Haynie Custom Bay Boats
Recon
Sea Lake Yachts
JetSurf
Marina Del Sol
Seabrook Marina
Little Yacht Sales
Blackburn

Barker Boatworks Announces New Direction, Expanding Line-Up

BBW26Bay 300x191 Barker Boatworks Announces New Direction, Expanding Line Up

Photos courtesy of Barker Boatworks.

Kevin Barker, president of Barker Boatworks, today announced a series of organizational changes and expansion as the semi-custom builder embarks on a renewed emphasis to produce high performance sport-fishing boats. Barker Boatworks has been in business since 2014.

“We’ve just completed our re-structuring and with our new ownership, we are revitalizing and expanding the company,” Barker says. “With the infusion of capital and additional resources, we’re again building and delivering semi-custom fishing boats to buyers who demand yacht-like quality, attention to detail and exceptional performance.” Barker Boatworks will continue to use Michael Peters Yacht Design to develop new models.

Al Jarrell, owner of Strike Force 7 LLC, is the owner of the re-organized company. Jarrell also owns Canyon Bay Boats and Perry Composite Manufacturing in Perry, Florida. The business operations will be handled by Chief Executive Officer Ross Toepel. There will be several collaborations between the Strike Force 7 Companies as production of Barker Boats continues to ramp up.

“All the fiberglass components for Barkers will be built at the Perry Composite Manufacturing facility in Perry, Florida” Barker explains. “We are excited to have a world-class manufacturing facility delivering high quality fiberglass hulls, decks and components using the same materials and infusion processes as before.”  Barker continues, “We will then complete the manufacturing of the boats at our Sarasota location with our experienced team of finishers, assemblers and riggers.”

BBW26BayVertical Barker Boatworks Announces New Direction, Expanding Line Up

Photos courtesy of Barker Boatworks.

Toepel says, “There will be certain common parts shared between Barker and Canyon Bay, but the two lines will maintain separate sales and marketing efforts.” Kevin Barker will handle the production, sales and marketing of the Barker line. Models will include the 26 Bay, 26 Open and 40 High Performance Catamaran under the Barker flag, while Toepel and his Canyon Bay Team will produce the 18 Flats, 22 Bay, 24 Bay, 24 and 28 Hybrid Bay Boat. A 40-foot Barker monohull with a dual step V-bottom is in the design phase. A 41 Express and Walkaround based on the Legend hull will be produced as a limited production custom model with outboard power as well.

Since its initial launch, the Barker Bay has earned a loyal following for performance, impeccable fit and finish and thoughtful angling features. Both the Bay and Open hulls come with the Michael Peters’ Stepped-Vee Ventilated Tunnel design. Attributes of the low drag co-efficient hull include increased speed, better fuel economy and a soft, sure ride compared to conventional stepped hulls.

Barker Boatworks is an OEM partner with Mercury Marine. Yamaha and Suzuki Outboards will also be a power option. Garmin Marine, Simrad and Raymarine electronic packages will be offered.   Since each Barker is made to order, every one launched bears the owner’s preference and distinct style.

For more information about the Barker Boatworks line-up, the build process and future models, please visit: www.barkerboatworks.com and www.sf7boats.com

Retro Lessons In Summer Fishing

farahtrout Retro Lessons In Summer Fishing

Big trout can still be caught in the heat of summer!

By Capt. Joey Farah

361-442-8145 Capt. Joey Farah’s Backwater Adventures

In the frantic rush of summer live bait fishing, many proven lessons for summer success are passed by. Those long days of our youth were filled with adventures and memories. Today it seems like a rush to get out and then get in. Slow it down and turn up the heat on your summer fishing this year! Here are a few not quite forgotten, but tried and true summer strategies to bring trout, reds, and flounder to hand!

Big Trout

First light is the best time to find big summer trout. Protected shorelines will be clean of floating grass, allowing anglers to dance top water plugs over skinny grass flats, shallow rocks and oysters. Big mature trout will be hunting their last meal before retreating to cover and deep water at first light.

A topwater bait imitates a wounded mullet or shad chased up against a shoreline by packs of trout during the night. Throw plugs that you can see at a distance; visual awareness is essential in timing your hookset, as well as aligning your technique with the soul of the ocean. Look for flats where there are signs of baitfish. Surface action, birds and good tidal flow are a good start. Later in the day, move towards deeper drop offs with smaller soft plastics like the 3”DOA CAL SHAD in natural color patterns, imitating pin perch for all-day action.

farahflounder Retro Lessons In Summer Fishing

Summer flounder are great targets around piers and docks, this flat fatty was jigged up on a DOA 3” CAL Shad glow/pink.

Flatfish

Fantastic summer flounder fishing can be as close as the dock you are standing on! Flounder are mostly a strategic ambush predator. They love to position themselves along the pilings of piers and docks. This is where small shrimp and minnows gather. They will lay just down current of the posts waiting for you to jig a small soft plastic along their sight path.

Step carefully so you don’t rock the dock and to keep your presence unknown. Flounder seem to be more aggressive towards bright colors. White, chartreuse, and pink have always been a coastal favorite. An old timer once told me never use a black net, always a green one! Black nets will send flounder on a bolting run as it looks like a dolphin. They seem to swim right into a green one.

Summer Redfish

Summertime belongs to the redfish! Chasing redfish during these long summer days can be an all day event. First light finds them digging and hunting the extreme shallows for crabs, shrimp and small baitfish. Before the sun gets bright and the shadows of birds spook surface mullet, anglers will find reds up so shallow that their tails will be cutting the surface, alerting us to their location. Walking side current will allow you to sneak up on them and project a perfect cast ahead of them.

My best baits are the DOA Shrimp and soft plastics rigged with a very light 1/16 oz. jig head, both for silent and natural sounding entry. Sight casting for reds will teach many lessons in how fish react to fishermen. At times you will watch redfish bolt towards lures at first sight, but most of the time they are very spooky and dart away from loud baits hitting the water. Cast well past the fish and bring the bait into their path. Redfish usually have a two foot sight awareness in front of them. They are used to scanning for food sources jumping up in front of their faces.

