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Lakewood to host Heald Bank Race

April 25th, 2017

healdbank Lakewood to host Heald Bank RaceLakewood Yacht Club and the Bay Access Foundation have announced plans for the 2017 Heald Bank Race Lakewood is hosting April 29 and 30.

“This offshore race, which is open to the public, will be held in the Gulf of Mexico starting at marker #11 near the Galveston jetties,” says LYC Fleet Capt. Rex Bettis. “Participants with a spinnaker will sail approximately 90 nautical miles on a triangular course, while those with non-spinnakers will sail a two-leg course of about 60 nautical miles.”

The classes of boats invited to participate are PHRF Spinnaker, PHRF Non-Spinnaker, Cruising Non- Spinnaker (Classic Canvas, i.e. Dacron sails), Cruising Poleless Spinnaker, One-Design and Multihull.

Visit the LYC website at lakewoodyachtclub.com to view the Notice of Race or register before the April 26 entry deadline. Crew waivers and other valuable information are also available.

The entry fee is $75 with a $5 discount available to U.S. Sailing members.

“Heald Bank is lauded as an overnight, offshore race that’s fun for all,” says Race Chairman Bob Hunkins. “The contest will start Saturday afternoon of the 29th and will conclude Sunday. LYC will host the awards ceremony and post-event party on Monday, May 1.”

Heald Bank Race is the first in the three-event Texas Offshore Circuit. The Houston Yacht Club Offshore Regatta and the Galveston Bay Cruising Association Regatta constitute the other two TORC events. Crew sailing in the PHRF Spinnaker Class will be eligible to compete for the circuit championship trophy, the Texas Navy Cup, if they enter all three races. Competitors sailing in the PHRF Non-Spinnaker Class in all three events will also be eligible for the S. Rhoads Fisher Trophy.

For more information, contact LYC at 281-474- 2511 or race@lakewoodyachtclub.com or Bob Hunkins, Heald Bank Regatta chairman, at rdhunkins@verizon.net or 281-216- 4082.

Rods and Reels for Tuna Popping

March 1st, 2017

tx tuna popping Rods and Reels for Tuna Popping

Throwing poppers and swimbaits at night can be extremely productive when fishing for yellowfin tuna in the Gulf. Tuna love flying fish and readily come up to the surface to feed. Long, specialized rods and heavy duty spinning reels are best for this type of fishing. From budget minded, to top-of-the-line, these rods and reels for tuna popping will get you on the right track.

oceanxtreme oti Rods and Reels for Tuna Popping

OTI OceanXtreme

MODEL: OTI-3106-765S

These are some of the highest performing, and best valued popping rods on the market today.  With shaped EVA grips, new Fuji “K” series Alconite guides, and a new padded rod sock, the OceanXtreme can defeat monsters. Depending on your needs, the 40/60 or 60/80 rods are best for our size of tuna in Texas. MSRP $249

Specifications 

  • Length: 7’6″
  • Line: 40-60lb
  • Lure: 2-4 oz
  • Weight: 17.1 oz

OTI Tuna Sniper 

MODEL: OTI-3108-808S

The newest line of Tuna Sniper rods are lighter, stronger, and have a faster taper for the longest possible casting distance and more control boat side. These rods have a moderately fast action, with a slightly faster tip section, shaped EVA grips, new Fuji “K” series SiC guides, and a new padded rod sock. The size 40 stripper guide and new 8’ length give this rod a balanced feel and lighter weight than pre-2012 Tuna Sniper rods. MSRP $449.99

Specifications 

  • Length: 8’0″
  • Line: 60-80lb
  • Lure: 2.5-5 oz
  • Weight: 18 oz

Fin-Nor LT100 Lethal

This all-aluminum body reel from Fin-Nor could be one of the best values in high-performance saltwater spinning reels today. The Lethal 100 adds a triple-supported spool shaft, a forged brass main gear and a back-up pawl and ratchet anti-reverse. MSRP $139.95

Specifications 

  • Braid Capacity: 310 yds./100 lb
  • Max Drag: 45 lbs
  • Ratio: 4.9:1 /45″
  • Weight: 30.8 oz

PENN Spinfisher V

This tough, all metal construction reel from Penn works well for tuna at a good value. Features include an anodized aluminum superline spool, five stainless steel ball bearings and a sealed drag system with 3 HT-100 washers that stays smooth during big runs. MSRP $179.95

Specifications for model SSV850

  • Braid Capacity: 650/40,  540/50,  470/65
  • Max Drag: 35 lbs
  • Ratio: 4.7:1 /42″
  • Weight: 31.6 oz

QUANTUM Cabo PT

The Cabo series is built for long-lasting, fish-stopping performance – from the indestructible TiMag® bail to the multi-layer corrosion protection. This reel utilizes hybrid ceramic bearings in high-load areas. Specifications for 80PT model. MSRP $229.95

Specifications for PT80

  • Braid Capacity: 380/65
  • Max Drag: 50 lbs
  • Ratio: 4.9:1 /38″
  • Weight: 24.9 oz

SHIMANO Saragosa SW 

A Gulf tuna staple with excellent performance at a good price. Improvements in the current Saragosa® include SW Concept design with X-Ship & X-Tough drag and durable cam oscillation system for better drag performance. Specifications for 10000 model. MSRP $309.99

Specifications for SRG10000SW

  • Braid Capacity:50/360, 65/260, 80/215
  • Max Drag: 33 lbs
  • Ratio: 4.9:1
  • Weight: 24.3 oz

ACCURATE SR-20

Accurate’s TwinSpin reels are machined from high-grade materials and can handle the Gulf’s largest tuna. Features include Accurate’s patented TwinDrag™ system, five class 5 ABEC stainless steel bearings and a skirted spool that reduces heat build-up and help trim weight. These reels are designed, manufactured and assembled in the USA. MSRP $859.95

Specifications

  • Braid Capacity: 50/425
  • Max Drag: 32 lbs
  • Ratio: 5:1
  • Weight: 26 oz

Shimano Stella SW

Widely considered one of the finest spinning reels in the world, the Stella SW can handle the largest fish swimming our waters. This reel utilizes high quality materials and technology in every aspect, including a high rigidity aluminum body, X tough drag washers at the base of the spool, a cold forged aluminum handle and forged metal internals. This latest version of the Stella is the longest casting reel yet. Specifications for 14000 size. MSRP $1,159.99

Specifications for STL140000SWBXG

  • Braid Capacity: 50/400,65/315,80/240
  • Max Drag: 55 lbs
  • Ratio: 6.2:1
  • Weight: 24.3 oz

Meet the Surfboard Shaper – David Cunningham

March 1st, 2017

david in blue room Meet the Surfboard Shaper   David CunninghamDavid Cunningham of Horizon Board Company

Interview by Kelly Groce

Photography by Adam Valadez

David Cunningham is a Texas based surfboard shaper for Horizon Board Company and a flyfishing rod designer for Marshfly USA. We dropped in on David at his shaping shack in Surfside and had the pleasure of talking with him about his shaping style, philosphy and the future of Texas surfing. Enjoy.

