Saltwater fishing regulations changed as of September 1 for the license year 2023 – 2024.
Changes include lowering the case reduce for cobia, adding shortfin mako sharks to the list of prohibited species, returning to past bag and size limits for spotted seatrout on the beach, and requiring the use of specialized equipment on reef fish showing signs of injury.
All professional and recreational anglers must then apply a venting device or rigged descending gadget on reef fish showing signs of barotrauma, according to Texas regulations. When fish are reeled up from depths of about 50 feet or more, they experience a pressure-related damage known as injury. Barotrauma can develop in some fish varieties from thinner depths.
According to studies, correctly releasing reef fish, like red snapper, lowers mortality. Similar to the federal DESCEND Act of 2022, this new legislation mandates that ships fishing in federal waters must have descending products and / or venting tools. To encourage fishermen to learn more about the effects of injury and how to use descending devices correctly, TPWD is working with organizations like Return’em Right.
The bag and size restriction in sea systems north of FM 457 was reduced by sporadic seatrout regulation changes, which went into effect on August 31. In all Texas saltwater, recreational anglers can now keep five caught seatrout that range in size from 15 to 25 inches. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission must go through the rule-making method before any additional changes to the size and spotted seatrout case restrictions can be made.
Shortfin mako fish have been added to the list of prohibited species, and the case reduce for cobia has been reduced to one. These sharks have a case restriction of zero, so if they are caught, they must be released right away.
For a complete listing of all new fishing and hunting regulations for the upcoming registration year, see the Outdoor Annual.