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League City 53rd Annual Christmas Boat Lane Parade On Clear Lake

November 1st, 2014

15 JACK CAMPBELL BEST ALL AROUND FAMILY1 300x226 League City 53rd Annual Christmas Boat Lane Parade On Clear LakeFor over fifty years the official beginning of the holiday season for the Bay Area has been the annual Christmas Boat Lane Parade on Clear Lake.

This year the parade sets sail at 6:00 p.m. on December 13 from the South Shore Harbour Marina in League City and the Nassau Bay Lagoon.

This parade started with five guys sittin’ and talking at Lakewood Yacht Club. They decided to decorate their boats and parade around Clear Lake the following weekend. It was cold, foggy and rainy as they pulled out of the marina to begin the parade and they had a hard time seeing where they were going.  The people at Jimmy Walker’s Restaurant (now Landry’s), had heard about the parade so they kept looking for the boats through the fogged up windows, finally they appeared.  Five decorated boats bravely paraded in the wind and rain down the channel and when the Captains saw the people in Jimmy Walker’s loving it, Captain Jack Campbell got on his radio and announced that this is our INAUGURAL Christmas boat parade — and it’s been a tradition ever since.

This parade has grown tremendously to become one of the largest, lighted boat parades in the nation with over 100 entries annually. Attracting 100,000 people, the brilliant display of boat lights can be seen by viewers on land, and by the hundreds of boats anchored throughout the lake.  The restaurants along the shores and at the Kemah Boardwalk do a booming business while homeowners and apartment dwellers on the lake plan annual parties.

BOARDWALK CROWDS 300x199 League City 53rd Annual Christmas Boat Lane Parade On Clear LakeSome of the boaters have participated for over 25 years and their decorations become more creative and elaborate each year.  Plans begin well in advance and are kept “secret” right up to parade night.   Floating entries of all sizes include rowboats, bicycle-powered craft, sailboats and power boats.  The boats have music, passengers in costume, and all types of moving and non-moving parts.  Some outstanding past entries include an airplane with a turning propeller, a hot air balloon, a waving teddy bear, a brigade of toy soldiers, a space shuttle with flaming red lights “blasting” it through the channel, 40 ft. tall Christmas tree with lights synchronized to Christmas music, a giant leg lamp from A Christmas Story and a 42 ft.  flying dove with wings that moved up and down.  Just imagine 100 boats with hundreds and sometimes thousands of lights reflecting off the water, the boat crews wishing onlookers a joyful holiday; it’s an unforgettable experience that captures the true meaning of the Christmas spirit.

This year Texas Navy’s Sam Houston Squadron out of Lakewood Yacht Club, along with Parade Marshall Admiral R.B. “Bob” Taylor will lead the parade along with League City Mayor Tim Paulissen and honorary Parade Marshall Dr. Brian Babin.  Boats will reach the judges at the Kemah Boardwalk around 7:00 p.m. then ride out into Galveston Bay and return.  The boaters will cruise past the spectators at the South Shore Harbour Marina, the Nassau Bay Lagoon and down the channel near Seabrook, Clear Lake Shores and the Kemah Boardwalk.

DSC_0179The City of League City is proud to be the title sponsor of this traditional parade. The City of Nassau Bay, also a long-time sponsor, will signal the start of the parade with a spectacular fireworks display from their peninsula.  Additional major sponsors are the City of Kemah, Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine/Bay Group Media, the Kemah Boardwalk, Hollis Huff Lewis & Co. P.C., Photosbyeddieharper.com, South Shore Harbour Resort, The Pet Palace and Boating Trades Association of Metropolitan Houston.  The Blue Marlin hosts the parade committee while the judges enjoy their evening at the Cadillac Bar on the Kemah Boardwalk.

The following morning local businesses sponsor individual awards at the Awards Brunch held at South Shore Harbour Resort in League City.  The grand finale of the morning is the presentation of the top five awards presented in honor of the parade’s founders.