The age old question: how did you get into surfboard shaping?

I got into board building because I wanted good quality boards and did not want to have to pay retail prices for them. Same goes for the rod building, I have always had a dilemma with purchasing things that I can learn to build myself.

Are you more influenced from surf style of the past or present?

I am most influenced from the surf style of the past. Specifically the transitional period from the late 60’s through the mid 70’s. I always admired the styles of guys like Larry Bertleman, Billy Hamilton, Gerry Lopez, and Rory Russel.

What’s your shaping philosophy?

My philosophy when it comes to shaping is following my routine/method. Never deviate. This allows me to achieve consistency. At the core, I believe that shaper is constantly evolving, and with every board I shape I am learning more/ keeping my mind open to new ideas and concepts.

horizon surfing Meet the Surfboard Shaper   David Cunningham

What are your most popular models?

Mid-lengths, I am working on new concepts for boards from 7-8 ft. Fish boards will always be a big part of what I do and of course classic long board shapes.

What is unique about the boards you shape?

I think what makes my boards unique is a good blend of past and present. I have a tendency to lean towards more classic/retro outlines, with contemporary rail profiles and bottom contours.

How is your shaping influenced by Texas?

Building boards for Texas is a challenge. I think a lot of Texas surfers fall victim to West Coast marketing strategies. I think it is important for a surfer to be honest about their ability, and the conditions they are required to perform in.  With that as a guideline, locally, I  am a fan of wider outlines, slight increases in volume, and fin configurations that work in slower wave conditions.

What do you want/see for the future of Texas surfboard shaping and surfing?

As far as the future of surfing in Texas goes, I hope that surfers continue to be open minded about the boards they are using. Currently, it’s really common to see a variety of boards in the water. This is good because it leads to progression. Twenty years ago a rider might not have been able to link to a board that was good for him because it wasn’t the cool thing or current trend. I hope this open mindedness continues. I think this is going to lead to new innovations and raise the bar of Texas surfing. As far as shaping goes, I really hope to see the younger generation get involved and I hope that the older shapers look for someone to mentor. That’s how I learned, and without the younger guys getting involved hand shaping boards could become a lost art.

Not only do you make surfboards, but you also make your own fly fishing rods. Tell us more about that.

I have been building rods for over 20 years, I started off with conventional rods, and as I grew as an angler I became interested in flyfishing. With that I started to design fly rods for Marshfly USA. It’s been a great project between myself, Rob Schumske, and James Jackson. We have had Marshfly up and running for three years and it has been a great blend of high performance fly rods, apparel and accessories . Our main focus has been inshore saltwater rods, but we have also been engaged with some trout fisheries located in Georgia, Colorado, and the Texas Hill Country.

When you aren’t shaping, where can we find you?

When I am not shaping you can find me hunting, fishing, and surfing with my family. Texas has been a great place for me to stay balanced, I love the outdoors and there are  plenty of activities to keep me occupied here on the coast.

If you are interested in getting a custom surfboard or fly rod made, feel free contact David Cunningham at:

979-201-9046

coastaldesigns@yahoo.com

www.marshflyusa.com

New Sails Aren’t Always the Best Answer

March 1st, 2017

By Quantum Sails

Sadly there is no such thing as a sail that lasts forever. However, when your sails become stretched out and lose their shape, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need new ones. Learn about Precision Recuts to help extend the life of your sails and save you money.

It’s never a fun moment when you realize your trusty sail won’t let you point to the mark or when the wind picks up and you can’t control the heel and your glass of wine takes a trip down your shirt. Thankfully buying a new sail isn’t your only option.

Precision Recuts bring almost 90% of your sail’s original shape back to life. Both membrane and woven sails are candidates for reshaping and a recut will often cost less than 20% of a new sail. The condition of the sailcloth is key; it must not be too worn and stretchy or the adjustments will not produce the desired results. With good fabric, reshaping can generally be done once or twice during the life of a sail.

C&C 30 Extreme 2 owner Dan Cheresh says “I have been able to continually adjust and refine sail shape through recuts to keep my sails as fast as possible.” Erin Houpt from Dream Yacht Charter has trusted recuts for all of the in-mast furling mainsails in his fleet. “The sails are easier to furl and our customers are pleased with the increased performance.”

Our National Service Director Charlie Saville outlines the three main options to help increase performance and enjoyment for racing and cruising sails.

Broad Seam Reshape New Sails Arent Always the Best Answer

Broad Seam Reshape

PROBLEM: Deep draft. Full sail. Can’t point very high.

The sail depth becomes fuller and more rounded. The draft moves aft. You’re no longer able to point as high as when the sail was new. The boat becomes harder to steer, heels more and responsiveness is slowed. For racing boats, the inability to hold a lane or position close to other boats can really destroy a tactical game plan.

SOLUTION: Seam reshape.

Seams are reshaped and extra fabric is removed. This procedure flattens the sail and helps return the draft to the original and optimal location. Generally, three to five seams are remade to achieve desired shape.

RESULT: Faster sail. Points higher!

With the flatter sail you can now point higher than before! Your sail is flatter, faster and more efficient. Your boat sails more upright, and is far more responsive.

Luft Curve Reshape New Sails Arent Always the Best Answer

Luff Curve Reshape

PROBLEM: Reduced entry. Sail is hard to steer.

As sails age, their entry is reduced due to a variety of factors. Stretch, as well as over-tensioning the halyard can reduce entry. Reduced entry will make the sail harder to trim, less efficient and make steering more difficult (and less fun!)

SOLUTION: Luff curve change.

Luff curve can be restored to help return the sail to its original entry shape. Sometimes a luff curve change is made to remove entry and flatten the sail.

RESULT: Faster. Easier to steer sails.

Returning entry gives you a bigger range to steer inside of that is still ultra-fast. Steering will be easier and you’ll be able to go faster.

Leech Takeup

PROBLEM: Leech falls away. Sail isn’t delivering power.

On cruising Dacron® mainsails and genoas, the leech can stretch and fall away, making the sail more difficult to trim and reducing boat speed. This is especially prevalent on larger cruising mainsails and mainsails with large roaches. Leech stretch can also hamper the use of furling systems.

SOLUTION: Leech takeup.

By removing extra fabric at a seam or elsewhere on the sail, the leech can be shortened and straightened to its original dimensions and shape.

RESULT: Smooth leech with proper power and exit. More powerful sail.

By bringing the leech back to its in-line design shape, the sail is once a gain a proper foil and will deliver efficient power.

Contact Quantum Sails Gulf Coast at gulfcoast@quantumsails.com or 281-474-4768 to learn more about Precision Recuts and find out if your sail is a candidate. Visit QuantumSails.com for more great tips and tricks to help you meet all of your sailing challenges.

