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All About Big Blue

September 1st, 2014

bluemarlin larva Rooker1 300x225 All About Big Blue

This tiny blue marlin larva won’t reach maturity until it is around four years of age. Photo: Dr. Jay Rooker

The blue marlin is one of the most iconic catches in sports fishing and with a length of 16 feet, and record weight of nearly one ton, it’s for good reason.

By Jarred Roberts

Blue marlin territory in the Atlantic reaches as far north as Maine and as far south as the tip of Africa. There are also Pacific blue marlin, debated to be a separate species, that will sometimes migrate and breed with their Atlantic relatives.

Spawning occurs in late summer during the warmest months, but nearer the equator with constant high temperatures, spawning can last much longer.

During this period the female lays millions of eggs for males to fertilize. Those eggs that don’t get eaten will float with the current until they hatch.

Upon hatching, marlin larvae eat anything they can fit in their mouths, including each other. A few weeks later when they’ve grown a few inches the marlins become more active hunters. Unfortunately, little is known about the period of time when marlins mature about four years later. These younger marlins slip through nets and quickly dart away from boats and researchers.

BLUEMARLINBIG 169x300 All About Big Blue

A big blue tries to shake loose a Makaira Pulling Lure.

Once they have matured, the females can be up to four times larger than the males with lengths up to 16 feet and a record weight of almost one ton. To sustain this size, marlins have been known to eat nearly anything with local reports of fisherman catching them eating plastic sandals, though a favorite food of theirs is squid. Marlin will dive down to 2,000 feet and skewer the squid on their bill, sometimes slicing them in half. Their size and natural body heat allow them to dive farther and longer than many other species, with the females going even deeper due to their larger size. Marlin also commonly eat mackerel, tuna and can take down white marlin as well.

Marlins have been around a long time with fossils found in Baja California dated to just over three million years ago showing little change since then. These records also support that blue marlin are more closely related to sailfish, as opposed to the similarly named black marlin, who are closer relatives to swordfish.

Despite this long legacy blue marlin are currently a threatened species. Though many nations and sport fishing competitions and organizations have adapted to these numbers and work to make sure marlin populations stay healthy and off the endangered species list.

Any females that aren’t caught almost always outlive the males. Males live until about 18 while females live until 27 with reports of a few females reaching 40.

Hooray For Labor Day!

September 1st, 2014

doradofeeesh 300x200 Hooray For Labor Day!By Capt. Joe Kent

Each year large numbers of anglers look forward to the Labor Day Holiday.  While you might think it is because it is a holiday and a day to go fishing that is not the case.  It signals the end of the busy tourist season and takes hordes of visitors off of the water and sends them back to work, school and other activities.

Following the first Monday in September, there begins a lot of competition for sportsmen’s time.  Dove season starts right away, football games and school activities begin taking the attention of anglers and, as the year progresses, more hunting seasons crop up.

All of this is music to the ears of serious anglers who love to see the early September exodus.

For many seasonal visitors to the Texas Coast, there is a mentality that fishing starts to slow after Labor Day with offshore fishing nearing the end of its prime time and trout beginning to depart the jetties and surf.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons so many are enthused about the last big holiday of the summer.

While September is known as a transition month for fishing, meaning trout, reds and flounder begin to start changing their patterns, there is a lot of excellent fishing that month and the action just continues to get better as we get into fall.

The days are not so hot and most of the migratory pelagic fish continue to roam the near Gulf waters.  September is one of the best months for tarpon fishing and the jetties and surf begin to come alive with redfish of all sizes.

Some of the best offshore fishing takes place during September.  Until the first cool spell sets in, just about all of the popular pelagic fish are within easy reach for the sports fishing fleet including one of its components, the Mosquito Fleet of smaller seaworthy boats.

Several of my best catches of ling and dorado have occurred during September and October.

While trout begin their transition back into the bays from deeper waters, reds start stacking up at the jetties, with the larger reds preparing to make their annual spawn.

All of this has the added attraction of taking place during mild to warm weather and not the stifling heat of July and August.
Baring an event in the Gulf of Mexico or a cold front, September through early October the weather tends to be quite stable.  Light winds and calm conditions tend to be the norm.

One change that I have noticed over the past 10 years is that our summer has tended to be extended with the beach water temperature remaining in the 80-degree range throughout much of October.  Several decades ago, summer ended earlier and the fall fishing patterns began in early October, usually by Columbus Day.

Recently, it has been late October before any significant cooling has taken place.

For now, let’s plan on taking advantage of the extended summer without the huge crowds.

By the time the next edition of Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine is off the press, our fall fishing patterns should be in full swing and we will take a look where the action is taking place.

California Jetty Fishing Texas Style

September 1st, 2014

rowanrockfish 225x300 California Jetty Fishing Texas StyleBy Brandon Rowan

Is it weird that I had to travel over 2,000 miles, to California of all places, to reacquaint myself with Texas rigged plastics? Yeah, I think so too.

I’m no stranger to fishing weedless plastics. As a kid, I pitched many a Texas rigged lizard or worm into the weedy lairs of hidden pond bass. But the bullet weights, plastic beads and worm hooks fell by the wayside when I discovered flounder, trout and redfish.

I was able to do some jetty fishing on the northern California coast this summer. In anticipation of my trip, I searched the internet high and low and learned as much as I could about how the locals pull rockfish, cabezon and lingcod from their rocky homes. Interestingly enough, Texas rigged flukes seemed to be the preferred method of catching fish without snagging the jetty. Tungsten bullet weights, half the size of lead and much more expensive, keep a lure’s profile small and less likely to get hung up.

blkrockfish 300x198 California Jetty Fishing Texas Style

Black Rockfish

I brought a whole bag of Gulp!® Jerk Shads to the Humboldt Bay south jetty but only needed one. I caught ten black rockfish in an hour, without a single snag, in what turned out to be a beautiful day on the water.

Short shank lead head jigs are often the norm for saltwater soft plastics here in Texas but I’m going to get back to my roots and toss something Texas rigged the next time I’m confronted with a jetty. This set up allows you to fish closer to structure, like rocks or shell, without fear of losing your lure. Give the Texas rig a try next time you’re on the water and remember to really set the hook!

Janiece M. Longoria

September 1st, 2014

Janiece Longoria   Single photo 300x295 Janiece M. Longoria

Janiece with a great Alaskan trout.

By Charles Milby

Janiece Longoria was appointed chairman of the Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority on January 8, 2013, at a joint session of the Harris County Commissioners Court and the Houston City Council. She has served on the Port Commission since first appointed by the City of Houston in September 2002.

Longoria is an honors graduate of the University of Texas and received her law degree from the University Of Texas School Of Law in 1979. She is a partner with the firm of Ogden, Gibson, Brooks, Longoria & Hall LLP.

She likes to fish and we like to fish. We were wondering what was on her mind regarding the Houston Ship Channel and she was kind enough to give us this interview, we hope you like it.

