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Women’s Swimwear & Fishing Apparel

July 5th, 2017

girls on beach2 Womens Swimwear & Fishing Apparel

By Kelly Groce

Whether you are paddling out to some waves, setting hooks on fish, or just chilling at the beach, these swimsuits and fishing wear will keep you covered.

BIKINIS

Untitled 1 Womens Swimwear & Fishing Apparel
(from left to right)

REEL SKIPPER – The Coral Scale bikini from Reel Skipper is perfect for women who fish since it has active moisture wicking and is made with Lycra material. The criss cross back top provides comfort and support. This bikini comes in a coral scale print to satisfy your inner mermaid and is also reversible. www.reelskipper.com

JOLYN – The Vent top from Jolyn features a keyhole front to let water through during swimming as well as tie straps for a perfect fit and great hold. The Europe bottom has a drawstring around the waist to give you superior hold. Both come in a variety of colors. www.jolynclothing.com

RIPCURL – The Classic Surf bralette bikini top from Rip Curl is a microfiber top with cross back detail and adjustable ties for maximum hold and comfort. The Classic Surf top and bottom are both perfect for mixing and matching. Available in more colors. www.ripcurl.com

 

FISHING APPAREL

(from left to right)

CAMO GIRL BRAND – It’s always a “Saltwater Kinda Day” when you’re wearing these soft and cool coastal colored leggings. They are high performance UPF+ 50 highly breathable leggings to keep you cool in the hottest of days on the coast. Featured above is the Mint Green Scales legging and the Salty Day leggings. www.camogirlbrand.com

REEL SKIPPER – Protecting your face and neck from the sun is a lot easier with this Tarpon print shadie from Reel Skipper. This multifunctional accessory can be worn 6 different ways and most importantly has UPF +50 solar protection.

Reel Skipper’s Coral Scale leggings made with performance fabric offers superior sun protection and performance qualities. Featuring up to UPF +50 solar protection, these leggings are lightweight, comfortable, and a fashionable way to keep the sun off of your skin. www.reelskipper.com

www.reelskipper.com

 

PELAGIC – The OCEANFLEX Halter by Pelagic was designed with activity in mind, so whether you enjoy fishing, paddle boarding, or runs on the beach, this performance halter will fit your active lifestyle needs. Featuring a racerback design, built-in bra, and an ergonomic-fitting elastic band, the OCEANFLEX Active Halter offers a comfortable, yet supportive fit with performance fabrics that moves with your body during whatever activity you throw at it. www.pelagicgear.com

 

 

 

REEL SPORTSWEAR – The Mermaid Series™ Performance Long Sleeve from Reel Sportswear features UPF +50 solar protection. Lightweight, comfortable, and the best way to keep the sun’s rays from penetrating through to your skin. Fish on mermaids! www.reelsportswear.com

 

 

 

 

The Redfish leggings from Camo Girl Brand.

 

High Tide Redfish Hunting

June 30th, 2017

soule redfishing High Tide Redfish Hunting

Jeff Mckee with a 28 inch red caught on a Kickin’ Chicken Down South Lure during an ultra high tide.

By Capt. Steve Soule  |  www.ultimatedetailingllc.com

DSLkickin High Tide Redfish Hunting

Down South Lure in Kickin’ Chicken.

Redfish Love to explore! Well, I’ve made that statement many times, truth be told, it’s probably much more accurate to say that they like to hunt in the cover of heavy structures and that they will follow food nearly anywhere it goes.

Every year we have periods of extended onshore wind flows, causing elevated tides. During these periods redfish can often be very difficult to locate in shallow waters around the bay. They just seem to disappear into the fringes of the marsh. Higher water levels can make chasing skinny water reds a very challenging affair. I’ve said I would much prefer a low tide to a very high one. Low tides tend to concentrate fish into much more limited areas and make targeting them considerably easier. High tides tend to scatter fish, they spread out following small food sources deep into areas that are nearly unaccessible.

Think about the typical marsh shorelines on the Upper Texas Coast and this will start to make perfect sense. We have marshes and shorelines that are typically fringed by Spartina Grass, a relatively tall grass that does not grow under water. This grass is a shore plant that grows near and at the edge of the water all along the Gulf Coast. Spartina is the plant that first comes to mind when I think of marsh along the gulf coast.

Redfish are not slackers; they don’t have any objection to moving quite a bit to feed and traveling into heavy cover structure never seems to bother them.

At normal to low water levels, it doesn’t offer much more to the angler than a border to the water. Often providing the edge along which hungry predators feed. As tides creep ever higher during windy periods or around astronomical high tides, The roots and bases of the grass slowly flood with water. Here’s where we have to stop and think about the typical marshes along the coast. Though many marsh areas have oyster shell, as you travel farther into the back reaches, water that is typically too shallow, or doesn’t maintain the proper salinity balance, there is virtually no shell. What you will find is a predominantly mud bottom that really is devoid of structure other than bottom contours carved from tides and water flows. Knowing this, it becomes easy to imagine the difficult life that small fish, crabs and shrimp live, trying to find protective cover and sanctuary from predatory animals.

Marcos Enriquez with a stud trout that measured just over 29.” The fish ate a small kwan toad fly.

So we know that there is little structure for the smaller prey animals to hide in, which makes them very vulnerable to attack and predation. The game completely changes as the tides rise. The home of these prey species becomes a dense and food-rich jungle of lush grasses and the decaying plant food that they need to survive and grow. At the earliest moment when these small species can get to the cover of the flooded grass, they will go. It provides nearly everything that they need to thrive.

Redfish are not slackers; they don’t have any objection to moving quite a bit to feed and traveling into heavy cover structure never seems to bother them. Let’s be clear about one thing that I think is a misconception in fishing. Fish aren’t necessarily what we would call smart; they have instinctive programming. They know things happen at certain times, they know that small animals will seek out cover as it becomes available. As a matter of fact, most of the reds that follow food into to this dense cover, only a few short years earlier did the same to hide from predators as well.

Here’s where the game gets tricky. Redfish have to have water to swim. The small animals that they prey upon can get to many places that the fish simply cannot. So early in this rising high tide scenario, the fish just don’t have great opportunities, and for that reason you won’t see much feed activity. Slightly later in the tide, as the water around the grass roots and over formerly dry ground reaches 3-4 inches in depth, the feeding activity begins. This isn’t a schooling behavior with lots of fish together feeding. This is a single fish slowly stalking its meals one at a time. The fish will meander through the maze of grass patches in areas that are typically dry ground, hunting and eating one small meal at a time. You will see random small explosions followed by periods of inactivity as they move stealthily through the cover.

Quite the interesting parallel, we must stalk them in nearly the same manner in which they stalk their prey. Move too fast or make too much noise and you will alert them to your presence. These fish aren’t charging down food so they become very aware of what is going on around them. Stealth and patience are the key to chasing high tide reds, coupled with a well placed cast using flies or small soft plastics. Though there are many challenges, and surely many failed attempts to catch these fish, the successes more than make up for it. Explosive eats in super shallow water. Close range and tight quarters casts are nothing short of spectacular when the fish eat. And the fight when they have some much cover and are in very shallow water is definitely something to experience.

Don’t let the high water deter you. With thoughtful scouting and utilizing a stealthy and tactical approach, these fish can be an absolute blast to target.

Squarebill Crankbaits for Speckled Trout

June 30th, 2017

squarebill speckled trout Squarebill Crankbaits for Speckled Trout

This trout attacked a KVD 1.5 at the railroad bridge near the Galveston Causeway.

