Striker Yachts – Building the Finest Yachts in the World

July 1st, 2014

SPORTS PAGE 4 300x234 Striker Yachts   Building the Finest Yachts in the WorldWhen you say Striker Mega or Luxury Yachts to well seasoned mariners, they will tell you unequivocally they are the best designed and durable yachts ever built.

Striker Yachts are well known worldwide for their attention to detail, craftsmanship and design. The finished yacht product is astounding and almost intimidating.

The Striker Sport Fishing Yachts are also designed and built by  some of the world’s top naval engineers and craftsman. They are rugged and can withstand strong seas. They are made for luxury and performance, two very difficult engineering feats. They accomplish these two feats with flying colors.

Striker Yacht Corporation was founded in 1951. Originally its vessels were steel until 1956, when Striker was the first builder to use aluminum plating.  Since then, Striker has produced more aluminum hulled vessels than any other builder worldwide.

Commercial Pilot Boat Rough Water photo 1 300x186 Striker Yachts   Building the Finest Yachts in the WorldCombined with the highest quality craftsmanship and Alcoa’s new much stronger NAUTIC-AL aluminum plated hulls, Striker Yachts do not require zincs and are impervious to galvanic corrosion. The Striker line extends from the finest sport fishing yachts, from 50 feet to over 150 feet, to the world’s largest super yachts up to 1,000 feet (300m).

Striker yachts have roamed the oceans of the world in search of giant tuna, blue and black marlin, and they are built to take their owners into sea conditions that others would not dare to ply. A true ship in her own right but clothed as a luxurious yacht, there is nothing like a Striker. Striker welcomes you to visit their shipyards in beautiful Istanbul that will surely impress the most discerning client.

photo 3With record breaking super yachts becoming even more popular and with the top two being built in the last 24 months, Striker is capable now and well into the future to build the world’s largest super yachts. Building yachts up to 300 meters, which is far beyond any other yacht builder in the world. All yacht builds will be completed at our shipyards, built to the highest levels of ship building for safety and sea worthiness, and incorporated into a fine yacht with the style and comfort brought to us by our award winning naval architects, Donald Starkey, Gregory C. Marshall, and Luiz DeBasto, for truly unique world class yachts.


  • Mega/Super Yachts
  • Luxury Yachts
  • Sport Fishing Yachts


  • Vessels
  • Ships
  • Supply Vessels
  • Oil Recovery
  • Tankers
  • Trawlers
  • Power Plants
  • Tugs
  • Fire Rescue Boats
  • Patrol Boats
  • Surface Naval Vessels

Repairs and Refit

Striker, through an association with Sedef Shipyard and Tor Group, now operates one of the biggest yacht and shipbuilding facilities in Turkey based on a site with a total area of 291,936 square meters, making it capable of building multiple projects at the same time. Here Striker can construct all types of vessels, industrial projects and conduct repair and conversion works in the heart of Turkey’s shipbuilding district. They lead the shipbuilding industry in the region by using the best know-how and state of the art technology.

StrikerStriker Yacht Corporation
300 S. Avenue of the Arts,
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312

Contact – Phillip X. Orosco

Deep Drop Techniques for Grouper and Tilefish

July 1st, 2014

chelholden Deep Drop Techniques for Grouper and Tilefish

Chelsey Holden and a very colorful tilefish.

captholdengrouper Deep Drop Techniques for Grouper and Tilefish

Capt. Brett Holden with a real nice yellowedge grouper.

By Capt. Brett Holden

Deep dropping for tilefish and grouper is becoming more and more popular by the day here in the Gulf of Mexico. I began fishing for these deep-water critters in the mid-1980s, and the sport has grown into a daily routine for many Gulf anglers.

Faster boats with longer range have now made fish like warsaw grouper, snowy grouper, yellowedge grouper, longtail sea bass, barrelfish, tilefish and others easier targets for many Texas sport fishing vessels. These deep drop techniques will help you find these fish in 400–1,300 feet of water.


Capt. Matt Reed, left, and Capt. Jeff Wilson with a warsaw grouper.

Species of the Deep

Mike Parsons with the new Texas state record tilefish. 43 inches and 33.08 pounds.

Mike Parsons with the new Texas state record tilefish. 43 inches and 33.08 pounds.

Warsaw, yellowedge and longtail sea bass are commonly found around mountain tops, hard spots and deep water oil rigs in the 400–900 foot range. Warsaw grouper, on average, run anywhere from 40–100 pounds. But over the years I’ve seen several fish up to 250 pounds and a couple in the 300-pound range. Regulations have changed and now only one warsaw per-vessel is allowed.

Yellowedge grouper are delicious and average 8–18 pounds, with a few 20–30 pounders still caught fairly regularly. The largest one we ever caught was around 50 pounds.

'Bubba' with a longtail sea bass.

‘Bubba’ with a longtail sea bass.

Longtail sea bass are another fish that seem to inhabit the same area. They are good eating but hold a little stronger taste than the deep-water grouper. Once again, these fish are mostly found in the 400–900 foot range.

Barrelfish and tilefish run a little deeper on average. For big barrelfish, you want to fish down current from the edges and walls of deep water mountain tops. The edges will have well-defined drops and barrelfish can stack up very thick at the top and bottom of this structure. They’re usually found a bit higher off the sea floor and mark well on a good bottom machine. These fish are most often found between depths of 850–1,200 feet.

Capt. Jeff Wilson and Mike Parsons with a trio of barrelfish.

Capt. Jeff Wilson and Mike Parsons with a trio of barrelfish.

Many times the deeper you drop for barrels, the bigger the fish tend to be. Last year we found a pile of barrels at 900 feet that ran 3–8 pounds. We moved off that ridge and found another school in 1,170-to-1,225 feet of water. All of the barrels off that ridge were running 12–18 pounds on average. These fish are a blast; they fight all the way to the surface, unlike many deep water species that tend to “blow up” as they near the surface. The barrels fight hard and really put a bend in the rod.

Tilefishing is a fast growing sport and produces exceptional table fare. Not long ago, tilefish were pretty much unheard of as a rod and reel fish. I caught my first one in the mid-1980s and have been targeting them every since. This fishery was kept very quiet for a long time and was a pretty big secret. Back in the 1990s, there were no limits on tiles, and that is what we filled our freezers with. But still to this day, they are a fish you can actually go target and pick up a few meals.

We have bigger tilefish here in the Gulf than most people would think. Just a few years ago, the record tilefish was only around four pounds. But I have caught uncountable tilefish running 25–35 pounds

and several that have been 35–45 pounds, including a couple near 50 pounds. Now that eyes are opening to the new daytime swordfishing industry here on the Texas coast, more and more tilefish are being boated.

Tilefish are probably the easiest of all the deep water fish you can target. The golden tilefish is most commonly found in the 900–1,250 foot range. Smaller tiles, averaging 2–10 pounds, can be targeted on the continental shelf wall without any special areas or specific “numbers.” Muddy areas anywhere from 900–1,000 feet of open water will hold tilefish.

Finding better average sized fish will take a little more work. Tilefish will typically get bigger off the shelf, or in valleys against the shelf. Drop on the down current side of small dips and slopes in 1,000–1,250 feet of water. Tilefish tend to feed right on the bottom, so try to stop your bait and hold the boat on an area as tight as possible.

However, slow drifting will also produce tilefish and is great for covering ground. Drag the bait against the bottom, stopping often, and then continuing the drift to explore new areas.


Finding bigger tilefish is another story altogether. I have learned a lot over the past few years about these large fish. The biggest ones will hold against ridges at 1,200 feet and are bold enough to follow baits headed for deep water. Drop your bait near the edge of a ridge that looks over 1,500–1,600 feet of water and be ready. The biggest tiles, those from 35–50 pounds, seem to live alone. I have caught most of these big fish away from the schools and many times, several feet off the bottom feeding in schools of squid or dragonfish. The big tilefish really don’t seem to like a lot of leader in their face. Single rigs with the weight above the bait seem to work best. A whole squid, about 14-inches-long, works very well. Use a large hook and bait to avoid the smaller fish when targeting big tiles.

