Archive for the 'Saltwater' Category

TPW Magazine/Invasive: Lionfish

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Lionfish, CHASE FOUNTAIN, TPWD ©2013

Lionfish, CHASE FOUNTAIN, TPWD ©2013

This is Passport to Texas

Since 1986, scientists have followed the spread of Lionfish from the south Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico.

04— So far their effect in the Gulf has been minimal; but that will change.

Melissa Gaskill is a science and travel writer living in Austin. She wrote an article about the potential problem of Lionfish for the December issue of TPW Magazine, on newsstands now.

11—They’re very voracious eaters, and they eat everything and anything. They eat all kinds of fish; they’ll eat anything that can fit in their mouth. And they’ll eat and eat and eat, and just grow and grow and grow. And nothing eats them.

We may have saltwater aquarium enthusiasts to “thank” for the current Lionfish situation.

07— Someone probably got fed up with their pet lionfish eating all of their other pet fish and just decided to dump them in the south Atlantic.

In addition to the species’ voracious appetite, it’s also a prolific breeder.

23— They spawn more often than most reef fish; they also spawn in pairs. And when they reproduce, their little fishies drift on currents; so it’s inevitable they’d end up in this part of the Gulf given prevailing currents. And scientists and divers have been able to watch this gradual and not so gradual spread. They were first seen out around the Flower Gardens, and now they’ve been seen closer to our coast.

Tomorrow: managing this invasive species with butter and lemon.

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

Angling: Winter Fishing

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Jetty fishing at sunrise

Jetty fishing at sunrise

This is Passport to Texas

Saltwater anglers don’t have to keep their gear in storage until summer.

06—Texas has year-round saltwater fishing and it’s very productive, even in the worst of weather.

While the majority of saltwater anglers cast for redfish, flounder and speckled trout, professional fishing guide and outdoor writer, Danno Wise, recommends casting a wider net, so to speak. He says there are plenty of different fish in the sea.

40—Down here in the Rio Grande Valley is the only place in the continental United States outside of South Florida there’s a fishable population of snook year round. They’re sensitive to cold so they’re going to go into the deeper portions of our bay systems, but because the fish will be concentrated, we have excellent snook fishing during the winter time. We also have a substantial amount of beachfront fishing which is kind of overlooked. Whiting, which is a simple kind of fish, and the pompano. Very tropical looking species; in Florida, they’re targeted very heavily. Fish such as those are plentiful and good eating, and if you want to target going out just to get out of the house, relax, and catch a few to take home to eat, those are excellent choices.

Grab your gear and some warm clothes and head to the coast this winter to reel in more than the usual suspects.

That’s our show…we receive support from the Sport Fish Restoration program…funded by your purchase of fishing equipment and motor boat fuel…. For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Angling: Bull Redfish Run

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

Catching Redfish

Catching Redfish

This is Passport to Texas

Red drum, also called redfish, is a favorite among coastal anglers. And now is the time of year when this species make a big splash.

08— From about August to November or December, adult red drum congregate near the beach in these spawning aggregations.

Bill Balboa is a fisheries biologist for the Galveston Bay system. This concentration of red drum near the beaches is the annual red bull run.

06— So, they’re very big fish; they can run anywhere from 30-inches to upwards of 46 to 48-inches long.

Balboa says the name Bull redfish is a coastal colloquialism for any big fish in the gulf or estuaries.

11—But [they’re] also [called bulls] because they’re very powerful; and if you ever catch one it would be like trying to hold a bull in place. They’re very strong fish.

Medium to heavy fishing tackle with 12 to 30 pound test line, using crab, finger mullet or cut bait could help you real in these big boys.

21— If you catch a red drum between 20 and 28 inches long, you can keep three per day per person. If you catch one that’s over 30-inches long, with a Texas saltwater fishing license, we have a bonus red drum tag. So, if you catch a red drum that’s over 28-inches long, the fish has to be tagged after you catch it, and the tag has to be filled out. So, you can keep one fish over 28 inches.

We have more coastal fishing information on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website. The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

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

Fisheries: Galveston Bay Estuary

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Galveston Bay Estuary Teaming with Life, Image © Gary Seloff

Galveston Bay Estuary Teaming with Life, Image © Gary Seloff

This is Passport to Texas

If you’re looking for a way to cap off your summer or kick off your fall, a fishing trip to the coast may satisfy that craving.

04— Fishing is phenomenal on the Texas coast in the late summer and early fall.

Bill Balboa is a fisheries biologist for the Galveston Bay system – a great place, he says, to cast a line.

18— It’s the largest estuary on the Texas coast, and we have a real diversity of fish species; they run anywhere from blue catfish, which are freshwater species – because there’s a lot of river flows into the bay – all the way to spotted sea trout, tarpon, red drum, black drum, and the other saltwater species you see farther down the coast. So, it’s a very diverse environment.

Here’s the best part: you’re not going to need a boat to get the most out of a fishing trip to the Texas coast.

17— Absolutely not. And that’s a really good point, because in the summertime and the early fall, there’s a lot of really good fishing all up and down the Texas coast – specifically on the beach. Prevailing winds that blow all spring and summer calm down a bit, and so the water along the beachfront improves, and the fishing is phenomenal.

Bill Balboa says fishing in the bays is like opening packages at Christmas – you never know what you’ll find. Everything you need to know to fish in Texas is at the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

Support provided by Ram Trucks. Doing what’s right and good regardless of the degree of difficulty — takes guts. Those are the people who build Ram trucks. RAM. For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Fish/Conservation: Value of Artificial Reefs

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Divers exploring artificial reef in Texas Gulf

Divers exploring artificial reef in Texas Gulf

This is Passport to Texas

We call outdated oil rigs, decommissioned ships and other materials placed in the Gulf of Mexico (where they become marine habitat) artificial reefs.

06— Smaller type of organisms will attach to that and begin the basics of a food web.

Dale Shively oversees the Artificial Reef program for Texas Parks and Wildlife. Small marine organisms — which are always in the gulf, but diffuse — become concentrated on reefed materials, which in turn attract a variety of fish species.

06— So, you’re basically giving the marine environment a base, or foundation to get started on.

Artificial reefs – in federal and state waters – create improved angling and diving opportunities; that brings dollars to coastal communities.

13—By creating artificial reefs, we’ve helped to increase those populations of marine life, and basically give divers and anglers more opportunities to experience those types of things out in the gulf.

These man made reefs will last for many decades, enhancing the ecosystem and angling for generations to come.

11— Unless they’re a migratory species, once fish and marine life have acclimated to that area, and start to reproduce, then they’ll stay there and will spend most of their life in that one particular area.

The Sport Fish restoration program supports our series and is funded by your purchase of fishing equipment and motorboat fuel.

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