The Houston Ship Channel will celebrate 100 years of service this fall. Do you plan to recognize this event with a special party?

There will be a series of commemorative projects and events promoting the historic significance of the ship channel’s contribution to the city of Houston. This will include a documentary produced by the Texas Foundation for the Arts and created for broadcast on Houston’s PBS affiliate, and a Centennial Curriculum Guide for Houston area students and educators. The major exhibition “Stories of Workforce: Celebrating the Centennial of the Houston Ship Channel,” will be on display at the Houston Public Library.  Another special event will be a private rededication ceremony on November 10, 2014 to commemorate the historic date when President Woodrow Wilson fired a cannon via remote control from his office in Washington D.C. to officially open the deep-water Houston Ship Channel for operation on November 10, 1914.

The Panama Canal expansion is almost completed. What will this mean for the Port of Houston?
Opportunities for all-water service into the Port of Houston will certainly expand. More distribution facilities here locally will attract major retailers to the area because the expansion will allow larger vessels with greater capacity to now dock at the Port of Houston.

What are two things the Port of Houston can do to cut down on the water and air pollution?
The Houston Port Authority retrofitted and replaced diesel engines and is working with truckers and tenants to do the same. With the supply of natural gas from shale, we can switch to a cleaner burning fuel to power the trucks that move freight to and from the PHA facilities. The Port Authority pioneered the environmentally beneficial use of dredge materials to create marsh and wildlife habitat in the Galveston Bay system. New technology and infrastructure investments have improved efficiency for customers, reduced truck idling time, and lowered emissions for our region. The Port Authority will continue to stay at the forefront of technology advancements and innovation to assure that we remain competitive, while continuing our focus on the environment.

Are you planning any fishing trips in the near future?
My husband and I will be going on our annual fishing trip to Alaska.

What’s the biggest fish you ever caught?
A 30-inch Rainbow Trout. Caught and released, and not yet repeated.

Do you have any advice for anyone who is thinking of getting into fishing for the first time?
Take a fly fishing lesson from someone other than your spouse.

2014 Miss Kemah Pageant

September 1st, 2014

kemahwinners 266x300 2014 Miss Kemah PageantKenda Carroll, a beautiful blonde University of Houston-Downtown student, was named the 2014 Miss Kemah. She will represent our area in the Miss Texas USA Pageant.

Livia Lavender, a lovely young brunette who attends the High School for the Performing Arts, was selected as the 2014 Miss Kemah Teen and will go on to compete in the Miss Texas Teen USA Pageant. Congratulations Kenda and Livia!





HYC HOOD Regatta

September 1st, 2014

2014 HYC HOOD LOGO 300x300 HYC HOOD RegattaThe 5th Annual Houston Open One Design Regatta (HOOD) will be held at the Houston Yacht Club Sept. 20-21.  Our title sponsors for this years’ regatta are Mount Gay Rum, TagHeuer, J Boats Southwest, Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, Wells Fargo Mortgage, Seabrook Classic Café, and OJ’s Marine.  This event hosted 105 boats in 2013, and we hope to top that number this year.  Please mark your calendars to join us for this prestigious event.

There will be a competitor’s briefing Friday, Sept. 19 at 7 p.m.  Racing will be held Saturday and Sunday.  There will be three racing areas with nationally ranked PRO’s .  The last race on Sunday will be in conjunction with Barts Bash honoring America Cup sailor Andrew Simpson.  The registration fee includes a fleece vest for the skipper, a Mount Gay Rum cocktail party, and two tickets for the TagHeuer sponsored dinner Saturday night.  Daily first awards and door prizes will be given Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.

okay 300x199 HYC HOOD RegattaThe regatta is open to all one design classes.  Yachts of similar PHRF ratings may form a Level Rating class with prior notice (see the Notice of Race).  The NOR is posted at www.houstonyachtclub.com.  For more information, contact regatta chair Sandra Baldridge, srbaldridge@aol.com.




Trophy Catch

September 1st, 2014

2015 Chevrolet ColoradoZ71 014 300x166 Trophy Catch

2015 Chevrolet Colorado

All-new Chevrolet Colorado returns to Gulf Coast

By Don Armstrong

American-made is set to battle the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier in the mid-size truck segment, with the return of the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado, but this time with swagger and stats that will bring outdoorsmen back to the showroom.

Starting with a clean sheet of paper, GM engineers and designers were tasked with delivering a mid-size truck with guts, capability and visual appeal. Something that wasn’t part of the old Colorado DNA, it’s now at a price that starts below its full-size stable mate, Silverado.

This all-new Colorado is available in 3-trim levels, WT, LT or Z71.  It comes in extended and crew cab models, with 5 or 6-foot beds – depending on cab style – and 2 or 4-wheel drive. You’ll also select from 2 power plants; a 2.5-liter I-4 that delivers 200-HP and 191-lb.-ft. of torque or a 3.6-liter V-6 that generates 305-HP and 269-lb.-ft. of torque. A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard on most Colorado’s. A manual is available on the 4-cylinder work truck.

2015 Chevrolet Colorado 026 300x157 Trophy CatchAvailable towing capacity is 7,000-lbs when properly equipped with automatic grade braking and tow/haul mode.
Like the full-size Silverado, the Colorado comes with triple-seal doors. Now this may not mean much to you, but it makes a noticeable difference in interior quietness. Coupled with active grille shutters, both help improve fuel economy.

Not only is the interior considerably quieter than past models, it has all the modern features we’ve come to love in passenger cars, including an optional eight-inch diagonal color touch screen and multiple USB drives and a 3.4-inch diagonal driver information screen in the instrument cluster. Also available are the next-generation OnStar and MyLink enhancements with gesture recognition, natural language voice recognition and navigation.

Other options include 4G LTE with a built-in WiFi hotspot; Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning; and the GearOn™ accessory system for organizing and carrying bikes, paddle boards and other equipment.

Granted, as with anything these days, start piling on the options and there goes that bargain price. In fact, it’s pretty easy to get the Colorado up into the Silverado price range when option-adding overcomes you.

For those that have a smaller rig to tow, or perhaps an older garage that just doesn’t accommodate a full-size truck, the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado may be just ticket. It arrives at dealers in the fourth quarter of 2014 with a base price of $20,995.

What’s In Your Bag?

September 1st, 2014

By Patty Kane

LED Lantern 209x300 Whats In Your Bag?

WEATHERRITE® 610 Lumen LED Lantern is portable, reliable and uses a high-powered LED to output 610 lumens. It has 3 lighting modes and a carry handle located at the top for easy mobility or hanging. The power button is made of glow-in-the-dark material for easy locating in the dark.

Neck Light 179x300 Whats In Your Bag?

This Quarrow brand hands-free neck light features four bright LED lights with flex-arms that bend and maintain any shape. The viewing distance is ten meters with a run time of 20 hours. Water resistant and powered by 3 AAA batteries, the hands free neck light is light weight and a must to have for night fishing or making boat repairs.

