Are you planning a fishing trip in Texas, but don’t know how many fishing rods to use? Don’t worry. I have all the answers you need.
As the fishing season in Texas lasts all-year-around, you can plan a trip whenever you feel like it.
However, there are two things to keep in mind when fishing in Texas. Firstly, you need to acquire a fishing license or a water endorsement. Secondly, you need to follow all the fishing regulations set by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.
If you’re struggling to keep up, don’t fret. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll know all about the regulations on fishing gears and methods in Texas. Also, I’ve included some other laws as well that are important to follow when fishing.
Without wasting any more time, let’s dive right into it!
Knowing Your Preferences
The type and quantity of equipment you can use depends on where and what you’re fishing. For instance, in freshwater, it is unlawful to employ a hand-operated device underwater to catch fish. You may use a spear or a spear gun, but that too can only catch non-game fish.
So when planning your fishing trip, the first step is to ask yourself what sort of fish you want to catch.
There are traditionally two specific categories of fish; game fish and non-game fish.
These are usually larger than non-game fish and are a target for commercial fishers. Game fishes are generally high in terms of quality and palatability. In simple terms, they taste delicious.
Game fishes tend to put up more fight and are often targeted by recreational anglers. Given that these fishes are tougher to catch, they are also pursued in competitive sports.
Some examples include:
- Largemouth Bass
- Lake Trout
Non-game fish refer to those fishes that are neither categorized as game fish nor as endangered species.
In terms of commercial value, these fishes don’t amount to much. That is because these fishes are not as tasty and tend to have larger scales and bones.
The small size of non-game fish allows you to use them as bait as well.
Some examples include:
- Freshwater Eel
- Skipjack Shad
The next step is to determine whether you want to fish in saltwater or freshwater.
Freshwater fishing is possible in any water body with less than 0.05% salinity level, such as rivers, lakes, ponds, etc.
In comparison to saltwater fishing, freshwater fishing is a more laid back task. If your fishing trip aims to get some peace and relax, then freshwater fishing would be a good option.
Moreover, you also don’t require a lot of expensive gear. If you’re a beginner, freshwater is a great place to start.
Any sort of fishing done in the ocean refers to saltwater fishing. If you’re looking for some excitement and thrill, saltwater fishing is a great idea. You can whiz off on your boat, trying to catch big fish.
Besides, you’re more likely to find bigger, palatable fish in saltwater. Unlike freshwater fishing, where there isn’t much variety in fish due to the limited space, seawater has a variety of fish. Moreover, there is unlimited space for you to explore.
How Many Fishing Rods Can I Use in Texas?
Now that you know your preferences, it’s time to look at the government’s set of fishing regulations.
According to the Outdoor Annual Hunting, Fishing, and Boating Regulations, both game, and non-game fish may be caught using a line and pole. This means that you may use your fishing rod to catch both types of fish.
Anglers can use no more than two poles while fishing.
Furthermore, the guide also states that it is unlawful to catch fish through foul-hooking, snagging, or jerking. Foul-hooking refers to when the hook catches the fish in any area other than its mouth.
Moreover, in freshwater, you cannot use more than 100 hooks on all of your gear.
Penalties usually depending on the type of regulation you’ve failed to follow. Here is a list of some of the penalties:
- Class C misdemeanors, ranging from $25 to $500
- Class B misdemeanors, ranging from $200 to $2000
- Class A misdemeanors, ranging from $500 to $4000
- State Jail Felony may have fines ranging from $1500 to 10000
Also, you may face imprisonment for Class B misdemeanors and above. Alternatively, your fishing license may also be revoked for up to five years, depending on severity.
What Other Fishing Gear/Methods Can I Use?
Fishing gear is not limited to just fishing rods. You can also use cast nets, sail lines, gigs, and the list goes on.
Let’s take a look at some other approved fishing methods and the regulations regarding them.
A cast net is usually thrown by hand over a specific area to catch fish. It is a small circular net with weights around the edges.
According to the guide, cast nets are only legal for catching non-game fish and other marine creatures such as crayfish, crabs, and shrimp. You may use non-game fish as bait in saltwater. Moreover, keep in mind that your fishing net’s diameter should be no longer than 14 feet.
A gaff is a handheld pole with a sharp hook at its end. You can only use a gaff to aid the landing of your catch. For instance, if the weight of your fish surpasses your fishing line’s breaking point, you may use a gaff to land the fish.
However, bear in mind, fish landed with a gaff should neither be above the maximum nor below the minimum length, as stated by the law.
Sail line fishing involves attaching a line of hooks onto a floating device or sail with the other end of the line fixed on the shore.
You can only use one sail line per fisherman. It is only lawful to use this method in saltwater to catch non-game fish. Moreover, the salt line must be attended at all times while fishing.
However, it is unlawful for fishers with a commercial fishing license to use this method of fishing.
A speargun is a hand-operated device designed to launch a spear. This method is pretty popular in competitive sports and for underwater target shooting.
It is lawful to use spearguns only to target non-game fish. Furthermore, the use of spearguns in community fishing lakes is unlawful. Keep in mind that crossbows are not a type of speargun.
Similar to a sail line, throwline is a method that comprises a fishing line with a maximum of five hooks with one hook attached to a permanent attachment. This method may also include swivels, rubbers, snaps, and rigid support units.
You can use this method only in freshwater to catch non-game fish. However, it is unlawful to use throwline in community fishing lakes.
Remember: Attach a gear tag with your name, address, and the setup date of your throwline. Gear tags are valid for up to ten days after the original set-out date.
Other Fishing Regulations
Besides the regulations on fishing gear, there are also some other guidelines that you need to keep in mind while fishing. I’ve listed some of these guidelines below:
The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department has set limits for maximum and minimum fish lengths. These limitations have been set to stop fishers from targeting fish that are too young or too old. This regulation helps in maintaining balance and control of the marine population.
Legal sizes vary depending on the species of fish. Not following the specified limit may lead to unnecessary penalties. Moreover, it would harm aquatic life as well.
Bag limits, another factor to keep in mind while fishing, refers to the maximum number of marine species that you can catch in a day. The purpose of this limitation again is to prevent overfishing and to protect marine life.
As with legal sizes, bag limitations also vary from species to species.
If you use a boat when fishing, I recommend going over the water safety requirements. There are numerous regulations, but an excellent place to start is with personal flotation devices (PFDs). In addition, you require the approval of the U.S Coast Guard for all your PFDs.
Other regulations involve lighting, horns, mirrors, fire extinguishers, etc.
Before you plan your fishing trip, it would be a good idea to carefully read through the regulations and guidelines set by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.
Knowing and following through the fishing regulations and guidelines can save you from unnecessary trouble. Using the correct gear is only one of the many things you need to keep in mind while fishing.
Whether you’re a beginner or professional, I suggest you regularly look at the regulations as updates and changes are made often. Familiarize yourself with all the rules of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department so that you can enjoy your next fishing trip to the fullest.