Galati Yacht Sales
Quantum Sails
Sea Lake Yachts
South Texas Yacht Service
Blackburn Marine
East Bay Shoal Draft Boats
Marina Del Sol
Seabrook Marina
Laguna Harbor
Sundance Grill

Starship Marina and Boatyard

star ship slips Starship Marina and Boatyard

Accommodating boats of all kinds, from sportfish to sailboats

Starship Marina and Boatyard features a 75 metric ton Marine Travel Lift to accommodate large boats.

We provide environmentally clean facilities, protecting our Texas coastal and inland waters from pollution. We make it easy so you can spend more time enjoying your boat.

Located on the channel between Clear Lake & Galveston Bay- we are just 1/4 mile from the Kemah Boardwalk on FM 2094.

starshipsail Starship Marina and BoatyardBoatyard

  • 75 metric ton travel lift
  • Professional technicians and craftsmen on site
  • Self service available
  • Gate to ensure boat security

Marina

  • Covered boat slips – electricity included

Launch Ramp

  • Concrete launch ramp

Dry Storage

  • On your trailer or on blocks & stands
  • From $69/month

Call 281-334-2121 or visit www.starshipmarina.com

1206 FM 2094 Clear Lake Shores, TX 77565

Down South Lures’ Mike Bosse

mike bosse dsl Down South Lures Mike Bosse

Mike Bosse with a big trout caught on a Down South Lure in red shad.

Interview by Brandon Rowan

Where are you from?

I was born is Cypress, Texas. We moved to Chappell Hill when I was four years old. I grew up there and went to Brenham High School. We grew up fishing ponds, the New Year’s Creek and the Brazos River. Eventually, we graduated to fishing Lake Conroe, Fayette, and Gibbons Creek before I got bit by the “saltwater bug.”

DSLkickin Down South Lures Mike Bosse

Down South Lure in Kickin’ Chicken.

Tell me about the journey that led up to the design and success of Down South Lures.

Like many people, I had an extreme love for fishing. Since I pond hopped all the time, I loved to fish for bass. This inspired me to make my first lure when I was 12 years old. I cut about 3 inches off my mom’s wooden broom handle and carved a cup out of one end to make a “popper lure.” Then I grabbed an old Heddon Torpedo, took the screw-in eyelet off the nose and screwed it into the nose of my bait. The hooks were removed from the old Torpedo, and I screwed those into the bottom of my lure. I did not paint the plug; I just tied it on and went fishing. A two-pound bass was caught that afternoon on it.

Since we bass fished big lakes like Conroe, we threw a lot of Carolina rigged sickle tailed baits in deep water. We loved the way the bait swam down off the ledges when we dragged them over humps and creek beds. We were firm believers that fish ate the bait when it was falling, more often than not. Well, fast forward about 15 years and I found a love for saltwater fishing. I noticed that most of the paddle tails and tout tails did not swim on the fall like our bass worms did. After that, I began to tinker with other plastic baits, modifying them to have action while falling. It just grew from there. More and more friends were asking me to make them baits. After that I cut my own mold design. It has grown into the Down South Lure that you see today.

Were there any unforeseen challenges or surprises have you encountered while developing Down South?

One of the biggest challenges in the lure industry is that you have to prove that your bait is different and has a place in peoples’ tackle boxes. The only way you can do that is by fishing with it, and getting it into the hands of reputable fishermen. Once they see that the bait has merit, they will begin to purchase your lure. It’s very hard to get fisherman to switch from something they have been throwing successfully for years.

Another surprise to me was that it was extremely hard to get shelf space. Going into it, I figured that if I had a good product with professional packaging, I would be granted pegs. That’s not the case at all. People have to ask for your products over and over. Then you can get a spot on the wall in a tackle shop.

Michael Naymik with a 23.3″ Galveston flounder caught on Down South Lures.

What is your personal favorite DSL lure/rigging?

I’m pretty simple. I like a 1/4 oz. or 1/8 oz. 3/0 jighead rigged with either the original Southern Shad or the Super Model XL. I throw various colors, depending on the water clarity. If I had to pick one color for all clarity it would be Chicken of the C.

What colors and riggings are best for the super DSL for big trout in the winter?

I like to go with as light a jighead as possible considering the conditions. If it is windy, or the current is moving pretty good you may have to use a little heavier jighead.  If you notice that your lure is not getting down to the bottom, and there is a big bow in your slack line, you need to go heavier. My personal favorite “big fish” colors are Red Shad, True Plum, Key Lime, and Howell’s Strawberry Wine.

What kind of retrieve do you recommend when fishing DSLs?

Retrieves can vary with the conditions as well. My personal all-around favorite is to let the bait sink to the bottom and then retrieve with a twitch, twitch, pause cadence. I think fish are more reactionary feeders, and that they do not over think when feeding. That’s how they have survived this long. The twitch, twitch, pause resembles a classic “two hop” shrimp escape. Though my bait more resembles a fish swimming, or an eel escaping to the bottom, I always think that the most natural movements get the most strikes. You will notice that most of your bites will be when this bait is falling.

Do you have a favorite fishing moment? Could be a big fish or trophy but also a special fish or situation.

I have a bunch that stick out, but probably my favorite was when I was when I located some big trout while prefishing for a redfish tournament in Galveston. I was throwing my baits against a stretch of rocky shoreline. There was a lot of bait activity on that particular rock line point, so I fired my Chicken of the C in there and caught a 5 pounder. The next cast was another solid 5 pounder. I just eased away and told myself, “I’m bringing my girlfriend here first thing in the morning.”

We got up early, and I told her I was not going to fish, just run the trolling motor. We eased up to the point and she caught 3 fish very quickly to 4 pounds on a pink MirrOlure She Dog (She loves topwater and the conditions were perfect for it.) As we approached to honey hole, I told her to cast right by that one larger rock that had a wash out behind it. She gave it a perfect cast, and within 6 twitches she had a major explosion. It ended up being her largest trout ever measuring 28.5 inches. She said, let’s quit on that cast, but I wanted a flounder for lunch. We agreed to try for 15 minutes pitching around some rocks in a spot where I have caught them before. It was only 50 yards away from the trout spot. Within 5 minutes I had the solid thump of a flounder right by the boat on my Chicken of the C lure. I set the hook, and all hell broke loose. It was a big red! I told my girlfriend to get the net because I saw how many spots it had on its side. It was absolutely covered. I told her whatever you do, do not miss this fish! I’ll never hook one like this again. She got it on the first swipe. It measured 31.5 inches and had 144 spots on it. I took close up photos of both sides of the fish, and released the beauty for someone else to catch.  We never made another cast that morning. I racked the trolling motor up and we headed back to the dock. The moral of the story is, I’ve had better days with numbers of fish, but we both broke personal records that day.

This big trout was caught on a Key Lime Super Model in Mansfield with Capt. Daniel Land.

What’s your favorite place you have fished?

If I had to pick one bay system in Texas, it would be Port Mansfield. The vast grass flats are just too appealing. The deep reefs and rocks of Galveston are a close second in the state. Poling for permit in the Florida Keys is my favorite out of state adventure.

Aside from fishing, what else are you passionate about?

When I’m not fishing, I like to hang out with friends, watch football, and BBQ while enjoying a cold beverage. We enjoy going deer hunting when we get a chance as well. Recently, I have become more intrigued with deer hunting, so my tournament partner and I have secured a deer lease in south Texas for next year.

Is there any Down South Lure news or upcoming events you’d like to let our readers know about?

Yes, always be on the lookout for new and innovating products and colors that we are working on releasing. Give us a follow on Facebook and Instagram to see all the updates. We post everything up there, and feature exceptional catches on our page. As always, we will have a booth at the Houston Boat Show in January, The All Valley Boat Show in McAllen in February, and The Houston Fishing Show in March. We always have our lures and apparel on special at these shows, so come by and get a deal. In addition, we will be doing some raffles and drawings for people that stop by at these shows. As always, you can shop all of our products at www.downsouthlures.com. See you guys soon and tight lines.

The Changing Fishing Patterns Experienced in 2017

kellyspec The Changing Fishing Patterns Experienced in 2017

Gulf Coast Mariner’s Kelly Groce caught this 26 inch, 7 pound trout on artificial in East Matagorda Bay.

By Capt. Joe Kent

Fall fishing in the Galveston Bay Complex has been undergoing changes for several years now.  The biggest factor contributing to the changes has been the warmer weather over this period of time.