Visitors are encouraged to spend the weekend at our sponsoring city’s hotels in League City, Kemah and Nassau Bay.  Go to www.visitbayareahouston.com for information.

The Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce parade committee is dedicated to making the event a success every year.  Families and businesses with boats of any size are encouraged to register for the parade.  Go to www.ClearLakeArea.com or call 281-488-7676 for an entry form or more information regarding December 13 and 14.

28th Annual Lakewood Yacht Club Harvest Moon Ragatta

November 1st, 2014

IMG 5423 300x231 28th Annual Lakewood Yacht Club Harvest Moon Ragatta

Bacardi Cup:  PHRF Spinnaker winner O.J. Young, center, and Harvest Moon Co-Founder John Broderick, on mic, and the crew on Happy Ending. LYC Commodore Tom Collier is second from left and third from left is Richard Ancy, Regional Manager for Bacardi USA, the race’s founding sponsor.

Lakewood Racer O.J. Young Captures Second Bacardi Cup

Longtime, experienced racer O. J. Young of Lakewood Yacht Club won the Harvest Moon Regatta Bacardi Cup for the second year in a row and was presented the prestigious award during the Oct. 12 Awards Ceremony held at Port Aransas’ City Pavilion.
Racing on his yacht “Happy Ending,”a Hallberg Rassy 42F, the competition in the Bacardi Fleet this year was in high gear as the Gulf of Mexico’s unpredictable winds came at the racers from all directions.

A 150-mile race across the Gulf of Mexico from Galveston to Port Aransas that started at the Pleasure Pier on Thursday afternoon, Oct. 9,  the Harvest Moon Regatta had 166 boats start the race and 144 actually finish.  Of that, 11 boats were from Seabrook, 20 from Kemah, eight from League City, seven from Corpus and eight from additional Texas cities outside of Houston.
“Lakewood Yacht Club had a record number of trophy winners this year – 28, with 14 of those being first place,” said Regatta Chairman Jack Seitzinger.  His Principle Race Officer this year was Andrea Todaro.

When asked what his racing strategy this year was, Young replied that when one has a well prepared boat, good sails and a good crew, that boat should do well in the race.  “Everyone in Seabrook said I had the ‘dream team’ crew with three racers being former America’s Cup winners,” Young remarked.

IMG 5406 300x300 28th Annual Lakewood Yacht Club Harvest Moon Ragatta

Commodore’s Trophy: Cruising with Spinnaker winner Jim Demarest and wife Jan, center, right holding child, and crew on Sodalis along with LYC Commodore Tom Collier.

The crew consisted of Young’s son Robbie who re-rigged the boat and design, Doug Cooke, Farley Fontenot, Jim Davis, Joe Taylor, Cal Herman, Robbie Baldridge, and Paolo Shaffer.

Young said the winds this year were light at the beginning but picked up during the middle of the night. He sailed a little above the Rhumb line and by using his spinnaker at the finish, he was able to beat fellow club racer John Barnett on “ViCi” by several minutes.  “The winds this year were ideal for my boat,” he added.

Young has extensive racing experience, having been a professional sailboat racer in the 1960s and 1970s.  He came in second, twice, in the Olympic Trials, won the North American Championship 11 times, and won the ¾ Ton World Championship in 1974.   He has raced with Dennis Conner in numerous ocean races.  Conner, in his book No Excuse to Lose, named Young as one of the top ten racers in the world.

Other major perpetual trophy winners were Cameron Canon, cruising non-spinnaker overall (corrected), Doug Byerly on “Jonre;” Commodore’s Cup, cruising spinnaker overall (corrected), Jim Demarest on “Sodalis;” Founder’s Trophy, overall multihull (corrected), John Williams on “Gimme Samoa;”  Judy’s Mission, ovarian cancer Sail-a-thon; John Walsh on “Candace Ann;” Mayor’s Trophy, first multihull to finish, Bo Kersey on “Abandoned Assets;” and the Bill Hall Memorial Trophy, the first monohull to finish,  “Passion” owned by Steve Hastings.