The Galley – Appetizers and Wine Pairings

March 1st, 2017

By Betha Merit

Sometimes it is helpful to have a few light food offerings up your sleeve. What better meal than a trio of appetizers with pairings of wine? Well, maybe steak and lobster with a chewy cabernet is preferable, but that is for another day.

The following food bites are high in protein, so a lovely baguette with herbed butter is a welcome accompaniment. Note the wine pairing suggestion for each. You may prepare some of the foods ahead, and just assemble in the galley, as you like. For each recipe you can find several variations on the internet, just tweak to your desired combinations.

antipasti recipe The Galley   Appetizers and Wine Pairings

ANTIPASTI BITES

Pair with sparkling wines like Prosecco or Cava. Serves 8

  • 24 slices salami (Genoa) about 4” diameter
  • 1 cup marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped fine
  • 1/3 cup roasted red peppers, drained and chopped fine
  • 2 Tablespoons pitted and chopped Kalamata olives
  • 4 ounces chopped fresh mozzarella
  •  1/3 cup chopped basil, save some for garnishing

Place one salami slice in each regular sized muffin cup, so it comes up the sides. Bake at 400 degrees for about 7 to 10 minutes or until salami is crisp. Let cool at room temperature. Next, in a large bowl stir together artichoke hearts, roasted peppers, Kalamata olives, most of basil, and the mozzarella cheese. Pepper to taste. If this mixture is made ahead, flavors meld excellently. Place the salami cups on a platter, and fill with the artichoke mixture. Garnish with remaining chopped basil.

meat ball recipe The Galley   Appetizers and Wine Pairings

HONEY GARLIC MEATBALLS

Pair with a Pinot Noir. Serves 6-8.

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 28-ounce bag cooked frozen meatballs
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

Mix together brown sugar, honey, ketchup, soy sauce, peppers, and garlic. Place frozen meatballs in a 3 to 4 quart crockpot/slow cooker, and pour sauce over meatballs. Stir so all are coated evenly. Cook on LOW for four hours, stirring occasionally. Serve with toothpicks, appetizer forks. Also great served over rice or noodles.

HAM CHEESE APPLE WRAPS

Pair with Sauvignon Blanc or unoaked Chardonnay. Serves 4

  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 large Granny Smith or Gala apple. Cut into 12 slices, brushing slices with lemon or orange juice to deter browning.
  • 4 ounces Cheddar cheese (or Swiss cheese etc.), sliced into 1/4” thick triangles
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced deli ham, cut in slices to cover half the apple

In a small bowl, stir together yogurt and mustard until smooth; set dip aside. On one apple slice, center a piece of cheese; wrap tightly around middle with a strip of ham. Repeat with remaining apples, cheese, and ham. Serve with dip on the side.

The Environmental Considerations of Storm Surge Mitigation

March 1st, 2017

storm surge The Environmental Considerations of Storm Surge Mitigation

By Scott Jones | Director of Advocacy, Galveston Bay Foundation

Our area has been blessed with Galveston Bay, one the most productive estuaries in the country and the most productive in Texas. From its waters, a full third of the state’s commercial seafood harvests and recreational fish are landed, creating an economic engine of related businesses and quality of life for area citizens. The Bay is renowned for its oysters, shrimp, crab, redfish, flounder and speckled trout. The Bay ecosystem also supports a thriving ecotourism industry and people travel from all over the world to witness the resident and migratory birds that grace our shores.

The Bay area is also the home of hundreds of thousands of people, one of the busiest ports in the nation, one of the biggest petrochemical complexes on the world, wonderful medical centers and, of course, NASA. After the damage and loss of life wrought by Hurricane Ike in 2008, it only makes sense that residents, academic institutions, and government is looking for ways to lower the risk from future hurricane storm surges. The Galveston Bay Foundation supports such efforts, as long as all of the potential benefits and costs are fully known and all environmental impacts are openly discussed and addressed through a robust scientific investigation and review process, and the impacts are ultimately avoided or minimized.

GBF’s mission is to preserve and enhance Galveston Bay as a healthy and productive place for generations to come. Just looking at things from a purely environmental damage standpoint, we recognize that if a major storm surge were to strike our industrial complexes there could be a disastrous release of petroleum and other petrochemicals that could lead to an ecological disaster. So, we agree that there needs to be system(s) in place to prevent that occurrence, whether it’s proper management practices and protective levees at individual plants to levees that protect a whole industrial complex, e.g. the Texas City Levee System or Freeport Levee System, to a larger regional protection system such as the Texas A&M at Galveston’s Ike Dike concept. In short, there are ways to prevent those releases on multiple scales.

However, we are also a part of the local community, living and making our living on or near the Bay, and want to be a positive voice in the discussion on how best to protect not only the environment, but also people and infrastructure. As with mitigating damages to the environment from storm surge, there are also multiple ways to protect people, homes, and businesses, both structurally and non-structurally at a range of scales. The biggest question is just what is it we need to protect from storm surges. It is a fair question to ask if we need to install a coastal spine like Ike Dike the whole length of the Upper Coast to try to protect every shoreline structure from High Island to Freeport when many are already elevated and many others could be brought up to standard. Maybe a coastal spine will end up being the best answer, but all of the alternatives need to be discussed and debated in an open, transparent manner.

Getting back to environmental impacts from structural solutions, we must be aware of unintended yet irreversible damages that can be done to Galveston Bay and all it provides unless we proceed carefully, be it the Ike Dike concept, SSPEED Center’s Houston-Galveston Area Protection System concept, or the Gulf Coast Community Protection and Recovery District’s Phase 3 Recommended Actions. GBF is concerned about both direct and indirect impacts to the Bay and its habitats, but what concerns us most is the proposed massive gate structures at Bolivar Roads and, in the case of the Ike Dike, also San Luis Pass. We should note that SSPEED has also included a middle Bay gate as an option to the Bolivar Roads gate. That gate, too, also raises concerns.

Besides the release of oil and petrochemicals, the only other possible major ecological damage to the Bay related to hurricane surge will be indirect effects from the installation of these gates to water circulation, salinity, sediment transport and the movement of larval and post-larval shrimp, crabs and fish. Environmental lift gates and navigational gates at Bolivar would be open 99.9% of the time, but based on the information we have seen, the passes’ natural width would be permanently reduced by 40-50% to accommodate the footings and other structures that house the gates themselves. Thus, they would always restrict the flow and greatly increase velocities.

At this time, we do not know what effect these gate structures will have on the movement of our critically important recreational and commercial species. If we are not careful, we could lose those fisheries and the businesses that depend upon them, and that would be an unacceptable huge blow from an ecological, economic and quality of life standpoint.

To prevent such negative impacts, GBF is asking is that all possible structural and non-structural options are truly debated and that rigorous environmental research and studies be completed upfront on the structural options that can permanently alter the Bay’s natural processes. We need complete information to make a good decision, because once huge structures are built there is no going back.

Red Bull Youth America’s Cup

March 1st, 2017

red bull cup Red Bull Youth Americas Cup

Team Next Generation USA. Photo by Theo Queen.