I seem to catch lots of big tiles early in the year, April through May, and sometimes in as shallow as 850–1,000 feet. I’m not sure if it was due to spawning or what, but I’ve caught several in the 30–45 pound class during these months.

Other Species

Josh Graves carefully holds up a scorpionfish.

Josh Graves carefully holds up a scorpionfish.

Beware of spiny, toothy and venomous critters that you might pull up from the deep. Spiny dogfish are small, deep water sharks that have spikes near the dorsal fins that can cause a painful sting. The spines on scorpionfish can also sting if you’re not careful. But these bright orange fish are pretty good to eat.

Once the sun goes down the tilefish stop biting and the eels take over in force. Conger eels have nice white meat but lots of bones.  Banded shrimp eels and moray eels have mouths full of big teeth so watch out.

Spiny Dogfish

Spiny Dogfish

Hake, a small brown fish averaging 1–3 pounds, also bite at night and can be a nuisance. They will eat pretty much anything. Their meat is good and tasty but very soft. I use hake filets to replace crab meat in gumbo.



The tilefish don’t bite at night but grouper will if you’re in an area free of eels. Snowy and yellowedge grouper will take baits and warsaw will feed as high as 400 feet off the bottom in 900 feet of water.

Triple deep drop leader with LP circle hooks.

Triple deep drop leader with LP circle hooks.


For years I never used any kind of light or strobe to catch tilefish and did okay. But over the past 10 years or so, I’ve started rigging them up and I think it does work better. I also found that rigging the light further from the bait will produce bigger fish. If we are targeting BIG tiles I will rig the weight and light 15 to 20 feet above the bait. Big tilefish will eat regular double and triple bait rigs, but once again, you’ll do better on a clean single rig. The standard double and triple bait drops work well for yellowedge grouper and smaller tilefish.

Your size of leader and weight will all depend on how much current you are fighting. The bite and fishing will be best when using less weight and smaller line. Thinner line means less bow in the line and that makes it easier to see bites. On the Booby Trap, we use Diamond braid made by Diamond Products. I like the orange 80 pound braid because it is easy to see.


Cannonball weights and lead stick.

With a light current and this braid, 3 pounds is a good weight to start with on your standard double bait leaders. I use cannon ball style weights because they don’t get hung up as easy on rough, rocky bottoms. If the current is strong then move up in weight size to 4 to 5 pounds. If it really cranking move up to 7 pound window weights or lead stick weights.

Some of these deep water fish have sharp teeth, so heavy mono leaders are a necessity. Yellowedge, longtail sea bass and other smaller grouper are not so bad but tilefish, eels and small sharks have sharp teeth. The grouper will wear through light leaders eventually and the tiles will bite clean through them. I use 300 pound LP or Momoi mono leader for our deep drops.

Use caribbean swivels to help keep the twist out of the leader and line. Most bottom fish will go into a spin on the way up.

Heavy duty circle hooks, from 8/0 to 16/0, work best for deep dropping. Tilefish and grouper have no problem snagging themselves on a circle hook and I would say it definitely helps keep the fish on when cranking them up from the deep. A sharp hook is also important. It’s a long way up and down, so a needle sharp edge is very important.

Be sure to take plenty of extra tackle when deep dropping. It is a long ride to the deep water fishing grounds and you might lose tackle to rocks and snags. Also, carry an extra spool or two of braided line. One break off at 1,000 feet can end the day if you are without replacement line.

When it comes to reels, the Lindgren Pitman S-1200 electric reel is the reel of choice on the Booby Trap. The LP is a deep dropping fishing machine that also has the strength and drag system to handle big warsaw grouper and swordfish. You can also hand crank tilefish and grouper on conventional tackle but it is a long way up and down.


Reel Crankie in action.

The Reel Crankie is a must have, great product that can assist in getting your rig up from the bottom fast. It’s not made for fighting fish but for retrieving your heavy weight and empty hooks when you don’t catch a fish. It does a great job of winding up all the line, instead of you wearing out your arm on empty hooks. The Reel Crankie fits on a cordless drill and clamps onto several different makes of conventional reel.

You can also deep drop with two lines but it can be tricky fishing and requires some boat handling. The more bow in the lines you have, the more likely you are to tangle your expensive gear.

What Bait?

Over stuffing your hook with bait can result in fewer hookups. It is more important to get less bait nicely hooked rather than too much bait, which will result in missed fish. Avoid hard, bony, bulky baits that can push a fish off the hook. Softer baits like fish fillets and squid will result in better hook ups. Larger squid are usually tougher and stay on the hook better than the small ones. I like to take a 12–16 inch squid and cut chunks for tilefish. Squid wings work well too but not as a whole squid or chunks.

Preparing Your Catch

Gut your grouper and tilefish ASAP for better table fare. These fish eat lots of shellfish, which can result in some nasty strong tastes in the meat if not taken care of properly.

Wash down your fish after gutting them and keep on ice. Try and keep cooler drained at all times so the fish don’t soak in water.

Connor Weigelt holds up a beautiful colored tilefish.Go Get Them

Now you’re ready to go out and find your own tilefish and grouper. The entire continental shelf from Texas to Louisiana holds great bottom structure, supporting tons of deep water species.

Some fish stay directly on top of structure, some live on the walls, slopes and drop offs and some species are found on flat bottoms. Don’t forget to mark your hook ups on your GPS and keep a track record of your best catches. This is the best way to build and notice patterns on the different fish.

It is a fun way to spend the day with miles and miles of perfect habitat for multiple types of great eating fish. You never know what you will come up with and that alone makes deep dropping fun in itself.

Brett Holden is the captain of the Booby Trap, which holds the record for largest swordfish in the Gulf of Mexico. Holden is a pioneer in daytime swordfishing along the Texas coast; he holds numerous billfishing records and shares his deep drop techniques every year at the Texas Swordfish Seminar. 

Texas Billfishing Lures

July 1st, 2014

Four top captains talking about the Texas billfishing lures that are always in their spread and should be in yours, too.

texasbillfishing Texas Billfishing Lures

Moldcraft Wide Range

moldcraftwiderangeblkpurp Texas Billfishing Lures

Moldcraft Wide Range with black/purple skirt. (no. 26)

Capt. Darrell WeigeltCapt. Darrell Weigelt – PATRON

“My favorite lure for Texas billfishing is the Moldcraft Wide Range in black and purple. I can pull it anywhere in the spread and get good action from it in almost any condition. This lure catches a lot of big blue marlin. It is responsible for a massive 1,742-pound marlin, as well as the 80 pound line class world record blue of 1,189 pounds.”

Wide Ranges

Some of Capt. Deerman’s favorite Wide Range color combos.

Capt. Kevin DeermanCapt. Kevin Deerman – LEGACY

“On the Legacy, we have about 20 lures that I would consider our ‘A Team.’ These are the lures that have been productive for us on the Legacy and also on other boats that I have been on in years past. As far as picking a favorite, I would have to say the Moldcraft Wide Range would be my choice in any color combo. This one always finds a spot in our spread either as a lure with hooks, at the end of a daisy chain or by itself as a hookless teaser. Because it’s a soft lure we get more bites out of a fish and more opportunities at hookups.”

Marlin Magic Baby Ruckus

Marlin Magic Baby Ruckus

Marlin Magic Baby Ruckus 03/46 skirt combo at Melton International Tackle.

Capt. Troy Day

Capt. Troy Day

Owner Jasen Gast – REHAB

“My favorite lure for Texas billfishing is the Marlin Magic Baby Ruckus. It was designed by fishermen in Hawaii who catch more big blue marlin on lures than potentially any other place in the world. Run off the short or long rigger position, this lure is a proven billfish raiser for us. It creates a lot of noise in the water and pulls extremely well in a variety of weather conditions we see here in the Gulf of Mexico. Both the Ruckus and Baby Ruckus models are very aggressive and create quite the billfish attracting commotion.”