As the sun rises, switch to topwater plugs and make grid pattern casts over the flats. Scattered redfish will explode on the plugs, and allow anglers to cover large areas of water. Remember, redfish have bottom facing mouths. This means they must pounce down or turn over to get the bait off of the surface. I always let them bend the rod tip before I set the hook with topwater plugs.

The best and time proven bait for summertime redfish is the gold spoon! This lure perhaps dates back to the beginning of mankind, as bone and shell tied together to bring fish to hand and mouth. The flash and vibration of the glittering spoon awakes redfish from their resting places in thick grass. It imitates both the flash of perch and mullet, but mainly persuades them it is a fleeing crab, their favorite meal. I work my spoons with a fast retrieve with hard jerks and flutters. I adjust my presentation as needed to a light fluttering and stroking of the spoon over the bottom as well. You need to be loose and try new techniques to match the aggression and moods of the reds.

Target areas void of boat traffic, with grass and sand mixed bottom. Most redfish will be found in areas containing a good variety of bird life. Each species feeds on different things; a variety of birds means a buffet of redfish food!

Skip the bait stands and get a head start on your SUMMER FISHING! These lessons passed down from anglers of our past still hold true to our hearts and stringers here along the Texas Gulf Coast. Head out with a few pockets full of these specialized baits, concentrate on fishing and leave your stress on the beach. Summertime memories seem to last forever long past our last casts.

12th Annual Cougar Saltwater Open Fishing Tournament

62446610 1386741711475365 6116945740687212544 o 1024x683 12th Annual Cougar Saltwater Open Fishing Tournament

Cougar Saltwater 12TH 01 300x292 12th Annual Cougar Saltwater Open Fishing TournamentThe Valenti School of Communication Alumni Association will hold its 12th Annual Fishing Tournament – The UH Cougar Saltwater Open, on Saturday August 17th at Topwater Grill. This event funds scholarships for students currently pursuing studies in Communication at the University of Houston.

Tournament is open to UH students, alumni and the public. We encourage full family participation.

Cougar Saltwater Open shall be an inshore tournament. There will be a boat and kayak division for each category.

Awards will be given in the following divisions:

  • Heaviest individual redfish (20-28 inches, no oversized) boat and kayak
  • Heaviest speckled trout (16-25 in) boat and kayak
  • Heaviest flounder boat and kayak
  • Heaviest stringer (3 fish) : any combination of the following three fish-trout, flounder and 1 redfish boat and kayak
  • Shasta’s pick: bring your big ugly (any trash fish) and the heaviest one wins!

Kids Division:

  • Biggest Fish, Smallest Fish, Ugliest Fish, Unusual fish, etc. (Multiple prizes will be awarded in this division)

Registration fee includes tournament t-shirt and meal at weigh in/awards ceremony.

Registration $65 per person. $20 per child (12 and under).

Weigh in will be from 2-4 P.M. at Topwater Grill. You must be in line no later than 4 p.m.

For more information please email info@cougarsaltwateropen.com or contact:

  • Kimberly Maraldo 832-264-3951
  • Kelly Groce 281-923-8860

To register please visit: www.cougarsaltwateropen.com or complete the form on the back of this flier with payment and mail to:

Fishing Offshore Weedlines

bull dorado Fishing Offshore Weedlines

A well formed weed line is a favorite sight for many offshore fisherman. They are known best for holding Dorado (pictured) but ling, wahoo, sailfish and marlin can be caught here as well.

By Capt. Joe Kent

For the last 20 years or more offshore seaweed, which forms weedlines in the Gulf of Mexico, has been either over abundant or virtually nonexistent.  When abundant, many species of fish follow the sargassum, or seaweed as it is more commonly called, as the patches, clumps and organized lines reflect the basics of the marine food chain.

During lean times, such as offshore Galveston anglers have experienced for several years now, there is a conspicuous absence in the number of pelagic fish in the nearshore waters of the Gulf.  Most notably absent are the Dorado, Dolphin fish or mahi-mahi, as they are called interchangeably.

Dorado of all sizes hover around masses of seaweed and along with them are just about all other fish that roam the Gulf waters.

This year it appears that we may have more seaweed in our near shore waters and if so, look for a banner year of offshore fishing along the upper Texas Coast.

Seaweed attracts and is a refuge for small crustaceans and fin fish.  Watching carefully from close range are larger fish waiting for an opportunity to feast.  Behind those are billfish, huge Dorado, ling, wahoo, sharks and as mentioned earlier almost every species of pelagic fish in the Gulf.

Just about all marine life in the Gulf of Mexico waters can be found in the vicinity of this vegetation.

Now that we know what is offered in the way of fish around the seaweed, how do we take advantage of it and catch some of the fish?

chicken dorado Fishing Offshore Weedlines

Chicken Dorado can provide fast action on weedlines.

Dorado, especially the smaller chicken Dorado, are one of the most common fish hanging around the shade and protection.  Tripletail, small amberjack, king, ling, shark, wahoo and sailfish are others that are commonly found just outside of the masses of weed.

Anglers experienced at fishing the weed lines know that there are two ways to find the fish.  One is to quietly move close to big concentrations of weeds and toss out small pieces of squid or cut bait.  Any chicken Dorado close by likely will come out of hiding to pursue a quick and easy meal.

When this occurs, anglers using light to medium tackle will toss free-lined squid or other bait toward the seaweed and bingo, most of the time a group of small Dorado will inhale it.  While battling the small Dorado many others will follow close by and the key is to keep the fish hooked while others in your party toss similar baits into the water.

On one occasion years ago my group of four landed over 100 while employing this technique.

Once the Dorado have scattered, slowly maneuver your boat along the edges of the weed line and look for either more Dorado or tripletail.

Often at some point large Dorado and ling will appear searching for the same chicken Dorado you are pursuing.  Both ling and Dorado are curious fish and tend to check out noise.  One technique that works in getting their attention is to pound the side of the boat with your hands.

If no fish appear, move on to another clump or line or begin trolling. Trolling is another way to find the fish.  Try trolling the outer edges of the weed concentrations keeping enough distance to prevent the trolling lure for getting tangled in the seaweed.