Bacardi Superior:  Sport boat winner Don Lemke and crew on Aloha with LYC Commodore Tom Collier.

Bacardi Superior:  Sport boat winner Don Lemke and crew on Aloha with LYC Commodore Tom Collier.

New trophies this year were the Bacardi Superior, sport boat winner, Don Lemke on “Aloha” and Bacardi OakHeart, heavy displacement winner, John Mastroianni on “Andiamo.” The Bacardi Watch for the overall monohull (lowest corrected time) went to Doug Byerly on “Jonre.”

The Harvest Moon Regatta is organized by Bay Access, a charitable organization that supports amateur racing. It has been hosted by Lakewood Yacht Club for 28 years. Port Aransas and Mustang Island are co-hosts of the event.

Sponsors that make this first-class event possible include founding and primary sponsor Bacardi USA, the City of Seabrook, Nautic Group, Hays, Little Yacht Sales, West Marine, Sea Lake Yachts, Volvo Penta, OJ’s Marine,  Banks Sails, True North Marine and Windward Sea Ventures.

 

A Little Trouble at Sea

November 1st, 2014

brokerudderboat1 300x285 A Little Trouble at SeaA Harvest Moon Regatta Story

By David Popkin

The smoke from the 3:15 p.m. starting gun in the 2014 Harvest Moon Regatta was still visible, drifting to leeward of the line as Ground Effect, Martin Hamilton’s Condor 40 trimaran crossed the line and  began reeling in the fleet.  The multihull class is traditionally the last class to start and this year was no exception.  Our start was one hour and fifteen minutes after the first of five consecutive monohull class starts, the first at 2 p.m.  There is no challenge in sending the fastest boats out first, since a big part of the race is managing the inherent risks of passing or being passed by other boats.  Being one of the dozen or so fastest boats in the regatta meant we would overtake more than 150 boats in the course of the race, and if all worked as planned, Ground Effect would be one of the first three or four boats to finish the 150 nautical mile race in Port Aransas early Friday morning.

Onboard were six very experienced sailors.  Four were veteran multihull sailors; the owner Martin Hamilton, Joe Peine, Roy Shaw, and Jeff Linn.  Terry Hudson and I both had extensive offshore experience on various monohulls, but limited experience on multihulls.

Tactically, our plan was to work to windward of the rhumb line, that line being the most direct course to the sea buoy in Port Aransas.  The winds were predicted to be relatively light at the start, then building to 18-20 knots true, around 1 a.m. Friday morning.  There was also a predicted shift from SE to S or possibly even SSW by early morning Friday.  Hence our desire to “put some in the bank,” meaning we would keep to windward of the rhumb line and if the wind did indeed shift, we would not then need to be close hauled, or possibly struggling to make our mark without tacking.

Based upon our assumed speed, we set up a furthest offshore waypoint on our chartplotters, which by coincidence, was directly offshore from the Matagorda Ship Channel, approximately 50 nautical miles from Port Aransas. We were hoping to reach it as the winds freshened and possibly shifted.  From that waypoint, we would crack off and have a comfortable and speedy reach straight to the sea buoy and then on to the finish line inside the Port Aransas channel.

harvestmoonrudder 300x224 A Little Trouble at SeaRight on schedule, we reached our tactical waypoint around 2:45 a.m.  The boat was really in a groove, handling the jumbled 4-6 ft seas with ease and making near 10 knots in building pressure.  We eased our sheets, cracking off and immediately picked up 2 knots of boat speed.  It was an amazing ride!  At around 3:30 a.m. there was a loud noise at the transom.  Suddenly, the boat lost all momentum and rounded up into the wind and seas, sails flogging.  Terry Hudson was at the helm and yelled that there was no response.  We were all dumbstruck.  Roy made his way back to the rudder cage and felt below the waterline.  “It’s gone! Sheared completely off!  Let’s get the sails down, we’re done.”