Likely, the most noticeable change has been in the late migration of flounder.  Another area that has evidenced this change is trout action in the upper bays.

For fall fishing patterns to get into full swing, the water temperature needs to fall below 70 degrees.  Each year, September is looked upon as being a transition month, when at some point during the month our first cold front of the season crosses the Texas Coast.  Most years we would see ambient temperatures fall into the upper 40s and lower 50s for a short period of time; however, it would be long enough to send signals to fish to get moving.

In recent years, water temperatures have barely fallen below 80 degrees in September, which continues the summertime mentality in fish.  This year it was well into October before the Galveston Bay Complex got into the low 70s.

By October, flounder should start showing signs of movement and trout action in Trinity and other bays would pick up.  Bird action has been one of the traits of October, as seagulls would work the bays feeding upon shrimp driven to the surface by schools of feeding fish, usually speckled trout.

A number of anglers sent notes or called in expressing concern over the lack of activity on specks and flounder.  Now, while there were those concerns over two of the big three, reds continued to offer excellent action.  September is usually prime time for reds around the jetties and in the surf and 2017 was no exception.  In fact bull and slot reds saved the day for fishermen during September and October.

We just have not had the strong cold fronts to hit until after October.  Until a few make their way here, fall fishing patterns will not get into full swing.

A good example of how the weather patterns have changed and affected fishing was in the new flounder regulations that came out several years ago.  Known as the Special November Rules which limit the bag limit on flounder to two fish and prohibit gigging for flounder, they applied only to the month of November.

Early on, it was noted that the annual flounder migration, for which the rules were designed to protect, continued well into December.  When written, the flounder run usually peaked around Thanksgiving and was followed by a steady decline of fish moving out of the bays.

Soon, the rules were extended to mid-December, as the migration continued well into December.  Interestingly, the Special November Rule prohibiting taking flounder by gigging ended December 1 but the two-fish limit continued.

One of the most experienced Galveston area flounder guides, a long time fisherman who has been keeping logs on flounder for decades, always said that the peak of the flounder run occurred between the Full Moons of October and November.  A few years ago, he revised his observation and pushed it forward due to the warmer weather.  Now the peak is between the Full Moons of November and December.

While the flounder run is the most obvious change, speck action follows close behind, as now we are seeing the fall pattern start in November and run well into December or early January.

January 2018 should be an interesting month for fishing if we do not have any significant freezes beforehand. While most flounder will have migrated each year there will remain a number of flounder that decide to stay in the bays.  The key is food.  If bait is available, we will see them hang around until enough marsh emptying northers blow through to send the small fin fish and crustaceans to deeper waters.

At that time, trout will be starting their winter patterns.

A New Beginning

Cruzfish2017 A New Beginning

Mike Johnson, Juan and Addie Cruz after a good day with Capt. Dillman.

By Capt. David C. Dillman

Spec-tacular Trout Adventures832-228-8012

can’t tell you how many times lately I have heard the phrase: “ I will be glad when this year is over.” For all of us that live on the coast of Texas, this is so true. South Texas coastal residents are still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Here on the Upper Coast, the destruction left by the flood waters from Tropical Storm Harvey is still daunting. What has become a normal routine is still not “normal” for a lot of us that reside on the coast of Texas.

What is normal? The first two weeks of January is the annual Houston Boat, Sport and Travel Show. In its 63rd year, the show begins January 5, 2018 and runs through January 14. It is the largest indoor show of its type on the Gulf Coast. It features something for everyone that attends. I will be at the Eagle Point Fishing Camp booth during the show. While you are there, please stop by and say hello!

Maintain Your Ride

January/February is the time to get your boat ready for the upcoming season. Before one knows it, springtime on the Upper Coast will be here. You should perform all your required maintenance on the boat and engine. If it needs to go to a repair facility, don’t hesitate. They get busy and the earlier you get it in, the better chance it will be ready by March. If you are mechanically inclined, order all your parts now. They can become scarce during high demand times.

Hot Cold Fishing

On the fishing scene, the trout population is really good. However, there is a noted decrease in the overall size. TP&W has deemed the trout fishery is good and recommended no changes in the current bag limits this coming year.

The catches of redfish have been “off the chart.” Redfish have been plentiful throughout our bay system, along with sheepshead and black drum.

This January/February, fishing should continue to be good, before and after cold fronts. The Northwest reaches and the West side of Galveston Bay will offer your best opportunity for speckled trout and redfish. As the sun rises and sets, this side of the bay receives the most sunlight. The water remains a tad bit warmer than other areas of the bay, thus holding the fish. Also, during passages of cold fronts, the adjacent water is deeper and offers protection to the fish. Eagle Point up to the Seabrook Flats, Sylvan Beach, Tabbs, Burnett and Scott Bays will be the places to fish. West Galveston Bay will also see its fair share of fish.

Live shrimp this time of year will be in short supply. Few, if any bait camps will have some, much less even be open. You can always call Eagle Point Fishing Camp to check on their bait supply. Usually, they hold live shrimp all year. Hopefully we will have a “mild” winter, and avoid a major freeze!

Warming Drinks and Food Bowls

By Betha Merit

Houston, we had snow! And what a year it was. We started with hosting the Super Bowl, went on to survive Hurricane Harvey, won the World Series and then had snow that delighted hearts with our winter wonderland morning after. Bottom line for this column is that we got to enjoy some cold weather. And now we need some warming up.

There are a great variety of hot drinks to be enjoyed, and a touch of hooch make them especially fun to be shared with friends or when entertaining. One of my favorites is heating up eggnog and sprinkling with nutmeg then adding a shot of whiskey or rum. Many hot drink recipes can be made without the alcohol if you have minors in the crowd.

My friends know me for cooking healthy, simple one pot dinners, a lot. They are easy, filling, feel warm in the hands while eating, and have been dubbed as, “pure sustenance.” The basic recipe is to brown a pound of ground meat (chicken, turkey, beef, bison, lamb, etc.), add spices and herbs to the browning with a dollop of olive oil. Then cut up and toss any veggies from the fridge into the pot, or add bags of frozen veggies from the freezer. Additional items might be quinoa, wild rice, potatoes or sweet potatoes. These last additions may be pre-cooked or added raw to the browned meat and veggies; you just adjust the water amount for what you add. If pre-cooked, you may add the veggies and any of the extras with a few tablespoons of water and cover with a lid.

bison bowl Warming Drinks and Food Bowls

One-Pot Bison Bowl

  • 1 pound ground bison
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced onion (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 Tablespoon dried minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of your favorite dried green herb (thyme, dillweed, basil, etc.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste (optional)
  • 3 small Mexican gray squash, chopped (any green squash will work)
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups cooked wild rice blend
  • 2-4 Tablespoons water or any broth
  • 1/2 bag of frozen kale
  • salt and pepper to taste.

In a large skillet sized pan, drizzle olive oil as pan heats. Brown bison, onion and garlic on medium to high heat until crumbly. Add herbs and spices and optional tomato paste. When blended, lower to medium heat and move the meat to the edges of the pan to form a circle with an open middle, add the squash and frozen kale to the pan, pouring the liquid over the top and covering with a lid. After about 20 minutes of good simmering, add the cooked rice and stir everything together. Cook another few minutes, adding liquid if needed. Salt and pepper to taste.

tequila hot chocolate Warming Drinks and Food Bowls

 

Tequila Hot Chocolate

  • 1 ounce tequila
  • 6 ounces hot chocolate (your choice on how you make it)
  • 1-3 Tablespoons whipped cream
  • dash of chili powder for garnish.

Add tequila and hot chocolate to a glass. Garnish with a hearty dollop of whipped cream and a dash of chili powder.

Warm-You-Up Hot Toddy

  • Boiling Water
  • about 5 whole cloves per drink
  • 1 lemon wheel
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 3-4 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 ounces scotch (or any whiskey)

Fill a mug with boiling water and let stand to heat up. Meanwhile stick the cloves in the lemon wheel. Now empty the mug and fill just over half way with fresh boiling water. Add the brown sugar, stirring to dissolve. Add the lemon wheel and stir. Now add the lemon juice and scotch and stir once more. May remove the lemon wheel and attach to side of mug.

1st Annual Ladies’ Night at West Marine Rig Shop

judy mission WM 1st Annual Ladies’ Night at West Marine Rig Shop

Kemah West Marine’s check presented to Judy’s Mission.

