JK3 Yacht Sales
Galati Yacht Sales
Galveston Yacht Basin
HSH Yachts
Blackburn Marine
South Texas Yacht Service
Sea Lake Yachts
Seabrook Marina
Kemah Boardwalk Marina

Offshore Fishing Boats for the Gulf

May 2nd, 2016

Venture far into the Gulf on any of these fine fishing boats from 24 – 36 ft.

grady27 Offshore Fishing Boats for the Gulf

Grady-White Fisherman 257

The Fisherman 257 was built ready to go offshore. Two insulated forward 120 quart boxes and a transom 185 quart box provide plenty of room for any pelagic or reef fish you bring in. The fully insulated 32-gallon lighted livewell keeps bait lively with full column raw water distribution. This ride makes for a comfortable, yet capable sport fishing machine.

  • Length: 24’ 9”
  • Beam: 8’ 6”
  • Fuel Capacity: 135 gal.
  • Max HP: 400 HP
  • Weight (w/o engines): 4,300 lbs.
  • Draft: 20”
  • Deadrise: 20°
  • Bait/Livewell: 32 gal.
  • Fish Storage: 120 qt. (2), 185 qt.

Visit Grady-White’s website for full specifications.

sailfish27 Offshore Fishing Boats for the Gulf

Sailfish 270cc

Improved fishability with higher gunnels, larger fish boxes, more interior room and a transom livewell make the 270 one of the best laid out fishing platform on the market. The improved functional and stylish helm offers ample room for your larger electronics and multiple storage compartments for gear and equipment.

  • Length: 26’ 2”
  • Beam: 9’
  • Fuel Capacity: 188 gal.
  • Max HP: 400 HP
  • Weight (rigged): 6,700 lbs.
  • Draft: 18”
  • Deadrise: 22-24°
  • Bait/Livewell: 30 gal.
  • Fish Storage: 260 qt. (2)
  • Rod Holders: 10

Visit Sailfish Boats’ website for full specifications.

capehorn24

Cape Horn 24os

With a host of changes in both design and style, the new Cape Horn 24os is more ready than ever to face what awaits 50+ miles offshore. The newly designed hull provides impressive ride comfort and fuel economy. A sprawling floor plan leaves more room to fish. Two big live wells make sure you will never run out of bait.

  • Length: 25’ 1”
  • Beam: 9’ 1”
  • Fuel Capacity: 136 gal.
  • Max HP: 400 HP
  • Weight (dry): 3,700 lbs.
  • Draft: 20”
  • Deadrise: 23°
  • Bait/Livewell: 30/45 gal.
  • Fish Storage: 470 qt.
  • Rod Holders: 20

Visit Cape Horn’s website for full specifications.

seahunt

Sea Hunt Gamefish 25

The Gamefish delivers exactly what serious fishermen demand in a sportfishing center console boat. This boat comes ready to fish with multiple insulated fishboxes and livewells as standard features. The cockpit has abundant room for 360° of fishing and the hull delivers a soft, dry ride.

  • Length: 25’ 6”
  • Beam: 9’
  • Fuel Capacity: 148 gal.
  • Max HP: 400 HP
  • Weight (dry): 4,700 lbs.
  • Draft: 19”
  • Deadrise: 21°
  • Bait/Livewell: 27/30 gal
  • Fish Storage: 148 qt. (2), 188 qt.

Visit Sea Hunt’s website for full specifications.

worldcat

World Cat 320cc

The 320CC is a versatile performer that excels in our Gulf chop. You can run flat out to your favorite fishing spot, even in rougher seas. A large 45 gallon livewell provides ample space for bait and over 1,300 quarts of insulated storage keeps your catch cold. Twelve gunwale-mounted rod holders and comfortable seating for twelve means you can bring the entire crew out fishing.

  • Length: 32’ 2”
  • Beam: 10’ 6”
  • Fuel Capacity: 279 gal.
  • Max HP: 600 HP
  • Weight (dry): 9,200 lbs.
  • Draft: 16”
  • Bait/Livewell: 45 gal.
  • Fish Storage: 300 qt. (2), 225 qt. (2), 105 qt.
  • Rod Holders (gunwale): 12

Visit World Cat’s website for full specifications.

Yellowfin 36 Offshore

The combination of speed, an unmatched dry ride and rugged construction make the 36 Yellowfin the boat to beat no matter where you are fishing. The 36 can be powered by twin or triple outboards and either option will yield speeds that few other boats in its class can match. Numerous console, leaning post and top options, let you customize the 36 to perfectly complement the way you fish. A huge 477 gallon fuel capacity lends incredible range to this ride.

  • Length: 36’ 8”
  • Beam: 10’
  • Fuel Capacity: 477 gal.
  • Max HP: 1,250 HP
  • Weight: 9,500 lbs.
  • Draft: 20”
  • Deadrise: 24°
  • Bait/Livewell:
  • Fish Storage:
  • Rod Holders:

Visit Yellowfin’s website for full specifications.

bostonwhaleroutrage

Boston Whaler 330 Outrage

With its precision-engineered deep-V hull, high padded gunnels and unsinkable Unibond construction, the 330 Outrage delivers an incredibly soft, safe, dry ride, whether you’re venturing far from shore or cruising close to home. State-of-the-art navigation and command systems make captaining a breeze, while smart ergonomic seating ensures an enjoyable ride for every passenger. In the bow, a plush forward lounge lifts to reveal ample storage below while the facing bow seats invite easy conversation.

  • Length: 33’ 1”
  • Beam: 10’ 2”
  • Fuel Capacity: 300 gal.
  • Max HP: 700 HP
  • Weight (dry): 9,000 lbs.
  • Draft: 22”
  • Deadrise: 23°
  • Bait/Livewell: 40/50 gal.
  • Fish Storage: 228 qt. (2)
  • Rod Holders: 16

Visit Boston Whaler’s website for full specifications.

capehorn36

Cape Horn 36os

The 36os features “more of everything.” The wide beam and excellent speed let get out into the Gulf faster and in comfort.  A 1,400 quart insulated fish box will hold any fish you may catch, including swordfish up to 9-feet-long. The rear 40 gallon live well is standard, as is the large transom gate. The main live well sports 60 gallons for keeping the largest of baits frisky. The 36os is a solid choice for the seasoned angler looking for all the advantages needed to fish harder than any other.

  • Length: 36’ 11”
  • Beam: 10’ 6”
  • Fuel Capacity: 410 gal.
  • Max HP: 1,100 HP
  • Weight: 7,900 lbs.
  • Draft: 24”
  • Deadrise: 23°
  • Bait/Livewell: 60/40 gal.
  • Fish Storage: 1,400 qt., 85 qt.
  • Rod Holders: 26

Visit Cape Horn’s website for full specifications.

Texas Flounder Regulations Proving Successful

May 1st, 2016

kent flounder Texas Flounder Regulations Proving Successful

Garrett Blumenshine with a 20-inch flounder he caught using a Berkley Gulp! Pearl White Shrimp.