The most active seaweed lines are going to be found in blue or blue/green waters.  Lines found in off color water are hardly worth the time to check out.

Most of the strikes are going to be near the surface and visible.  Every ling I have caught while working seaweed has come to the surface to check out the bait.  Sometimes they just smell it and take off, other times they take it.

One mistake that newcomers make when larger fish like ling first take the bait is to try to set the hook too quickly.  Free spool enough line that the large fish can take the bait and start swimming away before setting the hook.

For the chicken Dorado and smaller fish, setting the hook immediately is imperative.

One pointer for boats, especially those propelled by outboard engines, is that when working seaweed areas often the props get tangled in the vegetation.  When this occurs put the engine in reverse and it should remove the clutter.

Hopefully we will see a good balance of weed lines in the Gulf this summer and we can enjoy the bounties of seafood they offer.

Whose water is this?

sheward fish on Whose water is this?

Captain Clay Sheward starting the morning hooked up in the marsh.

Consideration and knowledge goes a long way for on-the-water etiquette

By Capt. Steve Soule

Every single one of us who boats, kayaks, fishes, goes sight seeing, jet skiing, wading or any other use of public waters has come from a different place or perspective. Some are very experienced, others have little to no experience. Each and every one of us has a different view of the resource that we share. None of us are wrong or right, though we may be highly opinionated or have well founded thoughts and beliefs. We all have a right to the use of the resource, and we all have the shared responsibility to respect and maintain what we have.

If you search the internet, or speak to people who utilize the bays and waters of the Texas Coast, or any other for that matter, you will find no shortage of opinions and arguments regarding how we come in contact with each other on the water. Over time, we start to develop the belief that we are right or someone else is wrong. This may or may not be true or correct, but we tend to believe that our way of utilizing the resource may be better than the next person’s plan.

Does a fishing boat have any more right to be in an area than a jet skier? Does a poling skiff have the right of way on a flat over a tower boat? Does a wade fisher have more right to be in a spot than a boat drifting? I believe that it is safe to answer all of those questions, and many other similar scenarios with a resounding no!

There isn’t any one of us who takes advantage of our right to access public water that has special privileges that others do not. Now, with that said, consideration of others must come into play, along with some knowledge and understanding of how your actions may impact others around us, we can all enjoy the resource.

Knowledge

In nearly every case where someone is upset with another person on the water, ignorance, or lack of knowledge is the primary issue. I don’t use the term ignorance in a derogatory manner, but truly in the sense that there is a lack of knowledge or information that causes the perceived infringement on another.

There are most definitely some cases where people act in malice towards others, either because they don’t care or they believe they have some right. For those who do this, I can only suggest that you consider the consequences. Imagine if every time a boater, or anyone on the water took revenge on every person they believed had done them wrong. Likely this will not resolve the problem, nor will it allow any involved to enjoy the water as they had planned.

Let take a look at perspectives, and knowledge of others and what they are doing. Maybe goals on the water and what would be required to achieve them. For most of us that fish, having a productive spot to ourselves, without a boat coming inside of 100 yards sounds like a good thing. In some case it may take even more room than that to keep the spot producing. This is very different than what a jet skier would want. For them it would be fun to have boats running nearby so that they can jump wakes. A very different view of how to spend time on the water and easy to see how conflicts could arise.

A wading angler, walking quietly down a shoreline, has a plan of stealthily approaching fish, and if skilled, could easily stay within casting range of fish for long periods. A drifting boat of anglers, no matter how careful, will always make more noise and spook more fish. If you haven’t spent time in clear or very shallow water, this may not have ever occurred to you. After a lifetime of fishing in both shallow and clear water situations, I can tell you that the noises we make in boats definitely alert fish to our presence and reduce our chances of catching them.

The Lateral Line

Every single thing that moves in the water, no matter how big or small, creates a pressure wave. This is like a sound signature, and tells every animal with a lateral line that there is something nearby. Most fish, can judge the size of the object or animal making the pressure wave in total darkness. This sense is one of many that keep fish safe from harm.

Once we are aware of this, and look for its impact on our fishing, we can see that even a wader can send out pressure waves and make noises that alert fish to our presence. Often this can be why one person catches fish while another nearby does not. Given that fish can so accurately “feel” sounds or movements that can indicate the presence of danger. If fish can be spooked by a wader or a quietly drifting boat, you can only imagine the reaction to a boat running through the shallows at 20 or 30 miles per hour. Sheer panic is the immediate reaction to such loud noises.

If you fish shallow water long enough, you will without a doubt, witness this first hand. In many cases the cause isn’t intentional. I seriously doubt that we haven’t all sped across a flat, through a marsh or down a shoreline looking for signs or trying to reach a destination spot, never really giving thought to fish along the way. It’s probably not that anglers have a blatant disregard for fish or fishery, but likely that we haven’t fully considered the impact of our actions.

Common Sense and Courtesy

With the ever increasing numbers of people enjoying the bays and lakes, comes greater potential of encroaching on others. Every situation is different and some are more avoidable than others. Classically the case of channels or passes from one area to another create challenges for passing boaters. Neither has any greater right or privilege, though common courtesy goes a long way.

It doesn’t really matter whether you are operating a boat, kayak, jet ski or even wading quietly, public waters are a first come first served playground, and we all want to be able to enjoy the discoveries we have found without unwanted interruptions.

Its hard to say there is any set of rules regarding distances or behavior that govern us on the water. It is however safe to say that if we all give the same consideration that we would ask, time on the water would be much more pleasant. Taking the time to understand and respect the intentions of others on the water isn’t hard and will likely yield the same respect in return. It only takes a brief moment to determine the direction a boat is drifting or poling, or the direction waders are walking, and shift your course to avoid cutting them off.

Public waters are a source of enjoyment for many varied groups; a resource that needs respect and consideration. I have no doubt that we as users of the resource can collectively do a much better job of managing that which we all love, than politicians could ever dream of. Our first hand knowledge provides a view that can’t be seen from an office and an understanding that can only come from experience. The responsibility to be the stewards, falls on each and every user, and the better we can self maintain, the less the likelihood of misguided bureaucratic management.

