Author Topic: Croaker Run  (Read 11128 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline J.Dean

  • CEO
  • Bowed Up
  • *****
  • Posts: 4102
    • Texas Flats Fishing
Croaker Run
« on: Sep 24, 09 - 05:08:40 PM »
Read the question carefully please... I've used croaker as bait early this summer, I'm not anti any bait and personally don't care what you do so long as you follow the laws and respect the resource...

But as all my friends know, I'd like to see a minimum size placed on them so we could fish for them... They fight like a redfish and probably taste as good or better, I want some.

I know this is going to start a debate and that's fine, just remember to keep it civil, respectful, and that we have a zero tolerance policy for bashing others here.


Offline bigrggiii

  • Bowed Up
  • *****
  • Posts: 2253
  • Rey and I
Re: Croaker Run
« Reply #1 on: Sep 24, 09 - 05:17:04 PM »
OK I will be the first to weigh in.  The whole idea behind a Croaker size limit would be to prevent them from being used as bait.  Especialy because you can already fish for them as food anyway.  Be careful not to crouch this a debate in terms of caching croaker for food when in reality the movement intends to eliminate them as bait.

I am opposed, even though I have gone the way of the Schulers recently, I do not want to be the one to control other persons favorite methods of fishing.  Bag limits and size limits are the key.

I am telling the guests on my boat "Just keep Three"  Trout and "Just Keep One" Red.  That is plenty of fish for the average family to have a very pleasant meal.  And will prevent waste.

Offline J.Dean

  • CEO
  • Bowed Up
  • *****
  • Posts: 4102
    • Texas Flats Fishing
Re: Croaker Run
« Reply #2 on: Sep 24, 09 - 07:11:54 PM »
I'm very familiar with the debate... But my intention is to see them grow up so I can fish for them, I'm not part of any movement. I certainly don't want to limit how people fish, I want to see them have more species to fish for.

And yea I know we can fish for them, but I've never caught one, I'd like to.

Trout and Reds are raised in hatcheries, when we see their numbers drop it means either our bays won't sustain them, or they're not releasing enough, period.. No science involved in that at all.

I'm not looking to control anyone's fishing style either, I'm thinking about the resource, and in my opinion anything less than resource first is just selfishness.

My hope is that my kids get to enjoy the same things I enjoy. Not that many generations ago Aransas Pass was the Tarpon Capitol of the world, not so much so anymore thanks to the fishermen in that time period.

Offline igottafish

  • Bowed Up
  • *****
  • Posts: 732
Re: Croaker Run
« Reply #3 on: Sep 24, 09 - 07:13:26 PM »
Before croaker became so popular to fish with, One could actually count on a " Croaker Run" with croaker that actually had size to them. It has been way too many years now that to even accidentally catch a croaker is a rarity.

I can remember 20 years ago, fishing the " Croaker Run" at Rollover Pass, people lined up just about hip to hip on each side of the pass fishing for croaker, filling their chests full of croaker...( even then I thought why in the world would you want to keep so many fish to stock pile in a freezer?) I haven't fished that pass in 10+yrs but I imagine even if Hurricane Ike did not wipe it out, that the "Croaker Run" with Croaker that would have any size amount  to them would be nothing compared to 20 yrs. ago. ( Isn't that why we are teaching our children/grandchildren about conservation, limits etc.?), so that there will be the resource available to our future generations to enjoy and respect and love so much as we do.

Year before last, at Cedar when she still had a little flow left in her, I witnessed something that I had not  seen in so many years, someone filling up the ice chest ( caught on rod & reel not in a cast net to use for bait.) with croaker that averaged 6"-8" in size. I am only stating this because if you have an occasional recreational fisherperson keeping 6"-8" croaker to stockpile in a freezer, then you have the recreational fisherperson that throws his/her own cast net to catch their bait for the day, in which we all usually keep entirely too many for a days catch and so many end up dying and wasted, then you have the bait shop suppliers, etc.  When does the croaker really have a chance to make a comeback? It doesn't unless something changes.

I hope not to offend anyone, To each their own on methods of catching fish, It  just seems that with the croaker being so popular to catch other game fish with, it has really put a hurt on the Croaker population.
And I for one would like all species of "Our" Fish population available for all of "Our Future Generations".