By Capt. Joe Kent

Anglers around the Galveston Bay Complex have reported excellent catches of flounder this past winter and the action is getting better as the water warms and days get longer. This is a refreshing change from not too long ago when sportsmen were concerned about the drop off in catches.

Prior to the turn of the century, our flounder stocks were showing serious decline in both numbers and quality of fish. Liberal bag limits and no season restrictions were taking their toll on one of the most popular saltwater fish.
A bold and unpopular move on the part of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department several years ago has proven to be just what the stocks of flounder needed. Before we take a look at the changes that took place, let’s go back and see what was happening before the enactment.

flounder conner Texas Flounder Regulations Proving Successful

Max Conner, age 14, of Galveston with a chunky flounder.

Flounder have always been one of the top choices of a large number of fishermen all along the Gulf Coast. Flounder gigging especially was a popular way to bring good quantities of meat to the table in a short time span.
Prior to the changes, anglers could go out gigging after dark and take a day’s limit of 10 flounder before midnight and afterwards take another day’s limit of 10 as the possession limit was a two-day bag limit.

While mostly flounder giggers were the ones to reap the benefit of the liberal daily limits, pole and line fishermen would at times find concentrations of flounder stacked up around passes and also take advantage of the quantities.
Arguably, the most popular and productive time to fish for flounder, whether by conventional rod and reel or by gigging, was during the annual migration in the fall. During this time the flat fish stack up in huge numbers along the pathways to the Gulf of Mexico and are easy targets.

This is when I first noticed a problem. Prior to the 1990’s, quality flounder would be easy to catch at my favorite spots along the Galveston Ship Channel, but toward the end of the 80’s and early 90’s it became more difficult for the average angler to catch more than just a few flounder. During that era the size was also noticeably smaller as well.
Sportsmen were becoming well aware of the problem and so was the staff at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

As mentioned earlier, in a bold move the TPWD recommended an overhaul of the regulations. The changes, which were not popular with a large number of anglers, included reducing the of anglers, included reducing the daily bag limit from 10 to five and eliminating the two-day possession limit. Flounder gigging would be prohibited during the month of November and at the same time the daily bag limit was further reduced to two per person during November.

floundergrowthchart

Fortunately for all anglers, the original thought of eliminating flounder fishing all together during November was compromised with the two-fish limits. The only size and bag limit regulation that remained was the 14-inch minimum size. So, after everyone cooled down following such as dramatic change, how is this all turning out?

First, during November, most fishermen, regardless of experience level, are now able to go out and take two flounder. Prior to the changes, there were a lot of empty stringers as the fish were scattered.

Now, let’s discuss what I consider the most noticeable effects. This past winter, there were more flounder caught during the winter months than I can ever recall. Some anglers say it is because we had a warm winter and the fish never migrated. We have had a number of warm winters in the recent past and we did not see this take place.

This spring we are getting reports from both the flounder gigging sportsmen and rod and reel anglers of large numbers of quality flounder in the bays. Occasionally reports coming in to the Galveston Daily News during March and April resembled November reports from the flounder run.

All I can say is that it points to the results of the overhaul in flounder regulations several years ago. Thanks to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for making the move!

Deep Drop Techniques for Grouper and Tilefish

May 1st, 2016

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.

warsaw

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

Hake

Hake

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.

Rigging

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.

weights

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.

reelcrankie

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. 

Flounder Gigging Tips

May 1st, 2016

texasfloundergigging Flounder Gigging Tips

By Brandon Rowan

Judging by this Spring, it appears we may have a banner year for flounder on our hands. I made multiple flounder gigging outings in March and April to Galveston’s West Bay and found more, and larger flounder than I have in the past five years. I believe this is thanks to the recent regulations enacted during November and December when these fish are most vulnerable. There were plenty big beds spotted and several fish found their way to my stringer this Spring. Gig some flatties in May and June with these tips:

giggingtides Flounder Gigging Tips

Which Tide?

Traditional wisdom says to gig right after a low tide but I consistently find more fish during the outgoing tide, a few hours before its lowest point. Flounder move to the flats to intercept bait pushed from shorelines and drains. Fish gigged during this time were full of newly hatched shad. Be warned though, visibility can be trickier if the outgoing tide is particularly strong. It can be very hard to see beneath the moving water if you use a lantern as your light source, which brings me to my next point.

PVC gigging lights

The gigging light on top was made with a mr16 LED bulb sealed in the PVC with a lexan lens and is powered by eight AA rechargeable batteries. The light on the bottom was made with a superbrightleds.com 10 watt IP68 marine light and is powered by a Tenergy 14.8v Li-Ion battery pack.

Light Em’ Up

Work toward building a submersible LED light out of PVC. Ripples on the bay’s surface will not disturb your visibility as badly compared to a lantern. You can purchase a pre-made gigging light but the web is full of plans and ideas for building your own. This 2cool thread in particular has some great information.

These light builds aren’t difficult and can be completed with a soldering iron, silicone sealant, light source, battery, PVC cement, PVC saw and of course, PVC. Lexan is required as a lens if you are waterproofing an LED module but there are several waterproof IP68 options out there like the 20 watt Eclipse from Oznium.com or this 2″ marine spotlight from Superbrightleds.com. Many connect their lights to an exterior 12v battery worn in a backpack or fanny pack but I prefer to connect to a rechargeable battery pack housed within the PVC.

Flounder are camouflage experts

Where Are They?

The south shoreline of Galveston’s West Bay has miles of suitable gigging territory. You’ll find flounder in a variety of different habitats and at different depths. I’ve gigged flounder in just inches of water, as well as knee-deep water. Pay attention when you come near a shell point. Flounder will hug close to the sides and backs of these. The shorelines along or outside a marsh drain are also great. Flounder stack up in these areas to feed on bait escaping the flow of the outgoing tide. Sandy flats between shell pads and reefs are also worth searching. Marshy areas near grass are also productive but can be tougher to navigate on foot due to soft mud bottoms. Be ready if you spot abundant baitfish, beds or even undersized flounder as there could be legal flounder close by.

Remember, the minimum length for flounder in Texas is 14 inches with a bag limit of five fish. It’s best to leave a flounder alone if it looks too close to this length. Better safe than sorry.

full moon

Don’t Be Afraid of the Moon

Many hesitate to gig under a full moon but don’t let that discourage you. I gigged four fish, up to 20 inches, in an hour’s time one night during April’s full moon. Wind speed (a light SE for West Bay) and tide should be the most important factors in selecting a night to gig. Use this link to check the tides in Texas, this link to see the marine forecast for the upper coast and this link to see current wind speed on Galveston Island.

Shell is Comfortable?

I gigged two good sized flounder this Spring laying directly on shell pads. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen this and it probably won’t be the last. In fact, I once missed a personal best fish by hurrying past a heavy shell area while walking the flats. By the time I realized I was looking at a 24+ inch fish she was spooked off by my less-than-stealthy approach. Keep an eye out for this and push that gig down hard.