THE CASE FOR SQUAREBILLS

  • Erratic wobble and ‘fleeing’ action could trigger reaction strikes from aggressively feeding fish
  • Pauses in retrieve moves lure slowly up the water column for finicky fish
  • Plastic bill is perfect for deflecting off jetty rock, reefs, pilings and other structure
  • Cover water quickly as a search bait or use when fish aren’t committing to topwaters
  • Diving depth of 2-5 feet appropriate for fishing shallow reefs and flats
  • Ease of use – young anglers could catch fish on steady reeling retrieve

By Brandon Rowan

squarebills Squarebill Crankbaits for Speckled Trout

Strike King KVD 1.5 and 2.5 squarebills. Black back chartreuse, red sexy shad, sexy shad and gold sexy shad.

I am VERY late to the party. It’s no secret that squarebill crankbaits produce quality largemouth bass. This bait dates back to the 1970s but resurged in popularity after Kevin Van Dam won the 2011 Bassmaster Classic on Strike King KVD crankbaits.

This spring on the Texas coast was windy, which was no surprise. Rather than fight my way to the fish in the salt, I returned to my roots and fished Texas reservoirs and ponds for those “green trout.” Topwaters, frogs and soft plastics are standard fare for me but I was amazed at the numbers and quality of fish I caught with my newly purchased squarebills, particularly crawfish red and chartreuse models.

This got me wondering if anyone had success fishing these bass lures in saltwater? Baits like the Super Spook, Rat-L-Trap and soft plastic jerkbait are all freshwater imports that have proven their worth on speckled trout and redfish. I scoured the web and surprisingly didn’t find much on the subject. Shallow wakebait style cranks have been used with success in the marsh but I couldn’t find any articles or videos on squarebills, which dive down 2-5 feet.

The Strike King KVD 1.5 in chartreuse/black seemed like a perfect fit for quickly searching the often stained waters of Galveston Bay. These lures are best fished fast and deflected off structure or cover. I did some testing on a recent bay trip with Gulf Coast Mariner columnist Capt. Joe Kent. We caught several keeper trout that day. All but one were caught on live shrimp. One trout hit the squarebill I was burning near the Galveston Causeway.

“Hey, it works!” I thought as we netted the catch. I believe more trout would have fallen prey to the crank’s wobble but the fish seemed to be keyed in on shrimp. Even live croaker was ignored that day.

I still have a lot more testing and casting to do but these lures could potentially be dynamite in the bay, surf and near jetties. Just remember to change out to stouter size 4 trebles on the KVD 1.5 and size 2 hooks on the KVD 2.5.

Have you caught a speckled trout on a squarebill crankbait? Send us a picture of your fish, lure in mouth, and we’ll run that image in next issue’s follow up piece. Send your pictures to art@baygroupmedia.com

 

Hot Summer Galveston Trout

June 30th, 2017

DillmanTrout Hot Summer Galveston Trout

Marion and Shelia Hixon with some nice trout after a quick trip with Capt. Dillman.

By Capt. David C Dillman

Spec-tacular Trout Adventures | 409-632-0924

This May we experienced some below average air temperature and plenty of wind. Not from the usual S/SE but more N/NW due to late season cold fronts. The below normal water temperature kept our fishing at a not so typical pattern. But we should see a summer pattern develop for speckled trout this July and August in Galveston Bay.

In July, look for the trout action to center around the middle of Galveston Bay. I would concentrate my effort through channel markers 50-66. There are numerous oyster reefs adjacent to the channel. While some of these reefs are marked with PVC pipe, many are not. Being able to utilize a good depth sonar will aid you in finding the smaller shell reefs.

There are numerous gas wells in the immediate area. The wells should not be overlooked as the trout will congregate around the wells and their shell pads. The Exxon A-Lease draws the most attention but don’t overlook the other scattered gas wells.

As we roll into August, look for the trout to move farther north up the channel and into Trinity Bay. Channel markers 68 and up, all the way towards the tip of Atkinson Island will hold fish. As the fish move farther into Trinity, the numerous shell reefs and wells will see a influx of trout. Some of the most popular reefs are Dow, Beazley’s, Fisher Shoals and Trinity Reef.

The wells located in close proximity to these reefs will also be good for speckled trout. Depending upon the salinity of Trinity, the fish will continue to move farther back in the bay sooner than normal. I have caught fish in the Jacks Pocket area in late August on occasion.

Speckled trout will feed on either the topside or backside of a reef or shell pad depending upon the tide. At times they may even be found directly on top of the shell, which usually occurs during a slack tide. Utilizing live bait in the heat of the summer is the most effective way to catch these fish. Live croaker, fished either Carolina or Texas rigged is the most effective, followed by live shrimp fished deep under a popping cork.

Eagle Point Fishing Camp always holds a good supply of both croaker and live Shrimp.

Please remember that it can get really hot on the water these next two months. Wear light colored, loose fit clothing and drink plenty of water. Gatorade type drinks are okay but should be followed up by consuming 2 equal parts of water. Alcohol and energy drinks should be avoided, as well as soft drinks. They only aid in dehydrating your body. As always be careful on the water.

Fishing Line: What Type is Best for You

June 30th, 2017

fishingline 283x300 Fishing Line: What Type is Best for YouBRAID

Pros: Much stronger than mono at same diameter. No stretch, very sensitive.

Cons: Expensive, more visible in clear water, can create wild knots.

MONO

Pros: Good all-purpose line, inexpensive, stretches for shock absorption.

Cons: Susceptible to abrasion, less sensitive and has ‘memory.’

FLUORO

Pros: Virtually invisible underwater, low memory, tougher than mono.

Cons: Expensive, best used as top shot or leader.

_______________

By Capt. Joe Kent

Almost every experienced angler has his or her favorite type of line. For the most part, the choice was made early on in their fishing days and many just continue using the same type of line. This decision is usually out of habit and the fact that they are used to it and are satisfied.

Today technology has advanced the quality of most types of line and created a few new varieties.

The title of this article was chosen to prompt a discussion about what is available to anglers in the market place today.  We will explore some of the more popular types of fishing line and comment on each.

The most common types of fishing line found in tackle shops are Braided Nylon, Braided Dacron, Ultra-thin Braids, Monofilament and Fluorocarbon.

The most popular of the group is monofilament.  It continues to be touted as the all-purpose line for most types of fishing.  It is ideal for just about all reels whether spinning, casting or trolling.

It is the least expensive of all and used for leaders as well.

Braided Nylon still is favored by a large number of anglers who use conventional revolving reels.  Surf fishermen are a large part of the group who chooses this line.  It is softer and limper than monofilament and spools better on revolving reels.  While less likely to backlash, it is thicker, more visible in water and more expensive.

Braided Dacron is the choice of many offshore anglers for trolling.  It is thinner than braided nylon and has very little stretch.

Ultra-thin line was invented in the early 1990s as part of a technologically advanced research project having nothing to do with fishing. It has become a very popular choice for certain types of fishing.  We will have more on this when comparing it to monofilament.

Fluorocarbon is another high-tech product.  While considered a monofilament, it is tougher and has better abrasion resistance.  It also is less visible in water; however, it is more expensive.  Fluorocarbon line finds its calling in use for leaders.

Monofilament line is getting a lot of competition from the new variety of ultra-thin braids and among the more popular brands are Spiderwire, Sufix and PowerPro.  The appeal of the new variety of braids is in its strength to diameter ratio.  These lines have several times the breaking point of most monofilaments of comparable size.  The thinner lines offer longer casting distance, more capacity on the reel, faster sinking capabilities and far greater stretch resistance.

Of the qualities mentioned above, the two most attractive to anglers are the higher breaking point, meaning less fish lost due to the line breaking or popping as we commonly call it, and the stretch resistance which translates into quicker hook sets and being able to easily feel a soft strike.

