Casual Surf Fishing
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In general, the Texas coast doesn't see much in the way of surf fishermen. Sure, the upper coast has some summertime pluggers probing the guts for specks and fall finds a few guys battling bull reds. A handful of hardcore mid-coast fishermen hit the sand in search of everything from sharks to ladyfish.  But, overall their numbers pale in comparison to the amount of surf fishermen in other states, such as North Carolina, New Jersey or even Florida...except in the winter.

True, winter waters do not hold near the variety that the warmer summer tides offer. The most common cold-water fare includes whiting, pompano, sand trout and the occasional jack crevalle, among an odd assortment of grunts and perch. Although these are not among the glamorous species for saltwater anglers, for those who only have the winter quadrant to fish, they represent a golden opportunity.

Each year, thousands of temporary residents, in the form of Winter Texans, arrive on the Texas shores. Most of these folks are just glad to be a few degrees warmer and jump at the chance to catch any saltwater species. As a rule, these folks are just out for a little fun and maybe a few fillets. A good fight would certainly enhance the day, but they seem to know that just being out with a hook dangling in the briny suds is fulfilling in its own right.

By and large, Winter Texan surf fishermen bottom fish with bait. Toting eight to ten foot rods, an ample supply of rod holders and plenty of lawn chairs, they find a spot to their liking and set up camp. It is easy to spot the long rods sheathed in a sand spike and arched under the weight of a two-ounce pyramid sinker. Odds are that seated behind this picket fence of surf sticks sits a handful of happy anglers, telling stories and passing time between bites. This may seem extremely elementary and somewhat boring to a fast-pace bay fishermen chasing specks and reds on the flats. But, I suspect these happy surf-fishing folks have discovered the real reason for fishing.

With squid and sand fleas pinned to their hooks, these fishermen are content to wait on the fish, knowing that, regardless of how many they catch, if the day never ended, it would be too soon. I often think that many of today's high-tech, low-patience anglers could take a lesson in fishing from these fellas. Not, mind you, on tackle and techniques, but on the more important subject of how to value a day on the water.

Too often times many of us feel we have an inexhaustible supply of time to spend searching for fish. But, whether we have a weekend, a winter or everyday for the remainder of our lives, we will eventually run out of days to spend. And, regardless of how many times we made it out, that day will seem as if it came all too soon. So, in the meantime, maybe we should take more of a casual approach, make the most of each opportunity and enjoy each day on the water as if it were the last.

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