GOYEN FISHIN: Catch and release the way to go with oversized redfish
A change of season is now upon us.
This is the season where "weekly" cool fronts bring winds from the north-northeast, tides average a foot or more above normal, morning temperatures are slightly cooler, and the trout get "lockjaw."
For those who have tested the waters in the Coastal Bend area the past few weeks or for those who are going to the coast to test the water, the next few weeks will find the current conditions mentioned above accurate.
I have talked to numerous experienced trout fishermen who recently have been struggling to catch keepable trout.
People have asked me what the problem is, and I continue to tell them, "There is no problem."
This happens every year in September and most of October. The trout are still in the bays and will mainly feed at night under the cover of darkness or during a major feeding time. There are still trout to be caught, but reports on good trout catches will be sporadic.
Now is the time to support your kids in school sports, go dove hunting, clean out your garage, get your feeders going or go in pursuit of the second-most sought after game fish on the coast, and the first for many: the redfish.
September and October are the main two months that redfish travel from all the back bays, sloughs, marshes and back lakes to spawn in the Gulf of Mexico.
Redfish typically spawn in warm, deep waters (50-100 feet) on incoming tides. The water in redfish spawning grounds is usually more than 50 feet deep, but redfish come right up to the surface for the actual spawning. Some schools of spawning redfish are so large that they're even visible from airplanes.
Different states have different laws on how big a redfish you can keep.
Louisiana law is 27 inches but Texas is 28 inches.
There have been eggs found in redfish just under 30 inches.
That is the main reason for the slot.
I encourage the customers on my boat to never use their redfish tag during the spawn. Egg-bearing females will lay up to 2 million eggs in a season.
Always practice the "Big 3" if you catch a redfish larger than 28 inches.
First there's the fight, second is taking the picture, and third is the release.
You hate to know that you have killed a redfish that has the potential of laying 2 million eggs.
Please practice catch and release over the next two months if you hook an oversized redfish.
Cedar Bayou news
An additional $1 million-plus has been recently awarded to Aransas County for the Cedar Bayou Vinson Slough dredging project from the Texas General Land Office.
This effort is expected to cost around $8.3 million and now has secured around $7 million for this project.
Dredging will start around the middle of April 2014.
All the whooping cranes have usually left the wildlife refuge by this time.
A website dedicated to the project has been launched to provide up-to-date information about the project as well as an opportunity for individuals to make contributions online at restorecedarbayou.org.
I will have a full report on the best way to catch redfish in 3 feet of water or less in my next article.
Techniques with live bait or artificial baits will be discussed.
Danny Goyen is an outdoor writer and speaker. He has been guiding on the Texas Coast for more than 26 years.