LED Candles

It’s time to think about autumn onboard entertaining and relaxing. Set the atmosphere with the latest in candles. Once you use these LED pillar and tea light candles you will never go back to the old wax ones. Sea breezes will not blow these out and there is no waxy clean up!  They are smoke free, flame free and flicker just like a real candle.

Wireless Thermometer

This handy thermometer mounts on wall or navigation desk. Features include wireless outdoor temperature (°F or °C) and monitors indoor temperature (°F or °C). It has wall hanging or free standing capability and receives up to 3 sensors including time display, 12/24 hour time display and has a low battery indicator icon for both units.

Marine Battery

X2Power batteries’ pure lead dual-purpose design has the high-cranking power needed to start boat motors and on-board accessories such as depth finders, fish finders, radios, radar, lights and coolers. Just one X2Power battery does the job of two separate starting and deep-cycle batteries.




Italian Night Dinner Cruise

September 1st, 2014

photo 4 300x140 Italian Night Dinner Cruise

Cioppino (see recipe below)

By Betha Merit

We all have our favorite little Italian restaurant.  From bistro-style casual to white tablecloth formal dining, something special draws us back.  Usually, that something is the food.  Often that something includes the ambience.  Always that something is about the people.

For your own Italian night dinner cruise, you can select which friends and family get to share the experience.  Being on the water and on a vessel is already the perfect setting.  As a main dish, Cioppino will fit the menu perfectly.  Cioppino is a tomato-based one-pot stew chock-full of shellfish and seafood with Italian spices, garlic, and onion.  It is served with crusty bread to sop up the flavorful broth, and lots of napkins.  This dish originated in the late 1800’s by Italian-American fisherman living in San Francisco (that other Bay Area) who often cooked it on their boats while out at sea using fresh catch.

antipasti 285x300 Italian Night Dinner Cruise


Antipasti (literally, “before the meal”) will set the tone.  A variety of stuffed deli olives, marinated baby artichokes and mushrooms provide an easy, colorful, and delicious presentation.  For dessert, if a classic tiramisu or ricotta cheesecake sounds too heavy, you can select a variety of Italian cookies or biscotti, served with espresso roast coffee.

Selecting your wines will be fun.  For Antipasti, a young fruit-forward wine is best, perhaps a Pinot Grigio or Rosato or even a Prosecco if you like bubbles.  Cioppino is a challenging dish to pair.  A Barbera is a great red option that will stand up to the spices and tomato flavor.  White is not consistently recommended, however, Sauvignon Blanc or perhaps a dry Riesling would work.  For dessert, biscotti are traditionally dunked in Vin Santo, a late harvest Italian dessert wine.  A Moscato will also pair nicely with any dessert choice. Mangia! Mangia!



Serves 12

• ¾ cup butter
• 2 onions, chopped
• 6 to 8 minced
garlic cloves
• 1 bunch of parsley,
fresh chopped
• 28 oz can diced tomatoes
• 3 ½ cups chicken broth
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 tablespoon dried basil
• ½ tablespoon dried thyme
• ½ tablespoon dried oregano
• cayenne and black pepper to taste
• 1 cup water
• 1 ½ cups dry white wine
• 1 ½ pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
• 1 ½ pounds bay scallops
• 18 small clams
• 18 mussels, cleaned
• 1 ½ cups crabmeat
• 1 ½ pounds redfish
or similar

Melt butter in large stockpot, add onions, garlic, and parsley.  Slowly cook over medium-low heat until onions are soft, stirring occasionally.  Add tomatoes, making sure to break them into chunks.  Add chicken broth, all spices, water, and wine.  Mix well.  Simmer covered for 30 minutes.  Stir in all seafood and bring to boil.  Lower the heat, cover, and simmer five to seven minutes or until mussels and clams open.  Serve in bowls with crusty warm bread for dipping in the broth.

Boating With Cats

September 1st, 2014

sleepykat 300x199 Boating With CatsAnd no, we don’t mean catamarans

As rare as it may seem, more and more boat owners are bringing their feline friends onboard.  Having dogs on a boat is quite common. But unlike their canine counterparts, cats do not have a natural ability to adapt to a water environment.

Generally, domestic cats have not been bred to be on the water so they do not typically swim and or enjoy being near water. Yet, avid boaters – who also happen to be avid cat lovers – may still wish to overcome these laws of nature, and take their cat along with them.

Preparing Cats for Boat Time

It is best to slowly introduce your cat or cats to the water environment, and your boat. Some cats have an innate fear of water and will tremble at the mere sight of it. In more difficult cases, such as with older cats, adapting could prove more challenging than with younger ones.

Once on the boat, it is best to help cats become familiar with the vessel while docked. Loud boat engines on powerboats may be startling or hurt your cat’s sensitive ears. The speed and wind produced by powerboats might also be hard for cats to handle. These may be reasons why cats are most often seen on sailboats.

Keeping Cats Safe on Boats

Cats are known to be very well-balanced and good on their feet. Many boaters that observe cats on boats are surprised to see how nimble they are walking around the edges of boat decks and marina docks. Despite their ability to gracefully walk boat decks, BoatSafe.com suggests you have your cat fitted with a special pet life jacket for water safety. A slip into the water could be disastrous for cats that do not know how to swim.

When packing provisions for weekend or long distance cruising, be sure to include plenty of fresh water and food for kitty.

Keeping your cat cool in hot weather and protecting delicate paws on hot boat decks is important to ensure their health and well-being. And don’t forget the kitty litter!

With the right preparation and careful attention to special accommodations, your fluffy ball of fur will purr with pleasure at not being left behind when you spend time onboard.

Meet Our Mariner of the Month Gina Nesloney

September 1st, 2014

Gina head shot color 210x300 Meet Our Mariner of the Month Gina NesloneyWhere are you from? What brought you here and where are you now?
I’m originally from Houston, but graduated from high school in the small East Texas town of Livingston. After graduating from Texas State University in 1979, I moved to Rockport, married, divorced and moved to Seabrook in the early 80’s.

In 1995 I was in Kemah working for Sealink Helicopters at the now closed Houston Gulf Airport, and started my own special events company along with the Redfish Rodeo. There were two separate phone lines, one for Sealink, and one for Gina’s Special Events. After five years in business, I landed a lucrative contract with Texas Parks & Wildlife and relocated closer to Austin, where I currently live

During your exciting career what job prepared you the most for what you are doing today?
When I look back over my professional life, no one job prepared me for this, but one person did, Sharon Ward. When I was a third grader, I loved putting on shows and pageants in my neighborhood. Miss Ward’s creative music background taught me a lot, and she fed my passion for the production side of entertainment.

centerfold 300x187 Meet Our Mariner of the Month Gina Nesloney

Redfish Rodeo Legends.