Fish and fisheries are not an endless resource. Having the right to run a boat basically anywhere we want doesn’t mean its always the best thing to do. Just like having the right to kill our legal limits of fish every day would not be a good way to preserve the fishery.

As much pleasure as we find in our time on the water, we probably all have the same desire to pass this along to the next generation. With a little thought and consideration, we can not only enjoy our time on the water, but also leave it in great shape so that generations to come can experience it as well.

The Good, Bad and Ugly

dillred The Good, Bad and Ugly

James R “Chezo” Cesarini, PE.

By Capt. David C. Dillman

galvestonbaycharterfishing.com | 832-228-8012

As a writer, sometimes we suffer from what is known as “ writer’s cramp.” Coming up with material is not as easy as one would think. I always try to pen something that keeps my readers engaged. I definitely suffered through writer’s cramp, for this July/August article. This writing will focus on events that happened in May, first “the bad and ugly” and then “the good,” as I try to remain positive!

On the afternoon of May 10, 2019 a tug, pushing two barges, and a tanker collided in the Houston Ship Channel. The incident lead to the barge spilling a estimated 9,000 barrels of a substance called reformate. This caused a total closure of the channel, along with a seafood consumption advisory for the middle and upper portions of Galveston Bay. How an accident like this can happen is anyone’s guess. The “saving grace” is that this product floats and it evaporates quickly. Once it is gone from the water, there is no long term effect on environment or marine life. Couple this with the ITC fire earlier this spring and it has been eventful for the upper portion of Galveston Bay.

dilltroutdrum The Good, Bad and Ugly

Eagle Point VIP Robert Drew

Then if all this was not enough, Galveston Bay received a large dumping of fresh water from Lake Conroe and Lake Livingston. Then to top it off, we had sustained winds from the E-SE gusting at times to 25 knots for over two weeks. This of course did not allow the bay system to “flush” the water out through the Galveston jetties. The salinity levels dropped to below 5 parts per thousand in many areas, except in far East Bay, Lower Galveston Bay, the Jetties and West Bay. Now enough of “the bad and ugly,” and onto the “good!”

The “good” to all this is that the bay is slowly but finally clearing up! Fishing has and will continue to be good in those areas not effected by the runoff. The big question is when will fish return to their normal pattern in Galveston Bay? Fish naturally return to the same areas year in and year out. Every incoming tide from now on will push the fish into their “normal areas” for July and August. These areas include the shell reefs of the channel, adjacent gas wells and some areas of Trinity Bay. These fish will even push farther North towards the middle of August, barring any kind of major weather system. Other “good” news is the bait situation at Eagle Point Fishing Camp is getting better. By July their live bait supply should be great, with both shrimp and croaker. Also if your in the mood for some fresh table shrimp, fresh off the boat, give them a call. They can be reached at 281 339-1131 for fishing updates, bait supply and table shrimp.

Max Conner

max conner snook Max Conner

Max Conner with a TANK of a snook.

The young tournament winner on what it’s like growing up on Galveston and what’s next for the future

Where did you grow up and how did fishing become a big part of your life?

I have grown up with my grandfather; just two of us. As long as I can remember, we’d commute from Houston to Galveston EVERY weekend to go fishing.  Often, we’d fish all night on 61st Street or Jimmy’s Pier on the Seawall and travel home again on Sunday night.

In 2012, my grandfather changed careers and accepted a job on the island so we could move here and I could pursue my passion for fishing!  Our first Christmas after relocating, he bought me a kayak. I waded, yakked, and surf fished year round. Saltwater is truly in my soul.

max tarpon Max Conner

Do you have an all-time favorite catch or fishing moment?

I will always remember my first tarpon. I was 14 and had been fishing Bob Hall Pier in Corpus all weekend.  We went all night without a bite so I was set to fish the morning. I had a group of kids tell me that they saw a couple of fish roll in the morning, so I was determined. I was on the pier by 6 a.m. and hooked my

first fish by 6:15 a.m. but it jumped the hook. Shortly after, I threw at another one and hooked it good. I fought the fish for 10 minutes or so before netting it. It measured around 42 inches.

What’s your favorite species to catch?

Setting the hook on big trout will always be the best feeling. However, this past summer we fished for snook in Southern Florida for about a week and that definitely sealed the deal. We caught a dozen fish in the 35” to 43” range.

Favorite place you’ve ever fished?

Without a doubt my favorite place I’ve ever fished was Sanibel Island, Florida. The snook bite was incredible and we got to fly fish for tarpon in the mangroves, which has always been on my bucket list.

If you had to have only one lure, what would it be?

I’d say Down South Lures with no hesitation. It’s the most universal bait on the market. You can throw them in any kind of water and in any weather condition.

Tell us about your sponsors.

At age 14, soon after our move to the island, I met Hunter Welch of Fishstix.  We just hit it off and he began to build my rods.  Louis Thomas, of Black Marlin Rods, has built my shark rods.  Jason Paul with Stinky Pants fishing began to support me early on too.  Michael Bosse with Down South Lures has been a tremendous friend and sponsor too.

What are you studying in school and what are your plans after graduation?

I will be a Freshman at Texas A&M Galveston beginning in July. My degree is Maritime Administration. I’d like to either have my own business or work on the rigs when I graduate college.

Aside from fishing, what else are you passionate about?

Bird hunting is my second passion. Last year we added a beautiful black lab puppy to our family.  She’s now 11 months old, 70 pounds and loves to be on the water and bird hunt.

What else should we know about you?

I am thankful for my grandfather and the opportunities that he has provided for me.  He has sacrificed much for me to live near the water and chase my dreams.  I’ve been blessed and would like to always pay it forward.

The Other Trout

glenwood canyon The Other Trout

The Colorado river runs though spectacular Glenwood Canyon.

panther martin brown trout The Other Trout

A 1/16 oz. black and gold panther martin was the key to success on Bear Creek.

By Brandon Rowan

won’t lie, I was pretty excited to catch these tiny mountain brown trout. I can see why many are enthralled by these small beauties. There was something magical about being tucked away in the mountains on a cold water creek, the air thick with fly hatches and the sun illuminating the water as it glimmered past the trees.

