The Port Arthur News
PORT ARTHUR —
The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) had a great new project called the Neighborhood Fishin’ Program (NFP) that directly targets this kind of fishing in urban areas.
“ Neighborhood Fishin’ is a program that provides year-round recreational fishing opportunities in major urban areas, emphasizing youth and family participation,” said Craig Bonds TPWD Region 3 Inland Fisheries Director.
“Success of the program relies upon an effective partnership between TPWD businesses, local governments, volunteers and users. This program is expected to increase participation in fishing while attracting more urban/sub-urban youth and families to public parks.”
Bonds said as part of the program, selected public park lakes receive frequent stockings of catfish throughout the summer, and trout throughout the winter.
Fishing-related information (how-to-fish, fish identification, etc.) are available at each lake and “would-be” anglers have access to basic fishing equipment at little or no charge.
“City partnerships are in place for each of the lakes in the program; cities contribute a proportion of program costs; this contribution amounted to about 19 percent of program costs in 2011,” Bonds said.
“The Neighborhood Fishin’ program receives a large portion of its support from funds donated by the Texas Bass Classic Foundation. Gulf States Toyota, based in Houston Texas, is the primary benefactor of the Texas Bass Classic Foundation. Other private partners assist with funding specific lakes within the program.”
The target audience for this program is adults 25-54 years of age with children who live within a ten-mile radius of the TPWD stocked lakes.
“These busy urbanites do not have much time and either do not know how to fish or simply are not aware of this close, easy-to-use fishing opportunity. Many are dual-income or single working parents who would like to spend more quality time with their children,” Bonds said.
“And that is exactly what we would like to help facilitate.”
For a complete list of participating locations and more information on the program go to http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/fishboat/fish/management/stocking/urban_catfish.phtml
Speaking of neighborhood fishing here are a few tips to learn for helping you fish local bank access areas on the coast.
In canals cutting through coastal subdivisions and marsh lakes intersecting highways land bound anglers tend to fish with dead shrimp. It does catch fish but usually non-target fish like croaker, hardheads and pinfish and it also draws in crabs. Get a cast net and use live bait. Mullet, shad and croaker will get you a much better shot at catching reds, specks and flounder than dead shrimp ever will.
Many of the bank spots on the coast have thick oyster growth and many tangles. Fishing your live bait or soft plastic under a popping cork can save you much frustration and also help draw strikes by creating the sounds of feeding fish.
(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk 560 KLVI.)