The higher cost is one of the big drawbacks for the Spiderwire type of line.  I recall a friend purchasing a small spool of Spiderwire not long after it was introduced and before placing it on his reel, he spooled off about half of the monofilament and attached the new line to it then reeled it in with about half of his line being monofilament and the other half the new braid.  While cost savings was an issue, the other thought was in protecting the reel spool as Spiderwire and others tend to cut into the spool.

All in all, the new thinner braids are superior to monofilament; however, they come at a higher price.  Whether it is the price savings or just a habit of the anglers, monofilament continues to outsell all other types of fishing line.

Now comes the question, which line is best for your needs?  If cost is not an issue, the thinner and strong braided lines are probably the best choice.  Monofilaments still dominate the market and probably for good reason they continue to be an excellent choice for fishing line.

The best way to answer this question is to use various types of fishing line and make your own decision as to which best suits your fishing style.

Ron Hoover RV & Marine: Where Experience Counts

June 30th, 2017

rhrvm Ron Hoover RV & Marine: Where Experience Counts

rhgalvestonteam Ron Hoover RV & Marine: Where Experience Counts

Ron Hoover RV & Marine’s GM John Genardo, GSM Shane Gest and Crystal Horton.

Ron Hoover RV & Marine has parlayed its experience in boat sales to become one of the premier RV and boat dealers in the country.

Their superb reputation is based on 29 years of selling quality boats/RVs and providing excellent customer service. They boast 8 locations and 4 convenient dealers in the Greater Houston area including locations in Galveston, Katy and Willis.  They also have an RV store in La Marque.

Ron Hoover RV & Marine is proud to celebrate a banner sales year for its Cape Horn and Stamas offshore boats. Their sales executives forecast higher sales in the bay boat markets in the near future.  The Crevalle, Blue Wave, Epic, Majek, Hurricane and Carolina Skiff brands are good performers for Ron Hoover RV & Marine. As well as Sweetwater and Aqua Patio pontoons. Their engine offerings include Suzuki, Evinrude, Mercury and Yamaha. They also sell quality used boats checked by their trained technicians during the boat trade process.

There has been several new technological breakthroughs for outboard motors in the last few years. Manufacturers are releasing new higher horsepower engines like the Suzuki 350 H Outboard — the first high output engine with counter rotating propellers. According to Ron Hoover RV & Marine General Manager John Genardo, the best breakthrough is the joystick controls.

“The joystick steering technology has changed the Marine Industry and has taken a great deal of difficulty out of docking larger boats.  We now have the ability to add joystick capability to our outboard boats.”

The sales staff has almost 50 years of experience and 80 years in the fishing boat industry.  General Sales Manager Shane Gest has 10 years of financial experience and Service Department Manager Don Broussard has almost 20 years of experience. Their techs have more than 40 years of experience.

Cape horn 27xs. Photo: Douglas Barnes Photography

Ron Hoover RV & Marine believes in having the best talent to run and operate its dealerships because boating is a people business. Local General Manager John Genardo operates the Galveston Dealership. He is originally from Chicago and has been in the Marine Industry since 2004 – beginning his career at Ron Hoover RV & Marine.  He has a true passion for boating and being on the water and loves to spend time with his family fishing, boating, swimming or just cruising around the lake and bay.

General Sales Manager Shane Gest was born and raised just outside of Cleveland, OH. “Having always been around water and boats, I was naturally drawn to the industry,” said Shane. “I started in the marine industry in 2007 and moved to Texas in 2012 working for a dealership as the business manager. In 2017, I started with Ron Hoover RV & Marine as the General Sales Manager.”

When Shane is not working he is passionate about the water and spends as much time with family and friends as he can on a boat. Fishing, tubing or cruising to see fireworks on a Friday night in the summer. If he is not out on the water, you can find Shane playing golf or enjoying a football game.

Ron Hoover RV & Marine is the only fishing boat and service company on Galveston Island.  It provides parts, service and the unique ability to conduct water demos for boaters. Ron Hoover RV & Marine is your one-stop-shop and even offers in-house financing, insurance and extended warranties.

Their new management team believes in people and the local community.  Ron Hoover RV & Marine is proud to support Bayou Vista Fishing Tournaments, Ball High School Athletics Department, Bayou Vista BBQ Cook-off Fundraisers and so much more!

So, if you are looking for that new or quality inspected used boat, contact Ron Hoover RV & Marine General Manager John Genardo, who will be happy to assist you with all your boating needs.

Contact him at jgenardo@ronhoover.com – 409-935-7191 – 8126 Broadway, Galveston, Texas 77554. Visit Ron Hoover RV & Marine online at www.ronhoovergalveston.com

San Jacinto College Maritime Technology and Training Center

June 30th, 2017

maritime simulator San Jacinto College Maritime Technology and Training Center

San Jacinto College’s state-of-the-art simulator. Photography by Debra Rueb.

stauffer 190x300 San Jacinto College Maritime Technology and Training Center

John Stauffer

Responses by John Stauffer, Associate Vice Chancellor/Superintendent of maritime at the San Jacinto College Maritime Technology and Training Center on the Maritime Campus.

When did San Jacinto College make the move to this new maritime center?

January 2016

How is it being located so close to the Bay Port Industrial Complex?

The San Jacinto College Maritime Technology and Training Center is a world-class facility that is prominently and strategically positioned on the Houston Ship Channel so as to best serve the mariners working in the industry. I could not have envisioned a better location to afford us an opportunity to be seen by our customers and work closely with our industry partners while they are performing their duties.

Did the maritime industry anticipate there was a shortage of qualified labor to work on the inland water ways of the US?

Yes. In 2016, MARAD estimated that 70,000 seafarers will be needed by 2022, and the State Maritime Academies will not be able to produce this amount. The current U.S. maritime workforce is also aging with more than 61 percent being 50 years of age or older.

In addition to an aging workforce, the new changes to U.S. Coast Guard requirements that took effect Jan. 1, 2017 for working mariners has created a perfect storm resulting in unqualified mariners. That is why the San Jacinto College maritime program is so vital.

What’s the best part of your job and why?

The best part of my job is seeing students achieve their goals of completing maritime courses and receiving their certificates and associate degrees.

What do you tell young students starting out in the program?

I tell our students that they are entering an exciting industry that is only limited by their ambitious and dedication. If they want to be an Unlimited Master onboard some of the world’s largest ship they simply must put in the hard work and continue to take the necessary courses required by the USCG to increase their license.

How many students attend the program on a yearly basis and what percentage graduate with a degree?

Since 2010, we have awarded more than 5,500 USCG course completion certificates in our commercial maritime program. In our credit maritime program, we currently have 53 students pursuing their associate degrees in maritime transportation with another 22 new incoming students enrolled for Fall 2017.

What role will technology play in the future of these current maritime students?

Technology is ever changing within the maritime industry to increase safety at sea, enhance situation awareness for the maritime professional, and also increase efficiency. The Maritime Center houses the very latest technology and U.S. Coast Guard-approved curriculum to allow us to continue to offer training to captains, mates, deckhands, tankerman, and engineer in a safe, professional and productive training environment.

Maritime crane simulator.

If you could change one thing about the US Maritime industry, what would it be?

The shipping industry is facing an impending crisis as it pertains to available manpower. The Domestic Maritime Centers of Excellence Act was recently introduced in the U.S. House and Senate by a bipartisan group of co-sponsors.

The Domestic Maritime Centers of Excellence Act creates a special federal designation exclusively for two-year community and technical colleges involved in maritime workforce training, and for maritime workforce training programs operated by state agencies. Domestic Maritime Centers of Excellence will receive federal support to address education and technical training for maritime workers in U.S. ports, inland waterways and the Great Lakes.

