challenging sportfish are famous for their fighting ability and graceful aerial displays, and only about 1 of every 8 hook-ups brings a silver king to the hand.

To find these exciting gamefish, fish the surf and near Gulf passes during late summer and early fall. Then watch for their habit of gulping surface air, called “rolling.” 

To tempt a tarpon, use live crab and shrimp, menhaden, mullet and artificial copycats of live bait. Read this Texas Parks & Wildlife story for more tarpon tips. Daily bag limit is 1 fish with a minimum length of 85”. The Texas record is 210.70 pounds, 91”, 2006.  

Until the 1960s, an abundance of silver kings made the Texas Gulf Coast a world-class fishery. At one time Port Aransas was named "Tarpon" because so many were in the area. Today, tarpon numbers are scarce, but an effort to conserve the species has led to more angler opportunities. You can help by reporting sightings to the Tarpon Observation Network.

Take a look at this video to see recollections of the silver king’s glory days and learn what's being done today to restore their numbers.

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Lifetime License Drawing link

Don’t Let That Big One Get Away

Child holding a record catfish

Ever get a glimpse of that fighting whopper on the end of your line, only to have the line break and the fish escape? Don’t blame your tackle, it’s more likely angler error. 

Even if tackle does fail, it’s probably due to lack of maintenance. This Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine story has tips on how to avoid all the above, giving you a better chance of holding on to those feisty big fellas.

And when you do land a big one, we want to hear about it! Our Angler Recognition Program maintains the state record lists and bestows other fishing awards like First Fish and Elite Angler. So keep that gear maintained and tie those knots tight – it doesn’t count until you reel it in!

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Tackle Tips – Rigs, Knots and Boxes

Tackle box of plastic worms

When opportunity strikes, be sure your gear is ready to go. If you wonder about which rig to choose, we added tips about 6 rigs to the digital Fishing Guide. Also NEW to the guide are directions for making your own rig. Get the it when you download the free Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine app.

With all these rigs to try out, you may want to bone up on your knot tying. This magazine article explains how to tie 3 fishing knots and situations in which you might use them.

Experimenting with rigs requires an assortment of tackle, so you'll need a suitable tackle box. Take a look at this short video on tackle box tips. 

Any rig may be most effective at one time or another, so have your tackle organized and multiple rods rigged, and you’ll be ready for anything.  

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Wear your life jacket

Help Us Locate Elusive American Eels

American eel

Slippery as an eel holds true for the information we have about the American eel. We know they begin life in the Sargasso Sea, near Bermuda. Drifting on ocean currents, some make it to the Gulf Coast and move into Texas rivers. They may stay here for 20 years before returning to the Sargasso Sea to spawn and die.

Biologists are currently collecting data to better understand this mysterious species, and they’re asking anglers to help in the effort. Please let us know if you see or catch an American eel; photograph it, record the location and contact the River Studies Program at (512) 745-6844. 

You’ll find more about the program and tips on how to distinguish this species from other eels in this news release. And check out this Facebook video of a recent American eel catch-and-release. Thank you for your help!

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Outdoor Annual

Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame Seeks Nominations

Young men doing aquatic research video link

The Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame honors individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to freshwater fishing in Texas. Meet the two deserving 2017 inductees:

Dr. Bobby Whiteside has devoted his life to “my family, my teaching and then bass fishing.” A revered leader in aquatic education and fisheries biology, he’s also 1 of the authors of Freshwater Fishes of Texas and a 49-year member of the Canyon Bass Club.

Gulf States Toyota has provided over $2.5 million to the TPWD Inland Fisheries programs that promote bass fishing and family fishing. One such program is the annual Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest, a premier springtime fishing tournament. Another is the Toyota ShareLunker Program.

Annual inductees are chosen by the Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame Committee from among those nominated by the public. If you know an individual or industry/organization that’s made a significant contribution to freshwater fishing in Texas, nominate them! Starting this year, nominations are no longer limited to Texas residents or Texas-based organizations. The deadline is Nov. 1.

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Did you know...

It’s easy to misidentify sharks. Look over this list of prohibited shark species and their distinguishing characteristics so you’ll know which sharks are protected. If you’re unsure about the species of a shark, release it.