With the sails put away, we began slowly drifting northward at just over one knot.  The disappointment was palpable.  We were in no immediate danger, but clearly would need assistance. We tried hailing the HMR fleet and got no response. That was due, I can only assume, to our distance offshore and being in front of most of the fleet.  Finally, the US Coast Guard responded.  We gave them our position and the condition of boat and crew and asked them to try and reach BoatUS to arrange a tow to the nearest port.  Our communication with the Coast Guard was ongoing for nearly two hours before they decided it would be in everyone’s best interests to send a vessel out to tow us into Port O’Connor.  They had made contact with the BoatUS main office on the East Coast, but efforts to reach an associate on the Texas coast were unsuccessful.

Around 6:30 a.m. Friday morning, the Coast Guard vessel arrived and came close enough alongside so we could discuss towing procedures.  Once their main line was passed to our boat, it was made fast with a bridle and the last wild ride began.  Despite cleats ripped from the deck, bowsprits broken, and toe rails splintered, all from the tow line, we were delivered safely to the bulkhead in front of the US Coast Guard Station, in Port O’Connor by 9:30. Subdued but in good spirits, in the end, no one got hurt, and with time and money, the boat could be made whole again.  Despite his declaration minutes after the rudder failure that this was his last offshore race, Martin was already talking about next year’s race and what it would take to build a new improved rudder.  To paraphrase Lance Armstrong, it’s not about the boat.  Those of us who do this do it because we welcome the challenges, the possibility of facing unknown events or improbable outcomes, be it failures or triumphs.  To be sure, we all take risks in our everyday lives, but that world is ultimately predictable and pretty tame.  The ocean is our last, greatest and most beguiling wilderness.  We have no more control over its whims today than Columbus did in 1492.  And that’s exactly why we choose to go.

Ask the Rigger

November 1st, 2014

camera downloads pictures 885 300x189 Ask the RiggerI own an older boat and I’m thinking of replacing some of the running rigging. What are your thoughts on the best type of line to use?

It all depends on what kind of sailing you are doing. You need to ask yourself, “Am I cruising around the bay, club racing and long-range cruising, or just racing full time?”

If you are cruising around the bay, you can get away with the lesser performance lines and go for price and durability. If you are club racing or long range cruising, you should go to a blended core to a full performance line for things like the main and genoa halyards. With control lines, you can get away with the lesser performance lines. If you are pushing the boat around the race course, the less stretch, the faster.

You should be using full performance lines with a low stretch core; the less stretch in lines transfer to the mast and boat turning energy into speed.

What’s the difference between mast rake and mast bend?

Mast rake is the angle of the mast fore and aft on the boat. It controls the center of effort of the boat, helping it point higher. Too much forward rake, the boat will turn down causing a negative steering moment. With too much aft rake, you will have to fight the rudder causing drag, which slows the boat down.

In a perfect world, you should have a couple of pounds of weather helm and rudder angle should not exceed three to seven degrees, unless steering wind shifts. You should tell your rigger during a mast tuning how the boat is performing. Mast bend is set to help your mainsail.

As a sail gets older you can increase the bend to get more performance out of the sail. When you order a new sail, the sail maker may ask to have you decrease the bend since the sail is new. The other thing bend does for you, is it flattens the mainsail in windy conditions helping you keep control and not getting over powered. Tell your rigger what you feel are the wind conditions you find yourself in the most. They will set the bend to fit the way you sail.

I’m looking for some new spinnaker sheets for my J-105, what brand do you recommend and why?

The J-105, just like most asymmetrical boats, uses a high heat covered line with a performance core. We taper the sheets, which reduces weight and leaves the core exposed. All line companies have equivalent line types. Color and feel is the only difference between most lines.

My anchor is always slipping, how much chain do I need and who makes the best anchor on the market today?

The anchor is probably the most argued boating topic ever. I feel that every type anchor has its purpose. We used to cruise with a CQR and a Danforth. The CQR was our workhorse. After getting a lot of education we switched to Mantis anchors. They use technology and NASA engineers to design their product. They added a roll bar that I know I could have used it in the past for more reasons than it was designed for.