This will complement the university-based system known as State Maritime Academies, which receives federal support to train professional mariners and marine engineers for careers in international shipping. I believe this legislation is vital to ensuring there is adequate trained mariners working in the industry.  The Domestic Maritime Centers of Excellence Act has already been passed unanimously by House and Senate committees.

Does the Coast Guard have any input into what goes in to some of your current courses?

Yes. All course material, training equipment, instructors, and facilities must be approved by the USCG prior to being taught.

How long have you been affiliated with the program at San Jacinto and how has the program changed?

I assumed my duties as Associate Vice Chancellor/Superintendent of the San Jacinto College Maritime Technology and Transportation Center in September 2016. However, the journey of this program began a decade prior when San Jacinto College began having conversations and listened to the needs of our industry partners. In May 2010, we leased space along Highway 225 to teach USCG approved training.

It did not take long to outgrow the space, and in result, the College purchased 13 acres of waterfront property to build the 45,000-square-foot facility that is used today to train students in USCG-approved courses.

This larger state-of-the-art facility, coupled with the donation of the full-mission bridge simulator from the Houston Pilots, has allowed the maritime center to grow to offering more than 75 USCG-approved deck and engine courses.

Additionally, San Jacinto College introduced Texas’ first associate degree in maritime transportation. This 60-credit hour program includes USCG-approved training that ranges from entry-level deckhand on an inland towboat to Unlimited Tonnage Masters on the world’s largest ships, and everything in between.

Gulf Bluefin Tuna: From Panama to the Gulf with Patron

June 30th, 2017

gulf bluefin tuna patron Gulf Bluefin Tuna: From Panama to the Gulf with Patron

Patron’s owner Tom Shumate brought in this massive 750 pound bluefin tuna during the MBGFC’s Memorial Day Tournament. He is pictured holding the pectoral fin with his crew and Capt. Darrell Weigelt, standing left of the fish.

patron panama canal Gulf Bluefin Tuna: From Panama to the Gulf with Patron

Patron makes its way through the Panama Canal.

Captain Darrell Weigelt of the Patron on his voyage from Costa Rica to Orange Beach, Alabama.

What was it like cruising through the Canal?

The entrance into the Panama Canal begins on the Pacific Ocean side in Panama City at Balboa and ends on the Atlantic side in Cristobal. The Canal is 50 miles long from deep water in the Pacific to deep water in the Atlantic. The original elevation was 312 feet above sea level where it crosses the Continent in the rouge mountain range.

Tell us about the vessel you took through the Canal.

Patron is a custom built 65’ Ebony sportfishing boat designed by Australian designer Frank Woodnutt, and was built in Indonesia in 2005.

How long does it take to go through the Canal?

The time it takes varies with the speed of vessels making transit. Our passage through Canal started at 8:00 a.m. and ended at 4:00 p.m. That is considered a fast passage. It requires about 10 hours for an average ship to transit the Canal. Minimum speed to transit is four knots. Sailboats may not transit under sail. All vessels must transit with motor propulsion. Normally for sailboats or slow vessels the transit will take 2 days. These vessels are allowed to anchor for the night in Gamboa or Gatun Lake Anchorage.

Is there a fee required?

Yes, our fee was $5,000 including agent fees. The largest ship we saw during transit was a 1,000 foot car carrier. Fees on that ship were over $250,000

When did the new locks open and how will this impact the Port of Houston?

The new canal locks were opened last year and are used only by the largest ships. The increased volume of ship traffic is a good thing for the port of Houston because of the large amount of ships that transit and continue on to Port of Houston.

The Galley: Light Suppers for Hot Weather

June 30th, 2017

By Betha Merit

The temperatures are warm in the Gulf Coast. In fact it can feel oppressively hot in July. What better dinner options than heavily garlic-seasoned meat, chilled and sliced over a bed of your favorite greens, then lavishly spread with a homemade chutney to complement the meat?

Of course fresh gulf catch abounds, and we certainly take advantage of that. Reality dictates that we won’t eat seafood every night of the week, so these hearty proteins and surprisingly seasoned toppings are welcome options.

apple pork The Galley: Light Suppers for Hot Weather

Apple Cranberry Ginger Chutney over Garlicky Pork Tenderloin & Greens

PORK PREP:

  • 1 1/2 pound pork tenderloin
  • 1 Tablespoon dried garlic granules
  • salt and pepper to cover.

Generously coat tenderloin with spices, bake in 375 degrees preheated oven for about 45 minutes or inside temp registers 155 degrees with meat thermometer. Chill or bring to room temperature.

CHUTNEY PREP:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 large apples, cubed and peeled
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

red The Galley: Light Suppers for Hot WeatherMelt butter in saucepan, add apples and stir a few minutes until slightly golden. Add remaining ingredients and cook an additional 5 or more minutes.

GREENS PREP:

Layer 1 1/2 cups greens (per person) on individual plates, slice pork tenderloin in medallions over top and add generous amount of chutney over pork.

Serve with red wine, either Pinot Noir or a Cotes du Rhone.

Mango Mint Jalapeño Chutney over Sliced Chicken & Fresh Greens

CHICKEN PREP:

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons dried garlic granules
  • salt and pepper.

Melt butter in skillet/pan on stove, sprinkle both sides of chicken breasts with garlic, salt and pepper. Pan sear until golden, then add white wine and simmer 20 to 30 minutes until chicken is done. Take off heat and chill with pan liquid.

CHUTNEY PREP:

  • 1 (3/4-pound) mango, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin, toasted in small pan on the stove
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 2-3 teaspoons minced fresh jalapeño
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (or 2 Tablespoons dried)
  • Mix all these ingredients to make fresh chutney.

FRESH GREENS PREP:

Layer about 1 1/2 cups (per person) fresh salad greens on each plate, slice chicken breast over center of greens and spoon a generous amount of chutney atop chicken.

Serve with Sauvignon Blanc or an off-dry Riesling white wine.

Non-profit Offers Free, Easy-to-Use Tool to Keep Houston-Galveston Communities Clean

June 30th, 2017

We all want clean neighborhoods, but does anyone know the specific agency that cleans up pollution in our cities and communities? The problem is that it’s not just one agency responsible for responding to all kinds of water and land pollution – it’s a myriad of county, state, and local government entities in any given region that each respond to different kinds of pollution.

The agency in your neighborhood that cleans up sewer overflows may not be the same that cleans up chemical spills or illegal dumping. And if you cross into another city, it may be a completely different set of agencies responsible than those in your hometown.

This complicated framework for reporting pollution can be discouraging for individuals who see pollution and want to do something about it. That’s why Galveston Bay Foundation developed the Galveston Bay Action Network, an online tool and free mobile app that allows users to report any land or water pollution in Harris, Galveston, Chambers, and Brazoria counties quickly and easily.

The Galveston Bay Action Network allows users to report various kinds of pollution such as trash/debris, oil spills, fish kills, wetland destruction and more by simply submitting a single online form that can be supplemented with photos or videos of the pollution event. These reports are then automatically sent to the specific agency that can respond to them based on the location of the report and the kind of pollution observed, taking out the work of tracking down the correct agency for you.

Help keep our communities clean and download the app on Google Play and iTunes, or report pollution on a desktop at www.galvbay.org/gban.

The Galveston Bay Action Network was developed under the guidance of Galveston Bay Foundation, with funding from the Texas General Land Office (TGLO), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Gulf of Mexico Program. In order to ensure these reports were sent automatically to the proper authorities, GBF worked with the technology company Vertices to create the necessary code and software for the Galveston Bay Action Network.

Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper Season Extended

June 30th, 2017

gulf red snapper Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper Season Extended

This June, the United States Department of Commerce announced a reopening of the red snapper season in Federal waters for recreational anglers. The decision came mid month and was welcome news for many anglers. The original, dismal 2017 season opened June 1 and closed June 3.