The twelve teams that will compete in the 2017 Red Bull Youth Americas Cup competition are breaking new ground for young sailors all over the world. They will be racing foiling catamarans and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

All of the competitors, whose ages range from 19 to 24, are getting a taste of what the real America’s Cup teams must deal with in order to compete and perform well in this pressure packed arena known as the America’s Cup sailing.

Fund raising is one of the new skills this team must acquire in order to stick around for the finals. Racing these boats is very expensive. Sails and hardware are pushed to the limits. The crews will train non-stop from now until June aiming to make the finals. All of this costs money. Next Generation USA needs your help. Six guys were chosen to represent our country and have a very good chance to win the regatta. Two of them, Carson Crain and Reed Baldridge, are local guys who grew up sailing right here on Galveston Bay. To make a contribution to the campaign, contact Carson Crain, cmcrain@gmail.com.

 teamnextgen Red Bull Youth Americas Cup

About the Red Bull Youth Americas Cup

Dates: Qualifiers: June 12 – 16 Finals: June 20 – 21

Location: The Great Sound, Bermuda.

Format: Fleet Racing, two qualifying series with six teams in each. Top four teams in each series move on to Finals

Teams: Twelve teams, each representing their country will compete. All team members must be citizens of the country they represent

Boats: The AC45F, a 45-footer that will fly on hydrofoils. Specifications for the AC45F indicate the boat is capable of reaching speeds of over 35 knots, or 40mph/65kmh. The eight AC45Fs used in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup are the only such boats in the entire world.

Crew: Six sailors onboard. Ages 19 – 24 years

Amenities: America’s Cup Village, Hospitality Tents, Spectator Boats, Grandstand Seating, Jumbotron Screen Viewing

The Location

In 2017, Bermuda’s Great Sound will form a natural amphitheater for the America’s Cup, and the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup will use exactly the same racecourse. Sailing conditions in Bermuda are typically exceptional in June, with historical wind data suggesting that there should be racing conditions 90 percent of the time.

The Boat

In 2017, the youth teams will be sailing the AC45F, a 45-footer that will fly on hydrofoils. Specifications for the AC45F indicate the boat is capable of reaching speeds of over 35 knots, or 40 mph/65kmh. The eight AC45Fs used in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup are the only such boats in the entire world.

The Teams

Up to 12 national youth teams, each composed of six sailors aged 19-24, will race in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup 2017, each representing a different nation. Six teams will race through their affiliation with current America’s Cup teams, while up to six additional teams will compete as selected by Red Bull Sport Directors Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher.

2017 Red Bull Youth America’s Cup Teams

  • Candidate Sailing Team, Austria
  • Team BDA, Bermuda
  • Youth Vikings Denmark, Denmark
  • Team France Jeune, France
  • SVB Team Germany, Germany
  • Land Rover BAR Academy, Great Britain
  • Kaijin Team Japan, Japan
  • NZL Sailing Team, New Zealand
  • Spanish Impulse Team, Spain
  • Artemis Youth Racing, Sweden
  • Team Tilt, Switzerland
  • Next Generation USA, USA

Offshore Fishing Checklist

March 1st, 2017

yamaha 150 outboard Offshore Fishing Checklist

Get ready, summer will be here before you know it.

By Capt. Joe Kent

Not too long ago, offshore fishing was a year-round sport.  While the peak of the season is from around the Fourth of July to not long after Labor Day, red snapper and other reef fish provided action all year long.

When tight regulations began being imposed on the recreational sector in Federal Waters, winter fishing for red snapper was virtually eliminated.

While recreational anglers do have a short window of time to catch their two fish per day limit of red snapper, the timeframe usually begins on June 1 and lasts anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks or so.  The season usually ends about the time when action on pelagic fish such as king mackerel, ling and Dorado begins to get hot.

With the exception of anglers owning large vessels, those in the 45 foot and larger range, most of the offshore boats are used on a limited basis or sit up a good part of the winter months.

The same can be said of fishing equipment and tackle, all of which leads to the point of this article and this is now is the time to get prepared for the offshore fishing season.

Many offshore anglers postpone their preparations until close to the time when they will make that first venture of the year to the rigs and other areas offshore.  In doing so, often it is discovered that the boat and/or fishing equipment is in need of repairs or service.

While there is normally no problem getting the gear in shape, it usually takes much longer than it would have earlier in the year.

March and April are excellent months to address all of this and here are some suggestions on what you should look for and respond to during the process.

Let’s start with the boat.  The gasoline tank is one of the biggest problems and it is not the tank itself, but the contents.  Gasoline that has been in the tank for several months should have a special treatment added before venturing out for the first time.  Ethanol blended fuel is the main culprit.

Although a stabilizer may have been added before storage, over time it loses its effectiveness and water will build in the tank. This is largely due to the absorption aspects of ethanol.  Water and gasoline do not mix and can cause big problems that are expensive to repair.  Check with your mechanic for a recommended gas treatment and if the gas has been in the tank for a long period of time, it may be recommended that the fuel be removed and replaced. That is much cheaper than a major engine repair.

If the gasoline is not an issue, one of the best ways to check out the other boating and fishing equipment is to make a trial run offshore.  March and April are the two windiest months of the year and the number of days offering tolerable conditions offshore is limited.

Regardless, a bay run is a good substitute.  The main thing is to be able to open up the engines and run them at cruising speed for at least thirty minutes.  During the process, check out the fresh and saltwater pumps and all other electronics.  Fuel indicators are one of the more frequent items to become stuck during storage.

Next would be the fishing equipment.  Look for rust and corrosion on tackle and if suitable for cleaning, do so, if not replace.  Reels and line are the two items of fishing gear than normally need the most attention.  If the line has been used much or has been on the reel for two seasons or more, replace it.

Reels will need to be cleaned and oiled and if you are not comfortable taking them apart and putting them back together, take them to a professional.  The cost is worth it.

You have often heard the old expression of “a stitch in time saves nine,” well nothing could be truer when preparing for the upcoming offshore fishing season.

Galveston Bay Spring Fishing

March 1st, 2017

By Capt. David C Dillman

Spec-tacular Trout Adventures | 409-632-0924

March and April is when the majority of the fishing community wipe the cobwebs off their rod and reels, crank up their outboards and set their sights on bending rods.

Spring along the Upper Coast starts with the 42nd Annual Houston Fishing Show, March 8-12 at the GRB Convention Center. This is one of the largest shows of its kind in the country. Everything fishing related from boats, tackle, fishing guides and marinas located under one roof. I will be there all week at the Eagle Point Fishing Camp booth #618.

On the fishing scene it all begins with the arrival of big black drum. The Galveston jetties, passes, Texas City dike and the Bolivar gas wells will all hold an abundance of these fish. The best baits to use are blue crab, dead shrimp and even crawfish. A medium/heavy action rod and reel combo, utilizing enough weight to hold the bait down on the bottom, will draw the bites. These fish range from anywhere from 20 to 50 pounds.