West Marine in Kemah hosted Ladies’ Night in the Rig Shop, and a benefit for Judy’s Mission Ovarian Cancer Foundation on Thursday, Nov. 9. It was an evening filled with education, fund-raising and good times to empower women to be confident boaters, to connect ladies with a shared passion of being on the water and to educate them (along with their first officers who attended) about early symptoms of ovarian cancer.

Judy’s Mission Ovarian Cancer Foundation was created in 2010 to honor Judith (Judy) Liebenthal Robinson, Ph.D., a NASA scientist and avid sailor at Lakewood Yacht Club. Despite habitual exercise, a consistently healthy diet, and regular medical examinations, Judy was diagnosed with advanced stage ovarian cancer and died within a year. While battling ovarian cancer, it was Judy’s mission to raise awareness about the vague symptoms and ineffective screening procedures associated with ovarian cancer. She inspired all who knew her; and as a result, friends (many from Lakewood Yacht Club) came together to create the Judy’s Mission Ovarian Cancer Foundation a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Along with lots of food, and spirits provided by cosponsor Railean Distillery of San Leon, West Marine Rigging associates Suzanne Kutach and Randi Miller taught knot tying and dock-line instruction, while Rigging associate Josh Gray (with his wife Angie) spiced up the evening in ‘Pirate’ regalia.

rigging table 1st Annual Ladies’ Night at West Marine Rig Shop

Knot tying and dock line instruction at the rigging table.

With ‘Rigging Solutions’ donated by the West Marine Rig Shop (Tide-Minder Soft Shackles, Dyneema Cleat- Extender Loops and Shackles, and Sailboat Rigging Inspections), as well as donations from the 2017 Harvest Moon Regatta, $1,255 was raised in silent auction for Judy’s Mission Ovarian Cancer Foundation.

“Although Ladies’ Night was our first event of its kind,” said West Marine Rig Shop Manager Franklin Viola, “The overwhelming enthusiasm and support by local lady sailors will certainly not make it the last!”

Plastic in Paradise Part II: Microplastics

plastic shard Plastic in Paradise Part II: Microplastics

Colorful, tiny and abundant, microplastics enter the marine system as fragments, film, fiber and microbeads and may stay in the ocean for thousands of years. (Photo courtesy University of Florida IFAS Extension, Florida Microplastic Awareness Project)

It may be in the oysters we eat, the water we drink and in the air we breathe.  There’s no magic way of getting rid of it.  And, it seems the Gulf of Mexico’s most pervasive plastic pollutant may be literally on our backs.

By Janice Van Dyke Walden

For years, scientists have reported on the extent of plastic pollution in far-off places of the world.  But a new effort is revealing just how extensive “plastic soup” is in the Gulf of Mexico.  In the first citizen-scientist effort to document the extent of microplastic pollution in the Gulf of Mexico, volunteers and scientists are finding that these permanent fragments are in nearly every sample they take.

The low-level collection method of dipping one-liter water bottles and collecting sediment in one-gallon bags is also showing that microplastics are just as extensive in urban areas as they are in remote locations of the Gulf.

2017 10 09 09.07.07 300x300 Plastic in Paradise Part II: Microplastics

Plastic fibers float in a sample collected in Galveston. Photo courtesy Turtle Island Restoration Network, Galveston.

Microscopic trash

Most microplastics are created when sunlight or wave action breaks down larger pieces of plastic debris into tiny, even microscopic bits.  Colorful and abundant, they enter the marine system as fragments, film, fiber and microbeads.  Lifted in the air, washed from our landfills, or drained from our sinks and washing machines, they end up in our oceans for thousands of years where marine life ingest or adhere to it.

Through a microscope, Theresa Morris has observed baby shells living among microplastics and algae living in Styrofoam.  As a citizen-scientist coordinator based in Galveston with the Turtle Island Restoration Network, she’s one of the scientists involved in creating a more complete picture about the extent of microplastics in the Gulf of Mexico.  “The research is so new, we don’t know how bad it is,” she admits.  Although Morris and volunteers have analyzed just a few samples on Galveston’s beach, she’s convinced that more investigation needs to be done with funding behind it.  Each sample she’s examined contains some form of microplastic.

In the course of her PhD thesis, Caitlin Wessel has seen microplastics in hundreds of samples she’s collected, from the Texas-Mexico border to the Florida Keys.  As she   finishes her doctorate, Wessel works as the Gulf of Mexico Regional Coordinator for NOAA’s Marine Debris Program based in Mobile, Alabama.  Her two years of degree work collecting samples from water, beach sand and coastal shelf material show just how prevalent tiny bits of plastic are, even in the most unlikely locations.

Wessel got curious about microplastics four years ago during a moment offshore Louisiana.  While helping a fellow grad student off Louisiana’s uninhabited Chandeleur Islands, Wessel found herself picking bits of plastic out of seagrass cores.  It’s not what she expected to find 30 miles offshore at the nation’s second oldest National Wildlife Refuge.  “That got me thinking,” Wessel recalls.  “This is supposed to be a pristine habitat, but there’s all this trash out here.”

Volunteers dipping one-liter bottles are finding microplastics in the most remote locations of the Gulf Coast. (Photo courtesy University of Florida IFAS Extension, Florida Microplastic Awareness Project)

Fiber, fiber everywhere

Around that same time, Dr. Maia Patterson McGuire started wondering if microbeads were present in the ecosystem she works in.  Found in toothpaste and exfoliate healthcare products, the tiny beads of plastic rinse off, go down the drain and into the stream chain.  Because they are so tiny, most wastewater treatment facilities pass microbeads.  When McGuire, a University of Florida Marine Biologist, began her citizen-science investigation in 2015, there was no law forbidding the production of microbeads, and not very much was known about their impact on marine life.  With a grant from NOAA, McGuire trained and equipped 16 partner organizations that organized 130 volunteers to collect water samples along the entire coast of Florida.  McGuire was looking for the tiny microbeads.  Instead, she found a different, more prevalent plastic: plasticized fiber, the kind used in synthetic clothing and other products.

“It could be nylon, it could be acrylic, it could be polyester, it could be the plant-based plastics like rayon or a polymer that is made from cellulose, but still a plasticized product,” says McGuire.  Without access to more precise equipment, “we can’t tell just what kind of fiber it is,” she says.  But what she does know is that the fiber is manmade, it’s widespread, and it’s not going away.  “There seems to be an equal-opportunity of finding plastics in water samples regardless of where they are collected.”

Erik Sparks agrees.  At Mississippi State University, he is the collection point for all the samples taken in this citizen-scientist project.  Working with Morris, Wessel, McGuire and other partners along the Gulf Coast, he’s seen the results of hundreds of samples, from Corpus Christi, Texas to the Florida Keys.  In the two years of data reporting, Sparks is finding that “at least 90% of the microplastics have been fibers.  By far, the most abundant microplastics are microfibers that come off of polyester clothing.”

Clothe the world

With only so much land on earth to produce cotton and wool, polyester fiber is filling the gap, clothing a world population expected to exceed 9 billion people by 2050.   As the population soars, so does polyester production.  In the last 20 years, polyester production increased five times to 50 million tons per year.   In the next 8 years, it’s expected to nearly double to an all time high.

Fibers in bivalves

That’s not good news for the Gulf of Mexico where oysters and other bivalves live and ingest the “plastic soup”.  When they filter microplastic-infused water, plastic can stay lodged in bivalve tissue.  No one knows for how long.  Of the oysters that Caitlin Wessel found in Mobile Bay, 25% contained 3 to 5 bits of microplastic.  Beyond its disturbing presence in tissue, microplastics are also known to interfere with the reproductive and offspring performance of oysters.  A study published by the National Academy of Sciences in March 2016 explains that Pacific oysters exposed for two months to polystyrene microspheres (micro-PS) experienced decreases in diameter, oocyte number and sperm velocity.

And, microplastics’ adverse interaction is not limited to oysters.  It appears to affect all levels of aquatic life.  A 2017 report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations shows that in lab results dating to 1991, aquatic organisms experienced at least one impact through interaction with microplastics.   The impacts range up the aquatic food chain from adherence in algae to liver toxicity in fish.