When it comes to chain, we always carried 100’ on one anchor and 25 to 40’ on the secondary. That is all the boat could fit. Both anchors had 150’ of three-strand line; the more chain, in my opinion, the better. For storms we carried a bridal and another 300’ of three-strand that we could add in line to the scope. That worked for us.  You will have to find what works for your boat.
 
How can I keep my roller furling from overriding, it works for a while and then it gets hard to pull in.

You should control your furling line when you unfurl your sail. If you just untie it and unfurl, more than likely, it will get some loose rolls and possibly override. The other thing to look out for is the lead block into the drum needs to be at 90 degrees in the center of the drum guide. The last thing, is to make sure when the unit is furled, it has two wraps on the jib sheets and you should have at least five wraps on the drum.

Do you recommend buying a used roller furler?

We are against buying old furling units. Technology is so much better today than 10 to 20 years ago. Always remember there is a reason the furling unit was replaced in the first place. The foil connectors and bearings wear down over time. We end up having more time fixing the used unit than what a new one would have cost with installation.

Also, when fixing old units you don’t get a warranty, so even if you patch it, you will have to pay to repair it every time you have a problem. Most new units have a two to seven year warranty and rigging companies should back their work.

Alex Crowell is the owner of Bahama Rigging in Kemah, a full service shop for all sailboat rigging needs.

Wade Fishing the Bays

November 1st, 2014

daniel popovich trout 300x225 Wade Fishing the Bays

Wading and big trout go hand-in-hand. Daniel Popovich with an impressive speck.

By Capt. Joe Kent

When the water is comfortable to wade fish in a bathing suit or shorts it’s not the best time for fishing action while wading.

The late fall and early winter are prime times for wade fishing.  When the water temperature drops below 70 degrees, it is a bit uncomfortable for wading in typical summertime attire; however, the fish love the cooler waters and tend to roam the shallows more.

While wade fishing, especially in the surf, will produce fish year round, it is not until the water cools that the action pops open in the bays.  The annual flounder run will attract hordes of waders as it is usually late October or early November when the flat fish start stacking up along the pathways to their winter home, the Gulf of Mexico.

Colder water is one of the signs flounder look for before deciding to exit the bays and readings in the 60’s will do the trick.
Trout and reds will spend more of the day in shallower waters during that time and wade fishing is the best way to sneak up on them.

Now, if you are new to this style of fishing I hope to cover some of the basics to help you get started and for you to have more productive fishing trips.

We need to begin with the basic wading gear.  A pair of insulated waders is a must and the prices run the gamut depending on what quality you desire and your budget.  A full service sporting goods store can show you the wide range of options.

Wading shoes, whether part of the waders or separate pieces are important.  You will need shoes that can handle the sharp, cutting edges of shell while withstanding soft mud.  Wade fishermen tend to cover a lot of territory and different underwater terrains are encountered.

One of the worst things to experience is to lose a shoe in deep mud.

Stingrays are one of the big enemies of waders and protective covers are vital to prevent a barb from piercing your foot or leg.  Again, your sporting goods store can show you options for this.

Additionally, a long stringer, one that places your catch a number of feet behind you is a must or one of the more popular donut style container nets can be used.  In either case your catch should be far enough behind you to allow a shark to attack it without mistaking your leg for a fish.

wadefishery 300x186 Wade Fishing the BaysA good wading belt with pliers and a bait compartment is needed.

Now, for the fishing equipment itself, most wade fishermen use artificial baits as they eliminate the need to drag along a live bait bucket.  This allows the angler to cover more territory and faster.

The rod and reel is a personal choice; however, the length of the rod is normally longer than those used by boaters.  Long, accurate casts are a must for success while roaming the shorelines.

Your choice of artificial bait depends on the species of fish you are targeting.  Personally, I prefer soft plastics as they are easy to use and I have had success with them.

For flounder my favorite three soft plastics are Flounder Pounders, Chicken Boys and Gulps.

