Fishing in Texas, the basics to landing your first fish!

Fishing is one of the most popular pass-times in Texas, with many different species available to target in both fresh and salt water. Before grabbing your fishing rod and some bait or tackle, there are some regulations that need to be satisfied first.

The state of texas requires two types of fishing licences, the first is a conservation licence, this is required before you even think about setting out on a days fishing, and can be obtained online via the Fish, Wildlife and Parks department.

The conservation licence is simply to ensure you are freely identified to the state, and to ensure you adhere to the rules and regulations of parks and wildlife, this is separate from a specifically fishing related licence.

Once a conservation licence is obtained, you can then purchase a fishing licence, again from the same department, some licenced resellers also stock these in the event you are unable to purchase online.

Once this is done, you can begin planning your first outing.

The most popular fish to target in salt water around Texas are flounder and sheepshead, for freshwater and estuary fishing however, there is also a good amount of trout around in most streams. Texas has some very well preserved fisheries and it is often not difficult to find streams, estuaries and gulf coast access for targeting either of these 3 mainstream species.

There are also some more exotic creatures found only in Texas, such as alligator gar, nowhere else in the united states contains this type of garfish apart from Texas, this species however is a masterful catch, so targeting them initially isn’t recommended.

Click the following link for more information on gar fishing.

Boating for fish is very common in Texas, if you are lucky enough to have local friends with a boat, then it is highly recommended you head out on a boat the first few times, this makes finding the fish easier with different types of electronics, and also is a more relaxed way to go fishing, you can also learn a lot from seeing how others handle and land fish when boating.

There are also a large number of fishing charter companies throughout Texas, who are very well priced and would be more than happy to show you around the various waterways for many different species. Charters in Texas are big business, and highly recommended for people who are new to fishing.

In the case of gar fishing, a charter is more than recommended, it is essential.

If fishing on your own, some local knowledge is always good, there are many fishing tackle outlets around Texas, so popping into a local shop for some bait and a chat will often lead to some good recommendations.

If land based fishing around the coast using dead-bait, a good indicator an area will be worth fishing is where lots of seagulls are in the deeper water just within casting distance, casting out a dead-bait on a hook into these areas where the seagulls are present will ensure that when predatory fish come to try and feed off the smaller fish the seagulls are also targeting, they have a good chance of grabbing your bait.

It is advised however to sink your bait around seagulls to avoid catching a bird instead of a fish, seagulls are not the best eating!

If the previously mentioned information has not proved successful, throwing some bait into deeper pockets of water off the coast is a good way to catch fish, especially just before sunrise and into the early morning, or just before sunset and into the night. Piers also provide good fishing locations around the gulf coast.

If the area you are fishing in is remote however, target fish will often be more active throughout the entire day, so bringing some rubber waders and wading in to about chest height, then casting a bait into a deep pocket of water and retreating to the beach is a good method, just wait a little while and there should be a flounder or sheepshead around ready to take the bait after a short period of time.

This information is basic but useful to the beginner, and the steps mentioned here are vital to the first stages of taking on fishing as a recreation or potential future sport, we wish you luck in whichever method you decide to try when introducing yourself to fishing in Texas!

 

Bass Fishing Basics

Bass fishing popularity is booming as of late, with hundreds of new lures, sporting clubs and tournaments appearing every day, it can be daunting as to finding a place to start out.

Today we will take a look at the most commonly used lures for bass fishing, they are tried and tested lures which will no doubt bring you closer to catching your first bass.

There are two types of bass, largemouth and small-mouth, largemouth are voracious eaters, they will take on almost anything that will fit in their huge mouth, most people prefer to fish for largemouth and find locations for them first, as it is the easiest way to get your first fish. There is some difference in fight between the largemouth and small-mouth, with the largemouth being known as easier to catch, so gaining some experience fishing in areas with largemouth is ideal for beginners.

Largemouth can be caught on live minnows, taken via a small landing net swiped through the waters were you are fishing, then hooked through the lower jaw and cast back into the water. Other popular baits are worms and freshwater crayfish.

For lures, they are known to take surface poppers, streamer flies and plug style lures. For deeper waters, soft plastics or spinner-baits are recommended, these should be used in weed-less set-ups, for spinner-baits this is easy as almost all come with a single hook on the end, you want to avoid treble hooks because getting the lures into the weeds is where you will find the bass hiding.

For soft plastics, a shaky head type lure set-up is best to keep it weed-less, but there is also other kinds such as the screw front weed-less jig head, for with both are as effective as each-other. The screw front is just a large hook with a screw end, while the shaky-head often has a metal rod extending above the hook, you feed a soft plastic grub either through this small metal rod, or screw it into the front of your lure to fix it in place.

The best time to fish for largemouth is on warmer days, as they are not as active in winter or very cold waters.

Smallmouth bass are a lively bunch, great to hook onto and they fight like a largemouth only much more erratic. It is a lot of fun and you definitely know when you have hooked into your first small mouth, a great fight is definitely going to be had straight from the hook up to the landing net.

This type of bass love hiding in rocky streams and lakes, with it’s favourite foods being freshwater crayfish. To catch crays, you only need to throw a bait trap into the water with a little bit of raw chicken inside, come back after an hour and take a look, if there is crayfish in there, you are ready to go bass fishing.

Hooking a cray is not a difficult process, their hardened outer shell makes them easy to live bait, you want to turn the crayfish over and hook it between the legs curving the hook so that it exits via the top of the cray around the third row on the exterior. For people who want to get this over and done with faster, hooking directly through the tail at the number 3 section without turning the cray over is also a quick but less reliable method of hooking them up.

Many people prefer to cast crays out on heavy sinkers, as this limits the movement of the cray in the water to the length of the leader. Rest assured however, they won’t be burrowing into the sand while the hook is through them, they will be trying as best to fight so that the hook is dislodged, so casting them into a nice open area will attract small-mouth into taking an easy meal.

For larger waters such as lakes, casting the crayfish out on a float can also work, this is good because as the cray fights and moves around, so does the float, provided there are no exposed snags coming out of the water, this method is very reliable in lakes where the bottom may be full of a lot of snags from driftwood, but the surface is nice an open.

Artificial lures also work for small-mouth, but as their preferred prey is crayfish, using crayfish style lures are a good choice. These can be anything from a lifelike representation, to something more basic like a grub with a tail, the best colours however are those similar to the crays found in the water.

Smallmouth are not a very social fish either, so keeping quiet and hiding yourself from their view in the water is needed to some degree, and will result in not spooking them away from your bait or lure, keep fairly still with no sudden movements when fishing using artificial lures and you should be good to go.

No special rods are really required, apart from the fact that you want a light weight rod if using artificial lures, if bait fishing, basically any rod will do.

In rivers or lakes where the weedbeds are further out, you may prefer to fish using waders, these are plastic cover alls, which will waterproof you up to your chest, meaning that you can get further into the water and cast easier into weed beds, you will however need your stealth about you when wading, sudden movements will easily spook fish.