Port Aransas South Jetty (Port Aransas, Tex.), Vol. 9, No. 31, Ed. 1 Thursday, January 24, 1980 Page: 5 of 8
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JANUARY 24, 1980
Almost a year ago, Texas Parks
and Wildlife Commissioners plac-
ed a minimum size limit on
spotted seatrout (speckled trout)
caught by sportfishermen. Since
that time, some anglers have
wondered how many of the
undersized trout they release
Preliminary findings of a con-
tinuing mortality study by depart-
ment biologists appear to indicate
that when trout are handled
carefully and returned to the
water quickly a large percentage
of them suffer no ill effects.
Biologist Jim Dailey of Palacios
said hook and release studies
were conducted during August
and September, 1979. He said
that time period was selected
because most fishing pressure
occurs on the Texas Gulf Coast
during summer, and fish mortality
rates generally are higher in
In the August study, a biologist
watched while a sportsman caught
36 trout, 27 of which were under
12 inches. After hooking, the fish
were unhooked and dropped into
a holding basket in the water.
Then the fish were dumped into a
transport tank and then placed by
hand in large holding pens staked
in the water. Nine fish were
placed into each pen.
During the first three days, the
fish were checked twice daily for
mortalities, and water tempera-
ture and salinity data were
recorded at the same time.
At the end of seven days, 12 of
the 27 fish remained alive, for a
40 percent survival rate. Tides
were very low and water tempera-
tures very high.
In the September study, 20 fish
under 12 inches in length were
caught, unhooked and dropped
directly into a transport tank.
They were then taken directly to
the holding pen and transferred
by a dip net. five fish to a pen.
In addition, five fish, unhooked
gently and never touched by
hand, were placed in a holding
pen. No fish in this study died.
Biologists interpreting results of
the two studies concluded that the
fish in the first study were
handled excessively and were
subjected to much greater stress
than they would be under normal
catching and releasing bv anglers.
Also, mortality was estimated to
be higher because of warm water
and high salinities.
“On the other hand,” Dailey
said, “when just the slightest care
is utilized in unhooking small fish
it is reasonable to expect few if
any deaths from the handling, as
shown by the second study.”
Daily said additional studies are
planned to determine hook and
release mortality under a wider
range of environmental condi-
He offered this suggestion for
proper release of undersized
trout. “Wet your hand, then
firmly grasp the fish over the gill
cover with the thumb and index
finger. Use a de-hooking device
such as a hemostat or commercial
hook remover to gently remove
the hook, then return the fish to
the water quickly.”
Carlos Vega, from Harlingen, is
one of more than 35,000 Texas
Brownbuilders — men and women of
Brown & Root —currently at work
across the state.
Carlos joined Brown & Root in
1965 working as a fitter helper. Now
he’s a fitter foreman at the Brown
& Root fabrication yard at Harbor
Island, helping to make the under-
water portion of offshore drilling and
oil production platforms.
Texas Brownbuilders are proud of
the part they are playing in our
state’s industrial and economic
growth. Brownbuilders are also a
source of great pride to us. Their
loyalty and dedication are our most
Brown & Root’s operations are
worldwide in scope. A significant fac-
tor in our growth has been a long-
standing policy of recognizingsuper-
visory and management capabilities
from within from the ranks of Brown-
builders, offering each individual the
opportunity to advance according to
his or her ability and merit.
Texas Brownbuilders and Brown &
Root —helping build Texas.
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Frishman, Steve. Port Aransas South Jetty (Port Aransas, Tex.), Vol. 9, No. 31, Ed. 1 Thursday, January 24, 1980, newspaper, January 24, 1980; Port Aransas, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth601556/m1/5/: accessed August 12, 2020), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Ellis Memorial Library.