by Capt Craig Lambert
The July 4th holiday is finally here and as long as you aren't particular about the species you catch then fishing should be just fine. However, if you are a speckled trout angler you had better be ready to grind it out. I don't want to make it all seem like doom and gloom but the trout fishing in general is tough. I am trying to keep an open mind and bent rods so catching sharks, sheepshead, redfish and anything that will pull is what I am after. Heavy shell and riprap (rock walls) are producing best now as they do every summer for redfish, sheepshead and a variety of other species. The sharks are all over in the open areas of West Bay, the ship channel and the surf and will hit almost anything you are using for bait. And the specks are best on croakers which is what you expect for this time of year. The ship channel area seems to be holding fair (at best) numbers of trout along with Bastrop Bay and parts of Christmas bay. These 2 areas down by San Luis Pass I am getting fair
reports from. The rest of the bay system I am receiving bad
reports from including East Bay, West Bay, Lower Galveston Bay, Trinity Bay and almost everywhere else.Bending Rods!
If I look back at my articles for the past 10 years I would say that I have never said the trout fishing was fair to bad in June or July. Unfortunately, I am saying it this year. Trout populations are way down and it is becoming more evident as the months pass. Texas Parks and wildlife needs to start compiling data and reduce the limit to 5. They have already sent out a mailer to fishing license holders about lowering the limit which means they are looking in to the situation. But it isn't happening fast enough. This is really a wake up call to us Texas and soon Louisiana saltwater anglers that always thought conservation and catch and release was for the bass crowd fishing lakes and streams. Well obviously it is not and the days of "meat hoggin" needs to be "socially denied". Texas saltwater anglers as a group need to change their way of thinking and we need to start talking about and doing our part in the conservation of our fishery. There are more anglers, with more boats, with more information than ever before and we are taking out more and more fish from our system and they are not being replaced. One major problem is due to lack of habitat because of our marshes disappearing and being built in to town homes and boat canals. More fish being caught and less and less habitat for the fish to grow and thrive. Now we are seeing the result.Sharks are Everywhere
5 reds and 5 trout is the perfect scenario in my opinion. Raising the limit from 3 to 5 redfish will be just fine now that we are decades away from the redfish wars. I doubt that will happen but I can offer my opinion. Our redfish numbers seem to be progressing on their normal cycles in my opinion. Although I have seen less numbers of redfish up North during the summer months that doesn't mean the numbers are low. My redfish catches seem to be about the same over the past few years with no noticeable decline in numbers. Look for schools of roaming redfish in open bay areas as well as way up in the back marshes. There are still a few trout out there
The last 3 to 4 years our flounder populations and flounder runs have been producing below average numbers of fish but is this really from overfishing or is this from warmer yearly average water temperatures or other environmental situations like the loss of habitat. When I look back through my fishing logs my flounder trips were excellent until they reduced the limit down to 2 during the fall run. That same year flounder fishing fell and has not recovered. Every year before that for as long as I can remember I would catch hundreds of flounder every year during the run. I pray those days are not gone just for the sake of future anglers. This will be another discussion come fall. Big Sheepshead are being caught this Year!
It's not all bad because we are just in a cycle and those cycles go up and down. If we truly do our part we will rebound quickly and hopefully keep this from ever happening again.
Everybody have a safe and Happy 4th and remember to take a kid fishing!!!