How did you get started in fishing tournaments?
The idea for the RRT started in 1993 after attending a cattle drive with 23 other women in Amarillo. Two years later I started Redfish Rodeo in Rockport, Texas with a group of 24.

In 2000, Redfish Rodeo relocated to South Padre Island with 36 teams, and last year Galveston became the home for Redfish Rodeo with 38. This year, we have 42 teams with 168 women from around the country. Mostly are Texas gals from the Austin and Houston areas. Big plans are in the works for the future of Redfish Rodeo and our goal for Galveston is 50 teams, if we have support from the guide community.

Did any of these women fish in your first tournament 20 years ago?
Only two of the original 24 women are still fishing the Redfish Rodeo, Janice Greene Hurst, from Austin, and Dawn Messina, from Kemah. Janice’s team of four sisters, known as the “Greene Girls” from Smithville, actually have been fishing as a team for 19 years.

Redfish Rodeo Founder/CEO Gina Nesloney, center, with Team 1, the Greene Sisters. This team has fished the tournament for 19 consecutive years.

Redfish Rodeo Founder/CEO Gina Nesloney, center, with Team 1, the Greene Sisters. This team has fished the tournament for 19 consecutive years.

If you could have dinner and drinks with anyone, who would that be and why?
People inspire me. Strong women encourage me and smart men motivate me. If I could have an hour with one person, it would be Barbara Corcoran from the TV series, “Shark Tank.” She could take the Redfish Rodeo to places I never imagined. No doubt about it.

Favorite book or movie?
My favorite books are: Selections From Gift From the Sea by the late Anne Morrow Lindberger. It should be required reading for every graduating senior, girls and guy alike. The second is Three Cups of Tea by Greg Morrison. My all time favorite movie is Auntie Mame with RosalindRussell.

Redfish Rodeo Team 16. Becky Drake, from left, Kimberly Harding, Sharon Williams and Luanne Bozeman.

Redfish Rodeo Team 16. Becky Drake, from left, Kimberly Harding, Sharon Williams and Luanne Bozeman.

What is it about this tournament that separates it from other fishing tournaments?
Over the past 20 years, there has been a lot of new women’s fishing tournaments up and down the Texas coast , each one unique in its own right. What sets the RRT Redfish Rodeo apart is that it’s invite only. It’s also the only 2-day guide-draw. Guides are our biggest expense with over $52,800 guided division, but this tournament is guided only with a shotgun start. No other tournament does this. The entry fee includes two days of tournament fishing with licensed charter guides, seated dinners, breakfasts and lunches and a 64-page glossy magazine profiling all 168 women with custom team sponsor ads.

RRT is the only tournament that holds the bragging rights for having a Texas governor fish in a ladies tournament since Gov. Ann Richards participated in 2004 and, to our surprise, asked to speak at the Saturday dinner. It truly was a highlight in the RRT’s history.

Striker Yachts – Building the Finest Yachts in the World

July 1st, 2014

SPORTS PAGE 4 300x234 Striker Yachts   Building the Finest Yachts in the WorldWhen you say Striker Mega or Luxury Yachts to well seasoned mariners, they will tell you unequivocally they are the best designed and durable yachts ever built.

Striker Yachts are well known worldwide for their attention to detail, craftsmanship and design. The finished yacht product is astounding and almost intimidating.

The Striker Sport Fishing Yachts are also designed and built by  some of the world’s top naval engineers and craftsman. They are rugged and can withstand strong seas. They are made for luxury and performance, two very difficult engineering feats. They accomplish these two feats with flying colors.

Striker Yacht Corporation was founded in 1951. Originally its vessels were steel until 1956, when Striker was the first builder to use aluminum plating.  Since then, Striker has produced more aluminum hulled vessels than any other builder worldwide.

Commercial Pilot Boat Rough Water photo 1 300x186 Striker Yachts   Building the Finest Yachts in the WorldCombined with the highest quality craftsmanship and Alcoa’s new much stronger NAUTIC-AL aluminum plated hulls, Striker Yachts do not require zincs and are impervious to galvanic corrosion. The Striker line extends from the finest sport fishing yachts, from 50 feet to over 150 feet, to the world’s largest super yachts up to 1,000 feet (300m).

Striker yachts have roamed the oceans of the world in search of giant tuna, blue and black marlin, and they are built to take their owners into sea conditions that others would not dare to ply. A true ship in her own right but clothed as a luxurious yacht, there is nothing like a Striker. Striker welcomes you to visit their shipyards in beautiful Istanbul that will surely impress the most discerning client.

photo 3With record breaking super yachts becoming even more popular and with the top two being built in the last 24 months, Striker is capable now and well into the future to build the world’s largest super yachts. Building yachts up to 300 meters, which is far beyond any other yacht builder in the world. All yacht builds will be completed at our shipyards, built to the highest levels of ship building for safety and sea worthiness, and incorporated into a fine yacht with the style and comfort brought to us by our award winning naval architects, Donald Starkey, Gregory C. Marshall, and Luiz DeBasto, for truly unique world class yachts.


  • Mega/Super Yachts
  • Luxury Yachts
  • Sport Fishing Yachts


  • Vessels
  • Ships
  • Supply Vessels
  • Oil Recovery
  • Tankers
  • Trawlers
  • Power Plants
  • Tugs
  • Fire Rescue Boats
  • Patrol Boats
  • Surface Naval Vessels

Repairs and Refit

Striker, through an association with Sedef Shipyard and Tor Group, now operates one of the biggest yacht and shipbuilding facilities in Turkey based on a site with a total area of 291,936 square meters, making it capable of building multiple projects at the same time. Here Striker can construct all types of vessels, industrial projects and conduct repair and conversion works in the heart of Turkey’s shipbuilding district. They lead the shipbuilding industry in the region by using the best know-how and state of the art technology.

StrikerStriker Yacht Corporation
300 S. Avenue of the Arts,
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312

Contact – Phillip X. Orosco

Deep Drop Techniques for Grouper and Tilefish

July 1st, 2014

chelholden Deep Drop Techniques for Grouper and Tilefish

Chelsey Holden and a very colorful tilefish.

captholdengrouper Deep Drop Techniques for Grouper and Tilefish

Capt. Brett Holden with a real nice yellowedge grouper.

By Capt. Brett Holden

Deep dropping for tilefish and grouper is becoming more and more popular by the day here in the Gulf of Mexico. I began fishing for these deep-water critters in the mid-1980s, and the sport has grown into a daily routine for many Gulf anglers.

Faster boats with longer range have now made fish like warsaw grouper, snowy grouper, yellowedge grouper, longtail sea bass, barrelfish, tilefish and others easier targets for many Texas sport fishing vessels. These deep drop techniques will help you find these fish in 400–1,300 feet of water.


Capt. Matt Reed, left, and Capt. Jeff Wilson with a warsaw grouper.

Species of the Deep

Mike Parsons with the new Texas state record tilefish. 43 inches and 33.08 pounds.

Mike Parsons with the new Texas state record tilefish. 43 inches and 33.08 pounds.