Makaira 19 - Chartreuse Paua Shell - Blue/Silver over Green/Chartreuse

Makaira 19 – Chartreuse Paua Shell – Blue/Silver over Green/Chartreuse

Brutus - Blue Paua Shell/Silver Mirror w/ Silver Eyes - Blue/Silver/Black Bars over Purple/Black

Makaira Brutus – Blue Paua Shell/Silver Mirror w/ Silver Eyes – Blue/Silver/Black Bars over Purple/Black

Capt. Brett HoldenCapt. Brett Holden – BOOBY TRAP

“Due to weather, we only have so many days to fish here in the Gulf. So if I’m chasing billfish I’m going to make it count. Makaira Pulling Lures, custom handmade lures by Justin Roper in Louisiana, are my first choice for trolling. Justin has 19 different lure heads, from slant to yap to chugger, in a variety of colors and weighted in couple different ways. My favorites are the 19, Brutus and Mars. I prefer to rig them with a single stiff or single semi-stiff hook. I’ll always the remember the first day I trolled a Makaira. We were in 400–500 feet of water and a big blue marlin inhaled the lure off the flat line right away. We ended up catching 12 wahoo and four big dolphin in an hour and a half after that first big blue. Since that day, I’ve made it a point to always have Makairas in my spread.”

Houston Yacht Club Sailor Wins the 2014 A-Class Catamaran North American Championship

July 1st, 2014

AY7Q9381 300x200 Houston Yacht Club Sailor Wins the 2014 A Class Catamaran North American Championship

Bob Webbon

A large group of international A-Class Catamaran sailors came together for a couple of days of great racing on Croatan Sound in Manteo, North Carolina. The racing was very competitive with the championship being won in the last race of the six race series.

Bruce Mahoney, the winner, has been training hard. It showed in his performance, he never finished worse than a third. Bob Webbon, a long time Galveston Bay catamaran sailor, cracked the top ten with a 7th place finish and Martin Hamilton showed the young guys that he can still bring it with 13th in the overall standings.

Two other sailors from the Houston Yacht Club sailing in the championship were Luke McAllum who finished 21st and Kevin Grice who finished 38th out of 45 boats.

David Hunt

July 1st, 2014

davidhunt 253x300 David HuntPresident of the Gulf Coast Yacht Brokers Association

David Hunt is a native of Seabrook, with a love of the water and passion for boats. That love was born early on at his father’s dealership, Gulf States Yachts, and nearly 30 years later, David is proud to continue the legacy at Texas Power Yachts.

He began his career as a yacht broker in 2007 with Lauderdale Yacht Sales, after a successful stint in real estate. He then joined Lone Star Yacht Sales as sales director, under the famed international yacht broker James Hedges and excelled in the international yacht market as the Gulf Coast dealer for Azimut Yachts and Bertram Yachts.

Also representing Benetti Yachts and Atlantis Yachts as an official international agent, David had the opportunity to perfect the art of luxury yacht sales. With his intimate knowledge of the global luxury yacht market, his clients praise him for his honesty, attention to detail and his desire to always act in their best interest.

Now in his role at Texas Power Yachts, he tries to match the right boat to the desired yachting experience. His knowledge and experience with brokerage and new boats makes him an excellent partner in finding the perfect boat.

Passionate, patient and driven, he is an Eagle Scout, president of The Gulf Coast Yacht Brokers Association and an active third-generation member of Lakewood Yacht Club. When he isn’t at the office, he is on the water in his Boston Whaler with his beautiful fiancé, Lindsey, or enjoying spending time with his family and friends at Lakewood.

How long has the Gulf Coast Yacht Brokers Association been in the area?

Since the early 1980s.

As the president of that organization, what are your duties and responsibilities?

As president, I am responsible for presiding over all or the meetings of the GCYBA, as well as planning all of the meetings and special events. There are also specific committees, and duties placed by the board of directors. I also spend time promoting our organization in the Bay Area, as well as the state of Texas.

If you could own any boat what would it be?

Bertram 64 Convertible. My father had several Bertram and Hatteras yachts when I was growing up.
To many people buying a new boat can be a daunting process; could you walk us through the steps of purchasing a boat?
It can be a daunting process and the first step is to find a broker you can trust. The broker members of the GCYBA are all held to an ethical standard, as well as many being Certified Professional Yacht Brokers.

Brokers have resources available to them that most buyers do not have. We have access to multiple listing services, as well as boat information and knowledge that can save time in narrowing the search to meet the buyer’s needs. We can also assist the buyer by helping them define what vessel they want as well as defining vessels that will fit their needs.

Once the boat is selected, the broker will assist them with presenting an offer to the seller and negotiating a price, and terms.
A broker can assist the buyer in finding a qualified marine surveyor to survey the vessel and give an expert opinion of the condition and value of the vessel.

Once the survey is competed, the broker will assist the buyer in the closing phase of the process, helping with titles, documentation and closing documents. This will help make sure that everything flows smoothly, resulting in a happy experience for all parties.

What’s your favorite movie?

Pulp Fiction

What changes do you see for the boating industry in the next 3 to 5 years?

In our Texas market the industry would be greatly changed with the adoption of a sales tax cap on boats. Florida passed a bill in 2010 that limits the sales/use tax on boat sales to $18,000. By capping the sales tax on boat priced more than $300,000, Florida saw a dramatic increase in sales, as well as direct revenues to marine businesses such as marinas, shipyards, etc.

Currently sales tax in Texas is 6.25 percent on boats under 65 feet and 8.25 percent on vessels over 65 feet. A sales tax cap in Texas would increase the number of boats in the area, as well as much larger boats entering the state. The local economy of our area would see dramatic increases in marine related jobs, as well as the other businesses that profit from the marine industry, such as restraints, marina’s and yacht clubs.

We are also seeing some great new designs in both sail and power yachts, and many new advances in performance, clean engines, and hybrid technology.

How many yacht brokers are in the area? 

Around 60

What do you like to do for fun when you’re not working?

I spend a lot of time on the water in my Boston Whaler with my fiancé and friends. I also enjoy spending time at Lakewood Yacht Club with my family and friends.

Ole Evinrude

July 1st, 2014

evinrude 200x300 Ole Evinrude

An early model Evinrude motor. Check out Acie’s Outboards in Dickinson, they have a cool collection of vintage outboards.

The story of how ice cream changed the way we move on the water

Do you remember the first time you tried to start an outboard motor? Grab the handle and give it a tug, and, if you were lucky, it started on the second or third pull.

Back in 1907 Theodore Roosevelt was president, the Chicago Cubs beat the Detroit Tigers 4-0 to win the World Series and a young Norwegian immigrant was working hard on a new invention that would revolutionize the boating industry.

Ole Evinrude liked to build things. He was fascinated with the new internal combustion engine and he saw the potential for a new idea that would one day make him famous.

Ole Evinrude started out as a mechanic and a pattern maker. After moving to Milwaukee he formed a company, Clemick & Evinrude. The sole purpose of this company was to manufacture standardized engines for the small automobile builders that were springing up all over the area.

After a while the business failed and Evinrude went back to pattern making in a small shop outside Milwaukee near the Kinnickinnick River. One hot August afternoon Ole and his lady friend, Bess, went on a picnic with friends. They rented a little boat and rowed out to an island on a lake near town. During lunch Bess expressed her desire to eat some ice cream. The closest town was a mile away. Ole rowed back to town, got some ice cream and then headed out for the long row back to the party. Along the way the ice cream melted. As soon as the picnic was over, he dropped Bess off at her home and he went back to the shop and started working on his invention. The rest is history.

A short time later Ole took his new invention down to the Kinnickinnick River and rented an old row boat for 50 cents, which was a lot of money in that day. He strapped on the engine and then fired it up. To everyone’s amazement, the new invention worked, it pushed the little row boat around at five miles per hour. People stopped what they were doing and looked on in wonder as Ole demonstrated his new engine. The next day he loaned the engine to a friend who was going fishing. Later that day the friend came back with 10 orders for the new invention.

Ole married Bess. He started a company and they formed a perfect team. He was the mechanical genius and she handled the marketing and sales.