The Future of Fishing As We Know It

May 1st, 2016

2016redsnapperseason The Future of Fishing As We Know It

By Thomas J. HiltonHilton’s Realtime Navigator

Few Americans realize there are forces at play that are silently working to reshape how we are going to be able to access and enjoy our own public trust natural resources, (in this case, our red snapper), now and for future generations to come.

Millions upon millions of dollars have been poured into a concept called “catch shares” in our nation’s fisheries these last few years by environmental corporations, with the full knowledge and complicity of our federal government. It is a slick campaign, put forward by public relations/marketing firms to paint catch shares as a needed “conservation” tool to restore depleted fisheries. In reality, catch shares are an “economic” tool, a mechanism that converts our public trust resources into private commodities – taking from what each American owns and giving it to a few well-connected corporations free of charge.

The name does what it implies; taking what they catch, and converting them into shares, similar to shares of stock on Wall Street where the “owners” can sell, lease or trade them for profit. When you are on the ground floor of this scam, it is a massive transfer of wealth from the many (all Americans) to the few, and we are talking hundreds of millions of dollars here.

Unlike other public resources like oil, gas, and timber where rents are paid to the government for usage of the public resources, these shares are being granted to favored groups free of charge. To add insult to injury, the resource rents are diverted and paid to the corporations each year instead of to the nation, and the shares handed down to heirs as assets for generations to come. In my opinion, this is grand felony theft of the highest magnitude and nobody is being held accountable.

16redsnapper 225x300 The Future of Fishing As We Know It

“If these groups get their way, the days of an American fisherman taking his kids fishing, catching a fish and placing that fish in their cooler “for free” are coming to an end.”

In the case of Gulf of Mexico fisheries, catch shares were introduced to the commercial red snapper fishery in 2007 when the Magnuson-Stevens language was added in our fisheries law by the Environmental Defense Fund’s “Oceans Team.” This “innovative market approach” gave 51% ownership of Gulf red snapper to a few commercial fishing corporations which today I estimate to be worth around $300 million. Many of the catch share “owners” have since sold their boats and don’t even go fishing at all, and instead opt to rent their shares to other commercial operations for $3.00/pound or more.

Al Capone would be proud of these guys, skimming hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, per owner, off of the harvest of America’s public trust resources while the nation, nor the fisheries, benefit from one red dime. They are laughing all the way to the bank, at your expense.

Now the enviro corporations, their front groups, and our own federal government are attempting to implement catch shares into our Gulf recreational fisheries. This is where I am compelled to draw the line. If these groups get their way, the days of an American fisherman taking his kids fishing, catching a fish and placing that fish in their cooler “for free” are coming to an end. You will be required to pay SOMEBODY in order to bring fish that YOU catch back home to eat. This will most likely be accomplished through the use of fish tags.

For example, recently under a pilot program for the Gulf headboats, each boat was given a certain number of fish tags with which the boat owners could utilize any way they wanted. Some operations offered their normal trips at $80/person with the option of catching (and keeping) one red snapper – that is, if you purchased a red snapper tag for $25. Wow. What a deal.

Recently, the Gulf Council segregated Gulf recreational fishermen based on what type of boat they fish upon, either a private vessel or a for-hire vessel, so that they could discriminate against one group for the benefit of the other. I find it appalling that our own federal government has resurrected failed management policies such as segregation and discrimination in order to push this privatization scheme, but that is exactly what is happening.

The proof is in the pudding – 2015 was the first year that gave different season days to the two groups. Private boats got 10 days and the for-hire boats got 44 days, and the 2016 red snapper season looks even worse for the average American Gulf fisherman. Remember, these are all recreational fishermen catching the fish – it really shouldn’t matter what type of boat they are fishing from, but separating them is essential to the next step; granting ownership of the fish to the for-hire sector of boat owners.

These are mafia-style tactics. Our own federal government is squeezing honest tax-paying American citizens into shorter and shorter red snapper seasons using bogus data to justify their actions, and then forcing the fishermen to accept the so-called “solution” of catch shares, or else be shut out of the fishery. Currently, the Gulf private recreational fisherman is prohibited from fishing for red snapper in federal waters for about 98% of the year – that is unless you want to pay a charter or head boat to take you, or…coming soon on your own boat…fish tag$.

The NMFS has failed all of us in this scam and needs to be fired, plain and simple. There is a bill that needs all of our support at the Congressional level; H.R. 3094 which would transfer management of the Gulf red snapper to the five Gulf states. We need to stop this privatization scheme now, as it will certainly not stop at red snapper – it will encompass every single federally-managed fish that swims in the ocean.

Please contact your Congressional representative and voice your support of this bill – your kids’ and their kids’ fishing future depends on it.

The Galley: Beer Pairings With Seafood

May 1st, 2016

By Betha Merit

Forget the Sauvignon Blanc  and Pinot Grigio for your seafood culinary accompaniments. Or, better yet, you assess your guests and enjoy the new age of beer. With the rise of craft beers, imports, and old standards, there are brewski choices that will make any chef proud.

The rule of thumb for seafood is for less hoppy styles. A Belgian Saison or light German lager or blonde ales pair well with a simpler recipe for fish or shellfish. By adding heavier sauces or pasta, you can go for heartier versions of German lagers or wheat beer. Then again, the old adage of “drink what you like” can still apply. Only you know what is your entertainment goal. To please your guests, is the likely choice. Ahhhh, freedom of expression.

floundergreensauce The Galley: Beer Pairings With Seafood

Flounder With Green Sauce

  • 4 fresh flounder fillets
  • salt & pepper to taste
    For sauce combine:
  • 1/2 container of Alouette herb and garlic spreadable cheese
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 4 TBSP fresh meyer lemon juice
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 peeled, de-seeded cucumber, grated

Pat four flounder fish filets with salt and pepper. Saute in butter or olive oil until flakey. Serve sauce on fish. A great accompaniment is potatoes, see next recipe.

Dirty Potatoes

  • 4 medium white potatoes
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Cut up un-peeled washed potatoes into cubes and boil in water until done but not too soft. Drain water. While still warm cut up butter into potatoes, add onions and salt and pepper.

pasta st pauli The Galley: Beer Pairings With Seafood

Shrimp & Broccoli Tortiglioni Pasta

  • 8 oz. tortiglioni or rotini pasta boiled in 6 cups of water, cooked al dente
  • 3 cups frozen broccoli, thawed
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined large gulf shrimp
  • 2 teaspoons meyer lemon peel zest
  • 3 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Heat a large skillet or pan over high heat, adding oil to swirl and coat. Add shrimp to pan, saute two minutes. Stir in lemon peel, cook another minute. Add drained pasta, broccoli, butter, and lemon juice to pan. Saute another minute until broccoli is to your liking, stirring occasionally. (Hint, you can pre-cook broccoli if desired). Gently stir all ingredients and sprinkle with black pepper.

Another Successful Keels and Wheels

May 1st, 2016

KEELcar Another Successful Keels and Wheels

By Patty Kane | Photography by Debra Rueb and Charles Milby

keelswheels1 Another Successful Keels and WheelsA key ingredient to having a successful outdoor event is the weather and Mother Nature provided two nice days for the 21st Annual Keels and Wheels Concours d’ Elegance held the last weekend in April at Lakewood Yacht Club in Seabrook.

