Texas has some of the most diverse and interesting fisheries around. The lakes attract anglers seeking world class bass and the coast is lined with redfish, black drum, sea trout and many other species. The biodiversity in Texas waters is astounding and anglers never know exactly what they might hook.
Texans Love Fishing
It’s no secret that Texas has great fishing but the locals absolutely love fishing. You will find folks out walking the beaches and running boats in just about every type of water here. Hit the rivers, lakes or coast and you are sure to find at least a few enthusiastic anglers. In the 2015-2016 fishing season, the state of Texas sold more than 1.7 million fishing licenses. The funds from license sales are used for fish stocking programs, conservation and the employment of important biologists and management personnel for the state. That is an incredible number of license sales but luckily, the state is ripe with opportunity and finding solitude on the water is possible for everyone.
You Can Catch a ton of Species
There is no shortage of species to chase down in Texas. In freshwater, bass are king with largemouth and smallmouth present. You will even find unique subspecies like the Guadalupe variety of bass. Other freshwater favorites include panfish, crappie, carp, catfish and even alligator gar. Of course, these are really just the tip of the iceberg but they are an important baseline for anglers in freshwater environments. Head to the saltwater and another long list of new species emerges. Redfish, sea trout and drum are all very popular and coveted sportfish. Drum are also excellent eating. In the open ocean, jack crevalle and tarpon are encountered on occasion and are among the most chased big game saltwater species in the world.
You can catch a dinosaur
Texas is one of a few places where alligator gar are prevalent and these giants can reach well over 6-feet in length. They have existed for several million years, making them much older than anything swimming in the same waters. There are actually multiple species of gar but the alligator gar are the big ones and they will actually prey on the smaller gar species. They also eat plenty of carp and other local baitfish. The big ones that measure over 6-feet are very old at 35-45 years and some can live as long as 70-years. They have a long snout full of sharp teeth and they breathe oxygen, making them one of the most unique species you can target in the state of Texas.
Rivers, Lakes, Wetlands and Open Ocean
The diversity in habitat and types of fisheries makes for some serious entertainment in Texas. For example, you can canoe the Guadalupe River and find yourself casting to bass in crystal clear waters on a flowing river or you can kayak on Aransas Bay and fish shallow grass flats and channels where big redfish are visibly feeding just below the surface. The lakes are also a big attraction, and many are loaded with trophy bass. Lake Fork Reservoir is a famous fishery and the lake is massive with a ton of shoreline to explore. A boat can offer a major advantage in the lake fisheries, especially the big ones like Lake Fork Reservoir. Big bass are not only found in big lakes however. Texas has an unknown number of small to medium size farm ponds where state record size bass are lurking. Gaining access to private lands is not always easy but numerous city and state parks offer great opportunities on public waterways.
State Records – The Fish in Texas are Big!
The record books make it well known that Texas has some huge fish! The records also show that many of the biggest specimens are taken on flies and lures. The record fly caught largemouth bass weighed more than 14-pounds which is just incredible. It was also taken on a popper style topwater fly. The all around state record bass weighed more than 18-pounds which is larger than many other states in the country. Very few bass reach these hefty sizes. Even the record bluegill topped 2-pounds when most of these specimens are weighed in mere ounces. Catfish are known for reaching large sizes but in Texas, a blue catfish can top 100-pounds and the record was weighed at 120-pounds. The record alligator gar weighed 279-pounds, making it much larger than most human beings. Take a look at the state records for fishing and you will discover a list of potential. Take a scale on your next adventure and you may break one of these and find your name in the books.