Saltwater fishing has been put on ice because of the freezing temperatures. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has issued a temporary closure along much of the Texas coast, including the Coastal Bend.
With freezing temperatures today and tomorrow, fishing is temporarily banned in coastal areas near Aransas Pass, Fulton, and Rockport. In Corpus Christi the fishing ban is in effect near the Packery Channel and Intracoastal Waterway, and throughout canals in the Padre Isles Area. Texas Parks and Wildlife has posted maps of all the affected areas.
Cold weather causes fish to congregate in deeper, warmer waters, where they become sluggish and easy to catch. The cold temperatures are already a risk for the fish, so this measure aims to protect species.
In 1989, temperatures in Texas dropped into the teens. It killed *1 million fish along the Texas Coast. On top of that, during several freezes throughout the 1980s, people took advantage of the surviving, but cold stunned fish, which were floating lethargically in the water.
"They were using...we could call them fishing techniques...using trebel hooks and weights to snag fish, and even some were even using nets to scoop them up," Dr. Larry McKinney, Executive Director of the Harte Research Institute, said.
Dr. McKinney was the director of Coastal Fisheries at the time. He and other marine life experts asked Texas Parks and Wildlife to ban fishing in certain areas during freezes.
"When you lose that many fish you want to try to protect them when they're really vulnerable, and so we proposed that we ban fishing in certain areas," Dr. McKinney said.
It has been the protocol since 1990.
Nonetheless, some anglers are still casting off the Cosway Pier today, which is outside of the banned areas. They understand the goal of the temporary closure is to shorten the recovery period for cold-stunned fish.
"It's pretty good to me if you ask me, preserve the fish the future generations," recreational fisherman Paul Hernandez said.
Long term, the ban aims to keep more fish in the waters.
"It is to protect the fish that we all love to catch. There were times where we had freezes where we didn't take the necessary precautions that should have been taken place, and it did hurt the fishery," Tyler Millerstrom, store manager at Cos-Way Bait and Tackle, said.
The ban went into effect at 6 a.m. Tuesday and will be in place until 10 p.m. Wednesday. However, Parks and Wildlife could extend it if temperatures remain cold.
Reading on your phone? It's better with the app. Download the KRIS 6 News Mobile App for iOS/iPhone here and for Android here.