One angler’s recommendation – never buy red snapper

Red snapper

It’s as if the Gulf Council with the National Marine Fisheries Service is trying to drive a wedge between the charter/for-hire and private recreational angler as a solution to the inept federal management of red snapper. One thing is certain: Recreational anglers across the Gulf Coast are letting it be known that they are not happy with the direction of red snapper management in the Gulf of Mexico.

Just recently I was talking to Randy Leger out at Leger’s Gun Range, and instead of talking up guns and hunting, he was hot under the collar about red snapper limits. He’s an avid offshore angler and like many of us, loves to catch red snapper. But the National Marine Fisheries Service is slowly cutting the recreational limits on snapper to nothing, while giving the commercial fishermen a big thumbs up.

“What the Gulf Council is doing to recreational fishermen is sickening,” says Leger. “We’re the people that generate billions of dollars for boats and fishing tackle each year. That’s a heck of a lot more than what the commercial red snapper fishermen contribute. It makes no sense. But we, the recreational fishermen, can fight back. If everybody will come together and totally quit buying red snapper from stores and restaurants, the demand for commercially caught snapper will dry up to nothing. It’s a simple solution, and one that will work.”

Fishing, hunting trips good to go despite cold weather

Even though we’ve had some unseasonably cold weather the past week or so, fishing and hunting in East and Southeast Texas is still going strong. Flounder and reds are excellent on Sabine Lake. And deer hunting in the Pineywoods and Hill Country is good for fat does and some trophy class bucks.

On Sabine Lake, guide Jerry Norris reports that flounder fishing is very good.

“We’re catching good numbers of flounder on soft plastics tipped with a small piece of shrimp,” says Norris. “The best bite is on an outgoing tide at the mouths of cuts and along the shorelines of Sabine Pass. The bite should last another couple of weeks.”

Cold weather has a lot of deer moving to corn feeders in the Pineywoods and the Hill Country. If you haven’t filled doe tags, now is a good time to fill the freezer up with venison, while does are still in good shape.

Where the ducks and geese are

A series of powerful cold fronts over the past few weeks have brought cold temperatures and significant waterfowl numbers into Arkansas, according to Chris Jennings with Ducks Unlimited. He reports that aerial surveys from last week by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission tallied 550,000 mallards throughout the state’s Delta region. Those survey numbers are double what they have recorded for the past six November surveys.

Other observations show that Arkansas could be holding more than 2 million light geese and about 450,000 white-fronted geese.

Jennings says that last season, Arkansas waterfowlers harvested an estimated 422,900 mallards, more than double the mallard harvest of many other states.

Fishing remains a popular activity for kids

Despite the modern draw of video games and organized sports, the attraction of the wild outdoors and all it has to offer remains as powerful as ever, as evidenced by the number of anglers who shared the water with a son, daughter or other child in the past year. Whether spending the day in the comfort of a boat or clutching a rod along a shady bank, fishing remains a popular activity for all ages, with up to 66 percent of active anglers reporting they took a child fishing in the past 12 months, according to a recent poll by AnglerSurvey.com.

Angling is a great way to enjoy quality one-on-one time with a young person, but it’s also an excellent group activity, too. When asked how many children each angler had taken fishing in the past 12 months, 20 percent said they had taken a single child, while 21 percent took at least two. Nearly 10 percent of anglers reported taking three children fishing, 6 percent took four, and an impressive 10 percent took five or more kids fishing in the past year. Thirty-four percent of those surveyed said they had not taken any children fishing.

“Taking a kid fishing is one of life’s more rewarding efforts. Not only is it good for the child and family, it generates a future generation committed to conserving fish and the outdoors,” says Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates, with AnglerSurvey.com. “We encourage all anglers and the fishing community to get involved in youth fishing efforts and programs such as the RBFF’s Take Me Fishing campaign and others.

“Indeed, it looks like an activity that many angling families do enjoy together as 78 percent of those who reported taking a kid fishing said those children were in some way related to them,” says Southwick. “Forty-four percent were a son or daughter, 17 percent were a grandchild and 17 percent were a niece, nephew or other relative. Twenty-two percent said the child or children they took fishing were not related to them with five percent of those taking them fishing as part of an organized scouting, church or similar activity.”

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