The Evinrude name has been associated with outboard motors for over 100 years.

Evinrude E-TEC was the first outboard engine technology to win the American Environmental Protection Agency 2004 Clean Air Excellence Award. Chances are you have owned an Evinrude at some point in your life. Today all Evinrude motors are built and assembled in Sturtevant, Wisc., south of Milwaukee.

Leukemia Cup Regatta At HYC raises $135,344

July 1st, 2014

lkcup4 300x200 Leukemia Cup Regatta At HYC raises $135,344

Laura Masterson at the helm.

The Leukemia Cup Regatta at Houston Yacht Club is now history, raising $135,344 to fight leukemia, lymphoma and other blood cancers in a thrilling series of sailing events that combines the joy of boating with the important task of raising money to fight disease.

Since its inception, the Leukemia Cup Regatta has raised millions of dollars for lifesaving research and patient services, bringing help and hope to patients and their families.  This year 63 boats participated in the regatta.

The Texas Gulf Coast Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society congratulates and thanks everyone who participated, noting that this year’s event raised $14,000 more than last year.

Funds raised support the mission to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

Texas Offshore Fishing in a Smaller Boat

July 1st, 2014

mahimah Texas Offshore Fishing in a Smaller Boat

Look for dorado under weed mats and floating debris.

Prime Time to Take Your Smaller Boat Offshore

shrimpboat 300x225 Texas Offshore Fishing in a Smaller Boat

Shrimp boats can inspire a frenzy of fish activity.

By Capt. Joe Kent

There are many anglers with boats capable of making offshore trips during periods of good weather; however, a large percentage of them are apprehensive about venturing beyond the jetties.  July and August probably are the two best months of the year for the smaller boats to make a Texas offshore fishing trip.

Barring an event in the Gulf, the weather is the most stable of the year and the winds tend to be lighter on average than most months. Just about every pelagic fish that visits the Texas Coast is within easy range of smaller boats with limited fuel capacity during July and August.

The conditions are good and the fish are there, so what is keeping you from making that first trip to battle a king mackerel, ling, Spanish mackerel, shark or Dorado?  For me, it was a lack of information on where to go, how to fish and what equipment would be needed.  Sure, the big boys with boats over 30 feet in length knew all of that stuff; however, for us bay fishermen with smaller boats we just did not know a king fish rig from a bottom rig.

In sharing some of my first experiences and frustrations with you, it is hoped that you will learn some of the basics of offshore fishing and, if your boat is suitable for a run of 10 to 15 miles out, you will give it a try.


My first trip into the new world of offshore fishing came in late June of 1972.
The first big issue was preparing my boat for the trip.  We had all of the safety equipment required and a C.B. Radio for so-called ship to shore communication.  Several extra six-gallon tanks of gas were on board and we had a good compass.

Extra water was carried along and a good first aid kit.

While all of that was necessary, the one thing we did not think about was extra anchor rope.  Anchoring in 50 to 70 feet of water requires much more rope than at 12-foot depths.

Our biggest mistake was in the fishing equipment we chose.  Our tackle was too heavy.  We took “broom-stick” rods equipped with large reels filled with 80-pound test line.  After all we were fishing offshore and the fish are big and require heavy equipment.  That is not the case for the near shore waters.

Bait and riggings were the next big mistake.  We only had bottom rigs typically used for red snapper and squid and cut mullet were the baits we brought along.

When we anchored at a spot 10 miles out of Freeport called the Middle Bank, other small boats were fishing there also, some trolling others anchored.  We were close enough to other boats that we could see their fish and all were having a field day catching kings, bonito and sharks.   Our bottom rigs produced hard heads, small snapper and lot of other bottom feeders.
Little did we know that the action came from baits floating near the surface?

After that trip we started becoming knowledgeable about how to fish offshore and here are some tips to help you with your first trip.

First and foremost is safety.  Keep a close eye on the weather and if potentially threatening conditions are in the forecast, reschedule your trip.  There are a lot of days during July and August that are excellent for heading offshore in a smaller boat.

Next equally as important is the condition of your boat.  Regardless of size, is it seaworthy, does it have the proper safety equipment and fuel capacity?  As a general rule you should carry 30 percent more fuel than you estimate using for your trip.

Type I PFDs are a must also.

Now, let’s concentrate on the fishing.  If you have not been offshore before, it is quite different from inshore fishing.  A good trout rod will suffice if the reel can handle 20 to 30-pound test line.

Kingfish are common offshore. Drift a ribbonfish or sardine rigged on a wire leader to find them.

Kingfish are common offshore. Drift a ribbonfish or sardine rigged on a wire leader to find them.

Wire and coated wire leaders with either single 6/0 to 8/0 hooks baited with fin fish or two to three hooks for ribbon fish are needed.  Weights are used only if the current is so strong that the bait stays on top of the water.  Ideally the baits consisting of sardines, ice fish, cigar minnows or ribbon fish should be suspended just below the surface.

A gaff and a club are needed as a landing net will not work for kings and many other surface fish.

Areas within 10 to 12 miles that are best for newcomers are the wells and platforms.  One of the best ways to fish them is to motor up to the platform and drop your baited line overboard.  As your boat drifts away, the bait will stay just below the surface. Be prepared for a vicious hit as kings and other surface fish don’t nibble but usually strike hard at your bait.

When you gaff your fish, use a club or other blunt instrument to stun the fish by hitting it in the head.  This makes it easier to place the fish in the ice chest and avoids your catch flopping around on the floor of the boat and avoids damage to your equipment.

From mid-July on, anchored shrimp boats also are excellent spots to drift using the same technique as drifting surface structure.

Once you get a trip or two under your belt, other techniques will surface such as trolling baits or bottom fishing.  For the first trip or two, stick to drift fishing wells, platforms and anchored shrimp boats as other methods and techniques will catch your attention as you progress in offshore fishing.

Boating With Man’s Best Friend

July 1st, 2014

dogandwoman 200x300 Boating With Mans Best FriendKeeping Your Dog Safe Onboard Your Boat

Summer is here and if you plan to take your dog for a cruise, the following safety tips can make you and your pet more comfortable and secure while on the lake, in the bay or off shore.

1. Visit the boat with your pet prior to your trip. Let your dog get acquainted with the boat before going out on the water.

2. Bring a first-aid kit. The Humane Society of The United States suggests you bring an antibiotic ointment for minor scrapes and have a good supply of any  medications your dog may require.

3. Check local laws about dogs and boats. Regulations can vary by state and if you plan to enter international waters, research laws regarding dogs.

4. Keep your dog’s first outing brief. If it’s your dog’s first time to go out, have a quick trip so there is adjustment time to the vessel’s movement. A dog can get seasick, just as humans can.

5. Develop a plan in case your dog falls overboard. Talk about your plan with crew and guests before you leave the slip.

6. Invest in a life jacket. Even at the dock a dog can fall overboard and although most dogs can swim, your pet may panic and not be able to get to where he can be lifted out of the water. It’s important for your dog to have a life jacket anytime it’s on the boat. The Hedz Up Pets Watercollar™, a new product on the market, easily attaches to your dog’s properly-fitted collar. Straps drop away from your dog’s neck, providing all day comfort and ease of movement. This floatation device is designed to keep your dog’s nose above the water. The Hedz Up Pets Watercollar™ is available locally at Encore Resale and online at

7. Other reminders. Allow time for potty breaks or make arrangements onboard. Summer heat can take a toll on animals so make sure your dog stays hydrated. It’s a good idea to carry your pet’s medical records with you and always remember… boating is a fun experience so make it enjoyable for your pet as well as the humans on board!


July 1st, 2014

PLB 210x300 EPIRB vs. PLB

Ocean Signal PLB-1

Which is right for you?

Hello everybody! My name is Ken, and I am affiliated with a marine electronics company that has been serving the Clear Lake area for 23 years. The folks at Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine invited me to pen some content relating specifically to marine electronics – I hope you find this, and future columns, to be useful. I look forward to sharing our experience with you!