For trout and reds, Bass Assassin Sea Shads in various colors, Norton Sand Eels, Saltwater Assassins in Chicken on a Chain and Down South soft plastics are good choices.  One color that seems to add to the odds is chartreuse in combination with other colors.

Now, let’s talk about where to wade.  The biggest limitation is whether you have a boat to access wading areas or depend on entering from land.  Boaters have many more options as the Galveston Bay Complex is limited in areas where the public can cross land to enter the water.

Briefly, for those without boats, the Seawolf Park area offers access to water along with Eight-Mile Road on the west end of Galveston Island.  All along the road from the Texas City Dike to the Moses Lake Flood Gate offers good wade fishing at times as does the April Fool Point Area in San Leon.

The Seabrook Flats are well-known for winter wade fishing and have easy access at several points along the shore.

Now for the most important aspect of wade fishing!  Do not go it alone.  Have a fishing buddy join you as there are too many incidences of a wader falling into a deep hole, and with the heavy equipment on, could not swim and drowned.  A companion fishing close by could have saved the day. To be on the safe side, two or more anglers should wade fish together.

History Of The ‘Corky’

November 1st, 2014

corky 300x300 History Of The ‘Corky’

Paul Brown’s Original Suspending
Twitchbait in Copper Top

This Texas legend-of-a-lure is a favorite for fishermen targeting large speckled trout. The “Corky” as it is most popularly known, was first built in the Houston area garage of Paul Brown in 1974 and sold at nearby tackle shops.

It didn’t take long for Texans to figure out that this was a serious big trout lure. The slow sink rate and soft body elicited strikes from sow winter trout when other lures were ignored. An easily bent internal wire allowed anglers to adapt the Corky to their fishing style.

By the 1980s, what started out as a small mom and pop operation had quickly developed a cult following, and for good reason.
In 1996, Houstonian Jim Wallace caught a Texas state record 13.11-pound speckled trout while fishing a corky in Baffin Bay.
In January of 2010, Brown turned over production of the Corky to MirrOlure®. Today, these lures are sold as the “Paul Brown Original Series” and are fished by anglers from Texas to North Carolina and beyond.

Christmas Gifts for your Seafaring Family & Friends!

November 1st, 2014

vickersbags 300x179 Christmas Gifts for your Seafaring Family & Friends!

Ella Vickers Recycled Sailcloth Bags from Glass Mermaids in League City.

mermaidbaby 300x179 Christmas Gifts for your Seafaring Family & Friends!

Mermaid babies by Lladro, exclusively at Glass Mermaids in League City.

Nautical tree decorations from Island Furniture in Seabrook.

Nautical tree decorations from Island Furniture in Seabrook.

Vintage brass diver’s helmet from I Spy in Kemah.

Vintage brass diver’s helmet from I Spy in Kemah.

Ships bell from Home by Eagles’ Nest in League City.

Ships bell from Home by Eagles’ Nest in League City.

Judy’s Jewels available from Encore Resale in Kemah.

Judy’s Jewels available from Encore Resale in Kemah.

Boat models available at Home by Eagles Nest in League City.

Boat models available at Home by Eagles Nest in League City.

Crab throw pillow available at Island Furniture in Seabrook.

Crab throw pillow available at Island Furniture in Seabrook.

Seabrook Saltwater Derby Results

November 1st, 2014

HeaviestTeamStringRedfish Seabrook Saltwater Derby Results

Heaviest Stringer Redfish
Team: Saldana Bros
with Gerardo Saldana and Ovidio Saldana

HeaviestTeamStringTrout1 Seabrook Saltwater Derby Results

Heaviest Stringer Trout
Team: Scandy Candy with
Chris Gonzales, Jason Nolan, James Plaag and David Schmidt

Heaviest Stringer Trout  Team: Scandy Candy with Chris Gonzales, Jason Nolan, James Plaag and David Schmidt

Heaviest Stringer Trout
Team: Scandy Candy with
Chris Gonzales, Jason Nolan, James Plaag and David Schmidt

