Anglers treasure the Laguna Madre, a shallow lagoon resting along one hundred miles of the South Texas coast that offers some of the best fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. Its lush environment of seagrass meadows, tidal flats, submerged rock, jetties, worm reefs, mangroves, oyster beds, and open bays provides shelter, food, and nursery grounds for more than 100 kinds of fish, and in its upper portion, many popular game fish are at record levels.
In Fishes of the Texas Laguna Madre, longtime angler and fish biologist David A. McKee taps into a lifetime of fishing and studying the lagoon to give us an expert's guide to this estuary and the fish that live there.
This book covers the natural history of the "Mother Lagoon" and provides information on the characteristics, life histories, ranges, and habits of the fish species found in this hypersaline environment. For some, and especially the "Big 5" coastal sportfish (spotted seatrout, red drum, black drum, sheepshead, and southern flounder), McKee offers additional notes on angling techniques, personal observations, record catches, and regulations. He also raises important conservation issues for boaters and anglers to keep in mind while enjoying this unusual ecosystem.
Visitor contact information (including the location of boat docks, boat ramps, and piers) rounds out the text, along with three maps of the Laguna Madre. Excellent black-and-white drawings of the fish, the majority by the late Henry "Hank" Compton, are featured throughout.
Fishes of the Texas Laguna Madre is for novices and "lagunatics" alike. It will be an invaluable guide for anglers and naturalists; canoers, kayakers, and boaters; students and teachers of fishery science; and anyone who lives near or has an interest in this unique and expansive body of water.
"David McKee's Fishes of the Texas Laguna Madre is a fitting tribute to biologist/artist Hank Compton, whose sketches and legacy are woven into the pages of this easy-to-read volume. By rescuing and resurrecting the sketches of an old friend, McKee has found a way to honor another, his Laguna Madre. Anglers will smile at references to familiar place names and colorful characters, while non-anglers will become familiar with a piece of South Texas culture and heritage through the reverent writings of an angler/biologist who strives to understand and truly cherishes the remote coastal water he wades."
– David Sikes
"David McKee was the perfect selection and person to bring Dr. Henry Hildebrand's unfinished manuscript, Fishes of the Laguna Madre, to life. David is a naturalist, fisherman, scientist, and teacher, and all four qualities show through in his writing. His long-term connection with family and friends, and his intense interest and knowledge in the people, lands, and waters of the Texas Coastal Bend are demonstrated as he teaches the reader history of the area also. David's practical approach to life, science, and teaching are evident in his writing and his personal expressions and qualities quickly grab the reader. Beyond the above, he imparts a call to stewardship of the Laguna Madre to all who go there and experience its wonder and natural beauty."
– Wes Tunnell, editor, Coral Reefs of the Southern Gulf of Mexico
"I found that this manuscript was extremely interesting and very informative of a lot of the history of the Laguna Madre. I have no problem putting CCA's name on this."
– Robby Byers, Executive Director, CCA Texas
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David A. McKee is associate professor of biology at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi, where he is also the coordinator of the mariculture graduate degree program and the associate director of the Laguna Madre Field Station. He has fished the waters of the Laguna Madre for more than thirty years.