The extended federal season will open each weekend, Friday to Sunday, and close again the next day on Monday. These weekend openings will continue until Monday, September 4. Fishing also will be allowed on Monday and Tuesday, July 3-4 and Monday, September 4. The minimum length is still 16 inches and two fish per person may be retained per day.

However, Texas state water snapper will be off limits Monday through Thursday during the extended federal season, with the exception of holidays. Texas might also gain a fall season but there has been no confirmation on this matter yet.

There is still much work to be done, but this is a victory for advocacy groups, Gulf residents and the economies of many coastal communities.

See this PDF for the full recreational regulations for red snapper and all other species.

10 Things You Can Do to Make Your Sails Last Longer

June 15th, 2017

sailcare 10 Things You Can Do to Make Your Sails Last Longer

By Quantum Sails

1.  KEEP YOUR SAIL OUT OF THE SUN WHEN NOT IN USE.

If you have furling systems, this may be just a matter of furling sails when not in use. For non-furling sails, this means covering or stowing sails. There are cover options for both mainsails and headsails, allowing the sail to stay rigged and protected between uses. When no cover is available, sails should be removed, flaked, bagged and stowed below deck or off the boat.

2. SUN COVERS: SEWN-ON PROTECTION. 

Most owners use sewn-on sun covers to protect furled sails. Sunbrella and WeatherMax are the fabrics commonly used for sun covers. For racer-cruisers and some racing sails like furling code zeros, there are lighter weight options such as UV-treated Dacron®. While there is a gain in weight savings, these materials are not inherently UV resistant. Over time the UV treatment can wear off, with the lifespan of the treatment affected by boat location and amount of time in the sun. In high exposure areas, treated covers may have a lifespan of only a couple of seasons.

All sun covers should be inspected regularly and repaired if damaged. Generally speaking, covers should be re-stitched every three years or so to prevent more extensive damage to the fabric that can occur from flogging due to compromised stitching.

To provide maximum protection for your sails, sun covers require care and maintenance. Remember, if you can see the sailcloth below the cover…so can the sun! Click here to read more about keeping your sails safe from UV rays.

3.  KEEP YOUR SAILS CLEAN.

After sun, the second-worst enemy of any sail is salt; but other types of dirt and debris can be just as damaging. Periodic sail washing is key to maintaining your sails. A couple common-sense rules apply to frequency: 1) a sail that has been exposed to saltwater should be washed sooner rather than later, and 2) all other varying degrees of grime should be removed when possible. A genoa or staysail probably needs washing, or at least a rinse, more frequently than a mainsail that is stowed under a cover on the boom or furled when not in use. Not sure if your sails are salty? Run a finger along the foot and have a taste…you’ll know right away!

4.  HIDE THEM FROM THE ELEMENTS.

Sailmakers generally refer to the life of a sail in hours or seasons, rather than years. The lifespan is affected by the amount of time sailing and the level of care given to the sails. In the mid-Atlantic region, the main sailing season can begin in early spring and extend late into the fall. A sailing season in the upper Midwest, for example, is much shorter, thus extending the life of a sail. The lifespan of sails that spend the sailing season furled on your headstay, in your mast or boom, or left on the boat to endure the frigid months of winter, will be much shorter than the life of sails that are properly protected or stowed.

If you know your sails are going to be sitting idle on the boat in a marina for at least a month or more during a sailing season, you can extend sail life by taking the sails off of your boat and stowing them. If your schedule prevents you from doing this personally, contact your local Quantum loft for sail removal and storage – part of our full array of sail care services.

5.  INSPECT YOUR SAILS REGULARLY AND HAVE AN EXPERT DO SO, TOO.

At least once-a-year sails should get a check-up. To do this yourself, find a dry place in good light where you can lay them flat, then work your way over every inch of the sail, looking for trouble spots such as abrasion or loose stitching. Small problems can turn into bigger problems later, so be sure to note even the smallest details. Alternatively, you can drop off your sails at a nearby Quantum loft for our multi-point inspection. Even simpler, with one call we can handle sail removal, transportation and inspection for one sail or your whole inventory.

6.  TAPE UP THAT TURNBUCKLE!

If you’ve ever scraped your finger on a piece of hardware, then you know it’s sharp enough to damage your sail. Even seemingly blunt objects (like a spreader) can damage sails on a tack, so take a look around (and up) to see what can or should be covered to protect your sails. If you have an extra piece of spinnaker cloth, wipe it across every surface of your boat and rigging. If it snags, put some tape on it. Rigging tape, self-fusing silicone tape, leather and other protective coverings are relatively inexpensive ways to protect your sails.

7.  READ THE WRITING ON THE LEECH.

Even a well-protected spreader-tip or navigation light can wear a sail tack-after-tack. For these areas, a spreader-patch (or navigation light-patch, etc.) might be the answer. Quantum service experts use a variety of materials for these abrasion-resistant patches, ranging from pressure-sensitive-adhesive-backed Kevlar for a racing genoa to Sunbrella® cloth for cruising sails.

8.  FIX IT NOW INSTEAD OF REPLACING IT LATER.

A lot of catastrophic sail failures can be traced back to a small repair that was never made.  When you notice a small hole or a chafed spot that’s getting increasingly worse, save yourself serious head- and wallet-ache by addressing the problem while it is still small. Our service experts have heard more than a few people come into the loft with a shredded sail saying, “I’ve been meaning to get that spot patched”.

9.  BAG IT!

Pretty simple here. There’s a good reason new sails come with a sturdy bag and it’s not just another place for a logo. That bag is a much cheaper sacrificial covering than the sail inside of it. Take a look at an old sail bag that’s scuffed and torn-up, now imagine if that were your sail. Not good. It can be a pain to keep track of bags, but used regularly, they can really earn their keep.

10.  IF YOU DON’T KNOW…ASK.

Curious about some sail-care method you’ve heard somebody touting on the dock or trying to figure out if your sail could use a new piece of webbing on the tack? Feel free to call the service team at your local Quantum loft. We’re happy to field your questions and provide helpful pointers. Consider us a member of your team.

_________

Contact Quantum Sails Gulf Coast at gulfcoast@quantumsails.com or 281-474-4168 to learn more about protecting your investment. Visit QuantumSails.com for more great tips and tricks to help you meet all of your sailing challenges.

2017 Lone Star Shootout

May 3rd, 2017

blue marlin 2017 Lone Star Shootout

Slight Edge took first place blue marlin at the 2016 Lone Star Shootout.

Now in its 13th year, The Lone Star Shootout is an Invitational Billfish tournament known for its great format, abundant, spirited festivities, large payouts to participants and, most importantly, for its contributions to numerous charitable causes. The Lone Star Shootout provides the opportunity to compete against some of the Gulf Coast’s most talented billfish teams in a format and location that is second to none!

With the central Texas coast location in Port O’Connor, the tournament draws the top billfish tournament teams from South Texas to Florida to compete in the unique format that emphasizes billfish release, women and junior participation and a relaxed family friendly atmosphere.

Often coined “the highlight of the event” (outside of catching the winning fish), the Shootout Champion’s Party is the culmination of nearly a week of preparations, long hours, hard fishing and FUN! Praised for the generous open bar, tasty catered food, live musical entertainment and “Saloon” atmosphere, this night is the true apex of the event. The revealing of the winners and the passing on of The Perpetual Champion’s Trophy also occurs on Saturday night. This magnificent trophy is the prized possession of each year’s champion and has become one of the most sought after trophies on the Gulf Coast tournament trail.