The country’s largest classic car and boat Concours gets better every year and this year was no exception. Tne crowd was able to view a rare display of the world’s finest examples of classic automobiles and an astounding collection of mint condition vintage wooden yachts.

The event is a draw for families as well as car and boat collectors and enthusiasts from all over the United States and the world. The beautiful grounds at Lakewood Yacht Club, located at 2425 NASA Parkway, make the perfect setting for exhibitors to show off their most prized vehicles while the picturesque Lakewood harbor is equally appropriate for displaying the pristine wooden boats. Visitors to the event are drawn back to the grace and beauty of days gone by.

KW6
KW-1

Over the years the event has raised more than $1.5 million for local charities. Proceeds from this year’s event will once again go to the Boys & Girls Harbor. Attendees not only have a wonderful time but contribute to a worthy cause.

Keels & Wheels is the product of a lot of hard work and is the brain child of founders and Concours Chairmen Bob Fuller and Paul Merryman. Bob and his wife Judy, Laura Power, Paul and the Keels & Wheels Board are dedicated to making the event a big success every year. The Lakewood members who donate their time are also an important part of making Keels & Wheels able to continue year after year.

Fuller thanks the generosity of the 2016 sponsors. If you would like to be a sponsor for this spectacular event in 2017, contact Bob Fuller at 713- 521-0105 or email keelsnwheelssec@comcast.net.

 

Houston’s Flood Problem

April 29th, 2016

houston april floods Houstons Flood Problem

Buffalo Bayou spills out of its banks between Memorial Drive and Allen Parkway on April 18, 2016 after heavy rains. Photo by Jim Olive.

By Janice Van Dyke Walden

Spring rains have hit Houston, and at the time of this writing, the Bayou City is flooding once again.

While offices are closed and workers stay home, the clock ticks on the 30-day public comment period for a Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) document that will affect future permitting on roads, storm water runoff and setting aside land to offset flooding.

The 53-page Permit to Discharge is TXDOT’s first attempt to standardize the agency’s permitting process across the State of Texas as it relates to water discharge.  The nation’s second largest environmental agency, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), has the document under review, and concerned environmentalists want to have time to study the permit and recommend changes.

Attorney and Galveston Baykeeper Board Member Jen Powis first heard of the document a couple of days before our talk on April 11, 2016.  Her requests to TCEQ for a copy in that first week did not produce the draft on her desk, but she has since obtained a copy of the document filed as Permit No. WQ005011000.

“Impervious surface is my concern,” says Powis, who lives in Houston.  No one doubts that flooding in the nation’s fourth largest city is due to more roads, higher density living and less surface area to absorb water when rainfall occurs.  What concerns Powis and her Baykeeper colleagues is how the State is going to allow more flooding through regulatory holes in the system   For about two years, she and other members of Galveston Baykeepers have been watching TXDOT’s moves toward “one, big statewide permit” system that could pave the way for more development and less saving of water-absorbing land.

About 27 states have adopted the policy of one permit for their entire transportation system, but with more highway miles than any other state, Texas has an unmatched amount of paving along with a variety of landscape to consider.

Till now, TXDOT has issued permits based on the specific conditions of each community.  Powis favors this approach, adding, “I’m a strong proponent of local solutions for specific places.  We all know that Houston looks very different from the Edwards Aquifer.”

Powis would also like to see metrics applied to the permitting process.  One metric would be to factor daily and statewide flow rates  – how much storm water flows through a community – to determine how and where development can occur.  This would be tied to the permitting process.

“A lot of the time we try to build our way out of the problem,” say Powis, “versus preserving land at the beginning.”  She and the other Galveston Baykeepers want to see TXDOT have more foresight in the allocation of green infrastructure.  “The burden should be on the developer to incorporate mitigation in the project,” says Powis.  She’d like to see the revised TXDOT permitting system require developers to set aside land to offset the impervious cover they create.  In an area like Houston, only one enforcement body controls such a process now, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and the rule doesn’t apply to all conditions.

USACE has jurisdiction over all federal waters, including wetlands under the Clean Water Act (CWA).  But under CWA, land is only a wetland if it lies within the 100-year flood plain or connects to a body of water under federal jurisdiction.  Since most of Houston’s prairie and inland wetlands are technically not termed as wetlands under CWA, developers have been able to build on these parcels without mitigating or even going through the federal permit process.

Galveston Baykeepers’ Board Member John Jacob sees that TXDOT’s new permitting process could not only support federal wetland law, but go further to protect now unprotected land – the prairie and inland wetlands – and further offset urban flooding and poor water quality.

Of the couple of Houston parcels that Jacob cites as unprotected wetland “already gone” is Generation Park, a 4,000-acre business development less than a mile west of Houston’s drinking water source, Lake Houston.  Of the 4,000 acres, Jacob says that 67% (1,300 acres) were wetland.  The master plan calls for allocating less than 20% to green infrastructure.  In this case, if TXDOT had such a rule in its permitting structure, it could help protect both Houston’s drinking water and the water quality of Sheldon Lake State Park on Generation Park’s south boundary by requiring mitigation.

Jacob has been following the dramatic loss of inland wetlands for years.  He serves as Director of Texas A&M’s Texas Coastal Watershed Program.   In a 2014 Texas A&M AgriLife Extension report, Jacob notes that in the 12 years between 1992 and 2010, Harris County and the 7 surrounding counties lost over 30% of their freshwater wetlands.  “Coastal, tidal wetlands – about 10% to 20% of the State’s total wetland inventory – are not under threat like the prairie wetlands,” says Jacob, where most of Texas’ wetland inventory lies.  And, those prairie wetlands dot the periphery of Houston’s urban sprawl, mostly in tracts less than one-acre in size.

Jacob calls Texas’ prairie and inland wetlands the “lymph nodes” of our ecology.  “They are cleaning the water, purifying the water.”

So why should the loss of wetlands 30 miles inland concern a coastal fisherman?  Jacob puts it in simple terms: “Less wetlands: more flooding: worse water quality: less fish.”

Meanwhile, the opportunity for public review and comment narrows, with TCEQ’s comment period ending May 7th.

To find out more about how Galveston Baykeepers is working to protect Texas’ coastal water quality, visit: www.galvestonbaykeeper.org/threats

National Team Send Off To Celebrate U.S. Olympic Sailors

April 12th, 2016

national team sendoff flyerXfullXpageXX4X National Team Send Off To Celebrate U.S. Olympic Sailors

National Team Send Off, presented by Sunbrella on July 27, 2016 at Houston Yacht Club

Sunbrella and US Sailing invite all USA fans to the Houston Yacht Club on July 27th  for a grand send-off party to cheer on the US Olympic Sailing Team athletes before they depart for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.  The celebration will feature all 15 sailors who will be competing in the Olympic Games, providing guests with an exciting opportunity to support their national team as they get ready to compete on the world stage.  The party is free and open to all sailors and fans from around the country, and presents them with an exclusive opportunity to meet the country’s best dinghy, skiff, catamaran, and board sailors right before they depart for Rio to represent the USA!