Warsaw, yellowedge and longtail sea bass are commonly found around mountain tops, hard spots and deep water oil rigs in the 400–900 foot range. Warsaw grouper, on average, run anywhere from 40–100 pounds. But over the years I’ve seen several fish up to 250 pounds and a couple in the 300-pound range. Regulations have changed and now only one warsaw per-vessel is allowed.

Yellowedge grouper are delicious and average 8–18 pounds, with a few 20–30 pounders still caught fairly regularly. The largest one we ever caught was around 50 pounds.

'Bubba' with a longtail sea bass.

‘Bubba’ with a longtail sea bass.

Longtail sea bass are another fish that seem to inhabit the same area. They are good eating but hold a little stronger taste than the deep-water grouper. Once again, these fish are mostly found in the 400–900 foot range.

Barrelfish and tilefish run a little deeper on average. For big barrelfish, you want to fish down current from the edges and walls of deep water mountain tops. The edges will have well-defined drops and barrelfish can stack up very thick at the top and bottom of this structure. They’re usually found a bit higher off the sea floor and mark well on a good bottom machine. These fish are most often found between depths of 850–1,200 feet.

Capt. Jeff Wilson and Mike Parsons with a trio of barrelfish.

Capt. Jeff Wilson and Mike Parsons with a trio of barrelfish.

Many times the deeper you drop for barrels, the bigger the fish tend to be. Last year we found a pile of barrels at 900 feet that ran 3–8 pounds. We moved off that ridge and found another school in 1,170-to-1,225 feet of water. All of the barrels off that ridge were running 12–18 pounds on average. These fish are a blast; they fight all the way to the surface, unlike many deep water species that tend to “blow up” as they near the surface. The barrels fight hard and really put a bend in the rod.

Tilefishing is a fast growing sport and produces exceptional table fare. Not long ago, tilefish were pretty much unheard of as a rod and reel fish. I caught my first one in the mid-1980s and have been targeting them every since. This fishery was kept very quiet for a long time and was a pretty big secret. Back in the 1990s, there were no limits on tiles, and that is what we filled our freezers with. But still to this day, they are a fish you can actually go target and pick up a few meals.

We have bigger tilefish here in the Gulf than most people would think. Just a few years ago, the record tilefish was only around four pounds. But I have caught uncountable tilefish running 25–35 pounds

and several that have been 35–45 pounds, including a couple near 50 pounds. Now that eyes are opening to the new daytime swordfishing industry here on the Texas coast, more and more tilefish are being boated.

Tilefish are probably the easiest of all the deep water fish you can target. The golden tilefish is most commonly found in the 900–1,250 foot range. Smaller tiles, averaging 2–10 pounds, can be targeted on the continental shelf wall without any special areas or specific “numbers.” Muddy areas anywhere from 900–1,000 feet of open water will hold tilefish.

Finding better average sized fish will take a little more work. Tilefish will typically get bigger off the shelf, or in valleys against the shelf. Drop on the down current side of small dips and slopes in 1,000–1,250 feet of water. Tilefish tend to feed right on the bottom, so try to stop your bait and hold the boat on an area as tight as possible.

However, slow drifting will also produce tilefish and is great for covering ground. Drag the bait against the bottom, stopping often, and then continuing the drift to explore new areas.


Finding bigger tilefish is another story altogether. I have learned a lot over the past few years about these large fish. The biggest ones will hold against ridges at 1,200 feet and are bold enough to follow baits headed for deep water. Drop your bait near the edge of a ridge that looks over 1,500–1,600 feet of water and be ready. The biggest tiles, those from 35–50 pounds, seem to live alone. I have caught most of these big fish away from the schools and many times, several feet off the bottom feeding in schools of squid or dragonfish. The big tilefish really don’t seem to like a lot of leader in their face. Single rigs with the weight above the bait seem to work best. A whole squid, about 14-inches-long, works very well. Use a large hook and bait to avoid the smaller fish when targeting big tiles.

I seem to catch lots of big tiles early in the year, April through May, and sometimes in as shallow as 850–1,000 feet. I’m not sure if it was due to spawning or what, but I’ve caught several in the 30–45 pound class during these months.

Other Species

Josh Graves carefully holds up a scorpionfish.

Josh Graves carefully holds up a scorpionfish.

Beware of spiny, toothy and venomous critters that you might pull up from the deep. Spiny dogfish are small, deep water sharks that have spikes near the dorsal fins that can cause a painful sting. The spines on scorpionfish can also sting if you’re not careful. But these bright orange fish are pretty good to eat.

Once the sun goes down the tilefish stop biting and the eels take over in force. Conger eels have nice white meat but lots of bones.  Banded shrimp eels and moray eels have mouths full of big teeth so watch out.

Spiny Dogfish

Spiny Dogfish

Hake, a small brown fish averaging 1–3 pounds, also bite at night and can be a nuisance. They will eat pretty much anything. Their meat is good and tasty but very soft. I use hake filets to replace crab meat in gumbo.



The tilefish don’t bite at night but grouper will if you’re in an area free of eels. Snowy and yellowedge grouper will take baits and warsaw will feed as high as 400 feet off the bottom in 900 feet of water.

Triple deep drop leader with LP circle hooks.

Triple deep drop leader with LP circle hooks.


For years I never used any kind of light or strobe to catch tilefish and did okay. But over the past 10 years or so, I’ve started rigging them up and I think it does work better. I also found that rigging the light further from the bait will produce bigger fish. If we are targeting BIG tiles I will rig the weight and light 15 to 20 feet above the bait. Big tilefish will eat regular double and triple bait rigs, but once again, you’ll do better on a clean single rig. The standard double and triple bait drops work well for yellowedge grouper and smaller tilefish.

Your size of leader and weight will all depend on how much current you are fighting. The bite and fishing will be best when using less weight and smaller line. Thinner line means less bow in the line and that makes it easier to see bites. On the Booby Trap, we use Diamond braid made by Diamond Products. I like the orange 80 pound braid because it is easy to see.


Cannonball weights and lead stick.

With a light current and this braid, 3 pounds is a good weight to start with on your standard double bait leaders. I use cannon ball style weights because they don’t get hung up as easy on rough, rocky bottoms. If the current is strong then move up in weight size to 4 to 5 pounds. If it really cranking move up to 7 pound window weights or lead stick weights.

Some of these deep water fish have sharp teeth, so heavy mono leaders are a necessity. Yellowedge, longtail sea bass and other smaller grouper are not so bad but tilefish, eels and small sharks have sharp teeth. The grouper will wear through light leaders eventually and the tiles will bite clean through them. I use 300 pound LP or Momoi mono leader for our deep drops.

Use caribbean swivels to help keep the twist out of the leader and line. Most bottom fish will go into a spin on the way up.