Offline reeltime

  • Bowed Up
  • *****
  • Posts: 1107
Re: Croaker Run
« Reply #4 on: Sep 24, 09 - 07:36:21 PM »
funny you mention tarpon in aransas pass my dad was telling a story awhile back about tarpon being so thick in the fristand second guts in the surf.this was way back when he was a kid and work at the orginal bob hall peir..............save a croaker use a mullet ;D. ............... has there been a study on croaker population?

Offline J.Dean

  • CEO
  • Bowed Up
  • *****
  • Posts: 4102
    • Texas Flats Fishing
Re: Croaker Run
« Reply #5 on: Sep 27, 09 - 09:01:07 AM »
I'm surprised more folks haven't weighed in on this, but I'm not surprised at all by the poll results.

Offline Sequoia

  • Global Moderator
  • Angler
  • *
  • Posts: 456
Re: Croaker Run
« Reply #6 on: Sep 27, 09 - 12:08:52 PM »
I voted yes. The reason why is, although I don't have any children, I have taken plenty of kids fishing from the bank, docks, and on my boat when I had one. Many of these kids had parents (friends of mine) that didn't fish so it was up to me to show them a good time. Take an elementry age kid, give them a small piece of shrimp on a hook with ultra light tackle, put them in the middle of a bunch of croaker (any size), and watch the excitement that shows on that kids face. This expresion is priceless on the 1st fish as well as the 20th fish. If setting croaker limits means more experiences like this for parents and children then I'm for it.

As for the argument about using them for bait, can someone who uses them tell me what the big deal is? I have fished side by side with people using them and they didn't do any better than I did with a TTF Killer Flats Minnow.

For the record I am an artificial chunker but I don't have a problem with people who use bait, to each their own. For those that think that the only way for a newbie to catch fish is with bait, read my reports in the kayak forum "playing guide" and "playing guide again".

Offline Llama

  • Bowed Up
  • *****
  • Posts: 567
    • scenicvalleylodge.com
Re: Croaker Run
« Reply #7 on: Sep 27, 09 - 09:31:09 PM »
This is really a tough one. I would love to catch some croakers. However I don't want to infringe on the rights of the folks who use them for bait. Could limiting the number of baitsize croaker in possession be the answer? I've never used them but I would think a dozen would be plenty per person. It's just my opinion but it seems like a reasonable compromise.

Offline reelfiddler

  • Angler
  • ****
  • Posts: 314
    • tx guide
Re: Croaker Run
« Reply #8 on: Sep 28, 09 - 04:48:39 AM »
First if you eliminate croaker as bait you are going to but tremendous preasure on other baits for people to use. As it is they are catching piggy pearch as soon  as they are 2 inches long and preasuring them to the edge. This year shrimp are scarce even as we speak there are no shrimp to speek of at the bait stands and hav'nt been for a while. Menhaden scarce all summer. The croaker was the main bait used all summer long this year and without them bait fisherman would have struggled. Also this year mullet were not nearly as plentiful as in years past with few areas having any large numbers. The only way you can eliminate croaker as a bait is you have to have less fishing preasure from bait fisherman and I don't see that happening. Nor can the econemy bear it. You would also shut down many shrimp boat operators one of there main sources of income during the summer is the sale of croaker. I wish everyone could catch fish on artificial lures. The fact is very few people fish enough to become proficiant at it mainly due they just don't have time to fish alot. They come to the coast once or twice a year to do a little bay fishing and enjoy a day on the water. There time and money spent is important to the economy. You also have many people who choose to fish with bait and fish quite often for many differant reasons some of the biggest are so many lures to choose from and do not have the time or money to fill a tackle box with stuff they will never use. Kids you have to have them start somewhere. Whould it be nice to have a croaker run the answer is yes. Is it feasiable not at this time. For every one person who can be succesful with artificial lures there are hundreds of fisherman who can't. Last year I ran my artificial trips cheaper than bait trips I don't think there was any difference in the numbers of trips either way which was disappointing but that is just the way it is. Yes I have stood on the back of the boat and out fished many people me with lure them with bait. Some have tried to use the lure fact it takes alot of time to become proficiant with them.Like anything in life you have to want to fish with artificals most people just want to catch a few fish.