Sheepshead will be there for the taking as well. Literally any spot along the Galveston jetties will produce these tasty fish. Shorelines with scattered shell and pier pilings should also be good. Live shrimp under a popping cork is a great method when fished tight up against the structure. While often overlooked, they are fun to catch and offer good table fare. There is a 5 fish limit with a 15 inch minimum size.

On the speckled trout scene look for the action to first heat up around the Galveston jetties. As we move into the latter part of March, the lower Galveston Bay area, around the causeway, Campbell’s Bayou and Sand Island will hold its share of fish. In April, East Galveston Bay and the western shoreline of Galveston Bay, from the base of the Texas City Dike, Dollar Point and towards Moses Lake will hold good numbers of trout. Don’t overlook the shorelines around Eagle Point. Last year this area gave up excellent stringers of quality speckled trout.

Until next time be safe on the water and enjoy what Galveston Bay has to offer.

costa rica sailfish Galveston Bay Spring Fishing

In January, my girlfriend and I visited Costa Rica for our first time. We fished aboard “Dreamworks,” owned and operated by Capt. Tom Carton and his Mate Jerry Carothers. We went 7-12 on Sailfish and lost a blue marlin estimated at 300 pounds. Capt. Tom has been fishing the area for over 25 years. He had the first Charter service in Los Suenos. I highly recommend him. You can find him on the web at captaintoms.com.

The Kraken – Galveston’s Newest Artificial Reef

March 1st, 2017

galveston kraken coordinates The Kraken   Galvestons Newest Artificial Reef

GPS coordinates to the new reef are: 28 26.634 N, 94 17.168 W

kraken ship The Kraken   Galvestons Newest Artificial Reef

The Kraken prior to its sinking. Photo TPWD.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Artificial Reef Program sank a 371-ft cargo vessel, named The Kraken, earlier this year in January. Dubbed the Kraken after the mythical, squid-like sea monster immortalized on film and in literature, the vessel was sunk 67 miles off the coast of Galveston to create a new artificial reef (located at GPS coordinates  28 26.634 N, 94 17.168 W).

The Kraken began its journey in May 2016 when it was towed from Trinidad to Brownsville to be repurposed for its new life as an artificial reef 140 feet below the surface. Contractors with Cahaba Disaster Recovery LLC worked with the Artificial Reef Program to remove all fuel, oil and hazardous materials from the vessel in order to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s best management practices.

Over time, this sunken ship will become an artificial reef that attracts fish, coral and other invertebrates, as well as divers and anglers. Given its location, this wreck could become a hot spot for grouper, amberjack and snapper.

“The entire marine ecosystem benefits from artificial reef projects like the Kraken,” said TPWD Artificial Reef Program Leader J. Dale Shively. “The Gulf of Mexico has only a few naturally occurring reefs so whenever we are able to add a new structure like this, the whole area benefits from the added habitat and species diversity.”

For more information about the Texas Artificial Reef Program, please visit  tpwd.texas.gov/landwater/water/habitats/artificial_reef

Five Lures for Trophy Trout

February 27th, 2017

These time proven big trout lures consistently produce fish over five pounds and have landed me a number of top tournament finishes.

By Capt. Steve Soule

superspookjr Five Lures for Trophy Trout

Super Spook Jr.

If the wind is light or I’m fishing in shallow water, my first and often only choice for chasing a trophy would be the Heddon® Super Spook Jr.® in bone with silver sides. Its a small lure in the world of big trout, but that’s what makes it so deadly. Fish in shallow water are much more sensitive to noise and water movements and there are days when the subtle presentation of a smaller lure just works better. With a little practice and variation of the retrieve, you can make the Spook Jr. sound and appear large. The single ball rattle system can be worked gently without spooking fish, but if you work it hard, you can achieve a wide side to side motion with a rather loud clicking to draw them in.

heddonsuperspook Five Lures for Trophy Trout

Super Spook

When the chop gets a little bigger, it’s time to tie on a bigger bait. The Heddon® Super Spook® in Okie Shad, or as I have always called it, the “Jimmy Houston,” is a close tie for my all-time favorite topwater. It’s a very natural color combination that works well in dirty water, but produces in clear water when others just won’t. This is not a small top water, in size or sound, but with its more natural color scheme it can be used effectively across the spectrum of conditions. Big or light chop, shallow or deep, this one does it all and I have caught more quality trout on this lure than I could possibly count.

shedog

She Dog

The MirrOLure® She Dog 83MR in Chartreuse/Pearl is another topwater that excels in choppy conditions, but can be deadly in both dirty and clear water. It too has a single ball style rattle, but emits a much higher pitch sound than the Super Spook. I don’t necessarily turn to this one as frequently as some of the others on this list, but when conditions call for it, I always have one ready. This lure and color combination landed me my largest trout to date, a fish just over 29.5” and over nine pounds, in 2010 in Galveston.

fatboy91

Paul Brown Fat Boy

When its time to probe the depths with deadly precision, I turn to the MirrOlure® Paul Brown Fat Boy, a creation of Houston mastermind Paul Brown, probably one of the greatest lure designers to ever live. This lure can take some time to get a grip on, but once you do, it can be fished effectively from less than a foot to depths over six feet. It’s a soft plastic wrapped, cork over wire, baitfish imitating, seductive dancing, finesse bait that has been the demise of many giant trout. Because of the construction of the lure, the Fat Boy can be tuned to swim at different depths, diving slightly up or down with different bends applied to the nose or tail. Chartreuse, gold sides, white belly has always been a favorite color combo for me.

fatboypink

Paul Brown Fat Boy

It’s not really fair to say that there is a fifth in my top five, because it’s a repeat of number four. For many years, the Fat Boy in pink with silver sides has been my go-to for cold winter fishing. This selection is a standard answer concerning winter trout, but my tournament partners can vouch for the fact that in certain conditions, I would start and finish a nine hour day throwing this one lure. It landed me my heaviest trout that I have an accurate weight on, at 9.25 pounds, and has been the lure that led me to more top five finishes in trout tournaments than any other.

These are my choices and I’m sticking to them. Every lure on this list has produced trout over 7.5 pounds in the Galveston Bay system. There is no one single bait that suits every condition set or scenario that you will encounter, and this list may not work for you, but it’s mine and has not changed much over the past ten years. When its time for me to hunt big winter or spring trout, you can rest assured I will have every one of these ready to go.

Texas Wahoo on Bad Intentions

February 6th, 2017

texas wahoo sharked Texas Wahoo on Bad Intentions

Dr. Bob Rose, right, reeled in this huge wahoo that got sharked on the way in. The partial fish weighed 73 pounds on certified scales.

Texas wahoo are Texas-sized at the Flower Garden Banks

Photography and Videography by Brandon Rowan | brandon@baygroupmedia.com

Bad Intentions, a 64′ Viking owned by Debbie Conway, headed out to the Flower Garden Banks late January 2017 in search of BIG wahoo. The lines hit the water at first light but the wahoo bite didn’t begin until 10 a.m. and continued until late in the afternoon. The most successful baits of the trip were Ilanders rigged with ballyhoo and trolling weights, and heavy jetheads in purple/black or halloween colors. Watch the video above to see these hard running wahoo in action.