Festivities will kick off at 3:45pm with the world premiere of Uncharted Waters, the first full length feature film about the US Sailing Team Sperry and the journeys of a few team athletes.

Immediately following the film, the party will continue with a meet-and-greet with the athletes, with opportunities for guests to take photos, collect autographs, and win some prizes.  We will hear from the athletes and a few of the team’s leaders, and of course all should be prepared for a few fun surprises!

Come to Houston to cheer on your national team!

Note: This is not an official event of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and is being independently organized by US Sailing and Sunbrella.

Frothing Over Spring Surf

March 2nd, 2016

connorXeckX4 Frothing Over Spring Surf

Connor Eck, Galveston. Photo by Adam Valadez.

Stay salty with these boards and accessories perfect for surfing Texas this spring.

29 palmtrop Frothing Over Spring Surf

 

 

MRS PALMERS – Tropical Warm Wax. This ultra sticky warm water wax provides the best grip.

 

 

zinka

 

 

 

ZINKA – Nosecoat. Zinka is 25% Zinc Oxide, visible on your skin, reflects sunlight, blocks out UVA & UVB rays and is water resistant. Comes in a variety of colors. www.zinka.com

 

 

 

CAPTAINXFIN

 

 

CAPTAIN FIN – Joel Tudor 9.5. Designed by legendary longboarder, Joel Tudor, for long nose rides and quick turns. www.captainfin.com

 

 

RIVIERAPADDLEBOARDX106 STRIVEBOARD

 

(from  left to right)

RIVIERA – 10’6” Original. This paddleboard is perfect for first timers. It has a slightly pulled in nose and pinched rails for better maneuverability in the surf. www.rivierapaddlesurf.com

STRIVE – The Cruzer. This timeless design will keep you on the nose or trimming down the line. Available in 9’3”, 9’6” and 10”. www.strivesurfboards.com

RUSTY – The Dwart. Easy paddling, a fast ride, effortless glide, and lip blasting vertical capabilities, all packed into one board. Available in a variety of sizes. www.rustysurfboards.com

 

 

 

What’s In Your Bag? Custom Art Work by Jenifer Sundrla

March 2nd, 2016

JeniferXcopy Whats In Your Bag? Custom Art Work by Jenifer Sundrla

Jenifer Sundrla, local Bay Area Houston artist.

jensun logo Whats In Your Bag? Custom Art Work by Jenifer SundrlaJenifer Sundrla, a local Bay Area Houston artist, specializes in paintings and also enjoys creating murals, portraits and illustrations.  She mostly draws her inspiration from the sea. Her custom art work and murals have been featured in television episodes of Extreme Home Makeover and she has illustrated two children’s books.

Her beautiful, nautical art work is now available at Eagles Nest Gallery in Kemah. Jenifer’s creative works are the perfect wall accessory for home and yacht! For more information about Jenifer Sundrla’s art go to www.JenSunArt.com.

 

angelXwing

Angel Wing

flounder

Flounder

heron

Heron

pelican

Brown Pelican

pintails

Pintails

seahorses

Seahorses

starfish

Starfish

trout

Trout

turtles

Sea Turtles

Where Did My Fish Go? Galveston Spring Fishing Patterns

March 1st, 2016

redfishfly 1 Where Did My Fish Go? Galveston Spring Fishing Patterns

Torrey Hawkins, owner of Bayou City Angler with a nice early spring red.

By Capt. Steve Soule

The upper Texas Coast typically falls into its spring time pattern by mid-to-late February. This year will certainly not be an exception to the rule after a very mild winter and rapidly warming daytime temperatures. Unfortunately, spring patterns are probably the most difficult to sort out. Fish are transient, temperature swings are frequent, and food sources change on nearly a daily basis.

Transitional Times Require Transitions From Anglers

The easiest transition to see and understand is that of the temperatures, both air and water. There are a couple of fun things to note about the changing temperatures. First, it helps to understand the two basic rules of air and water temperature and how they affect fish and their food sources. The relationship is much like that of a large heat exchanger or radiator. Typically, the water is somewhat constant and much slower to change, while the air temperature is almost constantly changing. Here’s where it gets fun; if the air temperature is colder than the water temperature, then the surface water will cool most rapidly. In this scenario, shallow water will cool down much faster than deeper water. If this change is significant enough to cause discomfort in fish or their prey species, they will begin to move to deeper water.

Let’s flip the equation: now the air temperature is warmer than the water and increasing. In this scenario, shallow water and surface temperatures will be on the rise and, following in suit, the fish and their prey will be moving toward shallower water. Clearly, you can see how this knowledge will benefit you in narrowing your search for fish.

Keep in mind that this is all relative. Shallower or deeper is relative to current depth, warmer and colder being relative to current temperatures. There are some limits to when this information is useful. Once water temperatures and air temperatures stabilize above 65 degrees Fahrenheit, warming temperatures are not nearly so relevant. Most of the common predator and prey species are well within their comfort range so we need to be more aware of a cooling event at that point than we do of a warming event.

 

juvcrab 300x300 Where Did My Fish Go? Galveston Spring Fishing Patterns

Juvenile crabs start becoming more prevalent as spring returns to the Texas coast.

Fish Food

There is a large food source transition that happens typically starting in late February. Through most of the winter months, predatory fish in the bays are limited in the overall variety of food sources. As the daytime photo period becomes longer and temperatures gradually start to trend upward, we see an increase in the number and availability of prey. Most are the smaller of their respective species, but it’s important to know that overall availability of food has increased. These sources come in from the warmer gulf waters or have descended from rivers and creeks, or even emerged from the mud where they took shelter during the winter. We can draw a few conclusions from this knowledge.

Food on average is much more prevalent. Early in spring, the average size of food sources is typically much smaller than what was available through the winter months. Last year, I wrote about some of the species that become prevalent again in spring. Shad, shrimp, glass minnows, worms, eels, crabs and more start to make a showing.

In the winter months we could do well just imitating a mullet or an eel, but in spring it can often be much more difficult to entice a bite from finicky fish. Many of the newly available food sources are not easy to see and therefore not easy to emulate. Some simple ideas that can help; due to increased populations, predators aren’t always so quick to jump on every passing opportunity. It is a safe expectation that numerous small meals are within reach and often easier to take advantage of than the single, larger meal. Keeping this in mind, it makes sense to scale down the size of the offering and this often leads to a greater number of bites.

14MR_S

Downsize to smaller baits like the MirrOdine Mini in spring to mimic the easy meals predator fish are feeding on, like shad and glass minnows.

So, we know that our predator fish are moving much more in spring due to availability of new food sources, changes in temperature and movements of their food sources. We also know that if the air is warmer than the water, shallow water will warm faster and conversely, deeper water will offer greater comfort in cooling periods. Mud, especially dark colored mud and areas of deeper mud, tend to retain much more heat than areas with sand or light colored bay bottom. Understanding that last thought, brings light to an interesting spring pattern. This will be disappointing to many anglers as it doesn’t fit the “dawn patrol” profile.