That kind of exposure may affect humans.  “As plastics break down, they leach toxins that are very bad for you,” says Morris, “Like PBCs.  They’re carcinogenic.  They cause mutations in fetuses.  They also cause a lot of physiological complications in your endocrine system.  Fish eat them, and so, when you eat fish,” she explains, “you are eating meat that has had these plastic toxins leached into the meat.  The research is so new; we don’t know if this is what is causing people to come down with cancer.”

Given the recent spotlight on microplastics in the media, there’s still no ceasing the trend of more people on earth.  So, the demand for plastic will be there where natural resources are spare.  Which means, microplastics will be in the Gulf of Mexico a long, long time.  “There’s no feasible way to remove microplastics from the water without basically removing every piece of life from the water,” says McGuire.  And, if that were to happen, we’d no longer have an ocean.

TAKE THE PLEDGE

McGuire used her citizen-scientist investigation to form the Florida Microplastic Awareness Project.  Each volunteer takes a pledge. You can, too.

  • Read labels on personal care products and avoid those that contain polyethylene.
  • Use paper or re-useable shopping bags.
  • Avoid using plastic drinking straws.
  • Bringing your own water bottle or drinking cup instead of buying single-use plastic beverage bottles.
  • Instead of Styrofoam, bring your own washable hot drink cup.
  • Use foil or a washable container as a to-go box.
  • Recycle as many plastic items as possible.
  • Instead of nylon, acrylic and polyester, choose more natural fabrics.

Find it at www.plasticaware.org.

HYC Youth Sailor Brings Home the Gold from China

Charlotte Rose HYC Youth Sailor Brings Home the Gold from China

Charlotte Rose – Sanya, China. Photo by Thomas Miya/Sailing Energy.

Houston Yacht Club’s Youth Sailor and US Youth World Champion, Charlotte Rose, recently returned from Sanya, China where she won the Gold Medal in the Youth World Championship competing against 374 of the world’s best youth sailors from 60 nations.

Rose raced against defending champions, Dolores Moreira Fraschini, (URU and the 2017 Youth Radial World Champion, Hannah Anderssohn (GER), pulling out to dominate the 40-boat competition.

“After a tough week of racing the fact I am a World Champion has still not set in. I find myself still astounded by my achievement even with all the best wishes and recognition I have received,” Rose said.

“It was a tough last race to win gold but I did it. I knew what I needed to do and I did it. I am especially grateful for my coaches, Rosie Chapman and Leandro Spina of US Sailing, for believing in me. I am very grateful for HYC for their positive thoughts and support from afar. The utmost thanks goes to my family who have and always believed in me and supported my dream I cannot thank them enough, they earned this gold medal too,” Rose added.

Rose earned her spot in the World Championships as the only single-handed sailor on the US Youth World Team through hard work, determination and finishing at the top in the most competitive national regattas during 2017.

Rose is a senior attending Westside High School in Houston. She has sailed in a wide variety of national and international sailing competitions including representing the USA in the International Laser Radial Youth Worlds competition in Canada, where she placed 3rd in the Under 17 category.

To learn more about the Houston Yacht Club, please visit: www.houstonyachtclub.com

Come celebrate the 19th annual 2018 Yachty Gras Extravaganza

yachtygras Come celebrate the 19th annual 2018 Yachty Gras Extravaganza

The annual fun and exciting Yachty Gras event celebrating the Mardi Gras Season begins with a week of revelry.  The celebration for the Clear Lake area starts on Jan. 27 at 7 p.m.  A welcome aboard the traditional “Kickoff Party” will be hosted by Hans Mair and Sundance Grill at Waterford Harbor.  Admission is free and open to the public.  The reception will consist of hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar and silent auction items.  All net proceeds from this event will benefit several local Bay Area charities.

The official commemorative poster was designed by artist and organizer Dr. Maurine Howard.

“The theme this year is titled “Wonder of the Sea,” Dr. Howard said.

The following weekend of Saturday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m., the Yachty Gras Grand Night Parade takes place.  “America’s largest Mardi Gras Boat Parade” will begin from the Seabrook Channel and proceed past the Kemah Boardwalk.

The elaborately decorated yachts will be throwing beads to the revelers viewing the parade along the channel route.  Parade judges will be located at Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Company.  Yachty Gras is a spectacular “Family Event” for viewing, dining, and participating in the Yachty Gras Grand Night parade.

Remember to book your hotel or bed and breakfast rooms early to enjoy a fantastic weekend of fun and excitement for the entire family.  Come enjoy some of the finest restaurants on the Gulf Coast and explore all Bay Area Houston has to offer!  As they say in Na Orleans, “Laissez les bon temps rouler!”

For additional information, please visit www.yachtygras.com or call 713 882.4040.

Boyd’s One Stop Flounder Tournament Winners

2017 was a year of big fish on the Texas City Dike. Boyd’s One Stop’s annual Flounder tournament finished up with the top three fish all weighing over 8 pounds! Congratulations to first place winner Jantzen Miller, second place Kevin Heiman and third place Nathan Chain.

jantzen miller Boyds One Stop Flounder Tournament Winners

1. Jantzen Miller 8.86 lbs, 25.5 inches.

kevin heiman Boyds One Stop Flounder Tournament Winners

2. Kevin Heiman 8.41 lbs, 24.5 inches.

3. Nathan Chain 8.34 lbs, 25 inches.

Law passed to create federal Maritime Center of Excellence designation

24276906227 3f331218f2 z 300x200 Law passed to create federal Maritime Center of Excellence designation

The fiscal year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was recently signed into law, which includes provisions from the Domestic Maritime Centers of Excellence Act (H.R. 2286). This authorizes federal designation of community and technical college “centers of excellence.” Pictured is John Stauffer, associate vice chancellor and superintendent of maritime at San Jacinto College, in the engine room simulator at the College’s Maritime Technology and Training Center in La Porte, Texas. Photo credit: Jeannie Peng Mansyur, San Jacinto College marketing, public relations, and government affairs department.

Domestic Maritime Centers of Excellence Act supported by Sen. John Cornyn and Congressman Gene Green

President Donald Trump signed into the law the fiscal year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes provisions from the Domestic Maritime Centers of Excellence Act (H.R. 2286) that authorizes federal designation of community and technical college “centers of excellence” to help provide technical education and training programs to secure the talent pipeline for the nation’s maritime workforce.

Congressman Gene Green (D-TX-29) introduced the Domestic Maritime Centers of Excellence Act. In September, the legislation was offered on the Senate floor as part of broader package of maritime provisions contained in an NDAA amendment by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX).

“San Jacinto College is positioned as a top maritime training program in the heart of one of the largest ports in the world,” said Sen. Cornyn. This legislation will benefit both national security and international trade and allow for the growth and strengthening of our maritime workforce thanks to training programs at our community colleges.”

As a Maritime Center of Excellence, San Jacinto College will expand its capacity to train domestic maritime workers by admitting more students, training faculty, expanding facilities, creating new maritime career pathways from associate degree to baccalaureate degree programs, and awarding credit for prior learning experience – including military service.

“In our district, we have a surplus of maritime jobs and not enough people with the skills and training to fill them,” said Congressman Gene Green (D-TX-29) in a press release. “The industry is continuing to invest and grow along the Port of Houston, and we want to make sure that our constituents have the opportunity to take these high skilled, middle-class jobs. This bipartisan legislation will help bridge the gap. It’s good for our local community, it’s good for our businesses, and it’s good for the American economy.”

A lack of federal government focus on domestic maritime industry technical training, maritime workers approaching retirement, technological advancements, and the expansion of the Panama Canal are all factors that affect the maritime workforce shortage. Under the provisions of the Domestic Maritime Centers of Excellence Act, the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) can support community and technical college centers of excellence by providing funding and support, technical assistance, and donating surplus federal assets for maritime education – such as marine vessels for use in training programs. Recently, San Jacinto College received support from MARAD to allow maritime students access to Ready Reserve Fleet ships to keep current with the most recent developments of the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW).

San Jacinto College has awarded more than 5,500 U.S. Coast Guard (USCG)-approved course completion certificates since 2010 and introduced the state’s first associate degree program in maritime transportation to train those new to the maritime industry. Last year marked the opening of the College’s Maritime Technology and Training Center on the Maritime Campus in La Porte, Texas, to offer more training opportunities for new and incumbent mariners.

“We are truly grateful to Sen. Cornyn and Rep. Green for supporting the important role community colleges hold in the training of mariners for the workforce,” said Dr. Brenda Hellyer, Chancellor of San Jacinto College, in a prepared statement. “San Jacinto College’s maritime program is located along one of the busiest ports in the United States. We are committed to producing highly qualified mariners and aim to alleviate the shortages occurring due to retirements and the expanding global market.”