Caracol Club has played host to the Tournament for the past 8 years and, along with the great bay city of Port O’Connor, will welcome the Tournament again this year. Known for its tranquility, laid-back fishing village atmosphere and easy access to the premier billfish spots in the gulf, the town of Port O’Connor is alive with action the entire week of The Lone Star Shootout. Numerous sponsors (and quite a few participants) are residents of or business owners in Port O’Connor and the tournament welcomes the community and visitors to come to the weigh in at Caracol Club on Saturday, July 22nd to see the beautiful boats and amazing fish being weighed in.

Last year over 45 boats competed for the title and coveted Perpetual Trophy. Online entry is currently open on the Tournament website (www.thelonestarshootout.com), along with tournament rules, scoring and side pot information, prior year’s results, photos and much more!

Don’t forget to follow all the events and photos from this year’s event on The Lone Star Shootout’s social media channels:

Participants, volunteers and Shootout guests are encouraged to actively participate on the above channels by using the “check in,” tag and share features of social media! We welcome your photos, videos and interaction!

Please find, below, a schedule of events for this year’s Lone Star Shootout. Dates and times are subject to change prior to the start of the event without prior notice. Please check the Shootout website for the most accurate, up to date information.

DATE TIME EVENTS / LOCATION

Sunday, July 16, 2017

  • 3:00 p.m. Boats may arrive. Caracol Yacht Club, Port O’Connor

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

  • 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Registration and side pot entry at Lone Star Saloon
  • 7:00 p.m. Lone Star Pot Party at Lone Star Saloon. Come enjoy a delicious dinner and open bar. Dinner will be served from 7-9 p.m. Last chance to enter side pots

Thursday, July 20, 2017

  • 2:00 p.m. Mandatory Captain’s Meeting at Lone Star Saloon.
  • 5:00 p.m. Boats may depart Port O’Connor jetties

Friday, July 21, 2017

  • 12:01 a.m. START FISHING!
  • 7:00 p.m. Midnight Weigh station will be open for blue marlin only

Saturday, July 22, 2017

  • 3:00 p.m. Quit Fishing – All lines out of the water
  • 3:00 p.m. Weigh station open
  • 6:00 p.m. Boats must be in the POC jetties to turn in videos or weigh fish
  • 8:00 p.m. Lone Star Shootout Champion’s Party at Lone Star Saloon. Come join us for a fantastic steak dinner, open bar, awards presentation and live music by the Line Up Band!

Gear

May 3rd, 2017

GEAR Gear pelican case Gear

PELICAN Storm Case™ – This watertight case from Pelican is great for fisherman and boaters who want to keep their camera equipment, binoculars, or anything else valuable safe from the elements. Available in a variety of different sizes and colors. Guaranteed for life.

 

 

RINSEKIT Pressured Portable Shower – With no pumping and no batteries, RinseKit delivers a pressurized spray for up to three minutes. RinseKit stores the strength of a regular household spigot or sink (with adapter) and can be quickly filled with hot or cold water. RinseKit’s patented design features the eon™ pressure system that holds up to 2 gallons of water with a spray nozzle that offers seven different settings from jet stream to soaking shower.

 

 

SCOSCHE BoomBOTTLE™ Mini Weatherproof Wireless Speaker – Experience remarkable audio with the boomBOTTLE™ mini. It packs remarkable wireless audio into a rugged IPX4 weatherproof frame. This wireless audio speaker has bluetooth capabilities and a 33 foot wireless range. Perfect for the beach or your boat.

 

 

OCEAN-TAMER Teardrop Marine Bean Bag Chair – Versatile, comfortable, and stylish! The Ocean-Tamer Teardrop also provides you with that much needed neck and back support that comes in handy when making long runs offshore or sleeping on over night trips. Designed with a flat, round bottom that provides you with a stable seating solution that won’t tip over in round seas.

 

 

 

YETI Rambler 20 – With the Yeti Rambler 20 oz. Tumbler, your beverages will stay ice cold or piping hot longer. We over-engineered these double-wall insulated tumblers with an 18/8 stainless steel body, which means your drink still keeps its temperature no matter how much of a beating this cup takes.

 

 

BUCK Saltwater Splizzors – The new multi-function Buck Saltwater Splizzors conveniently combine the use of scissors and pliers to create a versatile tool designed for any fishing task. This version, now with upgraded blade steel and cerakote coating, help maintain the look and feel of the tool, while adding additional corrosion resistance benefits. Blades are composed of 12C27Mod Sandvik, while the frame is composed of 420HC jaw steel with dark grey cerakote coating.

 

 

LUNA SEA Cush-It Grip Cushion – The Luna Sea “Cush-it” grips on any rod handle making it easy to pass the rod from one angler to another. The ultra-tough “Cush-it” protects the angler as well as the boat.

 

 

 

FOREVERLAST Net Bag 15 Gallon – This net bag in the 15 gallon size is a great alternative to a stringer. It provides safe keeping of fish, bait or even gear to dry out and have ready to roll for the next trip.

 

 

 

 

REEL FUN ADVENTURES, LLC. Catcher’s Mitt®Catcher’s Mitt ® allows you to land, unhook, stow or release your catch in seconds. All while keeping your hands and clothes clean and dry. The durable mitt helps you grasp the fish and protects your hand form hooks, teeth and fins. The Rookie comes with the sheath, pliers, reel, mitt and towel. The Rookie is also great to use while you are cleaning you catch.

 

 

SALTY CREW Camo Break Up BoardshortsSalty Crew Camo Break Up Boardshorts are constructed of 92% polyester/8% spandex blend with a 21” outseam. Features Velcro front closure, a back patch pocket with a Velcro flap closure and the very handy Salty Crew plier pocket.

 

 

 

PELAGIC Women’s Oceanflex Active Swim LeggingsPelagic’s new OCEANFLEX series of active-wear was created for women who love to spend time at the beach or on the water and enjoy leading a healthy lifestyle.  These products are made with an ultra-lightweight and comfortable design and built out of Pelagic’s proprietary 4-way stretch, anti-microbial fabric. Featuring ocean-minded designs and stamped with the “Heart of Hooks” icon, the OCEANFLEX line for women will inspire you to stay active and move like water.

 

 

 

KULA Kula 5 Cooler – Meet the Kula 5, a new cooler that combines the best parts of a cooler with a five gallon bucket. Use it as a cooler, seat, bait-well, rod holder, cast net holder, equipment storage or just about anything that you can do with a five-gallon bucket.

 

 

 

2017 Billfish Tournaments

May 3rd, 2017

cajun canyon 2017 Billfish Tournaments

Cajun Canyons Billfish Classic

May 30 – June 5

Venice, LA

ComeFishLA.com

mgcbc logo 2017 Billfish Tournaments

Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic

June 5 – 11

Biloxi, MS

mgcbc.com

Deep Sea Roundup

July 6 – 9

Port Aransas, TX

DeepSeaRoundup.com

Poco Bueno

July 12 – 15

Port O’Connor, TX

Poco-Bueno.com

Lone Star Shootout

July 18 – 23

Port O’Connor, TX

TheLoneStarShootout.com

Bastante John Uhr Memorial Tournament

July 26 – 30

Rockport, TX

RockportTournament.com

Texas International Fishing Tournament

Aug. 2 – 6

Port Isabel, TX

tift.org

Texas Legends

Aug. 9 – 13

Port Aransas, TX

txlegends.com

Texas Billfish Classic

Aug. 16 – 19

Freeport, TX

TexasBillfishClassic.com

TWAT

Aug. 25 – 27

Port Aransas, TX

GoFishTX.com

Fools Rush In

May 3rd, 2017

fly fishing reds Fools Rush In

By Capt. Steve Soule

www.ultimatedetailingllc.com

It isn’t always a question of right or wrong. Sometimes it becomes more a matter of better or worse. Everyone has their own idea of how to approach each fishing situation, some well thought out, others are much more haphazard. The “approach,” the level of stealth, and knowledge of the area you are fishing can have a huge impact on success or failure when it comes to catching fish.