Heaviest Individual Trout Team:  Remax Galveston with John Sincox and Ryan Moody

Heaviest Individual Trout
Team:
Remax Galveston
with John Sincox and Ryan Moody

Flounder Pot Team:  CCS Fishing with Jason Otto, Jeff Koester, Austin Owens and Tyson Schindler

Flounder Pot
Team:
CCS Fishing with Jason Otto, Jeff Koester, Austin Owens and Tyson Schindler

 

 

Luxury Outdoorsman

November 1st, 2014

2015 Cadillac Escalade ESV 003 300x200 Luxury OutdoorsmanBy Don Armstrong

Put a lid on it! That’s pretty much what General Motors did when they created the Suburban – dubbed “Carryall” in 1935.

General Motors simply replaced the bed with a lengthened cab and put in on the same half-ton truck chassis. A GMC version quickly followed, and in 1999 Cadillac badged its own iteration called Escalade. Now comes the 12th version of the iconic “Carryall” for 2015.

The Cadillac Escalade is at the top of the food chain when it comes to full-size heavy weights; and we do mean heavy, as in poundage. Rolling out of its birthing ship in Arlington, Texas, the Escalade, branded four wheel drive Suburban, tips the scales at three tons.

Moving all that weight is a 6.2-liter V-8 delivering 420 horsepower and 460 lb.-ft. of grunt; more than enough juice to also tow another 8,000 pounds. That’s why we thought this would be the ultimate luxury hauler, not only for people and their stuff but a nice sized bass boat or camper.

The new sheet metal is fitting for a modern do-all with plenty of edgy Cadillac styling cues including LED lighting all around. This big beauty makes heads turn no matter what neighborhood you’re cruising.

Ride quality has always been part of the Cadillac success equation, and the Escalade is no different. To achieve its comfortable level, without sacrificing control, the Caddy engineers installed GM’s Magnetic Ride Control system; first developed for the Corvette.

2015 Cadillac Escalade 075 300x200 Luxury OutdoorsmanWind and road noise used to be a given in most vehicles. Not in the Escalade. Triple door seals and lightweight, yet very effective sound deadening materials, bring a new meaning to a quiet interior.

Speaking of interiors, this is where the Escalade really shines. When we used to speak of fit and finish, our minds went to most financially unreachable rides. Say hello to a new era. Cadillac suits said, “We can do that too, but in volume,” and they did. With layered materials, cut-and-sewn craftsmanship and real wood accents, you are officially dared to compare.

Remember that heavy, old third row seat that most owners removed and stored on their dirty garage floors? No more, ‘cause there’s no need to remove it. Both the third and second row seats fold flat with the touch of a power button. Finally.
Pricing starts at $71,695, but with 72-month notes available…well, you know you want it.

Port of Houston: Impossible dream turned into a reality

November 1st, 2014

039 1914 masterpieceofcongestion1 300x185 Port of Houston: Impossible dream turned into a reality

Houston Ship Channel at the foot of Main Street in 1914.

By Mary Alys Cherry

The Port of Houston will celebrate its 100th birthday Monday, Nov. 10 – an anniversary that seemed an impossible dream and almost laughable a century ago. Build a port 52 miles inland?

At first, almost no one thought it would happen, but through a combination of Mother Nature’s fury, the discovery of oil and a young congressman’s dedication, the Houston Ship Channel paved the way for Houston to become the nation’s fourth largest city and the Port of Houston to become the nation’s leading port in foreign tonnage and second in overall tonnage.

According to the Port’s history, in the 1890s Congressman Tom Ball – for whom the town of Tomball is named – worked hard to get support for a deep water port for Houston. In September 1900, a devastating hurricane nearly wiped Galveston off the map, killing some 8,000 people in one of the nation’s worst disasters in history.

Ball’s colleagues began to listen to his argument for a protected inland port. Then, with the discovery of oil at Spindletop and the growth of crops such as cotton and rice, it became clear that Houston’s ship channel needed the capacity to handle larger vessels. Through Tom Ball’s persistence, Houston and the federal government shared the cost of dredging the ship channel that would link Houston to the world.