Heavy duty circle hooks, from 8/0 to 16/0, work best for deep dropping. Tilefish and grouper have no problem snagging themselves on a circle hook and I would say it definitely helps keep the fish on when cranking them up from the deep. A sharp hook is also important. It’s a long way up and down, so a needle sharp edge is very important.

Be sure to take plenty of extra tackle when deep dropping. It is a long ride to the deep water fishing grounds and you might lose tackle to rocks and snags. Also, carry an extra spool or two of braided line. One break off at 1,000 feet can end the day if you are without replacement line.

When it comes to reels, the Lindgren Pitman S-1200 electric reel is the reel of choice on the Booby Trap. The LP is a deep dropping fishing machine that also has the strength and drag system to handle big warsaw grouper and swordfish. You can also hand crank tilefish and grouper on conventional tackle but it is a long way up and down.


Reel Crankie in action.

The Reel Crankie is a must have, great product that can assist in getting your rig up from the bottom fast. It’s not made for fighting fish but for retrieving your heavy weight and empty hooks when you don’t catch a fish. It does a great job of winding up all the line, instead of you wearing out your arm on empty hooks. The Reel Crankie fits on a cordless drill and clamps onto several different makes of conventional reel.

You can also deep drop with two lines but it can be tricky fishing and requires some boat handling. The more bow in the lines you have, the more likely you are to tangle your expensive gear.

What Bait?

Over stuffing your hook with bait can result in fewer hookups. It is more important to get less bait nicely hooked rather than too much bait, which will result in missed fish. Avoid hard, bony, bulky baits that can push a fish off the hook. Softer baits like fish fillets and squid will result in better hook ups. Larger squid are usually tougher and stay on the hook better than the small ones. I like to take a 12–16 inch squid and cut chunks for tilefish. Squid wings work well too but not as a whole squid or chunks.

Preparing Your Catch

Gut your grouper and tilefish ASAP for better table fare. These fish eat lots of shellfish, which can result in some nasty strong tastes in the meat if not taken care of properly.

Wash down your fish after gutting them and keep on ice. Try and keep cooler drained at all times so the fish don’t soak in water.

Connor Weigelt holds up a beautiful colored tilefish.Go Get Them

Now you’re ready to go out and find your own tilefish and grouper. The entire continental shelf from Texas to Louisiana holds great bottom structure, supporting tons of deep water species.

Some fish stay directly on top of structure, some live on the walls, slopes and drop offs and some species are found on flat bottoms. Don’t forget to mark your hook ups on your GPS and keep a track record of your best catches. This is the best way to build and notice patterns on the different fish.

It is a fun way to spend the day with miles and miles of perfect habitat for multiple types of great eating fish. You never know what you will come up with and that alone makes deep dropping fun in itself.

Brett Holden is the captain of the Booby Trap, which holds the record for largest swordfish in the Gulf of Mexico. Holden is a pioneer in daytime swordfishing along the Texas coast; he holds numerous billfishing records and shares his deep drop techniques every year at the Texas Swordfish Seminar. 

Texas Billfishing Lures

July 1st, 2014

Four top captains talking about the Texas billfishing lures that are always in their spread and should be in yours, too.

texasbillfishing Texas Billfishing Lures

Moldcraft Wide Range

moldcraftwiderangeblkpurp Texas Billfishing Lures

Moldcraft Wide Range with black/purple skirt. (no. 26)

Capt. Darrell WeigeltCapt. Darrell Weigelt – PATRON

“My favorite lure for Texas billfishing is the Moldcraft Wide Range in black and purple. I can pull it anywhere in the spread and get good action from it in almost any condition. This lure catches a lot of big blue marlin. It is responsible for a massive 1,742-pound marlin, as well as the 80 pound line class world record blue of 1,189 pounds.”

Wide Ranges

Some of Capt. Deerman’s favorite Wide Range color combos.

Capt. Kevin DeermanCapt. Kevin Deerman – LEGACY

“On the Legacy, we have about 20 lures that I would consider our ‘A Team.’ These are the lures that have been productive for us on the Legacy and also on other boats that I have been on in years past. As far as picking a favorite, I would have to say the Moldcraft Wide Range would be my choice in any color combo. This one always finds a spot in our spread either as a lure with hooks, at the end of a daisy chain or by itself as a hookless teaser. Because it’s a soft lure we get more bites out of a fish and more opportunities at hookups.”

Marlin Magic Baby Ruckus

Marlin Magic Baby Ruckus

Marlin Magic Baby Ruckus 03/46 skirt combo at Melton International Tackle.

Capt. Troy Day

Capt. Troy Day

Owner Jasen Gast – REHAB

“My favorite lure for Texas billfishing is the Marlin Magic Baby Ruckus. It was designed by fishermen in Hawaii who catch more big blue marlin on lures than potentially any other place in the world. Run off the short or long rigger position, this lure is a proven billfish raiser for us. It creates a lot of noise in the water and pulls extremely well in a variety of weather conditions we see here in the Gulf of Mexico. Both the Ruckus and Baby Ruckus models are very aggressive and create quite the billfish attracting commotion.”

Makaira 19 - Chartreuse Paua Shell - Blue/Silver over Green/Chartreuse

Makaira 19 – Chartreuse Paua Shell – Blue/Silver over Green/Chartreuse

Brutus - Blue Paua Shell/Silver Mirror w/ Silver Eyes - Blue/Silver/Black Bars over Purple/Black

Makaira Brutus – Blue Paua Shell/Silver Mirror w/ Silver Eyes – Blue/Silver/Black Bars over Purple/Black

Capt. Brett HoldenCapt. Brett Holden – BOOBY TRAP

“Due to weather, we only have so many days to fish here in the Gulf. So if I’m chasing billfish I’m going to make it count. Makaira Pulling Lures, custom handmade lures by Justin Roper in Louisiana, are my first choice for trolling. Justin has 19 different lure heads, from slant to yap to chugger, in a variety of colors and weighted in couple different ways. My favorites are the 19, Brutus and Mars. I prefer to rig them with a single stiff or single semi-stiff hook. I’ll always the remember the first day I trolled a Makaira. We were in 400–500 feet of water and a big blue marlin inhaled the lure off the flat line right away. We ended up catching 12 wahoo and four big dolphin in an hour and a half after that first big blue. Since that day, I’ve made it a point to always have Makairas in my spread.”

Houston Yacht Club Sailor Wins the 2014 A-Class Catamaran North American Championship

July 1st, 2014

AY7Q9381 300x200 Houston Yacht Club Sailor Wins the 2014 A Class Catamaran North American Championship

Bob Webbon

A large group of international A-Class Catamaran sailors came together for a couple of days of great racing on Croatan Sound in Manteo, North Carolina. The racing was very competitive with the championship being won in the last race of the six race series.

Bruce Mahoney, the winner, has been training hard. It showed in his performance, he never finished worse than a third. Bob Webbon, a long time Galveston Bay catamaran sailor, cracked the top ten with a 7th place finish and Martin Hamilton showed the young guys that he can still bring it with 13th in the overall standings.

