BRIAN JOHNSON ON OUTDOORS: SE Texas could be outdoors man’s dream

Published 12:14 am Sunday, July 8, 2018

I have been fortunate enough to do a fair amount of traveling through the years.  I have seen some beautiful sunrises and sunsets, been in awe of majestic mountains and relaxed by the crystal blue sea.  Each time I discover a new place and the beauty that it has to offer, I always ask myself, why do I stay in South East Texas??  No doubt the economy is stronger than most places and it is a pretty good area to live in if you train duck dogs like I do.  However, even though we don’t have mountains, or even hills, and our beaches aren’t the best, South East Texas has a lot to offer. This is especially true if you are an outdoorsman.

As I took time to reflect on the positives of our area, here is what I came up with.

1).  We have word class saltwater fishing

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If red fish, trout, flounder, or blue crabs turn you on then you are in the right place.  From surf fishing to the marsh, and from Sabine lake to East and West Galveston bay, we have some of the best fishing and crabbing that can be found anywhere. Kayaking in the shallows, wade fishing in the surf, chasing birds in the lakes and bays, even going off shore several miles are all ways that you can have fun right here at home. 

2). We have World Class Bass Fishing

These little green fish are all around us.  The local rivers and bayous provide a great place to get away for the evening to wet a hook.  If you want to take a little more time off, you can drive to Sam Rayburn or Toledo Bend Reservoirs and fish two of the top Bass lakes in the country. If tournament fishing is your thing, you are in luck because there are multiple tournaments every week at these lakes. Many areas of the country have decent fishing, but we have excellent fishing.

3). Coastal Duck Hunting is amazing. 

One of the main reasons I live in this area is because of the duck hunting. Not just so I can hunt more, but because there are lots of duck hunters in the area and I train duck hunting dogs for a living.  As a dog trainer I feel it is my duty to make sure I spend plenty of time duck hunting.  I tell my wife I must do this so I can relate better to my clients. ( I’m not sure she believes me but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!). I have found that the coastal marshes and rice fields in our area can offer up some of the finest waterfowl  hunting in the country.  I have hunted waterfowl in three different flyways and I can assure that when the ducks are here, this is as good as it gets.

4). We have frogs!

This one is kind of new to me and I’ve only been a few times.  However I would venture to say that the bull frogs are bigger in Texas.  If you want to venture out to catch a few giants then you are in the right place.  Not only are they fun to eat but they taste like chicken….. kind of. 

5).  Plenty of Pigs

Everyone complains about the over population of wild hogs except for hog hunters.  No doubt we need to control their populations so get you a bow or gun and get after them.  The opportunities are endless. From public to private land, they are found in almost every county in Texas. 

6). The weather ain’t that bad. 

Keep in mind that I work outside so you don’t have to tell me about the weather.  Yes it is humid, it rains a ton, and it gets hot.  However yesterday when it was 88 here my buddy from Palm Springs CA told me it was 117.  We never get that hot and we seldom drop below freezing.  All in all our weather is bearable as long as you don’t mind sweating or wearing rubber boots a few months out of the year. 

7). There are some great people in South East Texas

At the end of the day what makes a place worth living is the relationships that you keep.  No doubt there are good and bad people everywhere, but the people in our area generally pretty great.  People around here are friendly and exhibit southern hospitality.  The longer I stay in the area the more great friendships I find myself making.  I guess the truth of the matter is that it isn’t the ducks, fish, or frogs that keep me here, it is y’all.   The wonderful people of southeast Texas help each other through the ups and downs of life and that speaks volumes of their character.  God has blessed me with some great friends right here in my own back yard.

There are several more things that I could add but maybe I’ll save that for another time.  May God bless you and I pray that you take the time to look around as I have and count your blessings.

Brian Johnson, originally of Port Neches, is pastor of the Outdoorsman’s Church in Winnie, owner of and outdoors writer for The News.