Warming weather heats up fishing in Southeast Texas

Fishing along the coast is rapidly improving as water temperatures warm.

We are finally settling into a summer fishing pattern on the lakes and along the coast. Water temperatures are in the lower 70s on the lakes, and along the coast from the Sabine jetties to Galveston, water temperatures are in the upper 70s.

Fishing along the coast is good and getting better. Good catches of trout, reds and even Spanish mackerel are coming from the Sabine jetties. Offshore reports are excellent with big kings, ling and dorado being caught along weed lines and around the rigs.

Catches of bass, crappie and catfish are very good on East Texas lakes. At Sam Rayburn, bass are good on pumpkinseed soft plastic worms and lizards. Rat-L-Traps are taking some solid bass in the creek channels. White bass are fair on Pet Spoons and minnows. Crappie are good on minnows and green tube jigs over brush piles. Bream are fair on nightcrawlers and crickets. Catfish are good on trotlines baited with liver and live bait.

On Toledo Bend, largemouth bass are good on watermelon soft plastic worms and Rat-L-Traps off points and in the coves. Striped bass are fair on bucktail jigs. White bass are best on silver spoons and slabs in the river. Crappie are good on minnows and pink jigs over baited holes. Bream are good on crickets and nightcrawlers. Channel and blue catfish are good on trotlines baited with live bait.

Tap into a hunting lease online

A new website called Outrider is modernizing the way private landowners connect with prospective hunters and vice versa. Founded by entrepreneur and hunting enthusiast Logan Crable, Outrider offers access to private land throughout Texas that has previously been widely inaccessible.

“Nearly all of the land in Texas is privately owned, and hunters need to know someone with land or spend a large sum of money on a seasonal lease,” says Crable. “Outrider solves this problem. The online community offers financial incentives for private landowners to monetize their land, while making it easier for individuals to access hunting land, as well as connect with guides and outfitters.”

For information, go to www.outrider.us.

Trends in videoing hunts revealed

Videoing hunts continues to grow in popularity among everyday hunters. According to a recent survey conducted through Southwick Associates, there has been a 68 percent increase over the last five years in hunters who video some or all of their hunts.

Of those hunters who video their hunts, 31 percent of them said they have been doing so for five or more years. Twenty-one percent have done so for three to four years, 26 percent have done so for just one to two years and 21 percent just began videoing their hunts over the past year. 

The technology used to video those hunts is also encouraging growth as the quality of cameras on smartphones has grown and small action cams like GoPro have become more popular.

Despite these trends, a dedicated video camera/camcorder is still the device of choice as 39 percent of those hunters who report videoing their hunts use them. But those other devices remain popular as well. Thirty-one percent use their smartphone, 23 percent use a helmet or mounted video camera and seven percent use a still camera with video capability.

“As technology has become easier to use and easier to access, an increasing number of hunters are bringing a whole new enjoyable aspect to this very traditional pastime. Like photos, video is a great way to capture these important memories in our lives,” says Cody Larrimore, with Southwick Associates.

TPWD launches new ‘Texas Rivers’ conservation license plate

For those of you looking to help keep the Sabine, Neches and Angelina rivers clean and healthy, check this out. Texans can support the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s efforts through their purchase of the new Texas Rivers conservation license plate, available now at www.ConservationPlate.org/Rivers.

“The new plate design features a Texas river cascading over boulders and past cypress trees while gently carrying a kayaker downstream past a fly fisherman casting into a yellow sunset,” said Janis Johnson, the Conservation License Plate program manager at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “We expect this plate will appeal to a broad group of people, including swimmers, tubers, anglers, canoers and kayakers, water conservationists and all of the people who love and appreciate Texas rivers.”

The Texas Rivers plate sells for $30, with $22 going directly to TPWD to help conserve Texas rivers.

Plate revenues will help expand opportunities for nature-oriented recreation on Texas rivers through the department’s River Access and Conservation Areas Program. Since 2012, the program has established 19 public river access areas on 10 rivers. These access areas provide opportunities for bank, wade and kayak/canoe fishing, wildlife viewing and other forms of nature-oriented recreation on more than 150 miles of Texas rivers. To learn more about these programs and how revenues from sales of the Texas Rivers conservation license plate will be used, visit www.conservationplate.org/projects.phtml.

To buy the new Texas Rivers conservation license plate or one of the other seven designs available, visit www.conservationplate.org or your local county tax assessor-collector’s office. You do not have to wait until you receive your renewal notice; you can order at anytime and the cost will be pro-rated. All conservation plates are available for cars, trucks, motorcycles, trailers and RVs.