 

Sea Star Base Galveston Spring Team Race Series

January 17th, 2017

15894631 683956928452037 8901466855224964972 n Sea Star Base Galveston Spring Team Race SeriesNotice of Race
February 11-12, 2017
March 18-19, 2017
April 8-9, 2017

HOST: The OPEN 3v3 Team Race Regatta will be hosted by Sea Base Galveston. The regatta will be held at Sea Base Galveston 7509 Broadway, Galveston, Texas 77554.

Schedule:
Saturday
0900 Competitors meeting
1000 First Race
TBD Informal Umpire Debrief

Sunday
0900 Competitors meeting
1000 First Race
Sunday no race to start after 1400

BOATS: Racing will be in FJs available through Sea Star Base Galveston. Collegiate 420’s may be used if demand warrants.

FORMAT: The regatta will be open 3v3 team racing. The regatta will be governed by the rules as defined in the Racing Rules of Sailing 2017-2020.

HOUSING: Housing will be available at Sea Star Base Galveston, the site of the regatta. Reservations should be made during registration on regatta network. SSBG is offering accommodations for $25/night/individual. These are apartment suites with shared bathroom; rooms can accommodate males and females). Housing reservations with SSBG should be arranged at least one week in advance.

BERTHS AND ENTIRES: Berths will be available to the first 12 teams registered. Registration can be found on regatta network or at ssbgalveston.org >Community Sailing >Racing. Entry requires $212 fee and $300 damage deposit (damage deposit to “Sea Star Base Galveston.”)

REGISTRATION: 1. https://www.regattanetwork.com/clubmgmt/applet_registration_form.php?regatta_id=13708
2. https://www.regattanetwork.com/clubmgmt/applet_registration_form.php?regatta_id=13707
3. https://www.regattanetwork.com/clubmgmt/applet_registration_form.php?regatta_id=13710

WAIVERS: Each team should complete the SSBG waiver

CONTACT: Mike Janota Work Phone 409-572- 2562 x1 Cell Phone 409-457- 6453 e-mail mjanota@ssbgalveston.org

Suzy Bradford Cell Phone 832-405- 8336 e-mail sbradford@ssbgalveston.org

Team Next Generation USA named to represent USA in the 2017 Red Bull Youth America’s Cup

January 17th, 2017

IMG 4097 Team Next Generation USA named to represent USA in the 2017 Red Bull Youth America’s Cup

Team Next Generation USA

America’s Cup Event Authority along with Red Bull Sports Directors, Roman Hagara and Hans-Peter Steinacher, announced today that Next Generation USA would be the team representing the United States of America at the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup event in Bermuda in June.   The team is made up of six sailors, ages 20 – 24, with many different sailing backgrounds and experiences.  Helmsman Carson Crain and wing-trimmer Matthew Whitehead, a veteran from 2013 Youth America’s Cup, are fresh off Olympic campaigns in the Mens’ RS:X windsurfer and Nacra 17 multihull.  Tactician, Reed Baldridge and bowman Markus Edegran have recently completed successful college sailing careers and are pursuing sailing as a profession.  Scott Ewing, soft sail trimmer, is a multi-talented skiff and multihull sailor and Preston Farrow brings experience on the GC32 and knowledge of the Bermuda venue to the team.  “On this boat, the name of the game is teamwork.  Communication, co-operation and confidence in our abilities will be our strengths,” says Crain.

Next Generation USA has a full schedule of training for the next five months leading up to the Youth America’s Cup.  Their coach, Iker Martinez, a multiple world champion and Olympic medalist, adds, “These guys are willing to put in the hard work to get to the top.  They recognize that success at this event requires more than just sailing ability.”

The 2017 Youth America’s Cup is held in conjunction with the 35th America’s Cup and will take place June 12 – 21 in Bermuda during the America’s Cup event.  Sailors will compete on the AC45F boats used in the Louis Vuitton World Series events around the world, including racing in New York Harbor and Chicago in 2016.  All teams will take part in a qualifying series and the top eight teams will compete in the finals, June 20-21.

For more information:

http://red-bull-youth.americascup.com

http://nextgenerationusa.org

Surf Trip: K59, El Salvador

January 3rd, 2017

gblumenshine Surf Trip: K59, El Salvador

Garrett Blumenshine surfing a nearby spot, Sunzal. Photo Adam Valadez

friday waves Surf Trip: K59, El Salvador

Photo Kelly Groce

By Kelly Groce

The moment you arrive at K59 Surf Resort in El Salvador, you are in paradise. The smiling faces of the staff welcome you to their colorful, lush compound equipped with a pool, a 2-story palapa with hammocks, and a secluded right hand point break just steps away. Need I say more?

K59 is a 3 hour plane ride from Houston and about a 45 minute drive from the capital of El Salvador, which is San Salvador. Once you arrive at K59, you have no reason to leave. You have a perfect right hand point break all to yourself with a minimal crowd. The staff and other surfers from around the world will be the only happy faces you see in the water. El Salvador is situated straight south on the Pacific, which is great for picking up southern swells. The surf season in El Salvador is almost year round and no wetsuit is needed. The best months are from March to October. November through February, the waves are smaller but very clean. If you want to check out other waves nearby there are plenty such as Sunzal, Punta Roca, Mizata, etc.

Photo Adam Valadez @adamisraelvaladez

When you aren’t surfing, there’s plenty of other activities. The area is so beautiful, the best thing to do is to enjoy the views, take a dip in the pool, and enjoy a siesta in one of the hammocks while listening to the sound of the waves. You can also fish or explore the beach on low tide. One of the staff members can take you on a tour of nearby waterfalls, volcanos, or Mayan ruins. There is a masseuse at the resort, that gives a deep massage under a palapa, which is nice after surfing nonstop for days.

When you stay at K59 Surf Resort, 3 meals a day are included in your stay. Their menu offers delicious local cuisine, fresh seafood, fruit, and vegetables. They have ice cold El Salvador cervezas available, Pilsener and Suprema, for $2.00 which they put on your tab that you pay at the end of your stay.

The manager, Geovanny, and his staff go above and beyond to take care of you and make sure you are having nothing less than a great trip. Not only do they become your friends, they are very talented at surfing. It is amazing to watch.
When you stay at K59 Surf Resort, the only thing you have to think about is surfing. With staff that takes care of all your needs, food and drinks on site, comfortable bedrooms with A/C, and perfect waves out front – this place is a surfer’s dream.

To book your trip or read more about K59 Surf Resort, visit their website and check out their social media pages. Buenas olas!