The San Jacinto College Maritime Technology and Training Center on the Maritime Campus offers a full calendar of USCG-approved maritime courses. For more information and to register, visit sanjac.edu/maritime.

About San Jacinto College 

Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, since 1961. As a fiscally sound institution, the College currently holds bond ratings of AA and Aa2 by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, respectively. San Jacinto College is a 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Rising Star Award recipient and an Achieving the Dream Leader College. Approximately 45,000 credit and non-credit students each year benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success. The College offers eight areas of study that prepare a diverse body of students to transfer to four-year colleges or universities or enter the workforce with the skills needed to support the growing industries along the Texas Gulf Coast. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.

For more information about San Jacinto College call 281-998-6150, visit sanjac.edu or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

Catching the Dream

FBC fleet Catching the DreamAll the Fishing Boats One Could Never Own

Imagine driving the car of your dreams; perhaps a different model on any given day. The only question is, “Shelby GT350 Mustang or ZL1 Camaro?”

Now imagine choosing from a fleet of high-performance fishing boats, powered by oversized American-made Evinrude engines, and hitting the water any time of the day or night while someone else takes care of the details.

Vince Denais, founder of The Fishing Boat Club in Seabrook and lover of all things saltwater, makes the avid angler’s dreams come true.

“The Club is designed to offer fishing enthusiasts access to a fleet of boats to suit every occasion,” Denais says.

He also makes enjoying multiple fishing boats hassle-free and affordable. Using his proprietary Rugged Smart Fleet technology and partnership with Epic Boats, members pay monthly dues for the convenience of reserving premium watercraft online, and then retrieving them with the swipe of an ID for 24-hour pleasure. All for a fraction of the cost to own, insure and maintain such level of quality and selection.

Membership is available only to experienced anglers who demonstrate proficiency in boat handling.

“We’re not in the business of renting boats, but rather providing a customized service to discerning sportsmen who might already own a boat but also want to enjoy different angling experiences,” Denais adds.

Members can currently reserve 21, 23 and 25-foot center-console models with angler-preferred standard features such as trolling motors and Power-Pole anchors. Options include fiberglass T-Tops, premium and Bluetooth stereo, multiple speakers, GPS, and LED underwater lighting.

A full range of fishing watercraft, including pro angler kayaks, flats boats and family friendly angler pontoons will be available in 2018.

Seabrook Clubhouse Catching the Dream

Members enjoy a private clubhouse at The Fishing Boat Club in Seabrook.

Members also gain access to a private club environment. The Fishing Boat Club’s 1950s vintage clubhouse in Seabrook sits atop 1.3 acres of historical property first made famous by 1920s-era Muecke’s Seafood as a mecca for local fishermen. Oyster shell-piled “Muecke’s Mountain” offers 25-foot elevation views of the Clear Lake/Kemah Channel.

Denais is currently accepting applications and reservations at the Seabrook flagship location. Future expansion could include Texas Gulf Coast clubs in Anahuac, Corpus Christi, Dickinson, Freeport and Port Arthur, as well as Lafayette, Lake Charles and New Orleans, Louisiana. Membership includes access to all club locations.

Catch the dream at http://fishingboatclub.com.

What’s Behind Abnormal High Tide Levels in Galveston Bay

By Capt. Joe Kent

The most common question anglers have asked so far this fall is what is causing the abnormally high tide levels in the Galveston Bay Complex?

High tide levels are common all year long; however, their duration is almost always limited to the events that caused them, such as strong east and southeast winds, storms in the Gulf of Mexico and to a lesser degree the Full Moon Phase.

For most of October, the tide levels have been averaging two feet above normal all around Galveston Bay.  The most interesting part of this is that, while at times the normal triggering factors mentioned earlier were present, the high water levels continued after those factors diminished.

So, what is behind all of this?  Well, I checked with a Galveston area weather expert and asked that question.  The following is his theory on why the tides did not quickly recede to normal levels.

First, higher than normal tides is the new normal along the upper Texas Coast, at least for the time being.  October 2017 was one of the warmest ever in and around Galveston (since observations began in 1871).

This is reflected in the water temperatures in deep Gulf waters.  Since warm water expands, water levels will be higher than if the water temperatures were lower or in the normal range.

Also, we are seeing a residual run up of water along the upper Texas Coast, as there is some inertia built into the development of higher tide levels. Also, we still are getting a fairly robust fresh water flow from the recent record setting floods that are causing large amounts of water to flow from rivers between the mouth of the Sabine River to the mouth of the Colorado River.

Strong northerly winds will mitigate the situation by blowing the water out of the bays and back into the Gulf of Mexico.

It should be easy to conclude from the expert’s opinion given above that global warming is aggravating the situation as well.

Now, how does all of this affect fishing in the Galveston Bay Complex?  During September and October the higher tide levels hampered fishing.  Generally, when there is a change from the normal, fish react to it.  In this case we saw some negative effects on inshore fishing while the surf likely benefited from the longer stretches of water hitting the beaches.

The one area that saw the least effects was offshore where the summertime pattern continued.

For inshore fishing, the marshes and back bays were flooded and that drove redfish well into the normally shallow waters chasing bait fish and reaping the spoils of freshly covered ground where crustaceans and other small marine life were thriving.

Besides the abnormally high water levels, the record temperatures of October delayed our fall fishing patterns from getting underway.

Often I have mentioned that Columbus Day was a time when we saw signs of the onset of fall fishing patterns.  Not the case in 2017, as now I am leaning more toward Veteran’s Day as that pivotal time.

GALVESTON FALL FISHING 2017

flounder fall GALVESTON FALL FISHING 2017

The flounder run is coming!

By Capt. Joe Kent

Years ago by November, fall fishing patterns would be well under way and the annual flounder and golden croaker migrations in full swing.  This is not the case now and anglers have moved the time table ahead as a result.

While growing up around the Galveston Bay Complex, saltwater anglers looked to Columbus Day in early October as the time when they could count on the onset of fall fishing patterns.  For a number of years now, fall weather patterns have not set in until much later, usually close to November.

Fall fishing patterns are triggered by the water temperature in the bays and it is not until the readings fall below 70 degrees that we can count on much in the way of autumn fishing.

Sunlight or presenting it a different way, shorter periods of daylight, also influence fish to move into their fall feeding style.  Fortunately, while weather patterns may change, periods of daylight do not, so that is one constant we can count on in the equation.

An example of how our weather pattern has changed comes with the special flounder regulations that were set by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to protect flounder from over harvesting during their fall migration or as anglers call it the Fall Flounder Run.

The dates for the special regulations that cut the bag limit to two per day and outlawed flounder gigging were Nov. 1 through 30. Those dates were chosen because historically the flounder run was in its peak during November and by December 1, nearly over.

Quickly TPWD observed that the flounder migration lasted well into December and amended the rules to add the first two weeks of that month.

Mentioned earlier was the fact that Columbus Day was looked to as the kick-off of the fall fishing season and now that has changed.  If I were to choose a holiday that better represents the time when fall fishing is in full swing, it would be Veteran’s Day on Nov. 11.

Now, with that background, what is the outlook for this year’s fall fishing?

Let’s take a look at speckled trout first.  The record floods of late August and early September likely will continue to affect speckled trout fishing through at least the early part of November.  Trinity Bay and the upper reaches of Galveston Bay continue to have enormous amounts of fresh water pouring into them. Until that stops and salinity levels improve, don’t look for the prolific fall trout action for which those areas are famous.

On the other hand, East and West Bays should be hot spots once the water temperature cooperates.  Hordes of specks migrated out of the lower salinity areas to locations closer to the Gulf of Mexico and likely will remain until the “All Clear” signal is given to migrate north.

The fall flounder run is shaping up to be a good one this year, as a good crop of quality flat fish is in the bays and, once a few genuine cold fronts pass through, look for the passes to the Gulf to be wall to wall with both flounder and fishermen.

Redfish action has been outstanding all during this fall season.  Reds of all sizes have been caught in good numbers in the lower bays and surf.  Look for that to continue, as reds are not nearly as sensitive to salinity levels as other fish.  Once the water cools, look for the back bays and marshes to turn on.

