Thursday night’s scoping meeting sponsored by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department attracted more than 150 participants to its Dickinson lab.
The atmosphere was tense, as most of the audience came to protest any changes in the current size and bag limits for speckled trout and flounder.
Early in the meeting, an individual in the audience stood up and asked for a show of hands on how many opposed any changes and a large majority of the hands went up.
A number of participants used the meeting to vent frustrations on issues not covered by the meeting.
Once the meeting calmed, some interesting views and suggestions were presented.
One of the suggestions that got my attention was the proposed lowering of the minimum size on speckled trout.
While I have to lean on the biologists to say whether this would have an overall harmful effect, in practice I can see where lowering the minimum size to 14 inches would save a lot of fish.
The angler who relayed his experiences of catching and releasing trout between 14 and 15 inches had a lot of support from the audience.
Personally, I could relate to his complaint that a lot of trout are wasted that otherwise could be retained and counted toward the limit, whether it be five or 10 fish, and result in an overall reduction in the number of trout eliminated from the stocks.
One of the well-known flounder fishermen stood up and recommended designating flounder as game fish. The result of that would be to eliminate them from commercial activity.
Several people had concerns over having lower bag and size limits for the lower and middle coasts and how those concerns would influence those anglers to fish the Upper Texas Coast for the increased bag limit.
One fishing guide stood up and said a reduction of the bag limit on trout to five per day would, in effect, kill his business and adversely affect the commerce in coastal communities.
Lots of other comments were made, and I have to compliment the staff of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for their patience with the large group.
A form for submitting written comments was distributed and anyone desiring to use one can send an email request to the Reel Report and I will return one to you.