In late May, my wife Meagan and I flew to Denver and stayed with our friends Emily and Darryl Parsons, who gave us a proper Colorado experience. Emily showed us the challenging hiking and natural splendor of Hanging Lake and Glenwood Canyon.

The next morning, Darryl and I snuck away to the Front Range and chased after brown trout in Bear Creek. Feeling out of place, it took me some trial and error to pattern these fish. I eventually found a great spot and hooked into several feisty little brown trout using a size 2 gold and black Panther Martin.

The “big one” got away; a brown trout of 12-14 inches assaulted my spinner from behind a rock but threw the hook after a few moments.

It wasn’t the same rush of chasing redfish in the marsh or catching yellowfin tuna offshore, but it was a nice change of pace catching these brilliantly colored little trout amongst even more spectacular scenery.

 

A brook trout cruises the shallows of Hanging Lake in Colorado.

Dead Horse Creek

Silver Kings and More On South Padre Island

tarpon lee Silver Kings and More On South Padre Island

Capt. Lee Alvarez with a 100 lb tarpon caught near South Padre Island with Capt. Brian Barrera.

By Capt. Lee Alvarez

SouthPadreIslandFishingTrips.com | (956) 330-8654

“No, don’t hold too tight to the reel. Cause it’s a big one boy. It’s gonna pull you down now.”

That happens to be one of my favorite lines on the song Pull by Blind Melon.  It’s also exactly what was racing through my mind as a 100 lb tarpon made its first appearance on an epic jump while fishing with Capt. Brian Barrera on South Padre Island.  In an instant, with a perfectly embedded hook in its upper lip, the Silver King made its first run 125 yards parallel to the jetty towards the Gulf before another spectacular aerial show.

In the last issue, I concluded my article by mentioning the 2019 Shallow Sport Tournament on SPI.  This year, I had the pleasure of guiding Team Sportsman, consisting of Rob Youker, his 11 year old grandson McCaden Wolf, JR Torres and his daughter Crystal Torres Brice, all from College Station.  Rob is President of The Sportsman Boats in San Benito.  The Sportsman is the only authorized Shallow Sport dealer in the Rio Grande Valley and both companies have been honored as leaders in the boating industry.  Rob has led this 3rd generation company to a Top 100 Marine Dealership Award in North America for 14 consecutive years.

I met the team early in the morning at Jim’s Pier on SPI and we immediately began discussing the day’s strategy.  A few sips of coffee later and a couple of ideas traded back and forth and we were on our way to join the ant line of boats en route to check-in behind Louie’s Backyard.  We wanted to make sure we had good positioning before the 6:30 am shotgun start.  If you’ve never been in the midst of 250+ boats simultaneously racing off to their favorite fishing holes, then add it to your bucket list of things to do on the Texas coast.

Wind was a major factor this year as anglers dealt with stiff breezes in excess of 30 mph.  As I said in the previous article, I like me a little bit of gusting wind.  Team Sportsman member JR Torres also seemed to favor the breeze as he hauled in a 27 15/16” tournament winning redfish that topped the scales at 8.22 lbs and earned Team Sportsman a 1st Place finish in the Redfish Division.  This was JR’s first fishing tournament and we faced some heavy hitters as competition.  How cool is that?

Fishing on South Padre has been nothing short of exceptional as summer has officially kicked off.  Redfish action has been solid during the afternoon outgoing tide using a DOA 5.5” Jerk Bait in Texas Croaker on a 1/8 oz. jighead.  When redfish aren’t as eager to eat a lure, drift fishing the flats with cut ballyhoo has been productive.  In the cooler and deeper waters off the ICW, speckled trout can be found on both live and artificial baits.  Target visible structure while slowly crawling a lure on the bottom until you feel that thump. Black drum have been schooling up in the channels of South Bay and can make for an action packed day of fishing.  These herds of fish have been prevalent on both an incoming and outgoing tide.  At the jetties, kingfish are also beginning to show up and as I mentioned earlier, so are the tarpon.  If you’d like an opportunity at landing a Silver King on the Texas coast, give Capt. Brian Barrera a call!  Until next time, keep fishin.’

2019 Texas Billfish Classic to be the best yet

tbc draggin up 2019 Texas Billfish Classic to be the best yet

The TBC continues to live up to its name as the fastest growing billfish tournament in Texas

By Brandon Rowan

In its fourth year of bringing highly competitive billfishing back to Freeport, the Texas Billfish Classic continues to grow, with the 2019 tournament promising to be the largest one yet.

Usually an August tournament, the Texas Billfish Classic changed dates to July 16-20 by popular demand. With the unfortunate cancellation and indefinite hiatus of Poco Bueno, many of the Gulf’s best fishing teams were still ready and hungry to fish those dates.

Those teams who have never fished the TBC are in for a treat. Tournament director Jasen Gast and staff produce one of the most popular and enjoyable tournament formats on the Texas Gulf Coast. Many participants appreciate the start time, which allows boats to leave during the day and avoid dangerous runs at night. The camaraderie of the kick off party, a spirited weigh-in and awards dinner are well known and anticipated events of the tournament.

Fishing was smoking hot last year. Draggin’ Up set a new tournament record by weighing a 514-pound blue marlin. The competition for tuna was tight with Smoker II’s first place fish weighing 93 pounds and $ea Dollar$’s 90-pound tuna nabbing second place.

“But one of the biggest success stories of the TBC is not the fishing, but what we are able to do on land,” Tournament Director Jasen Gast said.

The tournament works closely with three charities; the Billfish Foundation, the Freeport to Port O’Connor Toy Run and the Freedom Alliance, and has donated thousands to charity over the years. The 2018 Awards Banquet ended with Jasen and the Freedom Alliance’s Pepper Ailor presenting a donated all-terrain wheelchair to veteran Jacob De La Garza, who lost his leg in Afghanistan.

Don’t miss one of the year’s best tournaments and come on down to Freeport. The general public is invited and welcome to join the weigh-in.