Our customers continually ask us about the difference between EPRIBs (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons) and PLBs (Personal Locator Beacons). EPIRBs have been around since the early 1980s and were designed specifically to address the needs of the commercial maritime market. PLBs arrived on the scene in 2003, and were designed for personal use. Here are the differences and similarities between the two:

Activation – EPIRBs can be purchased for either automatic or manual deployment, while PLBs can only be activated manually.
Registration – EPIRBs are registered to a vessel, while PLBs are registered to an individual.
GPS – Both EPIRBs and PLBs can be purchased with or without an internal GPS. Having internal GPS is a benefit in that rescue resources are focused in a smaller area.
Flotation – All EPIRBs float. Most PLBs will not float unless fitted with a flotation sleeve.
Operational Battery Life – EPIRBs are required to function for 48 hours continuously, while PLBs are only required to operate for 24 hours.
Strobe Lights – All EPIRBs are required to have strobe lights. PLBs are not required to have a strobe light, but many of them do.

“So”, you ask “what’s best for my application?” That of course, depends on you.

otherlocator EPIRB vs. PLB

Ocean Signal E100 EPIRB

If your vessel falls under SOLAS regulations, or is any type of commercial vessel (fishing or passenger), then the law dictates that you must have an automatically deployable EPIRB. However for pleasure craft, it is simply a matter of personal choice.

Both products bring unique qualities to the table. The ideal installation would have both an EPIRB in a “ditch bag,” and PLBs affixed to the PFDs (personal flotation device). In this way, all the options are covered. Remember that the EPIRB is registered to the vessel, so when a distress activation is received, the rescue assets are looking for a boat. However the PLBs are registered to an individual, so rescue assets are aware that they are looking for a person.

As a multi-purpose device, PLBs offer the most “bang for the buck.” You can take your PLB along with you on a canoe trip down the Comel River, hiking in the Colorado back country, or simply keep it in your vehicle’s glove box. Carry it during any outdoor activity for which you desire that extra margin of safety. Because of this mutli-tasking capability and their lower cost, many customers are opting to rely exclusively on PLBs.

Luxury Meets Ability

July 1st, 2014

truckboat 300x228 Luxury Meets AbilityRam Heavy Duty Gets Outdoorsman Nod

By Don Armstrong

It wasn’t that long ago that heavy duty pickups were relegated to the working class. Most came with stark interiors, pie tin hub caps and little else. As leisure demand has grown, so has the amenities, and the Ram brand is leading the way.

The 2014 Ram 2500 Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab 4X4 is the epitome of luxury and capability. It now comes with a larger gasoline engine option and appears to have all the bases covered. Boasting the largest displacement V-8 in the segment, the 6.4-liter Hemi can also lay claim to a whopping 410-horsepower and 429 lb.-ft. of torque.

This new gas engine doesn’t replace the standard 5.7 but rather adds to the options list that includes our favorite, the 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel. The Cummins delivers 385-horsepower and 850 lb.-ft. of grunt. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard.

Ride quality in the Heavy Duty class usually suffers due to its stiffer springs, but Ram engineers developed a rear link coil system that helps mitigate some of the unloaded jounce. If that’s not enough, a factory rear air suspension may be what the doctor ordered.

A set of 20-inch wheels aren’t just for rapper rides anymore, you’ll find them as a $1,200 option on Heavy Duties.
Another new option for 2014 is the integrated fifth wheel/gooseneck connection in the bed, a perfect, easy-to-use hookup for the Gulf Coast Mariner who occasionally likes to visit inland water.

truckinterior 300x200 Luxury Meets AbilityTowing and hauling are reasons to purchase a Heavy Duty. With up to a 17,000 pound tow rating and payload approaching 4 tons, you are sure to find the right configuration to meet your needs. Be sure to consider whether you’ll need all the muscle for trips to mountainous terrain, the highway or city. Rear axle ratios are numerous. If slick boat ramps and/or jaunts to snowy areas are in your future, a 4-wheel drive system may be worth consideration, as well.

Inside the Laramie Longhorn, you’ll find an interior that is nicer than main house accommodations at Texas’ most famous ranches. Ram’s UConnect system delivers easy-to-use communications, navigation and entertainment features that will keep you informed, connected and productive through an 8.4-inch touch screen.

The entry level price for the Ram 2500 Crew is $33,685. Our Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab 4X4 model, with the new 6.4-liter engine, starts at $52,440.

Port dredging projects get Corps of Engineers OK

July 1st, 2014

bayport 300x199 Port dredging projects get Corps of Engineers OKTwo proposed Port of Houston Authority dredging projects in the Bayport and Barbours Cut Channels have been given the go-ahead by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

When completed, the depth in both channels will match that of the Houston Ship Channel and enable both port facilities to accommodate larger ships.

The federal assumption of maintenance of the channels when construction is completed also was approved.

The improvement projects at the Port Authority’s two container terminals will deepen the channels from 40 feet to 45 feet, matching the depth of the Houston Ship Channel, so the container terminals can realize the benefits of the HSC widening and deepening project completed in 2005.

The project will also widen or realign the channels by up to 100 feet to better accommodate larger ships that are expected to call with increasing frequency.

“This is great news,” said Port Commission Chairman Janiece Longoria, “We are investing in the future of our port. The projects demonstrate our commitment to facilitating commerce. I sincerely congratulate the Port Authority staff for its diligent efforts working with PHA’s stakeholders, the community and the Corps to get these projects readied for construction.”

PHA awarded the $68 million construction contract to Orion Construction in mid-May and construction and dredging are expected to start soon and last about 15 months. The work includes modification of the existing Bayport and Barbours Cut channels and berths and increasing capacity of a placement area for future dredged material.

“PHA is pleased that we will be awarding a contract at an excellent, competitive price,” said Executive Director Roger Guenther. “Overall, the project has really progressed at a quick pace. The federal approval of assumption of maintenance, which means the Corps of Engineers will resume responsibility for the channel after PHA’s improvements, was a great team effort between the Corps and PHA on a complicated process that has taken only 18 months.”

The Port Authority is funding the projects at its sole cost to ensure the channels improvements are available as soon as possible to better accommodate larger, more efficient container ships, and in advance of the opening of an expanded Panama Canal in 2016. The work is expected to be completed in the second quarter of next year.

For more information, visit

Neil Akkerman’s New Boat

July 1st, 2014

ackermanandgrandkids 300x211 Neil Akkerman’s New BoatNeil Akkerman likes to build things. He is an engineer by training, and when he couldn’t find a good boat to teach his granddaughters how to sail, he decided to build one of his own. He launched his new boat with fun and fanfare to the delight of everyone around him. This is a great story, we hope you enjoy the interview.

When did you get the idea to build this boat?

When I was commodore of the Houston Yacht Club in 1995, the Optimist International sailing dinghy had recently become popular on Galveston Bay. The Optimist soon displaced the Sunfish as the youth sailing boat. Though there seemed to be a lot of enthusiasm among boys, I noticed that there seemed to be fewer girls sailing. All of the emphasis was on racing and almost none on simple fun sailing.

The Optimist International is a wonderful single handed youth racing boat. It is stable, responsive and not overpowered. At regattas the experienced youth sail in 20+ knots of wind.

Teaching kids to sail in an Optimist is much different that in a Sunfish. I taught my two daughters to sail on a Sunfish. We would go out sailing and I would, very casually, request help sailing the boat. They soon knew all the parts of the boat and how they worked. Before long “lazy” dad was a passenger and the girls were sailing the boat.

I noticed that it was very difficult for an adult to get onboard an Optimist with a child. I could not have used my “fun sail” teaching technique on an Optimist.

The most common teaching method with an Optimist seems to be to put the child in a boat and shout instructions. Inevitably in an emergency, shouts become even louder.

It seems that no matter how diplomatically a child is told that the instructor is speaking loudly because the wind makes it hard to hear and that the instructor is not mad at the child, the child’s first reaction is to cower down and want to go home.

Back then I knew a “coach boat” that was large enough for an adult to fun sail with a child was needed; a comfortable boat with all the same strings and foibles of the Optimist.