The annual golden croaker run, which usually occurs about the time of the flounder run, has been a big disappointment in recent years.  During November large golden croaker known as bull croaker make their run to the Gulf of Mexico for spawning and are easy prey for anglers fishing near the passes into the Gulf.

While there has been some good action during the run, it has not measured up to that of 20 years ago and beyond.

In summary, it is going to take a couple of things to really trigger some hot fall fishing and those are getting the water temperature down into the 60s and eliminating the heavy flows of fresh water into the bays.

Once the water temperature drops look out!  The action will be hot and heavy.

The Galley: Thanksgiving Sides

Individual Traditions

By Betha Merit

Beyond the turkey and dressing, everybody has their favorite Thanksgiving side dishes. There are green bean casseroles, candied yams (or the mashed with marshmallows on top version), and jello salads of every kind. These recipes, which include potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce and relishes are part of a passing down of tradition, and make us feel like we are part of something that came before us.

In addition to the standards, my family has a few sides introduced in the 60’s that were non-traditional. They have stood the test of time and pop up on our tables to this day. You might be interested in starting the tradition of adding a tradition and introducing something new. I now add cheddar cheese to that bean green, mushroom soup, french fried onion favorite; never going back. Scientists say that our olfactory sense is the most primitive and memory provoking, and perhaps that’s why Thanksgiving has always been a favorite holiday. There is nothing like the smell of roasted turkey and dressing and all the et cetera’s to warm your November heart.

artichoke pie recipe 300x300 The Galley: Thanksgiving Sides

 

Aunt Janice’s Artichoke Pie

  • 1 pre-made pie crust, uncooked
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1 package frozen artichoke hearts (or several drained cans), cut in bite sized pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (or similar amount in dried or powder version)
  • 1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence or your favorite green spice
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

Saute’ defrosted artichoke heart pieces in garlic and olive oil. Season with herbs, salt and pepper. Cool slightly. Mix beaten eggs with cheeses and artichoke hearts in a bowl. Add mixture to pie crust. Bake at 350 for about 1 hour.

plate 300x300 The Galley: Thanksgiving Sides

Grandma Vera’s Zucchini, Basil, Cheese Casserole

  • 3 medium sized zucchinis shredded or chopped
  • 1/2 chopped small onion
  • 1 clove garlic minced, or comparable in dried or powdered garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoons each; dried basil and dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded colby jack

Saute’ zucchini, onion, garlic and butter in large pan until tender. Set aside and mix the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add the zucchini blend and mix together. Pour into a greased 10” by 10” baking dish. Bake uncovered about 35 minutes or longer, until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Aunt Ethel’s Yoghurt Jello Salad

  • 1 small package any flavor jello (raspberry, peach, lime, orange…)
  • 1 cup fruit in the bottom yoghurt (mix or match jello flavor)

Choose a glass serving bowl that will hold two cups, and dissolve jello in 1 cup boiling water until clear of granules. Cool 10 minutes. Whisk in the yoghurt until lumps are gone or nearly gone. Chill until set. Garnish with fruit or whipped cream if desired.

Galveston Bay’s Promising Outlook

jetty red Galveston Bay’s Promising Outlook

Jessica Riemer with a nice post-Harvey redfish. Redfish, unconcerned with low salinity levels, went on a feeding frenzy after the hurricane.

By Capt. David C. Dillman

Spec-tacular Trout Adventures832-228-8012

“Hopefully we can dodge a major weather system and enjoy this amazing time of year in Texas and the Upper Coast”

Well, the Galveston area did dodge the destruction of Hurricane Harvey’s winds, but not the rainfall. The Houston/Galveston area received upwards to 60 inches of rain and Galveston Bay became “fresh” from all the runoff. Fishing in September was non-existent, with few folks even trying their luck. As October rolled around, fishermen began plying the waters, with catches coming from the Jetties, East Bay and south of the Eagle Point area. Every tide change in October pushed the saltwater farther north into the Galveston Bay Complex. The outlook for November/December at the time of publication is positive!

November will be the month of transition for those seeking speckled trout. The trout will continue to move farther north with each tide change, but will they be in the normal areas, like Jack’s Pocket in Trinity, Tabbs, Scott and Burnett Bays? I would guess towards the end of the month, anglers should be able to catch some fish from these areas. Until then look for trout to remain in the areas they have been in October. Don’t overlook the west shoreline of Galveston Bay from Eagle Point to Seabrook. Also the western side of Trinity Bay from Dow’s Reef to the HLP Spillway. The wells in the middle of Galveston Bay and Trinity Bay, along with West Galveston Bay have the potential to produce great catches this November.

November is also the traditional month for flounder. The so called “Flounder Run” is in full force this month. Any shoreline, along any bay where drains are located is where one should concentrate their effort. The well known Galveston Channel, from Seawolf Park to the Pelican Island Bridge should be loaded up this year with flatfish! Already, some really nice flounder have been caught this October. It should only get better.

By December, we should see the Galveston Complex returning to a normal fishing pattern. The fish should be in their regular areas. The far back end of Trinity, the NW end of Galveston Bay, and West Galveston Bay will be the areas to target.

Hopefully we can dodge a big freeze and have minimal rainfall with each passing cold front. Eagle Point Fishing Camp has had a great supply of live shrimp and croaker. Their goal is to continue to have live bait throughout this year. You can always call them at 281-339-1131 to check on their bait supply. This time of year bait can become scarce, it is nice to know that you can count them to have live bait.

Misho Ivic: A Man For All Seasons

misho dock Misho Ivic: A Man For All Seasons

The man behind Misho’s Oyster Company

Michael Ivic, who the entire modern world knows as Misho, is indeed a Man For All Seasons, even by the standards and description detailed in Robert Bolt’s story of Sir Thomas More.

But maybe our story should be called, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS PLUS ONE IRON WILLED WOMAN WITH A VISION!

Misho is one of the Texas Gulf Coast’s leading oyster barons (owner of Misho’s Oyster Company in San Leon. See our September issue.) It is a company that recently had to absorb a $1.2 million loss resulting from the flood-waters of Hurricane Harvey. The fresh water deluge destroyed most of Misho’s oyster leases in Galveston Bay, reefs that will take a minimum of three years to recover. In addition, Misho lost his “Oyster House Restaurant” in Rockport, Texas which was at the epicenter of the storm.

But none of this is what Misho wanted to talk about in his cover story. Instead, Misho wants more than anything for the world to know about people, and one person in particular, who helped him to make it as far as he has, to make him who he is. For that, first you need to know Misho.

Born and raised in Croatia, Misho was schooled as an engineer and came to the United States in 1972 intending to pursue an engineering career. But like so many of us, Fate had other plans. Well actually, Fate and a loving wife named Franka, also from Croatia, who had a vision for her family. When Misho married Franka in 1972, he may not have been fully aware of just how much she would be an active partner in his life.

Misho bought an oyster boat, the Indiana and was captaining that boat from 5 a.m. – 7 p.m. every day, even after securing his engineering degree in ’76. But it was his new bride who declared they would have an oyster company. She had more than a vision!

MISHOfam Misho Ivic: A Man For All Seasons

The Ivic Family.

She forged her vision into reality with hard work and long hours as administrator of everything from sales to book keeping, scheduling trucks as well as directing the unloading of boats. A job that consistently took from 10:00 A.M. until midnight or longer. And so it was that Misho’s Oyster Company came into being. Together, the Ivics built an oyster empire and a fleet of oyster boats. Misho eventually found a captain for the Indiana, and Franka handled the business end for years until the children grew old enough to take over the helm, so to speak.

Today, the Ivics rely heavily upon family involvement to keep momentum going. Even so, Franka still keeps a close eye to this very day to make sure the company ship is steered with an arrow straight wake. And here’s a note for the romantics reading this story, Misho and Franka just celebrated their 45th anniversary!

It is a beautiful story of success, both personally and professionally; but there is still more to know about Misho. The following example is very revealing: One of Misho’s deckhands, a man named Johnny from Albania, demonstrated exceptional talent while working on one of Misho’s oyster boats, and wanted to form his own oyster company. Instead of being threatened by this as some might have been, Misho helped Johnny get his first oyster boat.  With Misho’s help, Johnny also became successful. The two men are the closest of friends to this very day. Hence, the motive in my naming this story after Robert Bolt’s hero.

