My toes were cold. The thermostat in my house read 45 degrees. We had been without power for a week. Add to that no running water, no internet, more snow than the state had seen in decades and you have the makings of an uncomfortable Texan. We don’t do well with cold weather, let alone prolonged freezes.
While conditions at home were obviously not ideal – my thoughts were on the Texas Gulf Coast. What was the status of the revered speckled trout? Were redfish on the hit list? Would flounder, my personal favorite, be in jeopardy? I knew my power and water would return – but would our fishery?
Logging into facebook and scouring fishing groups for information left me confused. It seemed like everyone had an expert opinion. Some said this was an “end of days” scenario while others claimed this freeze was no different than a red tide event. What was I to believe?
Matt Murphy encouraged me to “make my own informed decision”. With that in mind, my wife and I decided to head to the Texas Upper Gulf Coast and see things for ourselves. We focused on the Sargent area and were immediately pleased with what we found – redfish and trout were plentiful and we even caught a few undersized flounder. Fish ranged from big too small. We caught many redfish in the slot and over-sized, and speckled trout were landed in large numbers – even some over 20”. This was great news. We made it a point to fish all depths. Fish were in the marsh and back lakes, as well as deeper cuts and channels. We saw no dead bait or game fish. We hit the water 3 days straight and the report was the same.
I live in Austin, Tx, so when I’m able to make it to saltwater, I make the most of it. I harvest fish, there I said it. Fish is my favorite food and my family eats a good deal of it. With that said, I only keep what we can eat and a meal or two for the freezer. We did not keep fish on this trip, but I do not fault anyone who is harvesting their catch right now. To be honest, if I didn’t have fish in the freezer, I would not have found it objectionable to bring fish home. What I witnessed was a healthy fishery.
I know this isn’t the case for all locations. The further south you go, you harder areas were hit. I am sure there are areas where maybe catch and release would be recommended, but that’s not for me to decide. I have seen too many people on both sides of the fence demanding others follow their marching orders. I’ll abide by the laws in place and keep my opinion to myself. I have learned the hard way I’m not smart enough to tell others what to do. All I can do is adhere to my personal responsibility and hope others do the same.
ACK Fishing Team
YT: The Sober Fisherman