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Local anglers brave cold temps to fish ahead of saltwater closures

Miguel Vargas fish.jpg
Posted at 4:12 PM, Feb 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-15 16:29:21-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Despite the cold temperatures in the area this weekend, some local anglers are braving the weather to get to the water and do what they love.

“It’s our passion, y’know? It’s what we love to do, we’re fishermen,” said local fisherman Art Zamora.

Zamora has been fishing since he was eight years old. He fishes all over Corpus Christi, and was out Saturday night searching for black drums.

“It’s just really good fishing weather for big black drum out here right now,” Zamora said.

Fishing with Zamora on Saturday was a couple friends, including Santos Ramirez. Ramirez said the anglers don’t mind the cold, they just bundle up when the temperatures drop.

“We’ve got thermals, insulated boots, some of us wear waders that are insulated. I love the cold, I hunt in it, so it’s no big deal to me. You just put on layers, and you get through it. When you find fish, and you love what you do, it’s the least of your concerns,” Ramirez said. “Everybody’s at home bundled up, but the fish are already wet, and they’re already cold. It don’t matter, when they’re biting, they’re biting.”

The group was fishing at Causeway Pier Saturday. The Cos Way Bait & Tackle shop has a tournament for the month of February for the biggest black drum catch. However, the fishermen don’t keep the fish, they just CPR - catch, picture, release. For the group, it’s the love of the activity, and the camaraderie that surrounds it, that gets them on the water.

“I love it brother, it’s just a way of life. It’s a way of life for us out here, just something we do,” Zamora said. “We spend years together out here, brother. I’ve known brothers out here maybe 10-15 years-plus.”

“I live to fish, it’s a way of life, and it’s a passion I love to do,” Ramirez said. “We network off each other too. We all have a personal business that we work, and we help each other out, promote each other, and just help each other out, just hang out and fish. It’s better than being home and watching tv.”

However, the anglers are going to have to take a few days off this week, as the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will be issuing fishing closures at saltwater locations in the state starting Monday.

“In addition to killing game fish in shallow bay waters, a hard freeze can also cause surviving fish to congregate in a few deeper areas where they become sluggish and prone to capture. Those are the areas the department has temporarily closed,” the TPWD said in its release.

Zamora said it’s been a long time since he’s seen fishing spots close in the area.

“Last time, when was it? Maybe 2004, maybe around there. It’s been a good minute that we’ve have something like this happen. They don’t want nobody fishing because fish can belly-up because of the freeze. People just get up and take them, because they’re floating to the banks, and they’ll take them,” he said.

Saturday’s trip was one last one in anticipation of the closure Monday. However, the group is eagerly waiting for the temperature to rise again so they can get back on the water.

“Since this is what we love to do, we’re going to get our last one in, and we just have to wait it out. We just fish as much as we can until we’re not allowed to,” Ramirez said.