March 20th, 2017
March 14th, 2017
Ocean Discovery Day 2017 is just around the corner! Mark your calendar for Saturday, March 25th from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Ocean Discovery Day is a FREE open house inviting people into the NOAA Galveston Lab to enjoy hands-on activities, explore coral reefs, learn about Fort Crockett, visit with sea turtles, and more.
No reservations are required. Just show up and enjoy. We look forward to seeing you!
March 14th, 2017
The Houston Yacht Club’s Women’s Sailing Association is now accepting applications for their 2017 Windward Bound Sailing Camp for Women.
The Windward Bound Sailing Camp for Women is May 31-June 3 at the Houston Yacht Club. The overnight camp is open to all women who are 21 years or older.
Windward Bound Sailing Camp is a great opportunity to learn, expand and enhance your knowledge and skills in sailing, according to Anne Lee, HYC member and sailing counselor.
“Windward Bound Sailing Camp is the only program of its kind on the bay,” said Lee. “It is all about women teaching women how to sail in a fun, friendly and safe environment. The camp will help you gain new confidence, new skills and new friends.”
The camp is for those new to sailing, those who are familiar with the sport but want to expand their knowledge and skills and for the experienced sailor who wants to race competitively.
The camp format is residential, experiential, concentrated and objective-oriented and features small group instruction with individualized attention. The counselors are accomplished women sailors with years of experience in cruising, racing and teaching other women to sail.
The camp is broken down into three categories to include:
- Force I — Introductory: Beginning sailors learn practical skills to improve self-confidence and enable them to crew on a daysailer and single-hand a Sunfish.
- Force II — Intermediate: Sailors with basic skills expand skills and knowledge to enable them to skipper as well as crew on daysailers and Sunfish.
- Force III — Advanced: Experienced women sailors hone their skills for cruising and racing.
Open to HYC members and non-members but numbers are limited and HYC members receive preference. Registration deadline is April 5.
The cost for camp is $500 for HYC members and $650 for non-HYC members. Camp costs cover room and board, camp shirt, instruction and boat usage.
Experience the freedom and camaraderie of sailing. The sport of sailing is for all ages and it is a sport for leisure or competition. For more information, contact Anne Banks at firstname.lastname@example.org To download the Windward Bound Camp application, please visit us online at http://houstonyachtclub.com/OnTheWater/Education/WindwardBound.aspx
March 1st, 2017
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.
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
- Length: 7’6″
- Line: 40-60lb
- Lure: 2-4 oz
- Weight: 17.1 oz
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
- Length: 8’0″
- Line: 60-80lb
- Lure: 2.5-5 oz
- Weight: 18 oz
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
- Braid Capacity: 310 yds./100 lb
- Max Drag: 45 lbs
- Ratio: 4.9:1 /45″
- Weight: 30.8 oz
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
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
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’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
- Braid Capacity: 50/425
- Max Drag: 32 lbs
- Ratio: 5:1
- Weight: 26 oz
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
March 1st, 2017
David 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.
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:
March 1st, 2017
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
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.
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.
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 email@example.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.
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.
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.
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.
March 1st, 2017
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.
March 1st, 2017
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, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
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.
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.
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
March 1st, 2017
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.
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.
March 1st, 2017
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
February 6th, 2017
Texas wahoo are Texas-sized at the Flower Garden Banks
Photography and Videography by Brandon Rowan | email@example.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.
February 2nd, 2017
Houston Yacht Club is pleased to announce that on April 1, it will be hosting the Mermaid Sail Regatta for the fourth year in a row after being resurrected from the 1980’s. Originally started in 1983 to encourage women to learn how to sail, it is now a regatta for women to show their skills. Women in the sailing world have come a long way over the last 30-plus years. It is the mission for the Houston Yacht Club Women’s Sailing Association to build on this success to provide opportunities for women to improve their sailing skills. The resumption of the Mermaid Regatta is one of these opportunities.
The schedule includes a pre-sail yoga warm-up at 9:30 a.m. for all crew and non-sailing ladies as well. The Skipper’s Meeting will be at 11:30 a.m. There will be one pursuit-style race, which will begin at 1 p.m.
One hour after the last boat finishes, there will be an Awards Banquet sponsored by club member Babs Bukowski, one of the founders of the Mermaid Sail. A perpetual trophy will be awarded to the winner and other trophies will be awarded to the second and third place winners. There are prizes for the first four boats to register and there will be other gifts at the banquet.
To register, go to the HYC website and under the Racing Information you will find a link to the Regatta Network. The entry fee is $50 which includes dinner for the skipper and crew and their guests. All boats must be at least 30 feet long and the skipper and crew must be all female. A non-participating male may be on board the boat but only for safety reasons. A male boat representative may provide verbal helming guidance to a helms woman classified ABSA B1, B2 or B3 Three Person Format. It will be a wonderful celebration of women on the water. Join us!
January 23rd, 2017
January 17th, 2017
Notice 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.
0900 Competitors meeting
1000 First Race
TBD Informal Umpire Debrief
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
WAIVERS: Each team should complete the SSBG waiver
CONTACT: Mike Janota Work Phone 409-572- 2562 x1 Cell Phone 409-457- 6453 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Suzy Bradford Cell Phone 832-405- 8336 e-mail email@example.com
January 17th, 2017
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:
January 3rd, 2017
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.
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:
January 3rd, 2017
Finding trout and redfish when the water goes cold
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.
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.