When Misho talks about people he knows, it isn’t as acquaintances, but rather as friends. When he speaks of the people who work for him, it’s like he is talking about an extended family. Credit or praise is never directed at himself but rather at one person or another who helped him along the way, or is still helping him somehow. When you meet him, he does not greet you as an executive would, but rather with a warm handshake and a smile. This is Misho. Now that you understand, I can tell the rest of my story.

But then, there is also the Misho Extended family, for almost everybody who comes to work for Misho quickly comes under the umbrella of the Misho “E F” (Extended family). His workers feel close to him because he treats them with respect. When he talks to them, it isn’t as a worker, but as a friend. And so, when you approach a Misho business and encounter a worker, you can feel the relaxed atmosphere albeit an energized desire to do a job well.

Misho Oyster Company’s right hand man, Miguel, left, with Misho, Joseph and Annie.

The Misho Businesses

Misho is a man of many interests. There is the oyster empire with oyster leases in Texas and Louisiana. He is a wholesale supplier of oysters to restaurants and food businesses all over the United States.

Being a people person, he also has retail establishments known far and wide for oyster dishes. One of his long-time friends and customers is Phil Duke, founder of Gilhooley’s in San Leon. It is fair to say that Gilhooley’s is a national landmark when it comes to oysters. Gilhooley’s has recently been featured in Texas Monthly and GQ. The place is famous for oysters on the half shell, smoked oysters, Oysters Gilhooley, Oysters Picante, fried oysters and more.

When Phil got ready to retire, he didn’t want his creation to be taken over by just “anybody.” So, he sold it to Misho. Now that the baton has been passed, physical improvements to the property will be forthcoming in order to meet state requirements. The old, original license cannot be grandfathered in. We all hope those improvements will not erase the down-home ambiance that is as much a part of Gilhooley’s as the oysters themselves. As it is now, all patrons of Gilhooley’s enjoy a laid-back atmosphere and delicious food at small town, economic prices. Most of all, if you don’t feel like dressing up to eat out, Gilhooley’s makes you feel right at home. It is not a restaurant where the pretentious dwell.

In addition to Gilhooley’s, Misho has assumed ownership of another establishment less than two miles distant from Gilhooley’s at the corner of East Bayshore & 21st Street in San Leon, presently known as Casper’s, but to be renamed ‘BGB’, short for Bayshore Grill & Billiards. BGB is currently under renovation with an anticipated opening in November. Plans are to make BGB a family oriented facility with good food including Oysters Rockefeller and hardcore best prime rib to be found anywhere on the coast.

Previously, ‘Caspers’ was the largest billiards venue anywhere in this area, featuring ten billiards tables. BGB will retain that feature, but with the addition of electronic games geared for kiddos as entertainment while they wait on their food orders.

Villa Franka is located in Orebic, the most beautiful part of Croatia.

So, now you know that Misho is diversified. But I haven’t yet told you of the crown jewel in this wonderful offering. In far-away Croatia, Misho has created a first-class resort named after his revered wife, Franka. It is the Villa Franka and it is located within earshot of the birthplace of Marco Polo. A picture of Villa Franka accompanies this article below. It tells the story far better than words. It is a true get-away offering beauty, tranquility, history and luxurious comfort. So, how does one put a bow ribbon on a story such as this? A picture is worth a thousand words. Enjoy all the accompanying photos including our November cover. We think it will whet your appetite for a little adventure, some good food and perhaps a bit of exotic travel!

Plastic in Paradise

shane Plastic in Paradise

Captain Shane Cantrell shows how a 2 cent plastic bag nearly cost him $80,000. Photo by Jim Olive.

The Bottle and the Bag

By Janice Van Dyke Walden

Plastic in Paradise is a three-part series on the prevalence of plastic in the Gulf Coast’s marine life, and how it affects the food we eat and the water we drink.  Speaking to local groups who deal with it everyday, they tell us how prevalent plastic pollution is along the Gulf Coast, and what we can do to reduce it and to eliminate it from our lives.

As much as 90% of floating marine debris may be plastic.   And that doesn’t account for all the plastic that sinks to the bottom of the ocean, settling in sediment for thousands of years.  Researchers estimate that 70% of plastic pollution will never be seen because it sinks out of sight.

While a definitive study on the impact of plastic on the Gulf of Mexico has not be conducted, institutions along the Gulf Coast from Florida to Texas are now banding together to collect, quantify and analyze plastic samples found along our shores.

A study published in 2014 estimates that 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris possibly float in the world’s oceans.   Because the Gulf of Mexico was not included in that study, there’s no telling what our Gulf would contribute to the plastic count.  But on the surface, here’s what some Gulf Coast residents are finding.  It’s affects their livelihood.  It affects the way we live:

The cost to fishermen

It’s the sound that no captain wants to hear: an alarm onboard goes off while you’re ten miles offshore.

That’s what happened last August to Captain Shane Cantrell aboard his charter vessel, Sharecropper.  The boat was full of paying clients, ready for a day of fishing.  They had cleared the Galveston jetty and were well out of site of land.  Something triggered the overhead alarm on the intake.  Cantrell stopped everything to open up the engine hatch and take a look.  Inside he saw convenience wrapped around his gear case:  a plastic ice bag either thrown overboard or allowed to get loose by someone.  Ten miles offshore, a single bag had sucked up in his engine and blocked off the intake for the water pump that keeps the engine cool.  Sharecropper’s twin engines were overheating and could have failed, leaving Cantrell stranded in the Gulf of Mexico with a boatload of clients.

A single 2 cent bag could have cost Cantrell $80,000.  If he had lost both engines, Cantrell figures their replacement would have cost up to $30,000, and his downtime in high season could have meant $50,000 in lost revenue.

Encountering plastic offshore is nothing new to Cantrell.  Most often in May and June when he’s out in depths up to 1,000 feet of water, he’ll see mylar balloons floating in the sargassum.  The balloons are from the season’s graduation parties and ceremonies that have been released and floated away.  Their shiny mylar plastic lodges in the floating beds of sea grass that are food for the Gulf’s juvenile turtles.  “I’ve seen everything from hard hats to plastic bottles out in the sargassum,” he says.  “But, the most common debris apart from the balloons is the single-use bottle and bags.”

turtle Plastic in Paradise

Joanie Steinhaus of Turtle Island Restoration Network says juvenile turtles bit these plastic bleach and vinegar bottles that washed ashore Bolivar Peninsula. Photo by Jim Olive.

Floating global: plastic bottles

Long-time San Leon resident Stennie Meadors shares that same observation.  She speaks with over 30 years in the field of environmental management.  For ten years till 2001 she was an emergency response manager for Texas Commission on Environmental Quality handling response units for spills.  She worked on the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and before that, she conducted hazardous waste inspections in the Houston area.  A turning point for her came in 2007 when her grandson brought her the skeleton of a brown pelican with a plastic bottle lodged in its pelvic area.  The bottle may have come from across the ocean, or it may have been deposited locally.

For three years, Meadors fought to ban plastic bottles in her area.  To this day, there’s no law banning the bottle.  Now she focuses on grassroots clean ups and consumer awareness in the shoreline process.  She and her group of volunteers for Plastic Pollution Partnership comb the beaches from San Luis to Bolivar and from Morgan’s Point to the Texas City Prairie Preserve picking up plastic on a regular basis.  “We see plastic straws,” Meador says, “They are a problem, but we don’t see them as often as we see water bottles.”

Meadors tells of the plastic bottles that washed up recently at Bolivar: about 50 bottles were found  – small, yellow and worn-out, the product of Industrias Macier SA.  The bottles were also punctured with holes.  Meadors discovered they were bite holes of juvenile turtles.  The bottles had floated across the Gulf from the Dominican Republic and drifted onto the beaches of Texas and Louisiana.  Filled with vinegar or bleach, the contents had been used to distill water in the Dominican Republic.  “They sell for 10 cents a bottle, get discarded and then get caught up in the Gulf Stream and land on our shores,” Meador says.  She has given some of the turtle-bitten bottles to Joanie Steinhaus to display.  Steinhaus runs the Galveston office of the Turtle Island Restoration Network, and uses samples like these to bring awareness to the public and to students they work with in Galveston’s schools.

“The plastic is so sharp that it can perforate on the way down,” says Steinhaus’ colleague, Theresa Morris, who is part of the coastal research team.  The turtles “have these spikes in their throat that makes sure the food goes down, and so it will actually force food down in their guts, and the plastic will cut them up on the way down.  Sometimes they can pass it, but you’re talking about very small pieces of plastic, and depending on what they’re made of, the plastics will be leaching chemicals that could cause physiological disruptions.”