Wendelltrout

Wendell Breazelle with a big 27.75” trout.

Later is Better

Warm spring days with abundant sunshine tend to warm soft mud areas. This may not always draw predator and prey populations during daylight hours, but the heat retaining properties of soft mud and shallow water create a comfort zone for overnight dwelling. In so many areas around the Galveston Bay complex you can watch this take place. As the sun draws lower in the sky, and the temperatures start to drop, baitfish swarm the shallows. Comfort and abundant plant food sources draw them in, followed closely by their predatory brothers and sisters.

Pulling all of this together, be aware of both air and water temperatures and the relationship of change. Be prepared to scale down the size of your offering and perhaps most important, don’t get too hung up on being the first boat on the bay. Some of the best spring time bites I have ever experienced were much closer to sunset than sunrise. Many of those days were not really days, but more like evenings or even nights of fishing. There was a time when I would schedule guided trips from February through early April to all continue until at least sunset, if not later. That way we could be there when the fish were most concentrated and active.

There is no guarantee anywhere in fishing, but narrowing the field, so to speak, can only add to our odds.

Fishing Boats: Flats, Bay and Offshore

February 29th, 2016

shoalwater cat Fishing Boats: Flats, Bay and Offshore

Shoalwater 19’ Catamaran

The 19 Shoalwater Cat rides excellent in extremely shallow waters and runs well in moderate chop due to the tunnel hull design. The 6” draft will allow you to get shallower than most flats boats that are much smaller. Lower gunwales than the 21 & 23 make the 19 Cat an excellent boat for fishermen that like to travel to a destination, then get out and wade The efficient catamaran design allows the boat to run well with a 90 to a 130hp outboard. It has the capacity to carry 5 people and comfortably fishes 3-6 people with the large front casting platform and rear deck. A choice of 2 different consoles is standard or you can opt for a raised console allowing for extra storage or an in-deck fuel cell.

www.shoalwaterboats.com | 361.983.4134 | shoalwaterboats@tisd.net

hayniesSC Fishing Boats: Flats, Bay and Offshore

Haynie 21’ Super Cat

The 21 Super Cat is the newest Cat to the Haynie line. What’s the difference between the 21 Cat and the 21 SC? The 21 SC is basically the bigger brother to the 21 Cat. The beam on the 21 Cat is 8’ the beam on the 21 SC is 8’ 10” so it’s a much wider boat making it more stable. The sides on the 21 SC are higher than the original 21 Cat and the transom is also higher making it for a much dryer ride. The cat sponsons on the original 21 Cat are much smaller and don’t have much V like the 21 SC does in return giving the 21 SC a much smoother and stable ride in the bay.

www.hayniebayboats.com361.758.8486 | info@hayniebayboats.com

blackjack256

Blackjack 25’ 6”

The BlackJack 256 is the new flagship of the BlackJack line. With its larger size, you can take the 256 into bigger, rougher water, and still get the exceptionally smooth and dry ride the BlackJack brand has come to be known for. The 256 comes loaded with lots of standard features, such as LED lights, custom upholstery, and gas shocks on all the hatch lids. The console has a large door in the front, and is big enough to house a porta-potty and batteries. The large dash has plenty of real estate for aftermarket electronics. The hull itself is a work of art, with a subtly more aggressive styling, while still maintaining that beautifully unique BlackJack look.

www.blackjackboats.com479.885.0520 | info@k2marine.com

yellowfin32

Yellowfin 32′ Offshore

Jaw-dropping speed and agility come together with the highest level of fit-and-finish and construction standards in the industry. Simply creating a boat that outperforms everything in its class, the 32 tracks and cuts waves better than most much larger center consoles yet provides handling like what you’d expect from a high-performance skiff. This near-perfect blending of form and function gives fishermen the ideal platform for chasing everything from striped bass or tarpon along the coast, to blue marlin on the rip, and everything in between.

www.yellowfin.com941.753.7828 | yfyachts@mac.com

The Galley: Great Cocktail Recipes

February 29th, 2016

By Betha Merit

Entertaining friends and family often includes sharing a special drink, or making a toast. My friend, Tony, always has a new holiday drink to try with seasonal ingredients such as pumpkin for Thanksgiving, or watermelon for a 4th of July barbecue. He inspires.

So, I invited several friends and family to my house to concoct libations and tweak basic recipes, until they passed muster. Now they are “just right” for a cruise. Notable, most glassware is available in plastic versions for serving while in motion.

dark and stormy The Galley: Great Cocktail Recipes

Dark & Stormy

Ingredients
  • 4 ounces ginger beer
  • 2 ounces dark rum
  • Dash of bitters
  • Lime slices for garnish
Directions

In a glass of ice, add rum, a dash of bitters, and fill with ginger beer. Garnish with lime wedge. For non-alcoholic version, serve plain ginger beer with a fresh lime squeeze.

 

lemonade The Galley: Great Cocktail Recipes

High Seas Lemonade 

Ingredients
  • 2 ounces vodka, chilled
  • 5 ounces lemonade, chilled
  • 3-5 slices cucumber
  • Meyer lemon wedges for garnish
Directions

Shake first three ingredients, pour into a tall glass and add lemon wedge. For non-alcoholic version, serve plain lemonade with cucumber wedges.

 

Espresso Martini

Ingredients
  • 1 ounce vanilla vodka
  • 2 ounces coffee flavored liqueur
  • 1 ounce half and half
  • 1 cup crushed ice
  • Sugar and powdered espresso for rim

Combine sugar and powdered espresso on a plate, dip rim of glass in half and half, then sugar/espresso mixture and twirl until glass is garnished. Mix all other ingredients in a shaker; shake until chilled. Pour into glass.

Offshore Jigging in the Gulf

February 29th, 2016

Fill your tackle box with these proven jigs and colors before heading out to do some offshore jigging this year.

williamson benthos Offshore Jigging in the Gulf

WILLIAMSON Benthos Speed Jig

The  9 oz. Benthos in Blue/Purple is great for a variety of Gulf species but absolutely deadly for amberjack. Drop this one to the bottom near rigs and wrecks and work quickly back to the surface until you get bit.

ahi 8oz glow Offshore Jigging in the Gulf

AHI USA Assault Diamond Jig

blackfinA secret weapon for blackfin tuna! Use the 8 oz. Assault Diamond Jig in Glow near semi-submersible rigs and drill ships at night and at shrimp boats during the day. If tuna are there, they will bite. Most strikes occur on the fall. Slow bounce the jig at different depths on the way back up. Replace the treble with an assist hook and land more fish.

flat-fall

SHIMANO Butterfly Flat Fall Jig

Another great multi-species jig, the Butterfly Flat Fall Jig was introduced in heavier weights in 2015. The 160g jig in Pink/Blue is killer for red snapper on rigs, reefs and structure. Just let it fall to the bottom, reel up 25 – 50 feet and let it free fall again. Repeat until you have your limit of snapper. This one can also be worked in a traditional vertical jigging motion and still produce. See video below to see this jig in action.

