Texas saltwater anglers generally limit their fishing to two or three different species at the most. The top two favorites are redfish and speckled trout. Some anglers do enjoy fishing for flounder, as well. Other saltwater species are viewed as bothersome to most Texas anglers. In fact, the other species are often viewed with disdain. But for visitors, not pressured by their peers, they represent decent bounty.
The “champions” of this other renegade bounty would most likely be the whiting and pompano, or possible Gulf Kingfish. They are not particularly pretty but plentiful in the surf and easy to catch. They feed on the bottom and are not finicky feeding on a wide assortment of live and dead baits. Most are caught on dead shrimp, squid, or cut mullet. Light wire circle hooks help increase the catch ratio due to the fact that the small mouth of the fish can pick a hook clean without the fisherman being aware of the nibble. Pompano are not only delicious, but are one of the more eye-catching fish to swim in the near shore waters. In Florida, pompano are sought with such vengeance that they are tightly regulated. Texans, on the other hand, don’t get too worked up over this silvery sportster. Pompano like to run the clear, sandy surf, picking off small baitfish and crustaceans. They can be taken on small jigs or spoons, as well as natural baits such as sand fleas and shrimp. Pompano will usually feed in the mid to lower portions of the water column.
Another advantage to fishing for both whiting and pompano is their tendency to stay in large, tightly-packed schools. Once the fish are found, anglers usually experience consistent action. The downside is neither of these fish get much larger than a pound or so on average, leaving something to be desired in the fighting department.
Texans who fish in the winter also have fond of the silverside Jack Crevalle. This species is a favorite among the beach runners. Much like the pompano, jacks are revered in Florida, but shunned in Texas. The argument is that since jacks fight so hard and are not edible, they waste valuable fishing time. A quick glance reveals that many hard-fighting fish, most notably the tarpon, are not considered edible, yet are highly sought by fishermen.
For most shore-bound anglers, the jack represents the best opportunity to catch a true heavyweight. Fish in the 25 to 35 pound class regularly cruise within casting range of dry sand. Jacks are fighters and that’s exactly what makes them such a delectable sport.
“Winter Texans Enjoy Saltwater Fishing.” About.com Texas Travel. Web. 24 Oct. 2012.
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