Two other sailors from the Houston Yacht Club sailing in the championship were Luke McAllum who finished 21st and Kevin Grice who finished 38th out of 45 boats.

David Hunt

July 1st, 2014

davidhunt 253x300 David HuntPresident of the Gulf Coast Yacht Brokers Association

David Hunt is a native of Seabrook, with a love of the water and passion for boats. That love was born early on at his father’s dealership, Gulf States Yachts, and nearly 30 years later, David is proud to continue the legacy at Texas Power Yachts.

He began his career as a yacht broker in 2007 with Lauderdale Yacht Sales, after a successful stint in real estate. He then joined Lone Star Yacht Sales as sales director, under the famed international yacht broker James Hedges and excelled in the international yacht market as the Gulf Coast dealer for Azimut Yachts and Bertram Yachts.

Also representing Benetti Yachts and Atlantis Yachts as an official international agent, David had the opportunity to perfect the art of luxury yacht sales. With his intimate knowledge of the global luxury yacht market, his clients praise him for his honesty, attention to detail and his desire to always act in their best interest.

Now in his role at Texas Power Yachts, he tries to match the right boat to the desired yachting experience. His knowledge and experience with brokerage and new boats makes him an excellent partner in finding the perfect boat.

Passionate, patient and driven, he is an Eagle Scout, president of The Gulf Coast Yacht Brokers Association and an active third-generation member of Lakewood Yacht Club. When he isn’t at the office, he is on the water in his Boston Whaler with his beautiful fiancé, Lindsey, or enjoying spending time with his family and friends at Lakewood.

How long has the Gulf Coast Yacht Brokers Association been in the area?

Since the early 1980s.

As the president of that organization, what are your duties and responsibilities?

As president, I am responsible for presiding over all or the meetings of the GCYBA, as well as planning all of the meetings and special events. There are also specific committees, and duties placed by the board of directors. I also spend time promoting our organization in the Bay Area, as well as the state of Texas.

If you could own any boat what would it be?

Bertram 64 Convertible. My father had several Bertram and Hatteras yachts when I was growing up.
To many people buying a new boat can be a daunting process; could you walk us through the steps of purchasing a boat?
It can be a daunting process and the first step is to find a broker you can trust. The broker members of the GCYBA are all held to an ethical standard, as well as many being Certified Professional Yacht Brokers.

Brokers have resources available to them that most buyers do not have. We have access to multiple listing services, as well as boat information and knowledge that can save time in narrowing the search to meet the buyer’s needs. We can also assist the buyer by helping them define what vessel they want as well as defining vessels that will fit their needs.

Once the boat is selected, the broker will assist them with presenting an offer to the seller and negotiating a price, and terms.
A broker can assist the buyer in finding a qualified marine surveyor to survey the vessel and give an expert opinion of the condition and value of the vessel.

Once the survey is competed, the broker will assist the buyer in the closing phase of the process, helping with titles, documentation and closing documents. This will help make sure that everything flows smoothly, resulting in a happy experience for all parties.

What’s your favorite movie?

Pulp Fiction

What changes do you see for the boating industry in the next 3 to 5 years?

In our Texas market the industry would be greatly changed with the adoption of a sales tax cap on boats. Florida passed a bill in 2010 that limits the sales/use tax on boat sales to $18,000. By capping the sales tax on boat priced more than $300,000, Florida saw a dramatic increase in sales, as well as direct revenues to marine businesses such as marinas, shipyards, etc.

Currently sales tax in Texas is 6.25 percent on boats under 65 feet and 8.25 percent on vessels over 65 feet. A sales tax cap in Texas would increase the number of boats in the area, as well as much larger boats entering the state. The local economy of our area would see dramatic increases in marine related jobs, as well as the other businesses that profit from the marine industry, such as restraints, marina’s and yacht clubs.

We are also seeing some great new designs in both sail and power yachts, and many new advances in performance, clean engines, and hybrid technology.

How many yacht brokers are in the area? 

Around 60

What do you like to do for fun when you’re not working?

I spend a lot of time on the water in my Boston Whaler with my fiancé and friends. I also enjoy spending time at Lakewood Yacht Club with my family and friends.

Ole Evinrude

July 1st, 2014

evinrude 200x300 Ole Evinrude

An early model Evinrude motor. Check out Acie’s Outboards in Dickinson, they have a cool collection of vintage outboards.

The story of how ice cream changed the way we move on the water

Do you remember the first time you tried to start an outboard motor? Grab the handle and give it a tug, and, if you were lucky, it started on the second or third pull.

Back in 1907 Theodore Roosevelt was president, the Chicago Cubs beat the Detroit Tigers 4-0 to win the World Series and a young Norwegian immigrant was working hard on a new invention that would revolutionize the boating industry.

Ole Evinrude liked to build things. He was fascinated with the new internal combustion engine and he saw the potential for a new idea that would one day make him famous.

Ole Evinrude started out as a mechanic and a pattern maker. After moving to Milwaukee he formed a company, Clemick & Evinrude. The sole purpose of this company was to manufacture standardized engines for the small automobile builders that were springing up all over the area.

After a while the business failed and Evinrude went back to pattern making in a small shop outside Milwaukee near the Kinnickinnick River. One hot August afternoon Ole and his lady friend, Bess, went on a picnic with friends. They rented a little boat and rowed out to an island on a lake near town. During lunch Bess expressed her desire to eat some ice cream. The closest town was a mile away. Ole rowed back to town, got some ice cream and then headed out for the long row back to the party. Along the way the ice cream melted. As soon as the picnic was over, he dropped Bess off at her home and he went back to the shop and started working on his invention. The rest is history.

A short time later Ole took his new invention down to the Kinnickinnick River and rented an old row boat for 50 cents, which was a lot of money in that day. He strapped on the engine and then fired it up. To everyone’s amazement, the new invention worked, it pushed the little row boat around at five miles per hour. People stopped what they were doing and looked on in wonder as Ole demonstrated his new engine. The next day he loaned the engine to a friend who was going fishing. Later that day the friend came back with 10 orders for the new invention.

Ole married Bess. He started a company and they formed a perfect team. He was the mechanical genius and she handled the marketing and sales.

The Evinrude name has been associated with outboard motors for over 100 years.

Evinrude E-TEC was the first outboard engine technology to win the American Environmental Protection Agency 2004 Clean Air Excellence Award. Chances are you have owned an Evinrude at some point in your life. Today all Evinrude motors are built and assembled in Sturtevant, Wisc., south of Milwaukee.

Leukemia Cup Regatta At HYC raises $135,344

July 1st, 2014

lkcup4 300x200 Leukemia Cup Regatta At HYC raises $135,344

Laura Masterson at the helm.

The Leukemia Cup Regatta at Houston Yacht Club is now history, raising $135,344 to fight leukemia, lymphoma and other blood cancers in a thrilling series of sailing events that combines the joy of boating with the important task of raising money to fight disease.