For information on the Texas Billfish Classic and its schedule of events, visit www.TexasBillfishClassic.com or contact TexasBillfishClassic@yahoo.com

Prestige 460 Flybridge

prestige1 Prestige 460 Flybridge

Welcome aboard the 2019 Prestige 460 Flybridge, where luxury meets relaxation.

Produced in Nantes, France she boasts an abundance of space for her passengers and storage for all of their needs. Whether you are setting sail for an extended voyage or cruising around for the afternoon, this Prestige will surpass all of your desires and expectations.

This is a two stateroom, two head vessel with a comfortable salon and functional aft galley. The full beam master stateroom is complete with an en suite, window lounger, beautiful wood finishing and ample drawer and closet space. The forward stateroom offers a sliding berth option, allowing for single bed conversion.

prestige2 Prestige 460 Flybridge

The salon and galley offer a brilliant open-floor concept, which allows for seamless entertaining. Crisp white leather sofas adorn the salon, permitting plenty of comfortable seating. A fully efficient galley is another enticing feature of this Prestige 460. It’s unique aft placement opens up to the cockpit and transom creating an inclusive realm for family and friends onboard.

This boat also includes three docking stations for the utmost convenience, combo washer and dryer, Bose loudspeakers throughout, and a popup television in the salon, just to name a few more of her exceptional features.

On top of the well-designed and functional features of this cruiser, she also has many opulent qualities including a flybridge with a sun pad lounger, as well as bench seating surrounding a flybridge table to also carry entertaining up top. A hydraulic swim platform enhances the transom, as well as a grill and more seating. This vessel truly offers its passengers a wealth of options and enjoyment. Come by Galati Yacht Sales in Galveston to climb aboard this astonishing Prestige 460 Flybridge.

HB 4032 Texas Marine Industry Bill Is Approved

yachting HB 4032 Texas Marine Industry Bill Is Approved

Sales tax for recreational boats in Texas has been capped to $18,750.

TMIC Legislative effort backed by grassroots support proves successful

In a major victory for Texas’ struggling marine industry, a long sought measure limiting the sales-use tax on boat purchases and providing for out of state vessels to utilize Texas waters, marinas and service companies is now poised to become law. After final passage in Texas House and Senate, and final filing by the Governor on June 14, 2019, HB 4032 will take effect on Sept. 1, effectively bringing Texas marine industry competitive balance with other coastal states that have had far lower boat tax policies.

The Texas Marine Industry Coalition (TMIC) was established barely one year ago to bring the Texas marine industry together and provide a strong platform and voice to promote and protect the interest of the industry and Texas’ boating communities. TMIC built a strong and effective coalition of members from the entire Texas coast and many inland boating communities. The group set the Texas Marine Jobs bill as its No. 1 legislative priority and spearheaded the efforts to pass this vitally important legislation.

“Thanks to a strong lobbying effort in Austin and incredible support from members of the marine industry and our communities, the Texas Marine Industry Jobs Bill is about to become law. The goal of TMIC and the result of this bill is to stem the flow of larger vessels, tax revenue, jobs and economic activity now going to Florida and other states due to those states proactive tax policies. The state of Texas can now return to its place among the nation’s leaders in boat sales and employment related to the marine industry,” said John Preston, President of TMIC and owner of The Boater’s Directory.

The Texas Marine Industry Jobs Bill sets a limit on the 6.25% sales and use tax for all taxable recreational vessels at $18,750, effectively matching the $18,000 tax cap that Florida enacted in 2010. It contains an additional provision to allow boats purchased for use outside of Texas to temporarily remain in the state to utilize Texas marine service companies for refit and repairs. Also included in the bill is a provision to establish a fee permit system for out-of-state registered vessels to return to or visit Texas waters for temporary periods of time and spend money in our communities to support the marine service industry. The intent and effect of each measure of the bill is to eliminate the incentives other states have been providing large boat buyers to purchase and/or take their boats and their business out of Texas. The boat sales tax cap and the additional provisions of HB 4032 will provide more boats, more boating and more business for Texas.

“We want to especially thank Senator Larry Taylor and Representative Ryan Guillen for their strong leadership as the primary bill authors. Thanks also to Representatives Greg Bonnen, Genie Morrison, Dennis Paul and Ed Thompson all of whom signed on as co-authors in the House. Representative Todd Hunter and Senator Lois Kolkhorst recognized the benefits of this legislation to their districts that are still recovering from Hurricane Harvey and provided tremendous advocacy for the Texas Marine Industry support to help achieve final passage of the bill,” said Randy Bright, TMIC Vice-President and broker with Galati Yacht Sales. He added “A special thanks to Joey Park and Billy Phenix for their hard work and effective professional representation in Austin. Getting this bill passed was no easy task and we are grateful that our legislators and the Governor were able to recognize the positive economic impact and the importance of it to the hard working men and women in the marine industry.

“The service sector of the Texas marine industry really needs this legislation”, said John Bowen, TMIC Vice President and owner of Elite Diesel Service. He added “The boats affected by this bill spend a great deal of money everywhere they go. We see the effects of this in our business as the Texas fleet has been shrinking thru attrition with replacement boats calling other states home. I’m excited that we can begin to return this business to Texas”

“We want to thank all our members and supporters who responded to our calls for action. They wrote letters and called legislators, gave money and made trips to Austin. Their efforts paid off for sure and proved that an organized grass roots effort is effective and can achieve great results,” said Jay Dee Jackson, Treasurer of TMIC and Texas Sales Manager for Galati Yacht Sales. He added, “We got such great support from so many people and organizations and we needed every bit of it. Thanks to that great collective effort, the Texas Marine Industry faces a brighter future today.”

For additional information or comments please contact any of the following members of the TMIC Legislative Committee: * John Preston 832/788-2860 * Randy Bright 713/816-2165 * John Bowen 832/226-2881 * Jay Dee Jackson 941/720-5081 *Email – tmicoalition@gmail.com or visit the TMIC website; www.tmicoalition.org

About TMIC

The Texas Marine Industry Association (TMIC) was formed by a group marine industry professionals to bring together Texas marine businesses, their employees, vendors and customers to create a strong platform and voice to promote and protect the interests of the Texas Marine Industry. TMIC’s Mission: To build a strong, organized and effective association of Texas marine industry businesses, employees, vendors and their customers for the purpose of providing strong advocacy to protect, promote and support the recreational marine industry in Texas. To be a strong voice of representation at the federal, state and local level on issues of importance to our members and our industry. To provide value to our members as a source of information and communication on issue and events important to their businesses and our industry.

