Congratulations to Texas anglers who reported a poacher after his brother posted a photo of the offender with his catch on Facebook.
The photo of Luis Castro holding a large redfish (red drum), with eight others in the bed of a pickup, carried the caption, “Just for fun.”
In Texas, the bag limit is three per day. Only one can be longer than 28 inches and it must be properly tagged.
For his offense, Castro was fined $2,600, with an additional $2,645.91 assessed as part of civil restitution. No doubt some anglers would like to see him do jail time.
Starting on Nov. 1, game wardens with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department received multiple complaints regarding the Facebook post. Investigation followed and, less than two weeks later, an arrest warrant was issued for Castro.
“Anglers on several social media sites were posting negative comments, and a day after the picture was originally posted, it was removed,” said Maj. Alan Teague. “However, the picture had been saved by many anglers and reposted.”
He added that fishing groups as far away as Florida learned about the incident.
“With tips from anglers and hard work by our game wardens and dispatchers, we were able to track the individual to a city in South Texas,” Teague said.
During sentencing, Justice of the Peace George Solice noted how important recreational fishing is to the people in Willacy County which includes Port Mansfield. Before sentencing Castro, the judge pointed out that there are people in the county whose livelihood depends upon the quality and future of recreational fishing.
“It was an obscene number of fish that you caught,” the judge said to the defendant. “We are all living paycheck-to-paycheck but none of us are going hungry. It was completely unnecessary to take that many fish.”