Are you pleased with the final product?

Yes, very much. Recently my granddaughters — with their mother, their aunt and granddad — all went out together on the boat. Later the sailing coach took out 10 beginner sailors in groups of five at a time for their first ever sail. By the way, the boat is named the EL&EM for my granddaughters.

The response from coaches is very encouraging. One of the sailing instructors said, “You have changed sailing forever. Some beginners go all the way through sailing camp and refuse to go out on a sailboat. The entire group just went out on the first day of camp.” That sounds like success to me.

It is a little early to call it a product as only one has been built. Another is under construction now. The plan is to have one for the sailing instructors to use at Texas Corinthian Yacht Club and the other at Houston Yacht Club. The young sailors swarm all over the boat. The in-your-face demand “How quickly can I buy one” from one grandmother was unanticipated. The ladies’ sailing director reserving the boat for ladies’ sailing camp was a pleasant surprise. When a friend and I took an 80-year-old gentleman for a fun sail and he commented “it has been a long time since I last boarded a dinghy, this boat is more comfortable than any dinghy I know of and many larger sailboats.”

Do you have any plans to build more boats?

Having a production mold makes it possible and practical to build more boats. I have brand named the boat “GO” which has no formal meaning but is derived from “go sailing” bumper stickers; though some guess the moniker comes from granddads obsession or grand opti or whatever….

The short answer is yes; if people want one, it will be built in much less time than the first one.

What’s In Your Bag?

July 1st, 2014

By Patty Kane

IMG 3114 138x300 Whats In Your Bag?

A life preserver is a must if you take your dog boating. The Hedz UP Pets Watercollar™ is a new device designed to keep your dog’s nose and ears above the water. It has a unique design that attaches to your dog’s collar and drops away from the neck for all-day comfort. The Watercollar is available at Encore Resale in Kemah and online at


IMG 3101 224x300 Whats In Your Bag?

A Dry Case with waterproof patented vacuum seal for your phone is the way to go when on the go this summer. It comes with an armband so you have it with you, hands free and protected. The case is crystal clear for taking photos and comes with a waterproof stereo and microphone 3 way jack. Available at Marburger’s in Seabrook.


IMG_3110Look good when fishing or just hanging out this summer in designs by Saltwater Soul. Made in Galveston by Billy Ray Wagner, the shirts come in a variety of styles and colors. Available at Marburger’s in Seabrook.



One of a kind craftsmanship and engineering built into every reel is the reason anglers regard Abu Garcia reels as the benchmark for cutting edge design. Available at Marburger’s in Seabrook.

IMG_3094Pelican™ brand containers are tough and watertight equipment cases, great for holding keys, camera, wallets or jewelry while at the beach, by the pool or off shore. Available at Marburger’s in Seabrook.


Galley Equipment Essentials

July 1st, 2014

galleypic 200x300 Galley Equipment EssentialsBy Betha Merit

When purchasing equipment for your galley, less is often more.  However, what are the essentials?  What will fit your individual style and needs?  The following guide will direct you in your quest.

1.  What are galley essentials specific to you?

The galley becomes your kitchen away from home.  You will want to recreate your daily cooking and meal style as much as possible.  For instance, coffee,  “There is nothing more satisfying than a ceramic mug full of rich, aromatic, coffee in the morning while standing at the helm,” says Brian Holt, lifetime boating enthusiast.  For him, that means finding a coffee maker that works on the high seas, bringing a mug that is not stainless or plastic, and providing good water.  Your needs can be personal and not all utilitarian.

2.  Can I use it in the space available and stow it?

In the galley everything is smaller from counters to sink to drawers. Measure your areas of workspace.  Measure your areas for stowing.  This will assist you in choosing dinnerware, utensils, appliances and accessories.  When storing, especially on open water, decide if your items need to be cushioned to keep them safe and silent.  Factor that extra space into storing, and create a system that might utilize soft-sided thermal carry bags, used for shopping in hot climates or keeping drinks cold.  Extra towels, bubble wrap or fleece are also options.  Pressure cookers shorten your cooking time, as do crock-pots.  Nesting pots, pans, bowls, and dishes will save space. Ask yourself if you have room to store it and most importantly, will you use it often?

3.  Is it break and scratch-resistant, rust resistant, non-slip?

Higher quality makes the most sense over the long haul. The most expensive items do not necessarily mean they will last the longest and stay in the best condition in a marine environment. Do as much research by reading or talking to other galley cooks or boat owners as possible.

4. What materials work best?

You will want good knives, pots, and pans for cooking.  Stainless steel is rust resistant and a great choice.  Non-stick can make wash-up easier and faster.  Bowls come in stainless steel and soft (not brittle) plastic, as do measuring cups and spoons. The markings on plastic may wear off quickly.  Quality is a good thing.

Dishware should be purchased for fitting in its cabinet or cubby, and has many options.  Break-resistant is a must.  Plastic-ware, melamine, and Corelle are options.  If you need things microwave safe that will be a criterion.  Some materials scratch more easily as well.

Cups, glasses, and stemware have a lot to do with personal preference.  Is a stainless steel coffee mug your choice, or do you prefer only ceramic, like our sailor mentioned above?  Glass is to be avoided for obvious reasons.  But this is your vessel and your style and budget.  Thicker glass is less breakable, but that rich cabernet sauvignon will present better in crystal.  You decide.

5.  What about conservation?

Using non-disposable cups, dishware, and utensils conserves on trash.  Using minimal cooking items that are easy to wash conserves on water.  Manual tools such as can openers and wire whisks, and non-electric preparation of food will conserve the generator.  Time conservation is a matter of choice, and will be a guiding factor in how you run your galley and choose your items.  Do you love being in the galley or do you prefer to make your time there short and sweet?  Lucky you, you can have it both ways, with proper planning.

2014 Texas Swordfish Seminar a Huge Success

April 29th, 2014

texaswordfishseminarcookies 2014 Texas Swordfish Seminar a Huge Success

Mike Ryan (not pictured) bought Grandma’s cookies for an impressive $36,000 at auction.

Texas Swordfish Seminar Raises a Staggering $400,000 in Support of United States Veterans

By Brandon Rowan

everydayheroes 2014 Texas Swordfish Seminar a Huge Success Sword seekers and sponsors came together Saturday, April 26 at Surfside Marina and did something incredible for our United States veterans. The 4th annual “Get Tight Sucka” Texas Swordfish Seminar by the Booby Trap Fishing team raised close to $400,000 for Everyday Heroes, an organization that helps veterans get wheelchairs, scooters and whatever else they may need without any of the red tape.

Over 200 sponsors offered up a huge array of items for both live auction and raffle, including dream sportfishing and hunting vacation packages, first-class offshore fishing gear and lures, coastal artwork, firearms, furniture and even baked goods. The proceeds from these items, and entry ticket sales, boosted the funds raised well above $350,000.

Capt. Jeff Wilson with some of the lovely raffle sales staff.

Capt. Jeff Wilson with some of the lovely raffle sales staff.

Capt. Matt Reed instructs attendees on proper bait rigging.

Capt. Matt Reed instructs attendees on proper bait rigging.

Some of the top sponsors for the seminar included Brett Holden with Holden Roofing, Mike Ryan of Ryan Services, Surfside Marina, Michael Pappas with Pappa’s Bar-B-Q, Jeremy Turner with Texas Blue Water Mafia, Chris Hoover of Ron Hoover Marine and RV, Tim Pickett with Lindgren Pitman, Scott Broussard of Diamondback Firearms, Barry Shaneyfelt of Suncoast Marine, Mike Parsons with Coca-Cola, Michael Christiansen with Moody National Bank, Brian Barclay with Performance Contractors Inc., Rocky at Roy’s Tackle and RSG Roofing Supply Company.

Capt. Brett ‘Ahab’ Holden and Capt. Travis Joyce explain how to rig a proper leader for swordfishing.

Capt. Brett ‘Ahab’ Holden and Capt. Travis Joyce explain how to rig a proper leader for swordfishing.