Since its inception, the Leukemia Cup Regatta has raised millions of dollars for lifesaving research and patient services, bringing help and hope to patients and their families.  This year 63 boats participated in the regatta.

The Texas Gulf Coast Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society congratulates and thanks everyone who participated, noting that this year’s event raised $14,000 more than last year.

Funds raised support the mission to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

Texas Offshore Fishing in a Smaller Boat

July 1st, 2014

mahimah Texas Offshore Fishing in a Smaller Boat

Look for dorado under weed mats and floating debris.

Prime Time to Take Your Smaller Boat Offshore

shrimpboat 300x225 Texas Offshore Fishing in a Smaller Boat

Shrimp boats can inspire a frenzy of fish activity.

By Capt. Joe Kent

There are many anglers with boats capable of making offshore trips during periods of good weather; however, a large percentage of them are apprehensive about venturing beyond the jetties.  July and August probably are the two best months of the year for the smaller boats to make a Texas offshore fishing trip.

Barring an event in the Gulf, the weather is the most stable of the year and the winds tend to be lighter on average than most months. Just about every pelagic fish that visits the Texas Coast is within easy range of smaller boats with limited fuel capacity during July and August.

The conditions are good and the fish are there, so what is keeping you from making that first trip to battle a king mackerel, ling, Spanish mackerel, shark or Dorado?  For me, it was a lack of information on where to go, how to fish and what equipment would be needed.  Sure, the big boys with boats over 30 feet in length knew all of that stuff; however, for us bay fishermen with smaller boats we just did not know a king fish rig from a bottom rig.

In sharing some of my first experiences and frustrations with you, it is hoped that you will learn some of the basics of offshore fishing and, if your boat is suitable for a run of 10 to 15 miles out, you will give it a try.


My first trip into the new world of offshore fishing came in late June of 1972.
The first big issue was preparing my boat for the trip.  We had all of the safety equipment required and a C.B. Radio for so-called ship to shore communication.  Several extra six-gallon tanks of gas were on board and we had a good compass.

Extra water was carried along and a good first aid kit.

While all of that was necessary, the one thing we did not think about was extra anchor rope.  Anchoring in 50 to 70 feet of water requires much more rope than at 12-foot depths.

Our biggest mistake was in the fishing equipment we chose.  Our tackle was too heavy.  We took “broom-stick” rods equipped with large reels filled with 80-pound test line.  After all we were fishing offshore and the fish are big and require heavy equipment.  That is not the case for the near shore waters.

Bait and riggings were the next big mistake.  We only had bottom rigs typically used for red snapper and squid and cut mullet were the baits we brought along.

When we anchored at a spot 10 miles out of Freeport called the Middle Bank, other small boats were fishing there also, some trolling others anchored.  We were close enough to other boats that we could see their fish and all were having a field day catching kings, bonito and sharks.   Our bottom rigs produced hard heads, small snapper and lot of other bottom feeders.
Little did we know that the action came from baits floating near the surface?

After that trip we started becoming knowledgeable about how to fish offshore and here are some tips to help you with your first trip.

First and foremost is safety.  Keep a close eye on the weather and if potentially threatening conditions are in the forecast, reschedule your trip.  There are a lot of days during July and August that are excellent for heading offshore in a smaller boat.

Next equally as important is the condition of your boat.  Regardless of size, is it seaworthy, does it have the proper safety equipment and fuel capacity?  As a general rule you should carry 30 percent more fuel than you estimate using for your trip.

Type I PFDs are a must also.

Now, let’s concentrate on the fishing.  If you have not been offshore before, it is quite different from inshore fishing.  A good trout rod will suffice if the reel can handle 20 to 30-pound test line.

Kingfish are common offshore. Drift a ribbonfish or sardine rigged on a wire leader to find them.

Kingfish are common offshore. Drift a ribbonfish or sardine rigged on a wire leader to find them.

Wire and coated wire leaders with either single 6/0 to 8/0 hooks baited with fin fish or two to three hooks for ribbon fish are needed.  Weights are used only if the current is so strong that the bait stays on top of the water.  Ideally the baits consisting of sardines, ice fish, cigar minnows or ribbon fish should be suspended just below the surface.

A gaff and a club are needed as a landing net will not work for kings and many other surface fish.

Areas within 10 to 12 miles that are best for newcomers are the wells and platforms.  One of the best ways to fish them is to motor up to the platform and drop your baited line overboard.  As your boat drifts away, the bait will stay just below the surface. Be prepared for a vicious hit as kings and other surface fish don’t nibble but usually strike hard at your bait.

When you gaff your fish, use a club or other blunt instrument to stun the fish by hitting it in the head.  This makes it easier to place the fish in the ice chest and avoids your catch flopping around on the floor of the boat and avoids damage to your equipment.

From mid-July on, anchored shrimp boats also are excellent spots to drift using the same technique as drifting surface structure.

Once you get a trip or two under your belt, other techniques will surface such as trolling baits or bottom fishing.  For the first trip or two, stick to drift fishing wells, platforms and anchored shrimp boats as other methods and techniques will catch your attention as you progress in offshore fishing.

Boating With Man’s Best Friend

July 1st, 2014

dogandwoman 200x300 Boating With Mans Best FriendKeeping Your Dog Safe Onboard Your Boat

Summer is here and if you plan to take your dog for a cruise, the following safety tips can make you and your pet more comfortable and secure while on the lake, in the bay or off shore.

1. Visit the boat with your pet prior to your trip. Let your dog get acquainted with the boat before going out on the water.

2. Bring a first-aid kit. The Humane Society of The United States suggests you bring an antibiotic ointment for minor scrapes and have a good supply of any  medications your dog may require.

3. Check local laws about dogs and boats. Regulations can vary by state and if you plan to enter international waters, research laws regarding dogs.

4. Keep your dog’s first outing brief. If it’s your dog’s first time to go out, have a quick trip so there is adjustment time to the vessel’s movement. A dog can get seasick, just as humans can.

5. Develop a plan in case your dog falls overboard. Talk about your plan with crew and guests before you leave the slip.

6. Invest in a life jacket. Even at the dock a dog can fall overboard and although most dogs can swim, your pet may panic and not be able to get to where he can be lifted out of the water. It’s important for your dog to have a life jacket anytime it’s on the boat. The Hedz Up Pets Watercollar™, a new product on the market, easily attaches to your dog’s properly-fitted collar. Straps drop away from your dog’s neck, providing all day comfort and ease of movement. This floatation device is designed to keep your dog’s nose above the water. The Hedz Up Pets Watercollar™ is available locally at Encore Resale and online at HedzUpPets.com

7. Other reminders. Allow time for potty breaks or make arrangements onboard. Summer heat can take a toll on animals so make sure your dog stays hydrated. It’s a good idea to carry your pet’s medical records with you and always remember… boating is a fun experience so make it enjoyable for your pet as well as the humans on board!