As anglers, most of us start each day with some form of a plan on what we want to catch and where we plan to try to catch it. With experience, these plans get better and more detailed. The bottom line is that we all benefit from having a goal in mind to accomplish each day on the water. If we give more thought to what that goal is, and how we might be able to tilt the scales in our favor when it comes to achieving that goal, we all stand to catch more fish, or at the very least, gain more knowledge that will lead to more fish in the future.

I feel certain that most experienced anglers have a plan of attack for each day that they fish. A location picked based on experience, knowledge of an area, or information about an area. Novices, or anglers newer to an area, the plan is likely not so well thought out.  This isn’t to say that a novice angler can’t or won’t catch as many fish, just that they don’t possess that level of experience to know exactly where to go or when to go to certain areas.

As an experienced angler, your goal should be to refine your knowledge and hone your fishing skills. As a novice or less experienced angler, your goal should be learn areas and develop an understanding of the structure, tides, and other factors that will influence the location and movements of the fish.

Take your time, use stealth when arriving and working the area you intend to fish.

As many times as I’ve talked about structure over there years, I realize that there is still a lot of confusion surrounding the topic. Structure goes well beyond just what we can see above the water; sometimes its obvious and sometimes its very subtle. Some of the many things that I consider structure can often be hard to detect. There is obvious structure like shorelines, reefs, rocks but sometimes the little things like grass, guts, humps and very subtle depressions are the keys to finding fish holding points and movement pathways. Finding these in shallow clear water is much easier than in open water. Wading and having actual contact with the bay floor can be a big help, and for those fishing deeper waters from a boat, learning to read a depth machine can be crucial.

Something interesting to remember, is that it isn’t just the contours of the bay floor, but also what’s on the bay floor that will impact when and where fish will be. Mud, grass, shell, clay, sand and many other things determine what type of prey will be in an area during different seasons and their predators.

Don’t just show up to an area and rush through it. So often I watch people on the water rush into an area, only to turn around and leave 15 minutes later. There is very little that can be gained in this approach. Unfortunately, in most cases the fish aren’t just waiting for us to arrive and throw things at them. In fact, most of the time we scare fish as we arrive and often shut down feeding behavior with our rapid and noisy arrival. This will spook fish in an area, slowing or stopping the bite temporarily.

Take your time, use stealth when arriving and working the area you intend to fish. Though it has become increasingly popular to run boats shallow and look for fish, this approach has significant short and long term impact on the environment and the fish. Starting with the obvious, sea grass and boat propellers do not mix! Some grasses recover relatively fast while others can take long periods to regrow. Prior to Hurricane Ike, there was very little natural grass growth in Galveston’s West Bay. Through man’s intervention, grasses returned and had a positive impact on bay habitat and water clarity. Fishing the same areas without the grass, was a world of difference. If just enjoying and appreciating the grass habitat isn’t enough, there is a Texas law in place that prohibits destruction of sea grasses.

Beyond the habitat impact, there is a huge short and long term impact on the fish. The sound of an outboard motor can not only be heard, but also felt by fish at a great distance. Knowing that fish are sensitive to vibration and sound should make us all aware that a hasty approach, using the big motor, doesn’t usually result in great catches.

Lets take this a step further. I know all too well how cool it is to see fish moving and feeding in shallow water, having spent over 35 years fishing shallow water from poling skiffs and other shallow water boats. I’ve seen a lot and learned a ton about fish behavior and their reaction to different things that enter their environment. Moving too fast in a poling skiff, a slight stumble when wading, and many other subtle sounds can alert fish. The practice of “burning shorelines” has way more negative impact on fish. A slow, and methodical approach will lead to much more productive fishing.

Take your time, use stealth in your approach, use the day as an opportunity to study, not just fish, and you may just learn how many things are missed by so many fishing around you. Fishing from a more methodical perspective will help you shorten the learning curve and improve your fishing not just today, but in the future as well.

Memorial Day Weekend

May 3rd, 2017

birdsworking2 Memorial Day Weekend

Birds working. Photo by Kelly Groce.

The start of our summertime coastal fishing

By Capt. Joe Kent

While not the official start of our summertime fishing season, Memorial Day Weekend often offers excellent conditions for both inshore and offshore fishing.  For many anglers it is their first run of the year to offshore waters.

Others focus on the jetties and bays, with all areas capable of producing some nice fish.

Most years, the water temperature has reached the 80-degree mark and, while not as warm as in the mid-summer range of July through mid-September, it is at the point when all of our summertime fish are around.

The bay waters are not so warm as to keep trout and other fish that are sensitive to dissolved oxygen levels, in deep water.  This means that wade fishing the shorelines continues to be a viable option for catching trout, reds and other fish.

During May, the jetties begin turning on with trout activity and other fish join the prized specks in feeding up and down the rocks.  May through August is prime time around the collection of granite rocks known as the North and South Jetties and many locals add still another designation, that being the Bolivar Jetties for the North and the Galveston Jetties for the South.

Regardless of which designation you use, Memorial Day Weekend is a great time to fish them.

Bird action in both East and West Bays will continue until the waters warm to the point that the fish go deeper.  Normally that does not take place until late June or early July.

kent king Memorial Day Weekend

Polly Kent with Joe Kent’s 48 pound ‘smoker kingfish’ in 1972.

Memorial Day Weekend is a Holiday Weekend that I always have looked to as the time to head offshore, conditions permitting.  My first Memorial Day trip was in 1972 and what a trip it was.  King mackerel were thick beginning about 10 miles south of the Galveston or South Jetty.  Before that I had made an offshore trip in my boat only four or five times over the previous years.

A learning experience it was.  One of the largest kings I have ever caught was landed that day.  It was a real “smoker” that weighed 48 pounds on the unofficial scales at Wilson’s South Jetty Bait Camp.

Wayne Tucker, operator of the bait camp, said the king was one of the largest he had seen.

For years thereafter Memorial Day Weekend was set aside for offshore fishing and the percentage of times we were able to make it beyond the jetties was higher than normal for offshore trips.

Some of the largest pelagic fish which include kings, ling, sharks and Dorado make it to the shallower offshore waters during May and early June, with Memorial Day right in the middle of that timeframe.

Besides good fishing and statistically good weather, the Memorial Day Weekend does not normally have the intense heat we experience later in the summer.  One advantage of fishing offshore during this time is that the crowds are much lighter than for inshore fishing.

While inshore fishing is in its prime, the weekend is one of the busiest on the water.  Normally, that does not bode well for fishing and one way to escape the heavy concentrations of boats is to head out from the jetties and enjoy the offshore.

Don’t forget the sunscreen, as the sun is intense, and that warmth of the season along with good fishing and crabbing, make Memorial Day Weekend a very special time of year.

Keep up with Joe Kent’s daily fishing report here.

Gaining Knowledge

May 3rd, 2017

WayneDenaDavis Gaining Knowledge

Wayne and Dena Davis caught some nice trout with Capt. Dillman despite high winds that day.

By Capt. David C Dillman

Spec-tacular Trout Adventures409-632-0924

Albert Einstein stated that “The only source of knowledge is experience.” When it comes to fishing, I firmly believe this quote holds true. There are many written books, articles and even videos on how to catch speckled trout. Lots of that information is excellent and a great resource for gaining some knowledge about the sport. But true knowledge of how and where to catch speckled trout comes from years of experience pursuing these fish.