Defending Galveston Bay

ITC fire galveston bay Defending Galveston Bay

A boom gets deployed at ITC while Galveston Bay Foundation staff is collecting water samples

By Claire EverettGalveston Bay Foundation

ITC Response

As the ITC chemical tank fire raged for days in March, two things became very clear: a large and immeasurable quantity of petrochemical and firefighting foam runoff was going straight into Tucker Bayou, and the Bay was going to be seriously impacted.

In the immediate aftermath, Galveston Bay Foundation called for transparency in all water testing surrounding the ITC incident, and we started our own independent sampling efforts. We sincerely thank our dedicated members and volunteers who helped during this difficult time.

“Our independent sampling not only provides public access to this important environmental data, but we are also supplementing data collected by incident response, ensuring adequate monitoring and documentation of the incident,” said Sarah Gossett, Robinson Water Programs Manager at Galveston Bay Foundation.

We partnered with Texas A&M University’s Superfund Research Center and Environmental Defense Fund to test the water for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), specifically PFAs, a group of chemical compounds frequently found in industrial product and firefighting foam.

PFAs are water soluble and do not break down over time, meaning they can stay in our waterways and accumulate in wildlife and the water column. They’re found in many different products, from industrial and manufacturing equipment to cookware and disposable coffee cups. While much is still unknown about PFAs and how they interact with the human body, many of these compounds are known to be harmful to humans when ingested, and have resulted in or contributed to cancer, hormone disruption, low infant birth weight and many other issues.

Unfortunately, concerning levels of PFAs were detected in our samples from the ITC incident. Overall, the results show a definite presence of many different PFAs in the Houston Ship Channel water. The highest levels were found near ITC, but even samples that were taken from the shoreline farther downstream showed levels of concern.

Because there are no federal advisories or state standards for contact recreation waters for PFAs, little monitoring has occurred within Galveston Bay. Since the ITC fire, Galveston Bay Foundation and other agencies have increased collection of PFAs levels within Galveston Bay.

“Now that we and the public are more aware of this issue, I hope we are able to use this incident to continue monitoring our Bay for these compounds, and that standards and protocols are eventually established,” Sarah said. “We need to do a better job of monitoring these levels so we can better document baseline levels and work to detect and resolve any potential problems.”

Galveston Bay Foundation will continue to work in collaboration with Texas A&M University to conduct long-term PFA monitoring in Galveston Bay. Stay up to date on any new information from the results at galvbay.org/ITC.

gbf water testing Defending Galveston Bay

Galveston Bay Foundation water testing in the Houston Ship Channel in response to the ITC fire.

Bayport Channel Collision

Less than two months after the ITC chemical tank fire, a barge-ship collision in Houston Ship Channel leaked more than 9,000 barrels of gasoline product into Galveston Bay.

In the wake of incidents like this, Galveston Bay Foundation works with partner organizations to evaluate the potential impacts the spill could have on the Bay. In this case, we have been invited by the Unified Command response to serve on a Resources at Risk committee to evaluate the impact on natural resources. Director of Conservation Phillip Smith will represent Galveston Bay Foundation on the committee.

While we have had concern over industry and government testing and sampling efforts, we are confident that Unified Command has mobilized, is actively responding to the incident, and is fulfilling environmental impact and assessment needs.

On Sunday, May 12, incident responders found a fish kill on our Kemah property, which Texas Parks and Wildlife Department confirmed as the result of the Bayport Channel Collision. Galveston Bay Foundation worked with incident response on the cleanup.

Learn more at galvbay.org/Bayport-Collision.

Industrial disasters are unfortunate to say the least, but our Bay is resilient. Galveston Bay Foundation plays an essential role in advocating for the health of the Bay in times of crisis and so do you. Thank you for all of your support in response to these incidents. With your help, Galveston Bay Foundation will continue to serve as guardian of Galveston Bay.

The Galley: Seared Scallops Recipe

Light, savory, and quick to prepare meals are especially welcome as the summer comes on strong. And the fewer ingredients the better. This recipe has a sauce to die for. Use it as an accompaniment over another preferred fish or seafood. And it can be poured over veggies, rice or pasta. We doubled the sauce this time for just that reason, serving it over greens and wild rice.

Both beer and wine pair well with these scallops. A crisp, citrusy sauvignon blanc from the Marlborough region of New Zealand is a perfect foil. And for beer lovers, an IPA (India Pale Ale) is a stunning complement with all those hops.

scallop recipe The Galley: Seared Scallops RecipeLemon, Wine & Butter Seared Scallops

  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 pound scallops
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons dry white wine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons parsley, fresh chopped OR 1 Tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Melt 1 Tablespoon butter in a large skillet or sauté pan over medium high heat. Remove the small side muscle from the scallops, rinse with cold water and thoroughly pat dry. Season scallops with salt and pepper. Add scallops to the skillet in a single layer and cook, flipping once, until golden brown and translucent in the center, about 2 minutes per side. Set aside and keep warm.

For the lemon butter wine sauce, melt 2 Tablespoons butter in the pan. Add garlic and stir for about a minute. Add in lemon juice, wine and parsley. Salt and pepper, to taste. Heat a minute or two and then serve immediately over scallops.

The Fine Art of Fly Tying

shane fly The Fine Art of Fly Tying

15-year-old Shane Krajnik continues his family tradition of tying flies.

By Alisa Star

Civilizations have been constructing and utilizing artificial flies for centuries. Fly fishing in Macedonia dates back to 200 A.D. Next, came iron hooks that were made during the 13th century, but didn’t become extremely popular until the 17th century when blacksmithing techniques improved and increased the durability of the metal.