OTI jager

rowan-gaggrouperOCEAN TACKLE INTERNATIONAL Jager Jig

The gliding, fluttering action from this OTI jig elicits strikes from big grouper and is a good choice for other Gulf species like tuna and snapper. Its erratic motion, due to a rear weighted design, draws aggressive reaction strikes from otherwise passive fish. The Jager is ready to fish out of the package with an OWNER split ring, 2 RAPTOR Assist Hooks, and solid ring. Use the pink 200g and 300g jigs in deep water and the 100g jig closer to shore.

<< Gulf Coast Mariner’s Brandon Rowan with a large gag grouper caught on a 300g Pink OTI Jager.

sproprime

dorado-gcmSPRO Prime Bucktail Jig

Pick through the chickens and target the larger dorado in the school near offshore weedlines with this  1 oz. bucktail jig in Crazy Chartreuse. Add a Gulp! grub tail or strips of squid for extra action. Don’t be surprised if the ling bite this one too. The strong Gamakatsu hook stands up to big fish without bending.

High Performance Fishing Shirts

February 29th, 2016

Stay cool, dry and and protected in these hi-tech fishing shirts.

 

pelagicvaportek High Performance Fishing Shirts

Color: Coral Camo Blue

PELAGIC Vaportek

Beat the heat and look good doing it. This new PELAGIC sunshirt is built of a lightweight 4-way stretch fabric with anti-odor properties and stain release technology. Fine mesh vented panels dissipate heat while a UPF 50+ rating protects you from the sun.


columbiastinger High Performance Fishing Shirts

Color: Stinger

COLUMBIA PFG Zero Rules

A super-cooling tech tee with stretch and sun protection, this soft and lightweight shirt sports Omni-Freeze ZERO™ sweat-activated super cooling, active moisture wicking, UPF 30 sun protection and an antimicrobial treatment.


aftcohood

Color: Royal Blue

AFTCO Hooded Samurai

This 100% polyester AFTCO shirt features a hood, offering extra protection from the sun’s harmful rays. The moisture wicking, QuickDry fabric keeps you dry while sheltering you from 98% of UV rays. The AFTCO fish logo on the chest and bold print down the left sleeve adds style.


simmssolarflex

Color: Tarpon Concrete

SIMMS Solarflex Artist Series

Artist Derek DeYoung brings vibrant vibes to Simms’ new SolarFlex® Artist Series LS Crewnecks. This shirt is powered by COR3™ Technology for quick-dry, wicking, odor-killing performance, while a staunch UPF 50 rating squashes harmful UV rays.


saltlifesail

Color: Light Heather Blue

SALT LIFE SLX UVapor Pocket Tee

Stay cool and dry in the Salt Life® Full Sail SLX Uvapor Pocket Tee. Mega-soft, ultra-light, moisture-wicking, quick-drying, antimicrobial SLX Uvapor fabric provides UV 30 sun protection. This shirt has full back Sailfish graphic and Salt Life® logo and left chest pocket on the front.

Lure Colors for Trout and Redfish

February 29th, 2016

sunnylures Lure Colors for Trout and RedfishWhat a difference color can make!

By Capt. Joe Kent

Have you ever been fishing with friends and either you or they were catching fish while the other person was not?  Well, if you were using artificial baits, I bet the difference in success was a result of the color of the bait, assuming they all were different colors.

Fish are not color blind and can see clearly on the darkest nights and can distinguish colors.

greenwaterlures Lure Colors for Trout and RedfishSaltwater fish living where the water is very clear tend to be bluish or silver.  This makes them almost invisible and lets them blend with the clear water background.  When they move into the bays to spawn, they change colors and become brownish and stay that way until they move back into their normal habitat.

sandywaterluresThe reason for this change is to camouflage and protect them from predator fish.

The color of a lure has everything to do with catching saltwater fish.  Personally, I have fished with others using baits of various colors and after an hour or more, certain colors would be hit while fish turned up their noses to the rest of the colors.

The example I mention has occurred on several occasions while wade-fishing or drifting and casting with the same type of baits, in each case we all were tossing soft plastics.  One situation took place in Port Mansfield, the other in East Galveston Bay.

In Mansfield, white Norton Sand Eels with chartreuse tails out performed other variations of the same bait three to one and root beer colored touts did the same thing over other colors of touts in East Bay.

Rudy Grigar, who largely is credited with starting the interest in fishing with artificial baits in the Galveston Bay complex, had years of experience in dealing with baits and colors long before most “hardware” and “soft plastic” fishermen arrived on the scene.

Grigar loved to check fish, that had been recently caught where he fished or planned to fish, for their feeding habits.  Opening the stomach cavity would reveal just what was being consumed and would give a clue as to the color of bait to be used.

Early in the season when glass minnows or small mullet were the top choices of trout, he would use light-colored baits.  A silver spoon with a white bucktail often enticed a hungry trout that was feeding on the small fin fish.

Later in the season when shrimp were migrating, he would use darker, preferably light brown, colored baits.  Gold spoons with pink bucktails were one of his favorites.

Grigar had a list of bait colors he recommended for various conditions and always had the caveat of saying “ I recommend  the following colors; however, if you are on fish and they are not hitting your bait, try another color”.  Fish will surprise you.  They are not dumb.”

Redfish

Lure color selection is dependent on water and weather conditions.

The colors and conditions he recommended were:

For bright, sunny skies and clear water use, he recommended white, silver or gold.  Overcast skies or light drizzle, he recommended bright colors such as red, green or strawberry.

For green water, which is prevalent during windows of light winds and good tidal movement during the summer, his favorite was chartreuse.

In sandy waters, florescent lures and yellow redheads worked well. The same held true for murky waters.

For muddy waters or heavy, sandy conditions such as those created by strong southwest winds during the late spring and summer, his advice was to wait for the water to clear and not to waste your time.

What about the tail colors?  The colors recommended above do not reflect buck tails or different colors for the tails of soft plastics.

Carlos Rogers who fished the Port O’Connor area for years, was adamant about different colored tails and buck tails for baits.  He felt that the tail color would offset any ill-effects of the primary bait color and for that reason always had an assortment of soft plastics and spoons with various colors at the end.

White and pink were Roger’s favorite colors and anytime he added one of those to a lure and did not catch fish he switched to the other color. If the fish still did not bite he was convinced that they were either not around or not feeding.

The Beat of the Drum: Black Drum Fishing

February 29th, 2016

bigblackdrum The Beat of the Drum: Black Drum Fishing

By Capt. David C Dillman

In March, several years ago, I looked forward to having a much needed day off. Spring Break had just ended and that is a busy time for fishing guides. My phone rang as I milled around the house that early morning. It turned out to be a good friend asking, “ Would you like to go with us to the Galveston Jetties?” I paused for a second and replied “YES.” Well, that day off from fishing did not last very long!

bluecrabbait The Beat of the Drum: Black Drum Fishing

Blue crab is a great bait for spring drum.

They picked me up from the Galveston Yacht Basin and we made our way through the channel. As we motored toward the granite rocks near the North Jetty, I inquired about the bait. The response was “We have plenty.” A quarry of live crabs, fresh dead shrimp, and even a few live crawfish filled the bait cooler; perfect baits for March when the drum run is in full swing.