Offline reelfiddler

  • Angler
  • ****
  • Posts: 314
    • tx guide
Re: Croaker Run
« Reply #9 on: Sep 28, 09 - 05:02:46 AM »
In my haste to get my butt moving I forgot another important point. Our bay system I don't believe can support a large amount of croaker right now. They way it was 20 years ago is not relivent today. The fishing preasure is so much greater. The damage that the crosker would do to the trout spawn and the shrimp may be devastating. Taking the croaker out of the food chain when we are is greatly increasing the shrimp left in the bay and the amount of juvenile trout left to grow. Remember millions of pounds of croaker are being used for bait if they are left to forage naturally they are going to eat a lot. Now I got to get moving Have a great day Mike

Offline bigrggiii

  • Bowed Up
  • *****
  • Posts: 2253
  • Rey and I
Re: Croaker Run
« Reply #10 on: Sep 28, 09 - 05:12:18 AM »
Quote From Reelfiddler:

Like anything in life you have to want to fish with artificals most people just want to catch a few fish.




Mike you have summed it ip perfectly.  The fishing industry, that includes tackle manufactures, lodges, hotels, boat manufactures, electronics, clothing and yes even bait stands rely on bait fisherman for there business.  lets face it the majority of weekend warrior fisherman are out there chunking bait.  Lure folks are in the minority. 

Offline Sequoia

  • Global Moderator
  • Angler
  • *
  • Posts: 456
Re: Croaker Run
« Reply #11 on: Sep 28, 09 - 05:54:14 AM »
In my haste to get my butt moving I forgot another important point. Our bay system I don't believe can support a large amount of croaker right now. They way it was 20 years ago is not relivent today. The fishing preasure is so much greater. The damage that the crosker would do to the trout spawn and the shrimp may be devastating. Taking the croaker out of the food chain when we are is greatly increasing the shrimp left in the bay and the amount of juvenile trout left to grow. Remember millions of pounds of croaker are being used for bait if they are left to forage naturally they are going to eat a lot. Now I got to get moving Have a great day Mike

Never thought about it like that but it makes sense.

Offline Sequoia

  • Global Moderator
  • Angler
  • *
  • Posts: 456
Re: Croaker Run
« Reply #12 on: Sep 28, 09 - 07:49:14 AM »
I read a report this morning, on another site, about someone getting into some sizable croaker and keeping about 50 of them. In my opinion, this mentality is what hurts any resource. They didn't break any laws that I know of so it's their right to keep these fish but there is no need to load a cooler.

Offline darg

  • Chasing Bait
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: Croaker Run
« Reply #13 on: Sep 28, 09 - 11:47:47 AM »
Hey Reelfiddler
Your post was interesting but I also have a question:
WHY HAVEN'T YOU DONATED A TRIP?

I can't wait on Capt. Shuler's response! I can assure you it will be interesting.
I have a question for all on this site:
Do you own a boat or can you afford a guide when fishing? I hope Capt. Shuler keys on this question with his response.
I have had the luck to sit down with him and discuss his views on croaker fishing, I think everyone will be surprised at his response and the FACTS he can quote as far as trout data in the LLM. If I remember correctly he said himself and his guides put thousands on man hours fishing that bay and really have a good feeling whats has gone on there the last 12 years. I hope he will post but I know he avoids internet debates like the plague.
I personally like to eat croaker and would enjoy being able to target them like my dad has said many times before. The croaker runs were nothing short of unbelievable. Why don't we have them now?
Reelfiddler I did not ask you that question to bad mouth you, but sure seems you could offer a helping hand to one of our own.

Darg

Offline Seabass

  • Chasing Bait
  • *
  • Posts: 35
Re: Croaker Run
« Reply #14 on: Sep 28, 09 - 04:06:38 PM »
I'm with you on this one, Jeff.  I've heard tales of the old "croaker runs", where people would set up on a pier and the catching was phenomenal. They still have some croaker runs around Houston but the mid-coast has seen a sharp decline in "keeper" sized croakers. Heck, I've only caught one nice croaker ever...a 15 incher off of a pier in Rockport a couple years ago. And yes,,,it tasted as good as any red. I don't fish bait much anyway, so a regulation on croaker wouldn't hamper my routine. If the croaker fishermen have to have them, then I'd vote to make the sale of undersized croaker illegal. You'd have to trap or net them yourself. Prolly wouldn't be feasible, but at least its something.

Seabass