Connect with K59 Surf Resort:

Website: www.k59surfresort.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/k59surfresort

Instagram: @k59surfresort

Chris Bryars putting his twin fin to work. Photo Kelly Groce

Photo Garrett Blumenshine

K59 Surf Resort is a surfer’s paradise. Photo Kelly Groce

A local fisherman brings in fresh fish for ceviche. Photo Kelly Groce

 

Galveston Winter Fishing: Deep Or Shallow?

January 3rd, 2017

big speckled trout Galveston Winter Fishing: Deep Or Shallow?

Finding trout and redfish when the water goes cold

By Capt. Joe Kent

There has always been a rule of thumb for seasonal fishing.  You should fish deep in mid-summer and winter, and fish shallow in the fall and spring.  While I certainly do not disagree with that, there have been some modifications to that rule for winter fishing around the Galveston Bay Complex.

Several decades ago, anglers could pretty much rely upon the scenario that if you want to catch fish during the winter, fish in deeper waters.  One reason is that the winters were colder and more prolonged than they are today.  Still, fish tend to follow that pattern around the Galveston Bay Complex except in at least one area and that is West Galveston Bay.

West Bay, as we call it, is a relatively shallow bay with few deep holes when compared to other bays such as upper Galveston or East Bays.  West Bay is well-known for its cold weather fishing and in fact, tends to turn off during the warmer months.

corky 300x197 Galveston Winter Fishing: Deep Or Shallow?

Paul Brown’s Original Suspending Twitchbait in Copper Top.

Slow sinking lures retrieved at a slow pace produce the fish.

This small bay system that spans between the Galveston Causeway and San Luis Pass is one of the top spots to catch trophy trout during the winter and early spring.  Reds also are plentiful that time of year and when looking at the average depth it is surprising that it is so productive during the cold months.

Harry Landers, a retired and once popular fishing guide out of Jamaica Beach, told me that West Bay was a well-kept secret for winter fishing.  He felt the same way about Chocolate Bay, a shallow bay system that adjoins Lower West Bay to the north.

Landers caught many trophy-sized trout during his hey-day and placed many happy guests into trout that would go to the taxidermist rather than the kitchen.

Landers knew West Bay and Chocolate Bay like the back of his hand and shared a few of his secrets, many of which are common knowledge among fishing guides today.

While Offatts Bayou and its famous Blue Hole caught the attention of anglers during the winter, Landers was out fishing the shallower waters of West Bay.  Wade fishing, he felt, was the most productive way of fishing the shallow waters.

No doubt when freezes took place, Offatts was the place to fish. Once the water started warming, trout would venture out of the deep water looking for bait.

Mud bottoms during the afternoon tide, either incoming or outgoing, hold the warmest water and attract the small finfish and crustaceans.  In turn, predator fish such as specks and reds will be nearby looking for a winter’s meal.

Shell bottoms also are popular especially in deeper waters.

During periods of afternoon incoming tides, large sow trout can be found roaming the shorelines, especially grassy areas for bait.  Wade fishing is much preferred for trying to entice an older and wiser fish to bite, as boats make noise and noise easily spooks trout.

Another of the popular choices is narrow channels for reds.  While West Bay has a limited number of those channels, offshoots from the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) are plentiful.  Carancahua and Green’s Lakes, along with several man-made canals just north of the ICW, offer excellent action on reds during outgoing winter tides.

Winter fishing styles apply to all of the areas mentioned and probably the biggest of the techniques is a very slow retrieve of the lure.  Slow sinking lures retrieved at a slow pace produce the fish.

While there will be some good fishing in deeper waters this winter, try shallow and go for the glory that is a trophy trout.

Galveston Bay Winter Fishing – What to do?

January 3rd, 2017

By Capt. David C Dillman

Spec-tacular Trout Adventures409-632-0924

galveston bay speckled trout Galveston Bay Winter Fishing   What to do?

Windy Marshall with a cold weather trout.

Winter is finally here. November of 2016 was very mild, with only a few cool mornings followed by record high temperatures. December arrived and in the first week we experienced record rainfall in some areas and our first real cold front. January and February are typically cold and wet months along the Upper Coast of Texas. This is a great time to enjoy some indoor activities or things that you might have neglected. Fishing still can be good, but you just have to pick the right days according to the weather.

January begins with the Houston Boat Show, held at Reliant Center Jan. 6 – 15, the show hosts the newest boats, motors and campers for the coming year. There are numerous vendor booths, with a large section dedicated to the sportsman/fisherman. I will be at the Eagle Point Fishing Camp booth the first few days of the show. Stop by and we can visit about fishing, Galveston Bay, etc.

Yes, fishing can be good during this time of year. Fishing between the fronts will be the key to your success. The upper reaches of the bay system, namely Burnett, Scott and San Jacinto Bays, draw most of the attention this time of year. The bays offer shelter from the North winds and as long as the water stays salty, redfish and speckled trout can be caught. Sylvan Beach and Bayland Park offer the closest launches to reach these areas.

Other fishing grounds to consider are the NW/W shorelines of Galveston Bay. Sylvan Beach down to Eagle Point offers protection from a NW-W wind. The area is littered with structure like old pier pilings and numerous deep water shell reefs. The traditional winter time hotspot known as Galveston’s West Bay, will also see its fair share of action. Live bait supplies can be scarce this time of year. While most people will be throwing artificial lures, bait fisherman can check with Eagle Point at 281 339-1131 for live shrimp.

Last but not least, these months are perfect to have your maintenance completed on your rods, reels, and tackle. Also, schedule any service for your boat and motor now. Don’t wait for spring to get them in the shop. I will be in Costa Rica the middle of January catching sailfish! My boat goes to the shop soon after my return.

 I hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday break! Tight Lines to all!

Healthy New Year Recipes

January 3rd, 2017

By Betha Merit

few years back, I realized that new year’s resolutions were effective for me when adding something to my life, rather than taking away. So, instead of a plan to cut out cheeseburgers and chicken fried steak and doughnuts, let’s add veggies! And, let’s narrow it down to a group of veggies called brassica vegetables.

Brassica veggies are commonly referred to as cruciferous, so that puts us on the right trail. Broccoli, radishes, kale, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and many of the wonderful but unidentified veggies in your Chinese take-out are on this list. They are known for their disease-fighting substances and are low in calories, fat, and sodium. A good source of fiber, they contain a variety of essential vitamins and minerals, and there’s more.

They also contain phytochemicals, which occur naturally in plants and have a variety of health benefits for our bodies. One of the best-known benefits in brassica is their apparent cancer-fighting properties. These vegetables contain sulfur-rich compounds knowns as glucosinolates, which explains their characteristic bitter taste and pungent smell. Studies have shown that consumption of brassicas could reduce the risk for multiple types of cancer. Boiling these vegetables can reduce the compounds that give this healthy effect, but steaming, microwaving, and stir frying don’t appear to do so.