We anchored up in position by 9:30 a.m. Several boats were already in the area known as the “boat cut.” The next four hours or so produced 62 black drum for myself, my friend and his dad. Just about every cast produced a fish. We had many triple hook-ups that day. All the fish ranged from 25 – 45 pounds.

Later that evening another guide called asking, “How many did yall catch?” I told him 62, to which he replied “Only 62? Why!”

“Because we ran out of bait!” I said.

March and April are prime months to venture out and tackle some of these oversized brutes. The drum you encounter this time of year mostly range from 20 – 35 pounds. On any given day, one pushing 50 pounds is possible.

A medium to heavy action rod will suffice. Use enough weight to hold the bait down on the bottom. Fresh crabs cracked in quarter pieces, large fresh dead shrimp, and even live crawfish are the best bait for these fish. This is a catch, photo and release fishery. It’s great entertainment for families, especially the children.  Tight Lines!

Capt. David C Dillman is a full time fishing guide with over 30 years experience fishing the waters of Galveston. Call 832-228-8012 or 409-632-0924 for information and reservations with Spec-tacular Trout Adventures.

Lakewood to host 15th annual Bay Cup I on March 5th

January 28th, 2016

Lakewood Yacht Club and Bay Access are excited to present Bay Cup I, part of the 2016 Bay Cup Series! Fleet Captain Tom Frankum has announced that the 2016 Bay Cup I Regatta will be held on Sat., March 5th, on Galveston Bay. This one-day event will once again showcase a full spectrum of sailboats and feature long distance premier racing. “Bay Cup I is the first of a two race series with races having multiple legs totaling about 15 – 20 nautical miles,” explained David Comeaux, Bay Cup I Regatta Chair. This will be an amazing experience to both sailors and spectators alike. “Make a weekend of it and bring the family and/or friends to enjoy your evenings at one of the fine hotels in Seabrook,” related Comeaux.

Experience a weekend of sailing, music, dining, and fun at Lakewood Yacht Club! Families could also enjoy local entertainment at Space Center Houston, scenic Armand Bayou, fun and dining at Kemah Boardwalk or hiking one of the numerous nature trails in the city of Seabrook. It is truly an outdoor paradise!

Bay Cup I is the first in a series with Bay Cup II taking place on August 6th. Overall trophies will be presented for the two-race series at the conclusion of Bay Cup II. Both are open to the public with a $75 registration fee each. This includes the Skipper’s Meeting on Fri., Mar. 4th, 7:30 pm in Lakewood’s ballroom, along with one meal and two drink tickets for the Sat. night party, which includes the awards ceremony and amazing live music from award-winning singer/songwriter Kelly McGuire.

Racers can register now online at www.lakewoodyachtclub.com before the Wednesday, March 2nd deadline. Don’t miss out! Classes include PHRF Spinnaker, PHRF Non-Spin, Cruising Poleless Spin, Cruising Non-Spin-Classic Canvas (i.e. Dacron sails), Shorthanded Offshore Sailors (SOS), Multihull and One Design Classes.

Sponsors that are helping to make the Bay Cup I an amazing event are Don Q Puerto Rico’s Premier Rum, the City of Seabrook, Blackburn Marine, West Marine, Davis Marine Electronics, Edna Rice, Executive Recruiters Inc., Little Yacht Sales, Texas Coast Yachts, and True North Marine! Proceeds from the Regatta benefit Bay Access, a not for profit charitable organization fostering amateur racing and sailing on Galveston Bay.

For visitor information, please check the website www.seabrooktx.gov. For questions regarding Bay Cup I, please contact Lakewood Yacht Club’s office at 281-474-2511 or David Comeaux at davidcomeaux@earthlink.net.

A Word On Winter Wahoo

January 5th, 2016

ilandhw A Word On Winter Wahoo

Ilander Heavy-Weights in Blue/White and Black/Plum.

winterwahoo A Word On Winter Wahoo

Jasen Gast with a monster 93-pound wahoo. Photo by REHAB Fishing Team.

Bring home some winter wahoo this season with advice from these pros.

 

REHAB FISHING TEAM

Owner Jasen Gast | Capt. Troy Day

Spread

We run a split of Yo-Zuri Bonitas in purple/black and orange/black on the corners short and Ilander Heavy-Weights in black/red, black/purple and blue/white with ballyhoo long on the outriggers.  The Bonitas are rigged on 275# 49-strand cable and the Ilanders are rigged on 175# cable with 9/0 needle eye hooks like the Mustad 7731AD or equivalent. This is not a live bait fishery, as the sharks are too thick.

Tackle

Stand up gear in the 30-pound class is the perfect tackle in our opinion. These rigs are light and fun, but still have enough strength for the occasional monster roaming out there. But, we do take the 50-pound gear along too, as they are appreciated when the wahoo are running big and for pulling bonitas on the shorts.

Tactics

Target the edge of the drop off, usually 160-200 ft. depths, but move around until you mark fish on the sounder and then stay on them. If you’re not marking well, don’t be afraid to troll wide and deeper looking for them.  Every once in a while the wahoo will be shallower, but most of the time kingfish and barracuda are thick shallow on top of the reef.

 

Also to Note:

When you get a bite, keep the rest of the spread out. Many times you will get multiple hook-ups as the lures sink while you fight the fish.

The best bite is usually very early in the morning but can be good in the evening too towards the later part of the day.

Although you are mainly targeting wahoo in January, be prepared to catch other species as well. We have caught dorado, tuna and sailfish while trolling for wahoo.

yozuribonitas

Yo-Zuri Bonita™ in Purple/Black and Orange/Black.

PATRON

captweigeltCapt. Darrell Weigelt

I’ve always had my best results with Yo-Zuri Bonitas in purple/black or orange/black. Troll them fast at 10-12 knots. If fish are present they will be chasing bait. At the Flower Garden Banks, fish the up current side of the bank. The wahoo move through the current upwellings. Rig the Bonitas on six feet of multi-strand cable.

pwilander

Ilander in Pink/White.

LEGACY FISHING TEAM

captdeermanCapt. Kevin Deerman

On the Legacy we always pullYo-Zuri Bonitas on the flat lines and drop one of them on the down rigger when the bite is slower. Orange/black and purple/black have always worked the best for me.

We pull weighted jet heads (not any particular brand) on the left and right riggers with an Ilander/ballyhoo on the center rigger. We pull mostly blue/white or pink/white Ilanders.

We also keep a couple of spinning rods with large spoons ready to cast after we are hooked up. We have tried pitching live blue runners out after missing a bite or marking fish but sometimes ended up with big amberjack that are mixed in with the wahoo.

When the bite is really on we try to keep it as simple as possible.

WINTER WAHOO RECAP

  • Yo-Zuri Bonitas & Ilander/Ballyhoo in your spread
  • Rig lures with multistrand cable like 49-strand
  • Keep lures out after strike for multiple hook ups
  • Best bite is very early in the morning