Archive for the 'Fishing' Category

2017 Crab Trap Cleanup

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017
Derelict crab traps collected from Chocolate Bayou.

Derelict crab traps collected from Chocolate Bayou.

This is Passport to Texas

Commercial crab fishermen use baited wire traps to lure their prey. Sometimes traps end up missing due to storms, or they are simply discarded.

These traps continue ghost fishing for months or years—capturing fish and other marine creatures, including endangered species—taking an environmental and economic toll on gulf fisheries.

In February of 2002, Texas Parks and Wildlife conducted the first abandoned crab trap removal program; and 2017 marks the 15th cleanup. During a 10-day period this month, volunteers like you, will join Texas Parks and Wildlife staff and partners, in removing derelict traps.

This year’s cleanup is February 17th through the 26th. The big cleanup “push” is Saturday, February 18 from 10 to noon. This is the only time citizens may remove these traps from gulf waters.

More than 32,000 derelict crab traps have been removed from the gulf since 2002, saving tens of thousands of marine organisms.

Texas Parks and Wildlife and partners facilitate roughly 20 sites coast wide and provide disposal facilities, and supply volunteers with tarps, gloves, crab trap hooks and other items.

To volunteer for this year’s program visit the Abandoned Crab Trap Removal page on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Sport Fish restoration Program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Using Baits and Lures to Your Advantage

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017
Baits and lures are an angler's friend.

Baits and lures are an angler’s friend.

This is Passport to Texas

Nothing beats live bait for catching fish. Yet, manmade lures have been around a long time—because they work.

For example, take the spinner bait. The spinning blades are designed to catch a fish’s attention as they move through the water. The flashing silver looks just like a tasty minnow.

Steve Campbell worked in Outreach and Education at Texas Parks and Wildlife, specializing in angler education.

Another popular lure is the top water lure. Because it floats on top of the water, it works best in calm waters where it is visible to fish below. To use a top water…cast…wait for the bait to settle, and then pop your rod tip; repeat until you get a strike.

The crankbait is a fun lure to work with. It has a kind lip that extends from the front of the lure.

This lip causes the bait to dive down through the water as you crank on the reel. As soon as you cast your crankbait, turn the reel quickly a couple of times so the lip will catch the water and pull down. Stop reeling, and the lure begins to float back up. Your goal is to imitate an injured fish darting through the water.

Lures come in all shapes and sizes, and your tackle dealer can help you select the right lures for your next fishing trip.

And remember: while natural bait is best, it’s always a good idea to keep a couple of lures on hand when you get tired of feeding—I mean catching—the fish.

The Sport Fish restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Baits and Lures

Monday, January 30th, 2017
Making baits and lures work for you.

Making baits and lures work for you.

This is Passport to Texas

If you plan to go fishing, you’ll need to bring along live bait, man-made lures—or both.

Let’s talk baits first.

Steve Campbell worked in Outreach and Education at Texas Parks and Wildlife, specializing in angler education.

Nothing beats natural bait for catching fish. Some good, all around freshwater baits are: kernel corn, hot dogs and live critters, such as worms, minnows and crawfish.

If you’re on the coast, can hardly go wrong with using live shrimp. Whether you’re a freshwater or saltwater angler, you need to keep your bait alive.

You’ve got to keep bait alive for it to be effective. Make sure you keep your bait cool and moist and out of direct sunlight.

Most anglers keep live bait in their coolers. Just don’t get it mixed up with the tuna sandwich you packed for lunch. And if your bait came from a bait shop or another body of water, do not release the unused bait into the waters you are fishing.

It can interfere with the plants and animals that live there naturally. Dump the bait in a trash can or on land, away from the water.

Tomorrow we learn about several lures and how to use them to your best advantage.

We record our show in Austin at the Block House. Joel Block engineers our program.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Habitat Improvements for Better Fishing

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017
Enjoying a day of fishing at Possum Kingdom.

Enjoying a day of fishing at Possum Kingdom.

This is Passport to Texas

Collaboration can bring about positive outcomes. Consider the teamwork between Texas Parks and Wildlife, the Brazos River Authority, and other supporters and volunteers. Together they made habitat enhancements at Lake Granbury, Possum Kingdom Lake, and Proctor Lake.

The work was designed to improve habitat for a variety of fish species, and to provide better fishing overall.

The enhancements include artificial structures made of recycled plastics, and natural structures made of recycled bamboo and Christmas trees. These items were vetted for safety, and deployed to create new habitat and improve areas with existing habitat for popular sport fish and prey species.

Environmental conditions such as golden algae, drought and the natural reservoir aging process can affect fish populations. The enhancement projects offer improved areas for spawning and feeding, in addition to providing cover from predators to help fish grow to maturity.

GPS coordinates and maps of the locations of the habitat improvement projects In Lake Granbury, Possum Kingdom Lake and Proctor Lake are available on the TPW web site.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Some Changes in the Toyota Sharelunker Program

Thursday, January 12th, 2017
ShareLunker No. 564 Caught by Roy Euper of Lufkin, TX November 2, 2015 in Sam Rayburn 30 feet of water 13.2 pounds, length 25.5 inches, girth 22 inches

ShareLunker No. 564 |Caught by Roy Euper, Lufkin, TX | November 2, 2015 | Sam Rayburn 13.2 pounds | length 25.5 inches | girth 22 inches

This is Passport to Texas

Largemouth bass weighing 13 or more pounds are eligible for the Toyota Sharelunker program, which runs October 1 through April 30.

It has to be legally caught in Texas waters.

And weighed on a certified scale. Kyle Brookshear coordinates the program, and taught me something new about ShareLunkers.

The males typically don’t get that large. So, they’re normally all female.

Something new this year is only the 13+ pound largemouth caught during the “spawning window of January 1st through March 31st are eligible to participate in the selective breeding program.

So, if an angler catches a fish outside of that window. We’ll come to them with a certified weight, and enter them into the program, and then release that fish back into the lake.

Brookshear says they anticipate improved efficiencies and outcomes as a result of the change.

Through our analysis of our spawning results over the past 30 seasons, and 30 years of the program, we’ve determined January through March provides us with the greatest opportunity to attain good candidates for spawning…meaning that most of those fish that come in are healthy and capable and ready to spawn.

Find information about the Toyota Sharelunker program on the TPW website. The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series and helps fund the operation of the TFFC in Athens.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.