Game wardens track poacher's Facebook post


A Texas man has pleaded guilty to nine charges of possession of oversized reds, one charge of no saltwater fishing license, and one charge of exceeding the possession limit for red drum, according to Mike Cox with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

“The investigation leading to the filing of charges against 30-year-old Luis Castro began with a Facebook post showing a man holding a large red drum with eight other oversize drum on display in the bed of a pickup truck,” said Cox. “The bag limit for redfish is three per day, and they must be between 20 and 28 inches. Only one redfish longer than that can be kept, and only with a properly completed redfish tag attached to it.”

Game wardens in Cameron County were contacted about the Facebook picture, which had originally been placed online by Castro’s brother. Accompanying the image was the comment “just for fun.”

Game wardens ended up receiving multiple complaints regarding the Facebook post. TPWD dispatchers and game wardens were able to review records that eventually resulted in the positive identification of Castro and his place of employment.

“On Nov. 6, game wardens interviewed Castro and obtained a signed written statement,” said Cox. “Five days later, Willacy County Justice of the Peace George Solis issued an arrest warrant for Castro and game wardens arrested him the same day. Following arraignment, he was released with a court date of Nov. 19.”

“Anglers on several social media sites were posting negative comments, and a day after the picture was originally posted, it was removed,” said Game Warden Maj. Alan Teague. “However, the picture had been saved by many anglers and reposted.”

“It was an obscene number of fish that you caught,” the judge said to the defendant. “We are all living paycheck to paycheck, but none of us are going hungry. It was completely unnecessary to take that many fish.”

Castro was fined $2,600, and an additional $2,645.91 will be assessed as part of the civil restitution.

Fishing safari out of Galveston boats big time numbers of tuna

On the most recent 36-hour run out of Galveston by a Williams party boat, the fishermen on board iced seven yellowfin tuna to 95 pounds, 88 blackfin tuna to 16 pounds and 317 vermilion snapper to 3 pounds.

“The offshore ride started after Capt. Johnny Williams exited the Galveston jetties and was indeed on the bumpy side,” reports Patrick Lemire. “The trip’s first stops for the 31 fishermen were over natural bottom structure about 70 miles south of Galveston. A couple of stops were made in 175 feet of water. … With the clock running and the vermilion snapper bite being on the slow side, a run to the deep water platform and its tuna fishing began.”

The first platform fished during the late evening to overnight period was the Boom Vang Spar Platform about 117 miles south of Galveston in 3,450 feet of water. Numerous drifts were made and while blackfin tuna were being caught, it was slower than expected.

“At about midnight, Capt. Williams decided to make a move to a nearby ‘floater’ drill platform,” says Lemire. “After a run of about 8 miles to the east, they were at a rig called Ensco 8506, and blackfin and yellowfin tuna were on a big feed. Most hit either chrome diamond jigs or long and slim Speed Jigs. A 70 pounder was taken on a Speed Jig at about 200 feet deep. The tuna highlight of the trip came just before sunrise when a yellowfin weighing 95 pounds was caught.”

After leaving the floater on Sunday morning, they fished over rocky bottom structure in about 200 feet of water 73 miles south of Galveston. Vermilion snapper, grouper and assorted other bottom species were caught.

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Recent films boost popularity of archery

Films like the “The Hunger Games,” “Catching Fire” and “The Hobbit” have helped spark a wave of renewed interest in the recreational sport of archery, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Since the movies began incorporating the sport with their characters, the popularity of archery has grown.

The beauty of archery is that it can be done anywhere and there is more than one way to get involved. Archery ranges are available around the state and many host beginner’s lessons.

Before heading to the archery shop, be sure to know whether you would like to do target shooting, hunting or bow-fishing. The recommended equipment will vary depending on what it will be used for. For information about equipment, be sure to read the Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine article “Young Robin Hoods” to help choose the proper gear.