An internet search for brassica or cruciferous vegetables will delight you with colorful images and recipes to encourage you in your add-brassica-veggies new year’s resolution. The following list is a good start:

Brassica Vegetables

  • Arugula
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Collard greens
  • Daikon radish
  • Horseradish
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Land cress
  • Mustard greens
  • Radish
  • Rutabaga
  • Shepherd’s purse
  • Turnip
  • Watercress
veggie stir fry Healthy New Year Recipes

Spicy Brassica Veggie Coconut Stir-fry

  • 2 TBSP coconut oil
  • 2 eggs, beaten (or substitute one chicken breast, cubed)
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 3/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 cup small slices or pieces of broccoli and cauliflower (or brassica vegetables of your choice)
  • 1 medium bunch kale, ribs removed and leaves shredded
  • 1/4 Tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup large, unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 2 cups cooked and chilled brown rice
  • 1 TBSP soy sauce
  • 2 TBSP Sriracha
  • 1 lime, halved and fresh cilantro, for garnish

Directions

Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil. Pour in the eggs and cook until lightly scrambled (or cook chicken pieces for about 3-5 minutes until no longer pink). Transfer the eggs (or chicken) to a large empty bowl.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pan and cook the garlic, green onions and brassica vegetables until tender, stirring frequently. Add the kale and salt. Continue to cook until the kale is wilted and tender, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes. Transfer the contents of the pan to your bowl of eggs (or chicken).

Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the pan. Pour in the coconut flakes and cook, stirring frequently, until the flakes are golden. Add the rice to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is hot, about 3 minutes.

Pour the contents of the bowl back into the pan. Add the soy sauce, sriracha and juice of 1/2 lime. Stir to combine.

Slice the remaining 1/2 lime into wedges, then divide the stir-fry into individual bowls. Garnish with wedges of lime and a sprinkling of torn cilantro leaves. Offer red pepper flakes and extra sriracha.

Parmesan Cauliflower Healthy New Year Recipes

Roasted Parmesan Cauliflower

  • 1 small head of fresh cauliflower (or any brassica veggie of your choice)
  • 2 -3 TBSP olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • fresh baby arugula for garnish

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Cut the cauliflower into 1/4 inch thick slices, then cut those slices into smaller bites. Combine olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss cauliflower slices in the olive oil mixture to coat. Spread cauliflower in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven until browned, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally in order to brown evenly. Remove from oven and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Return to the oven to allow the Parmesan cheese to brown, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately with baby arugula surrounding the plate.

Oyster Gardening

January 3rd, 2017

bayou vista oyster Oyster Gardening

Bayou Vista Resident Jeannie Kidwell pulls up her oyster bags with Galveston Bay Foundation’s Haille Carter and Michael Neibuhr. Photo: www.stockyard.com

Residents hang bags from their docks to spawn bi-valves

By Janice Van Dyke Walden

Good things happen over wine, and in this case, it was oyster gardening.  At a Wine Social last Spring, Bayou Vista resident Chris Roper suggested to her neighbors that they collectively cultivate oysters, right from their docks.  It’s a program that Galveston Bay Foundation started in 2010, and has been doing with success in Kemah and San Leon.

Fourteen residents signed up to help, and in June, they gathered at the Roper’s driveway on Blue Heron Drive to create the 5-pound bags.  In all, they assembled 25 bags.  Again, wine was the elixir. “We were bagging with oyster gardening in one hand and wine in the other,” says Chris.

With Galveston Bay’s oyster population at an all time low, beset every two years by silt, storms, low salinities or high salinities, Galveston Bay Foundation is enlisting communities to spawn their growth and shore up subsiding land.

Bayou Vista’s tightknit bay community is a perfect setting to try out the nursery program.  At the intersection of I-45 and Hwy 6 near Galveston, it’s built around a series of residential canals fed by Highland Bayou.  On the community’s southeast boundary lies a wetland fed by West Bay.  Residents hung bags from their docks both on the bayou-canal side and the wetland side to see where the oyster larvae, spat, would take hold starting in June.

•••

Six months later, on this last day of November, it’s time to collect the bags, check for spat, and move the bags to an oyster bar breakwater so they can mature.  We’re at the Roper’s residence, it’s a brilliantly clear afternoon, and the folks from Galveston Bay Foundation are curious to see what’s inside two ice chests at the Roper’s front door.  Hallie Carter, Galveston Bay Foundation’s Habitat Restoration Coordinator, and Michael Neibuhr, Program Technician, open the chests and remove the wet towels covering bags that neighbors have dropped off.  One bag, hung in the canal, shows no spats; the other, hung in the wetland, is full of spats.  Commenting on that neighbor’s results, Chris says, “We’ve had very little influx.  I’m not surprised that our water in the canal was not absolutely full of silt.  It was dark brown.  You couldn’t see anything.”

Unlike Chesapeake Bay, where oyster gardening has been going on for years, it’s not legal to seed oysters here.  In Texas, it has to happen naturally.  So, if communities want to build oyster populations, they have to set their bags in optimum conditions.  This first year at Bayou Vista is a telling example for future sites.

Jeannie Kidwell has just returned from Christmas shopping for her grandkids when she comes to her dock to help pull up her half-year effort.  “I was a Foster Parent,” she says.

Haille and Michael open her bags and the others on the Roper’s dock, sorting the shells, looking for spats.  “I’m amazed at what I see,” says Haille.  She’s finding spat on every 10 oysters.  Some shells are covered with three or more spat.

oyster spat Oyster Gardening

That’s a spat! The oyster gardening program is designed to spawn new oysters each year.

It will take two years for this spat to grow to the legal 3-inch-size oyster for harvesting.  But these will never be harvested.  Today they’re going into restricted waters off Galveston Bay Foundation’s 449-acre Sweetwater Preserve.  There, the oysters will build a breakwater for land quickly eroding at a rate of two feet each year.  The waters at the edge of this Galveston Island preserve connect to Bayou Vista’s wetland nursery.  “When we transport spat, we have to keep them in the same sub-bay system,” says Haille.  And, in this case, it’s West Bay.

The evening is closing in when we arrive at the Sweetwater Preserve to deposit the bags.  Near the water is a tall pile of oyster shells, a curing site for those collected from nearby restaurants.  So far, six Bay Area restaurants participate in the shell-recycling program.  They’ve been given 32-gallon collection bins that Galveston Bay Foundation retrieves and brings to the curing site on a weekly basis.  Michael led that effort for most of last year. “I’d visit Tookie’s the most, about three times a week,” he says.

Shells at the curing site will go into the 5-pound bags for the gardening program.  They also make up the 35-pound bags that form this and other breakwaters.  Since 2011, the program has collected 570 tons of shells.

As they set the bags in the reef, Haille talks about how the program will expand to Galveston Island in the next year.  “We‘ll partner with Gaidos and Cajun Greek, and continue our partnership with Texas A&M-Galveston with students picking up shells at those recycling sites and taking them to the curing sites.”

Oyster gardening is easy for families to do with their kids, and it’s a good way for kids to connect to their eco-system.  To get involved, contact:

Emily Ford | eford@galvbay.org

www.galvbay.org/get-involved/volunteer