040 1914 portofhoustonopening 300x180 Port of Houston: Impossible dream turned into a reality

Port of Houston opening celebration in 1914.

Work began in 1912 and the Houston Ship Channel opened on a Tuesday morning, Nov. 10, 1914, with a 21-gun salute and thousands of people on hand to celebrate as President Woodrow Wilson fired a cannon via remote control to officially open the channel.

Today, the Port of Houston, a 25-mile-long complex of diversified public and private facilities along the ship channel, is home to the largest petrochemical complex in the nation.

It has giant container terminals at Barbours Cut, Texas’ first cargo container terminal which opened in 1977 at Morgan’s Point, and its $1.4 billion Bayport complex, which opened Feb. 7, 2007 just north of Seabrook. A computerized inventory control system tracks the status and location of individual containers at each terminal.

With the widening of the Panama Canal, which is also celebrating its 100th anniversary, the Port Authority is preparing for the larger generation of vessels (9,000-plus TEU in capacity) that soon will need to call at Bayport and Barbours Cut with an $80 million dredging project to deepen the channels from 40 feet to 45 feet to match the depth of the Houston Ship Channel.

“This has been a tremendous effort by all parties involved to make sure we are ready to handle the larger ships needing to call our facilities,” Port Executive Director Roger Guenther said, adding that dredging already is under way at Barbours Cut, and when completed later this year, work will begin at Bayport.

Quite a change from those days long ago when the Port was located near the confluence of Buffalo Bayou and White Oak Bayou at Allen’s Landing, now a park known as the birthplace of Houston.

Seared Mahi Mahi With Zesty Basil Butter

November 1st, 2014

mahi1 226x300 Seared Mahi Mahi With Zesty Basil ButterServe on a bed of rice with your favorite side of vegetables

• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1 ½ teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
• 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional for seasoning
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus additional for seasoning
• 1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 4 (6 to 8-ounce) mahi mahi fillets

Zesty Basil Butter:
Combine the butter, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and basil in a medium saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring until the butter melts. Cover and keep warm over low heat.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the fish with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook the fish for 3 minutes; then turn and cook until just opaque, about 3 to 4 minutes more. Transfer the fillets to individual plates.
Spoon the warm basil butter over the fish and serve.

All About Big Blue

September 1st, 2014

bluemarlin larva Rooker1 300x225 All About Big Blue

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

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

By Jarred Roberts

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

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

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

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

BLUEMARLINBIG 169x300 All About Big Blue

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

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

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

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

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

Hooray For Labor Day!

September 1st, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

California Jetty Fishing Texas Style

September 1st, 2014

rowanrockfish 225x300 California Jetty Fishing Texas StyleBy Brandon Rowan

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

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

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

blkrockfish 300x198 California Jetty Fishing Texas Style

Black Rockfish

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

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

Janiece M. Longoria

September 1st, 2014

Janiece Longoria   Single photo 300x295 Janiece M. Longoria

Janiece with a great Alaskan trout.

By Charles Milby

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2014 Miss Kemah Pageant

September 1st, 2014

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

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

 

 

 

 

HYC HOOD Regatta

September 1st, 2014

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

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

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

 

 

 

Trophy Catch

September 1st, 2014

2015 Chevrolet ColoradoZ71 014 300x166 Trophy Catch

2015 Chevrolet Colorado

All-new Chevrolet Colorado returns to Gulf Coast

By Don Armstrong

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s In Your Bag?

September 1st, 2014

By Patty Kane

LED Lantern 209x300 Whats In Your Bag?

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

Neck Light 179x300 Whats In Your Bag?

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

LED Candles

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

Wireless Thermometer

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

Marine Battery

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

 

 

 

Italian Night Dinner Cruise

September 1st, 2014

photo 4 300x140 Italian Night Dinner Cruise

Cioppino (see recipe below)

By Betha Merit

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

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

antipasti 285x300 Italian Night Dinner Cruise

Antipasti

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

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

 

Cioppino

Serves 12

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

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