A huge number of people came together to make this event possible. Some of the volunteers we spoke with were Brett and Monica Holden, Josh Graves, Rory Starling, Travis Joyce, Mike Parsons, Jason Gale, Joey Lenderman, Andrew West, Clay Schoolfield, Danny Lenderman, Neely Johnson, Matt Reed, Jeffery Wilson, Vance Smith and family, Ryan Services and associates, Terry Sibbet, Dan Mathews, Chelsey Holden and friends, Colton Pratka, the off-duty Brookshire Police Department and over 20 Holden Roofing employees.

Attendees were treated to catering by Pappa’s Bar-B-Q, hundreds of pounds of crawfish and shrimp, water, drinks and inside know-how on catching swordfish from the crew of the Booby Trap themselves.

A huge amount of top notch fishing gear, like this Shimano Talica 20II were up for auction and raffle.

Heaps of world-class fishing gear, like this Shimano Talica 20II were up for auction and raffle.

Captains Brett Holden, Jeff Wilson, Travis Joyce, Matt Reed, Rory Starling, guest speaker Nick Stanczyk of B n’M, Tim Pickett with LP Reels and “Disco” Luis Herrera discussed rigging, tackle, fishing locations, finding swordfish, and everything else you need to know about daytime and nighttime swordfishing techniques. After the seminar portion, the captains brought out the tables and personally instructed attendees on all techniques presented.

The live auction that night was amazing to watch. Bidders went back and forth on some incredible items and packages. The top of item of the night, the “Make You Famous Swordfishing Trip” aboard the Booby Trap, was bought by Ron Bartee of Renovations Unlimited for a cool $37,000.

Capt. Brett Holden, the crew of the Booby Trap Fishing Team and everyone involved, from attendees to sponsors to live auction bidders, should be massively proud of what was accomplished. We urge our readers to attend and support this event in any way possible next year and every year it is put on for the sake of our veterans.

More information on the this seminar, please visit

Saltwater taxidermy by Barry Shaneyfelt Sr. of Suncoast Marine Works.

Saltwater taxidermy by Barry Shaneyfelt Sr. of Suncoast Marine Works.

A 20 pound black drum won the age six-to-ten division of the kid's fishing tournament. A mount was generously donated by Barry Shaneyfelt Sr. of Suncoast Marine Works.

A 20 pound black drum won the age six-to-ten division of the kid’s fishing tournament. A mount was generously donated by Barry Shaneyfelt Sr. of Suncoast Marine Works.

Beautiful swordfish bill art by Dan Matthews.

Beautiful swordfish bill art by Dan Matthews.



Which is the Best Trout Bait? Live Shrimp vs. Croaker

April 28th, 2014

liveshrimpcroaker Which is the Best Trout Bait? Live Shrimp vs. Croaker

By Capt. Joe Kent

For years Galveston Bay anglers have debated the topic of whether live croaker or live shrimp is the best trout bait. Each side of the debate has experience on their side and neither seems willing to compromise.

So, let’s take a closer look at this topic and present some facts that will allow those not intimately involved in the debate to decide for themselves.

Many of you have experienced the same situation that I have in that, while out on the water fishing for speckled trout and the other two of the Saltwater Big 3, flounder and reds, we would be fishing near another boat that was taking trout right and left while nothing much was touching our live shrimp.

After all, live shrimp has been known to be at the top of the list for game fish for years and here we are anchored over a reef, around the jetties or other popular fishing spot and that boat next to us is hammering trout.  After careful observation we discover that the anglers have a little fish on their line and are casting and working it like bottom-bumping live shrimp.

The little fish on the end of the line is a small live croaker and for some reason the trout schooling in the area seem to find the bait irresistible. Our live shrimp are attracting a variety of fish including a few specks; however, the big girls, yellow-mouth sows are hitting croaker.

It wasn’t until about 20 or so years ago that anglers began using live croaker for bait around the Galveston Bay Complex and, since then, the bait has competed with shrimp for the livewell.

This brings us to why croakers have become such a popular bait and how live shrimp have held their own with the competition.

sowtrout Which is the Best Trout Bait? Live Shrimp vs. Croaker

Jason Williamson with his personal best 8.69 pound, 30” trout caught in Galveston Bay.

Croakers are the natural enemy of speckled trout, especially the large sows.

For starters, it wasn’t long ago that rumors circulated that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department was going to propose outlawing the sale of live croaker for bait.  Two reasons were cited, the bait produced easy limits of specks and their popularity was pressuring the stocks of croakers in the bays. That rumor fueled interest in using small live croaker for bait.

While it is a debatable topic as to whether live bait catches more fish than artificials, it is something to consider that most successful fishing guides rarely leave the dock without it. The reason is that live bait tends to catch fish when artificials will not.  This tends to please their customers as well.

Speckled trout have an assortment of marine life in their diet; however, the age of the fish dictates its food preference.  Smaller specks tend to prefer shrimp while the larger fish choose bait fish. This is a general rule and an example to the contrary is during late spring when large trout along with other sizes concentrate on migrating shrimp.

Croakers are the natural enemy of speckled trout, especially the large sows.  During the spring spawning season, croaker will often feed on trout eggs and that does not sit well with mamma trout. The result is that sow trout will feed on croaker as a defense when the occasion rises.

Live shrimp on the other hand is debatably the most popular bait along the Texas Coast. Practically all fish have a taste for the lively crustacean and they generally are more widely available at bait camps.

While shrimp will attract larger numbers of fish, croakers tend to appeal mostly to trout, especially the larger fish, and virtually eliminate the bait snatching pan fish.

Croakers are a hardier bait and can with stand more casts than live shrimp before rolling over.  Lesser numbers of croaker are wasted as a result.

What other factors should you look for when deciding on which bait to use? If possible, from late spring through fall take both along on your fishing trip. Just do not mix them in the same live well.

The warm months tend to be best for croaker while shrimp are a year-round choice for bait. Deeper waters vs shallow shorelines favor croaker.

If croakers are not available, try small pinfish (often called “piggies”) or fingerling mullet if finfish is your choice for bait.

It is hard to go wrong with either croaker or live shrimp, so the choice is yours.


Catch a big trout? Send your pics to or post to our Facebook.

The best photos will be published each issue.

Women of the Bay

April 28th, 2014

womenofbay Women of the Bay

As mothers, wives and entrepreneurs these women of the bay all have what it takes to make it in today’s complex, hurry up world. They are all fearless, look great and love spending time on the water. And as we close in on our one year anniversary, we are proud to recognize their accomplishments. Here are your 2014 Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine Women of the Bay.

Ruthie Lambert

Occupation: Owner of Blackburn Marine

Where did you grow up and when did you come to the Bay Area? 

I was born in Clear Lake Shores and I have lived in the Bay Area all of my life.

What inspired you to choose the profession you’re in? 

My father started building sailboats in the mid 1960’s along with my older brother. Eventually all five kids joined the family business. I guess you can say it is in my blood. Following in my father’s footsteps and being successful in what I do, is what drives me everyday.

What do you like to do when you’re not working? 

I love racing our J/22 with my son Casey and pretty much anything to do with water sports. I love paddleboarding, swimming and taking evening cruises around the bay and lake on our Boston Whaler. Most of all, I love being a mother to four children, a grandmother to two granddaughters and a wife to my husband of 36 years.

What is something that people may not know about you? 

In 1976, I was part of the winning U.S. Women’s Sailing Championship, known as the Adam’s Cup. Our team was Ellen Gerloff, Janie Baldridge, alternate Rita Mathews and myself.

Joyce Lurie Maxwell

Occupation: Attorney

Where did you grow up and when did you come to the Bay Area?  

I was Born in Paducah, Kentucky and grew up across the river in Metropolis, Illinois (Home of Superman and the Daily Planet); I moved to Texas in 1972, Houston in 1975 and the Bay Area in 1989.

What inspired you to choose the profession you’re in?  

Friends encouraged me to pursue law as a career; issues continue to challenge me.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?  

Spend time on the water; sailing, kayaking, cruising or just messing around.