The bag

Although bottles are among the top ten plastic items trashing the Gulf Coast, Steinhaus’ biggest plastic peeve is the single use bag, also among the top 10.  “We live on an island,” she says.  “Single use bags have a shelf life of maybe, 12 minutes.  Less than 5% of them are recycled.  They end up in the water.  We live on an island.  They’re blowing down the streets.  They’re going to end up in the Gulf.”

A world of convenience

At Galveston’s Walmart on the Seawall at 64th Street, it’s easy to see how this happens.  The parking lot is full at noon with shoppers pushing cartloads of purchases in plastic bags.  Most of the items are double-sacked.  Within five minutes, 80 plastic bags leave the store.  Outside, a plastic bag floats by a woman waiting for a ride.  “That wasn’t mine,” she says, “It was here when I got here.”

That attitude prevails in North America and Western Europe which use 80% of the 4 trillion plastic bags produced each year.

Some kind of fight

For Steinhaus, “It’s one simple change, and people fight it.”  People like Gov. Greg Abbott.  He opposes individual cities banning the plastic bag, claiming that Texas is being “California-ized.”  Also opposing city ordinances to ban the bag is Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.  He’s asked the Texas Supreme Court to affirm the Fourth Court of Appeals decision that declared Laredo’s plastic bag ban unlawful.   Paxton is calling a bag ban by individual cities unlawful because it violates state law, the Texas Health and Safety Code, which forbids municipalities from making rules to “prohibit or restrict, for solid waste management purposes, the sale or use of a container or package in a manner not authorized by state law.

Last year, resistance came on another level, Steinhaus says, when after working with a team of Galveston city officials to draft an ordinance on the marine environment, City Attorney Don Glywasky received a call from a South Carolina law firm with the intent to sue if Galveston passed its bag ban.

The Texas Supreme Court is scheduled to hear Laredo’s case on Jan. 11.  The court’s ruling will have implications for Houston, Galveston and all other Texas cities that want to determine their own bag law.  In the meantime, businesses and individuals are choosing alternatives to the plastic bag.

Galveston businesses take voluntary actions

“For hotels, it was easy for them to eliminate them,” says Steinhaus, “They have very limited use; their gift shops – especially the places like the Tremont, The Galvez or the Hilton, their clientele doesn’t mind.  Most of them use paper bags or sell bags.”  For the island’s smaller shops where price margins matter more, Steinhaus is in favor of forming a bag coop to lower the cost of paper bags for individual shop owners.

Either way, these local residents all agree it comes down to personal choice.  Plastic “is something that we can have more control over,” says Cantrell. “It’s not coming from any other source but human.  People don’t think about it, and people don’t intend to throw into the ocean, but it’s there.”

What can you do?

  • Refuse the bag; bring your own bag and bottle.
  • Bundle your plastic bags and deposit them at recycling receptacles located at the front of most grocery stores.
  • Buy your own re-useable bags and keep them in your car. If you don’t yet have a collection of re-useable bags, use paper bags.
  • Tell the store manager you’ll shop elsewhere unless they provide an alternative bag, like a paper bag or one you can buy and re-use.
  • Recycle any plastic bottles you find or purchase.
  • Instead of buying bottled water for home consumption, buy a Brita or other water filter, and filter your own water.  Drink for drink, it’s less expensive, too.
  • Tell your city, county and state representatives what you want done about the plastic bag and bottle.
  • Join a local advocacy group.  Help with clean ups.  Spread awareness and good habits.  You can do it every day or once a year.

 

Texas Local Advocacy Groups

Plastic Pollution Reporting for Galveston/Harris Counties

Stennie Meadors

stenmead@aol.com and on Facebook

 

Galveston Bay Foundation

www.galvbay.org

 

NOAA Marine Debris Monitoring and Assessment Program

https://marinedebris.noaa.gov/

 

Turtle Island Restoration Network

https://seaturtles.org/newssection/bring-the-bag-psa-galveston/

 

Texans for Clean Water

http://www.texansforcleanwater.org/

 

Adopt a Beach

https://www.facebook.com/TexasAdoptABeach/

 

Trash Bash

http://www.trashbash.org/

Galveston Oysters After Hurricane Harvey

Gbaysalinity Galveston Oysters After Hurricane Harvey

Texas Department of State Health Services salinity readings.

Unprecedented influx of fresh water ravages reefs

Months after the storm, we are still seeing the effects of hurricane Harvey. A massive amount of freshwater flushed through Galveston Bay and caused heavy casualties to the area’s live oyster reefs.

Galveston oysters need a balance in salinity in order to thrive, usually around 15 ppt (parts per thousand). The low salinities in many parts of Galveston and East Bay have decimated live oyster reefs, to the dismay of local oystermen and women.

In early September, Christine Jensen, TPWD Fisheries Biologist, sampled oysters from the middle of the bay and saw about 20% mortality on those reefs. The Department of State Health Services also took salinity readings (see figure below) and found that salt levels were rising in the lower parts of Galveston Bay but East Bay was still very fresh.

Jensen again sampled public reefs in October and it was determined that areas TX-1, TX-4, TX-5 and TX-6 will not open for oyster season on Nov. 1.

“East Bay experienced the worst of Harvey’s effects with very few live oysters left.  It remained too fresh for too long for most oysters to survive.  Hannas Reef had 51% mortality, Middle Reef had 95% mortality, and Frenchy’s Reef had 100% mortality.  Almost all of the restoration areas in East Bay were killed,” Jensen said.

“Some reefs on the west side of the ship channel also saw significant mortality near where Dickinson Bayou drains into the bay Dollar Reef had 90% mortality and Todds Dump had 62%. However, several reefs in the middle of the bay survived fairly well and have higher numbers of live oysters than they have had in many years.  The numbers of oysters in TX-7 were starting to rebound prior to Harvey and luckily survived with relatively low mortality.  This area will open for oyster harvest on November 1.”

salinity10 25 NOAA Galveston Oysters After Hurricane Harvey

NOAA’s Galveston Bay Salinity Nowcast, a computer-generated forecast guide shows that upper Trinity and East Bays are still very fresh as of late October.

Upper Galveston, Trinity and East Bay still remain relatively fresh with salinity less than 10 ppt. But there is a silver lining; the reefs in the middle of the bay are doing well with higher catches than have been seen in many years. Also, there is a lot of clean cultch (dead shell) for oyster larvae to settle.

“A clean place for larvae to settle has always been a limiting factor in Galveston Bay for oyster numbers to rebound,” said TPWD Biologist Christine Jensen.

“Hopefully, we will see a quick return in a few years if mother nature will cooperate.”

A Hero Nonetheless

raz halili pic A Hero Nonetheless

Raz Halili of Prestige Oysters.

To be sure, people who put their own well-being and safety aside in favor of helping their fellow man are in a special class of their own. Perhaps the most interesting part of all is, these special people walk among us and never declare themselves as being anything other than our neighbors and friends. I find that mind boggling. They deserve to wear a uniform or a badge, something that identifies them. But no.

Raz Halili fits this category. Following Hurricane Harvey he didn’t hesitate a moment to enter the breach, rescuing people first on his jet-ski, then later taking an oyster boat down the coast to Post Arthur where he engaged in rescuing hundreds of stranded people.

Was he in danger? Yes, absolutely. He must have known it, he was undaunted. This is called courage, the hallmark of a hero. So, although a vision of himself as a hero is invisible to him, he is a hero, none-the-less. Many TV stations, radio stations, newspapers and magazines apparently agree with me because he became an overnight sensation on all sorts of media, not just locally or nationally, but globally including being on every station in Albania, homeland of his father, Johnny Halili. Indeed, one lady on social media pegged him as a “hottie” and that went viral.

Amazingly none of this attention has gone to his head. As Heir Apparent to the Prestige Oyster empire, his focus is on running the family business, which he does quite well. Lisa, his mother is extremely proud of him, calling him a “good son.” But it’s the way she says it. You can tell, she’s bursting with pride. And ladies, I hate to tell you this, but Raz Halili is taken, off the market, not available. He has a long-time girlfriend to whom he is very devoted, so that’s that!

The old axiom is; “All glory is fleeting.” But in this case, not the hero. He’s just the same guy he was the day before the storm hit, and will be tomorrow. P.S. Look for this particular hero to appear in the movie The Bay House as the waiter.