In my 30 years of experience guiding fishing trips, I am always asked “When is the best time to catch trout?” For the majority of people that fish, it all starts with the month of May. During the first week of May, there will be a movement of speckled trout into our bay system through the Galveston Jetties. They come from the beachfront and these fish are commonly known as “tide runners.” Do they all come at once? No, but the majority of “tide runners” come May and June. As they make their way up the Houston Ship channel, these fish split into three different directions. Some move east, others west, and some head straight up the channel depending upon the salinity of the water. That is why you will read about the increase of catches in areas like Hanna’s Reef in East Bay, and the Dollar Point area on the Western side of Galveston Bay.

June arrives and so begins our summer fishing pattern in Galveston Bay. The trout begin to seek shelter of the deeper water shell pads located in our bay system. A majority of these “tide runners” can be found near the shell pads adjacent to the Houston ship channel from Markers 52-72.  They will also filter towards the numerous gas well scattered in close proximity of the channel. With every incoming tide more fish will be pushed into this area. In my years of fishing the channel and observation, speckled trout use this area to stage and spawn.

During this time of year, trout can be caught on a variety of artificial lures, but live baits seem to produce the better results. Live shrimp and croakers are the top two natural baits. Shrimp can be fished on the bottom or under a popping cork. Croakers should be fished utilizing a carolina rig or Texas rig. Eagle Point Fishing Camp always has a great supply of both and has easy access to the above prime locations!

If you want to gain further “knowledge” of these areas, I offer guided trips out of Eagle Point. Also orientation trips can be arranged where I go in your boat. Get out and experience the great trout fishing Galveston Bay has and as always, be careful on the water.

History of the Houston Yacht Club

May 3rd, 2017

HYC1 History of the Houston Yacht Club

Invitation to the Centennial Celebration of the Houston Yacht Club, 1997. Artwork by Al Barnes. Photos: HYC Archives.

Sam Akkerman, author of the book From Buffalo Bayou to Galveston Bay: The centennial history of the Houston Yacht Club, 1897 to 1997 on how it came to fruition. 

akkerman History of the Houston Yacht Club

Sam Akkerman

How did you get started on this project of writing the book?

I became involved in researching and writing about the history of HYC around 1995, two years before the club’s 100 year anniversary celebration. I was invited to attend one of the Centennial Committee meetings where Fleet Historian Tynes Sparks spoke and explained that one of the committee’s goals was to publish a book on the Club’s history and he needed help.

He had boxes of old photographs, clippings, and collections of stories he had been putting together for years. Few early records still existed, but Tynes knew the Club’s legendary history was worth telling and that documentation existed at the Houston Metropolitan Research Center (HMRC).

 As an English major who had always enjoyed research and writing, I was intrigued. Tynes and I scheduled a visit to the HMRC.

On that initial visit we found a Houston Post article describing the first formal meeting of the Club, February 2, 1898 at the Binz Building, Houston’s first skyscraper. It was a thrilling find and I quickly became fascinated by the Club’s history stashed away in that building.

Because the Club’s founders were prominent Houstonians, I read everything I could find on the city’s history and the early 20th century development of the Galveston Bay area as a summer destination for Houston residents.

I located and interviewed many children and grandchildren of the founders and early members. They were all aware of their families’ connections to HYC and generously shared photos and stories.

What surprised you the most as you gathered information about the history of the club?

Many discoveries were made along the way. When I started, we knew that the Club originally met and kept their boats near the foot of Main Street in downtown Houston. Research enabled  us to document specific locations: for a while a wharf was leased at the foot of Travis Street and meetings were held in a ‘tin shack’ near today’s Spaghetti Warehouse.

Another important ‘discovery’ was realizing the true significance of our early membership in the Gulf Yachting Association (GYA). In 1920 we became a founding member of the venerable southern boating organization that promoted inter-club competition in affordable one design boats from Florida to Texas. A bay home was needed for the boats, practices, and competition required by the amateur, family friendly, GYA program which the Club embraced wholeheartedly. I  believe the mission HYC fulfills today was shaped by that program.

And I must mention the oft forgotten role the Club played in the early development of the Houston Ship Channel. The members were not only vocal in their support but their yachts were used to tour dignitaries and visitors who had the power to influence the legislation to dredge the Bayou and Bay into a waterway that would accommodate ocean going vessels.

This focus of the Club continued until World War I. By then the Port was well on its way to becoming the giant we know it as today.

Madlin Stevenson and friends on an R-boat in the Houston Yacht Club harbor in 1929.

Is there a favorite story about some of the members that made you laugh out loud when you were doing research?

Humor reigned throughout the years. Choosing one incident is impossible. Theme parties with elaborate costumes were the norm after World War II. Props might include a live donkey in the Porthole bar or an old footed bathtub for serving “bootleg gin.” Beginning in 1936 the Dumbbell Award was presented periodically to recognize boating mishaps. Recipients and their ‘dumb’ mistakes were carefully recorded in a small gold stamped binder.  Helmsmen, not crew, falling overboard seem to have been quite common.

Where did you grow up and when did you become a member of the Houston Yacht Club?

I was born in Louisiana but grew up in Texas.  My family moved to Houston when I was 12.

In 1989, my husband bought a catamaran and we were sailing it one weekend when we saw a long line of Sunfish being towed behind a motor boat. Each boat had a young skipper on board, relaxing as they cruised along under tow. We learned they were HYC Ragnots (as the Club’s youth are called) and they were on their way across the Bay to an inter-club regatta. My daughters were 9 and 12, a perfect age to become Ragnots and the next summer I was one of the moms in the motor boats towing kids across the Bay.

Is there a favorite time period in the club’s history that really stands out in your mind?

The early years of the Club are among my favorites to study. Members had a fleet of amazing long, sleek luxury yachts which would rival any port in the south. They were prominent businessmen who worked tirelessly to promote the city and ship channel. Yet they commissioned a fleet of small one design sailboats for fair competition. Their younger members formed the Launch Club Canoe Division and explored islands in the Bayou that have long since disappeared. Their cruises were intended for family members and their regattas were events designed to be enjoyed by all ages, boaters and ‘landlubbers’ alike.

Are you currently working on any other projects?

We are proud to have a very well documented article on HYC’s history accepted and included in the recently launched Handbook of Houston, a publication of the Handbook of Texas Online, the most highly respected resource of state history.

Another months long project completed this spring is a permanent exhibit at the Club that honors HYC’s nationally recognized reputation for excellence in race management. Our research documented the national, international, and world regattas that HYC has hosted in the last 120 years. This information was then incorporated into a striking professionally designed display in the Club’s lobby. The project commemorates our 90/120 Celebration – this year the clubhouse is 90 years old and the organization is 120 years old.

Tell me a little bit about your relationship with Rice University.

In 2010 a large portion of our archives was digitized as part of an online exhibit that includes materials from Rice University and the Houston Area Digital Archives at the Houston Public Library. The exhibit, Business and Pleasure on Houston Waterways, explores the relationship Houston has with Buffalo Bayou and Galveston Bay. It was an honor for us to be included in this project and it also provided us with a unique opportunity to preserve our archival materials – the scanned images are safe – permanently stored and accessible online. As well, it  provides another method of sharing our history.

View overlooking lawn, wading pool, signal mast and harbor of the Houston Yacht Club during the Annual Regatta of 1954.

The Houston Yacht Club has a long tradition of bringing families together who love boating on Galveston Bay. In your opinion, is this still the best way to describe the mission of the club today?

Yes. Bringing together families who love the bay does describe what HYC is all about. As the older Ragnots leave for college, a new generation sails out to claim their own place in the cluster of Optis at the start line. Experienced sailors teach the sport and share their boats with novices. New volunteers join the long time volunteers who organize the programs and events for all ages and the well run regattas that make Galveston Bay a nationally known recreational boating center.