2 Cool Fishing Forum banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
115 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This might be a stupid question, and I might get chastized for asking it, but here goes... Why is there such a push to prohibit the use of live croaker as speck bait? I understand that it be deemed 'unfair' to the fish to manipulate one of there instinctual feeding patterns, but that argument can be used against arty fishing as well. Can someone give me their point of view on the subject?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26,147 Posts
IMO, croaker are natural are one of the few live baits that a trout will hit out of spite, whether they are feeding or not. Using croaker for bait makes fishing with live shrimp look hard.
 

·
An Over 60 Victim Of Fate
Joined
·
23,559 Posts
Well...

scanoochdc said:
This might be a stupid question, and I might get chastized for asking it, but here goes... Why is there such a push to prohibit the use of live croaker as speck bait? I understand that it be deemed 'unfair' to the fish to manipulate one of there instinctual feeding patterns, but that argument can be used against arty fishing as well. Can someone give me their point of view on the subject?
It's not so much the bait as the slaughter of fish that is capable with the bait. When the for hire boats with the huge croaker tanks started fishing and pulling in limit after limit some people saw that as a problem. That and given the fact that a lot of fish caught with croaker are hooked deep, lessening the chance that the fish could be released alive put a burr under a lot of folks wading pants.

TH
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
Believe it or not

There are many people who fish for croaker to eat. Some of them would rather catch croaker than trout- that's how highly they think of the taste of croaker. You will probably never see them post on a board like this, but there're a fairly large number of them. The pressure being put on the croaker population by bait trawlers during the spring and summer to feed the demand for croakers as bait appears to have affected the fall croaker runs in the last 2 years. Before you could easily catch lots of big croaker in the fall. Over the last 2 yrs. almost all the croaker I have seen caught have been very small. There are several angles to this. Another is that because of the lack of good croaker population (due to the taking of so many of them as bait) the middle size trout population has a much harder time getting to trophy size and now we have a one over 25" rule. I can't say that lack of croaker as food is why there was a big scare that that we were running out of trophy, but the timing of the trout concern with the downturn of the fall croaker run makes it very plasuable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
There is a segment of the fishing population that truly believes it is somehow more noble to catch a fish with an artificial lure than it is with any natural bait. Gives them a feeling of superiority I guess. However, fishing should be a personal endeavor. Catch them however you want to, I say. If you choose to practice catch and release, a croaker with a circle hook has no higher mortality rate than any other method of catching trout.

As to the big croaker theory, I recently read that the croaker population has never truly recovered from the freezes in the 80's. There are very few shrimp boats who actually trawl for croakers, typically the same boats dragging for live shrimp. These boats make short drags so the bait can be kept alive. The rest of the boats drag much longer and much of the croakers they catch die as a result. It has always been like this. I am no expert, but I can't imagine that the use of croakers for bait has had any impact at all on the total number of croakers. If this were so, where are all the baby croakers coming from?
 

·
An Over 60 Victim Of Fate
Joined
·
23,559 Posts
Also there is a segment of the fishing population who truly believes that it is more fun to "fool" the fish than to "feed" the fish. The excitement of a Trout crashing a topwater bait means more to them than say a cork being pulled under by a fish. Also, there is much less chance of catching trash fish when using artificial than when chunking bait, but it does happen some days, right Hevy?

It only makes sense that bycatch from the shrimpers and the harvesting of the new hatch croaker for bait would put a dent in the overall population of croaker.

If the freezes of the 80's did indeed play a part in the overall shortage of large croaker today, that would only mean that overharvesting of them by netting has kept the numbers down.

If one continues to harvest the younger fish and the larger fish continue to be bycatch then sooner or later you're removing more fish than Mother Nature can produce in our bay systems.

Fish with whatever you want, bait or artificial, and enjoy the moment. If you fish a lot like some do, then consider imposing a personal limit on how many fish you keep, a limit that is less than that currently allowed by law.

TH
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
115 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks everyone for the informed opinions. Wading Away, can you tell me where you got that information on the impact of the 80's freezes on croaker? I'd kind of like to read that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Trouthunter,
I grew up on the Texas and Louisiana gulf coasts and have fished since I was very young. The overwhelming majority of the fish I have caught have been on artificials. To me, the ultimate in catching trout is the surf at dawn throwing topwaters. 3am under a full moon on a dead calm night is a very close second. However, for a large portion of the summer, wading shallow with croakers is an unbeatable way to fish, especially with my 11 year old son wading close by. I can outcatch croakers over topwaters around say 10 to 1, and I am no slouch with a topwater. I realize for some, they would rather catch the one on a topwater and I can respect that. I don't understand it however. By the way, I almost never catch a trash fish. I also keep very few trout and nothing over 24". My son won't keep any unless I tell him we are keeping some to eat.

What has always irked me about the bait vs. artificial debate is how some (and I am in no way including you) look down their collective noses at anyone using bait. The fool them vs. feed them line is an example. I mean really, unless you built the bait yourself, how is chunking something bought at Academy more sportsmanlike than chunking something swimming bought at the local bait camp? What matters is what you do with the fish after you catch him. Trust me, not all bait fishermen have a meat hauler mentality any more than all artificial fishermen are conservationists.

As to the impact on croaker population, saying that live croaker is impacting the croaker population is like saying live shrimp as bait impacts the shrimp population. The impact is insignificant. Shrimp caught for food and croaker killed as bycatch are totally different issues. The numbers are orders of magnitude larger, but bycatch has been an issue for decades. The loss of croaker runs probably has more to do with fresh water runoff and other changes in the ecosystem in Galveston Bay than anything else. I read the part about the lack of recovery after the freeze in the Chronicle in an article by Pike or Doggett.

Finally, I'd love to go with you someday in August. You can show me how to call up lethargic summer trout with a topwater and when we tire of that, I'll show you how to catch them shallow with finfish. Careful though, I have converted a few artificial only fishermen in my day!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
40,471 Posts
OK, I will be the first to say it.

I like the taste of croaker. If I know I'm going to catch fish to keep and eat, to me, I will take sand trout with some flounder and if I happen to catch a few good size croaker, I keep them as well. When all is battered and fried, the table set the food is great. I really like the golden croakers during their run....yumm Notice I said "fried". If cooked in any other fashion, I prefer other fish.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,007 Posts
I am 35

I remember as a kid catching the croaker with my grandparents in places like Brown Cedar Cut and areas near Sargent. The good sized ones. We ate 'em up. I rarely bait fish anymore and I haven't seen anyone catch a decent croaker in many years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
95 Posts
10"-12" and up is large croaker. A 10" croaker is right on the edge of being viable to eat. You can pan fry 'em and eat 3 or 4 and get a nice meal.

I fish with croakers. I also fish with topwaters, and touts, and spoons, and shrimp. I fish any old way that will catch, and will continue to.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
scanoochdc said:
Thanks everyone for the informed opinions. Wading Away, can you tell me where you got that information on the impact of the 80's freezes on croaker? I'd kind of like to read that.
Scanoochdc,
I was positive I read it in the Chronicle. I did a google search on every combination of croaker, freeze, chronicle, etc. I could think of and came up empty. Maybe someone with better search skills than I?
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top