What is something that people may not know about you? 

Horseback riding was my passion as a youngster, my favorite pet was a goat named Prancey and I grew up shooting trap on Sunday afternoons.

Mary Evans Hoepfner

 Occupation:  Partner – Marburger’s Sporting Goods

Where did you grow up and when did you come to the Bay Area?  

I was born in Houston and moved to Bacliff, Texas when I was seven-years-old. We came to our bay house every summer and my mom finally said she was not going back to the rat race. I spent my twenties living in Houston, until 1984, when I married Todd and moved to Seabrook.

What inspired you to choose the profession you’re in? 

I didn’t really choose to be in the hunting and fishing business; it just happened. I was in accounting for many years. Our family bought Marburger’s in 2003 and here I am. I have learned a lot about hunting and fishing through trial and error. I love the people who come in our store; they always have a story to tell. We truly have the best customers in the world.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?  

I love to shop, travel and do work in my church.

What is something that people may not know about you?

I love to drive fast.  I’ve also had a dachshund all of my life. I went to the Walk to Emmaus, Walk #26.

Jackie Powell

 Occupation: Owner of Jackie’s Brickhouse

Where did you grow up and when did you come to the Bay Area?

I grew up on a small farm in Cleveland, Texas. I came to the Bay Area in 2009.

What inspired you to choose the profession you’re in?

I enjoy meeting people, socializing and being involved with the community.  What better way to do that than to own a restaurant and bar? Jackie’s is a large place but we still have our little “Cheers” group, people I know and have made friends with over the last three years and the group grows every day. We also work with the local businesses, schools and community as much as we can.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

FISHING! So much so, I started a “Ladies” only fishing tournament in April of last year. We had a awesome response from the ladies that fish, local businesses and sponsors. Everyone loved it and this year is going to be even better.

What is something that people may not know about you? 

This is a hard question because I’m a fairly open person. Most of my family and friends know me well. But I guess I would have to say it would be that I’m a country girl at heart. There is a reason they call me a southern bell.

Liz Little

Occupation: Along with my husband Kent Little, I am the owner of Little Yacht Sales and Texas Power Yachts.

Where did you grow up and when did you come to the Bay Area?

I grew up in Corpus Christi and Port Aransas, Texas and I moved to the Clear Lake Area in 1989.

What inspired you to choose the profession you’re in?

Well, Kent has been in the boat business for almost 30 years, and I have been fortunate to be able to join him since he went out on his own to open LYS and TPY. I will say what inspires me to be a part of this profession are the great people I get to work with every day. Our business is more like family and friends than associates and customers.

What do you like to do when you’re not working? 

I like to garden, sail, read, and hang out with Kent, my kids and my dogs.

What is something that people may not know about you?

While Kent and I are sailors, I grew up offshore fishing for fun and in tournaments with my dad, Jerry Webb, throughout the summers along the Texas coast.

Bella Walker

Occupation: Redfish Island Marine Boat Captain

Where did you grow up and when did you come to the Bay Area?

I grew up here.

What inspired you to choose the profession you’re in?

I love being on the water.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I like playing water polo.

What is something that people may not know about you?

I’m a certified Scuba Diver.

2014 Toyota Tundra

April 26th, 2014

2014Tundra1794Ed009 2014 Toyota Tundra

Back in the Saddle

By Don Armstrong

2014 Toyota Tundra 1794 010 2014 Toyota TundraAs the number one seller in this country, trucks are a hot ticket for manufacturers. They command the biggest return on investment, yet remain one of the easiest vehicles to build with its body-on-frame construction. So, it’s no wonder you see and hear more truck ads than any other form of transportation.

Granted; Ford, Ram and GM account for the majority of truck sales while Toyota and Nissan bring up the rear, but the folks at Toyota aren’t standing at the side of the road, it’s time to throw the Tundra hat in the ring.

The 2014 Toyota Tundra sports an all-new body and interior.  While not a complete re-do, this new truck addresses almost all of the major issues we had with the outgoing model.

The Tundra has a much tougher looking exterior, ditching the softer, rounded shoulders for a more squared-off, muscular appearance. A bigger, bolder hood and in-your-face grille say, “take that, America.”

To us, the biggest improvement was made in the interior. Simple things, like moving the audio and climate controls 2 ½-inches closer to the driver, adding the ability to interface your smartphone with the vehicle and stream internet radio are just a few of the “likes.”

Toyota has added a top-of-the-line trim level to the new Tundra line-up called, “The 1794 Edition.”  This blinged-out gun slinger oozes a western lifestyle theme and includes saddle brown seating with embossed leather and ultra-suede accents.  Matching soft-touch materials also accent the shift console, the front and rear door trim, and the instrument panel. The 1794 Edition also boasts an array of standard features that includes heated and ventilated front seats and Entune Premium JBL Audio with navigation. By the way, 1794 was the year the Texas ranch was founded and where the Tundra is built today.

What hasn’t change with the Tundra are its engine options and frame. A V-6 and two V-8’s are available. For towing, you’ll want the 5.7-liter, 381-HP V-8. With its 401 lb-ft of torque connected to the rear axle via a 6-speed automatic, this bad boy can tow up to 10,400 pounds.

And if you think the Tundra is a foreigner, think again. This truck has its roots in Ann Arbor, Mich., Newport Beach, Calif., Huntsville, Ala. and North Carolina and is assembled in San Antonio, Texas.

MSRP starts at $26,200.

Choosing the Right Marina

April 26th, 2014

marinas Choosing the Right Marina

Which Marina?

When looking for a Marina here are a few things to consider:

  • Parking
  • Fuel and Pump out Service
  • Carts to haul stuff
  • Social Opportunities: BBQ cook outs , mixers, dock parties
  • Electric, Water, WI-FI, Cable
  • Swimming Pool, Tennis Courts, other recreational facilities
  • Clean and Plentiful Bathrooms with Showers
  • Washing Machines and Dryers
  • Slips for live on boards
  • Ice: free or not
  • Pet friendly grounds
  • Distance by water to favorite cruising, racing and fishing spots
  • Distance by water or land to restaurants, grocery, and marine supply stores
  • Mechanic or yard services on site
  • Fixed or floating docks and ease for boarding
  • Covered or Uncovered Slips
  • Protection from weather and wake
  • Annual Cost of Slip
  • Payment Schedule
  • Additional fees for other services
  • Dry Stack Storage
marinamap Choosing the Right Marina


1. Bridge Harbor Yacht Club
411 Sailfish Ave.
Freeport, Texas 77541
(979) 233-2101
2. Freeport Municipal Marina
202 East 2nd St.
Freeport, Texas 77541
(979) 236-1221
3. Surfside Marina
827 Gulf Rd.
Surfside Beach, Texas 77541
(979) 230-9400


4. Galveston Yacht Basin
715 North Holiday Drive
Galveston, Texas 77550
(409) 765-3000
5. Pelican Rest Marina
7819 Broadway
Galveston, Texas 77554
(409) 744-2618


6. Blue Dolphin Yachting Center
500 Blue Dolphin Dr.
Seabrook, Texas 77586
(281) 474-2271
7. Clear Lake Marine Center
4141 E. Nasa Parkway
Seabrook, Texas 77586
(281) 326-4426
8. Marina Del Sol
1203 Twin Oaks Blvd.
Kemah, Texas 77565
(281) 334-3909
9. Portofino Marina
One Portofino Plaza
Clear Lake Shores, Texas 77565
(281) 334-6007
10. Seabrook Marina
1900 Shipyard Dr.
Seabrook, Texas 77586
(281) 474-2586
 11. South Shore Harbour Marina
2551 South Shore Blvd.
League City, Texas 77573
(281) 334-0515
 12. Waterford Harbor Yacht Club
800 Mariner Dr.
Kemah, Texas 77565
(281) 334-4400
13. Watergate Yachting Center
1500 Marina Bay Drive
Kemah, Texas 77565
(281) 334-1511
14. Kemah Boardwalk Marina
555 Bradford St.
Kemah, Texas 77565
(281) 334-2284