The amount of water surrounding Texas cities never ceases to amaze me.
From the Gulf Coast to the Panhandle, we are blessed to have myriad water bodies within walking distance of most citizens and yet a good portion of these areas are never touched by anglers.
People think the grass is greener in the other pasture so what is under their noses is often looked at as lesser than what is down the road.
Economic realities however are starting to change that and overlooked spots are starting to look more appealing.
The following are five tips for coastal and five tips for inland urban fishing that will give you an advantage.
1. Live Bait Instead of Dead:
In canals cutting through coastal subdivisions and marsh lakes intersecting highways, land bound anglers tend to fish with dead shrimp. It does catch fish but usually non-target fish like croaker, hardheads and pinfish and it also draws in crabs. Get a cast net and use live bait. Mullet, shad and croaker will get you a much better shot at catching reds, specks and flounder than dead shrimp ever will.
2. Float it:
Many of the bank spots on the coast have thick oyster growth and many tangles. Fishing your live bait or soft plastic under a popping cork can save you much frustration and also help draw strikes by creating the sounds of feeding fish.
3. Current Connection:
Many of the urban coastal lakes and canals have poor current flow due to a variety of factors. Search out spots with stronger flow and you will find more fish. Flounder rely on current to stimulate their feeding response and during hot months, more current typically means cooler water and that is always an advantage during that time of year.
4. Night Bite:
Any type of light draws in fish and many of the urban areas have many well-lit spots that nearly no one fishes. Target these spots for speckled trout and redfish, especially if they also have a good current flow or nearby access to deep water.
5. Avoid Shipping Traffic:
Many anglers on the coast fish near ship channels but one of the problems is large ships muddy up the water and in turn mess up the fishing. If you have an idea on what times you are least likely to have boat traffic you stand a better chance of catching fish.
1. Deep Pools:
With a little study it is easy to find where deep pools exist in city streams and creeks. These spots will hold the most bass, perch and catfish than the shallow areas many anglers target.
Bass can be spooky in urban areas so anglers can serve themselves well by downsizing their lures. Use smaller crankbaits, spinners and topwaters for best results.
3. Bayou Bounty:
The bayous in the southern and eastern regions hold many catfish. Some of the best spots to catch them are in the drainage canals and cuts feeding into and out of them during and after a rain. If you are rained out at work, grab your rod and some stinkbait and seek catfish.
4. Covering Ground:
The major disadvantage of bank fishing is the inability to cover lots of ground. If there is ample room to cast rig up with something like a spoon or crankbait with which you can cover a long distance. You may be surprised with a little practice how far you can get with a line lure and lure. Pattern casts starting parallel to the shore and work the entire area around you with precision.
5. Winter Warmups:
One of the best times to catch bass and catfish is during winter warm-ups. Target areas exposed to the sun at mid-day and early afternoon and you will see increased fish activity.
Neighborhood Fishin Program
The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) had a great new project called the Neighborhood Fishin Program (NFP) that directly targets this kind of fishing in urban areas.
"Neighborhood Fishin is a program that provides year-round recreational fishing opportunities in major urban areas, emphasizing youth and family participation," said Craig Bonds TPWD Region 3 Inland Fisheries Director.
"Success of the program relies upon an effective partnership between TPWD businesses, local governments, volunteers and users. This program is expected to increase participation in fishing while attracting more urban/sub-urban youth and families to public parks."
Bonds said as part of the program, selected public park lakes receive frequent stockings of catfish throughout the summer, and trout throughout the winter.
Fishing-related information (how-to-fish, fish identification, etc.) are available at each lake and "would-be" anglers have access to basic fishing equipment at little or no charge.
"City partnerships are in place for each of the lakes in the program; cities contribute a proportion of program costs; this contribution amounted to about 19 percent of program costs in 2011," Bonds said.
"The Neighborhood Fishin program receives a large portion of its support from funds donated by the Texas Bass Classic Foundation. Gulf States Toyota, based in Houston Texas, is the primary benefactor of the Texas Bass Classic Foundation. Other private partners assist with funding specific lakes within the program."
The target audience for this program is adults 25-54 years of age with children who live within a ten-mile radius of the TPWD stocked lakes.
"These busy urbanites do not have much time and either do not know how to fish or simply are not aware of this close, easy-to-use fishing opportunity. Many are dual-income or single working parents who would like to spend more quality time with their children," Bonds said.
"And that is exactly what we would like to help facilitate."