Archive for the 'Saltwater' Category

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.

Preparing to Release the Kraken

Friday, November 11th, 2016
The Kraken is in the Ships-to-Reefs program.

The Kraken is in the Ships-to-Reefs program.

This is Passport to Texas

The artificial reef team at Texas Parks and Wildlife works on several projects at once. Each with staggered timelines.

The whole process [for each] can take several years.

Program leader, Dale Shively says monies for mitigation from the Deep Water Horizon oil spill that came to Texas Parks and Wildlife were earmarked to establish new reefs.

One of those is an offshore, deep water ship project. We have a reef site that’s 70 miles out of Galveston in 140 feet of water that is designed for a ship. Recently, we awarded a contract on a ship that’s currently being cleaned in Brownsville, Texas. One of my staff members thought it would be fun to name it The Kraken. I, for one, didn’t know what a Kraken was. Later I found out it was a sea monster from various movies and Greek Mythology.

Far from being scary, this ship will attract marine life and help to improve recreational and commercial fishing.

So, we’re hoping to have that cleaned and ready to go later this year, if we can get all the approvals in place.

For all the latest information on the artificial reef program, log onto the Texas Parks and Wildlife website and use the key words “artificial reef”.

The Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

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

Types of Artificial Reefs

Thursday, November 10th, 2016
Tugboat preparing to deploy near shore reefing materials.

Tugboat preparing to deploy near shore reefing materials.

This is Passport to Texas

Artificial reefs created in the Gulf of Mexico provide substrate and habitat for marine life. The distance from shore factors into the kind of materials used for the reefs.

Well, in our program we look at the Gulf of Mexico as a whole.

Dale Shively is artificial reef program leader for Texas Parks and Wildlife

As you get near shore, you get into shallower environments; you get into more mud-type environments. As you travel farther off shore, you get into deeper water, clearer water, more sand-type environments. The materials that we use are related to whatever water depth, and the type of water that we’re working in.

Rubble may be used near shore whereas ships and oil platforms are best in deep water.

In shallower environments, we need materials that are going to fit within a certain clearance—and that clearance is set by the coast guard and by the US Army Corps of Engineers. So, as we travel farther offshore, we’ll get into larger pieces of material such as ships and oil platforms. But, we’ll typically use pre-designed materials such as concrete pyramids, or man-made materials such as quarry rock, concrete culverts, and things like that for the shallower environments.

These reefs, near shore and farther out, attract marine life and create better fishing opportunities for all.

The Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

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

What are Artificial Reefs?

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016
School of fish attracted to reefed oil platform.

School of fish attracted to reefed oil platform.

This is Passport to Texas

The Gulf of Mexico has a lot going for it, except for hard substrate, which is necessary to attract marine life.

So, the little bit of hard substrate that we do have out there, we want to maintain and enhance that.

Dale Shively program leader for the artificial reef program at Texas Parks and Wildlife says they use various materials—from decommissioned ships and old oil platforms to construction rubble—to create substrate.

We don’t dump anything. We deploy materials. The materials that we use have been vetted, they are stable, complex and durable. They’re environmentally safe, and they add to the complexity of the environment that’s there.

Shively says it doesn’t take long before the artificial materials “come to life.”

The material immediately attracts marine organisms—especially fish. That’s one of the features. But, what we look for is long-term settling of organisms at that reef site. In a short period of time they will what we call ‘foul’ the material by growing on it. You’ll get barnacles, and crustaceans and other marine life. Once they settle and actually grow onto the structure that creates the basis of the food web. And from there, you develop a complex reef environment.

And that enhanced food web means better fishing for all.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

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