As the years went on, new inventions benefited the fabrication of flies, thus causing new styles of flies to emerge and a more active fly-tying community. Shane Krajnik began tying flies at a very young age with his father as teacher and mentor. His father Mike Krajnik passed on techniques and tricks that he learned from his grandfather.

“I am so proud to be a part of this unique art and family tradition” said Shane Krajnik. “My father taught me how to craft freshwater ones specifically for fly fishing. However, I developed ones more suited for saltwater due to my constant exposure to the saltwater life. I tried different hooks, strings, feathers, styles, and weights. All of this led to me having the perfect recipe for the perfect saltwater fly,” said Krajnik.

“There’s a certain serenity that overwhelms you when you sit in a quiet place and start making these beautiful pieces of fine art. The relaxation and the absence of stress appears when you start wrapping the thin thread around the feathers and hairs of numerous species of animals.”

Young Krajnik enjoys not only tying flies for the relaxation, but also the results of how they catch fish. The quality flies created by this craftsman and fisherman having been used to catch reds, flounder, and speckled trout. Every feather and string addition changes the frequency of the fish you catch as well as the type. One enormous benefit of fishing with flies is none of those pesky hardheads! These catfish rarely strike plastics and the same goes for the flies as well. That’s a great benefit of using artificial bait and flies.

shanefly2 The Fine Art of Fly Tying

Hand tied fly by Shane Krajnik.

Needless to say, there is a learning curve that goes along with using flies. From the tying station to casting it out, you can modify and create characteristics of how the fly reacts in the water and during the retrieve. Another tip for fishing with saltwater flies is to use one with a little heft on the shank of the hook.

“Fishing with the slightly heavier flies that I create, I prefer to reel in slow to create a repeating V shape in the water with the fly. This motion seems to really catch the eye of surrounding fish, thus making them hit hard and run fast, “ Krajnik said.

Finally, one of the most important pieces of advice is to not go out and buy any new equipment except for a few different flies to fish with because you don’t really need anything new and complicated to test out the waters. These flies can even be used on traditional baitcasting or spinning gear by using a stationary weight about two and a half feet above the fly. Bottom line, fly making is a fine art and fishing with one is a unique experience worth trying.

If you are interested in purchasing custom made flies or a combination box of flies, please contact shanekrajnik@gmail.com

6 Tips for Kayak Safety

yaksafety 6 Tips for Kayak Safety

1. Wear Your PFD

This is extremely important and could save your life. Companies like NRS, Stohlquist and MTI make kayak specific type II and type III PFDs that won’t hinder your paddling ability. Keep a whistle in your vest to alert nearby boaters or persons if you are in distress.

2. Know Your Limits

Become familiar with your kayak and abilities, especially if you’re new to the sport. Start out somewhere calm like a local pond, lake or marsh. Practice maneuvers that get you back on the kayak if you fall out (search YouTube for demonstrations.)

3. Weather

Be aware of the conditions and marine forecast. Avoid going out if heavy storms, high winds or rough waters are in the forecast. Visit NOAA’s website for marine reports and resources on your area.

4. Anchor Properly

Always anchor from the bow or stern of your kayak, especially in rough conditions. Don’t let waves or choppy seas hit the broadside of your kayak or you could flip over.

5. Avoid Hazardous Locations

People drown at San Luis Pass every year. The strong currents and changing tides can create unpredictable situations. Texas City and areas near the Ship Channel can also be dangerous. Keep an eye out passing tankers and their wakes. Turn the front of your kayak into any incoming wakes or waves.

6. Float Plan

Let others know when you plan to be on the water and when you will return. Keep your cell phone with you on the water in case you need to make an emergency call.

Visit TPWD for more information on boating safety requirements and regulations. 

2019 Texas Outlaw Challenge

pb1 2019 Texas Outlaw Challenge

The performance boating event of Texas! The 12th Annual Texas Outlaw Challenge powers back into Clear Lake this June

By Rick Clapp

Well Bay Lovers, it’s that time of the year again when we all welcome the roar of power boat engines to Clear Lake. The Texas Outlaw Challenge celebrates its 12th year and will be held June 19-23. This exciting world-class event is spearheaded by the event and promotions Maven Paul Robinson. He brings hundreds and thousands of dollars to the Bay Area Houston region over a five day period of revelry.

One of the most highly respected and popular speed boating events in North America, The Texas Outlaw Challenge kicks off Wednesday, June 19. The 2019 event of the season on Clear Lake features multi-million dollar performance powerboats and offers the opportunity to see, hear, feel and experience performance powerboating at its best.

Colorful powerboats from all over Texas and the Southwest converge on Clear Lake for fun and exciting activities on both land and water. Festivities begin with the Welcome Outlaws Shooter Pre-party at Barge 295 from 7 p.m.-10 p.m. on Wednesday, June 19. The excitement continues with the Stampede Street Party in Kemah, which is precluded by a series of events; Early Card Stop Run Party at Bayland Marina (O’Neals) and Topwater Grill (11 a.m. – 3 p.m.), Gunslinger Poker Run at Landry’s and a High Roller Gold Party at Kemah Boardwalk (5 p.m. – 9 p.m.).

The Outlaw Challenge rolls on into Friday, June 21 with the Shoot-Out and Poker Run Premiere #1 stop. The Shoot-Out boat staging, dock and safety meeting is held at Barge 295 at 9 a.m. The Shoot-out Competition Clear Lake Course runs from 9 a.m. – noon and annual Gunslinger Run #1 Card Pool Party, sponsored by DH Technology, is at Kenny Armstrong’s Casa. At 9 p.m. that night, enjoy the spectacular Fireworks on the Bay in Kemah, provided by Landry’s and easily viewed from Clear Lake and Galveston Bay. The evening concludes with the Miss Outlaw-Bikini Contest at CABO and Barge 295 at 10 p.m.

Awards will be handed out at the Gunslingers Poker Run and Finale Gala “Outlaws to the Max” on Saturday, June 22 from 7 p.m. to midnight at Marine Max in Seabrook.

More fun events will take place earlier that Saturday with a Shotgun Boat Parade on the Kemah inlet at 10 a.m. and then a Gunslinger, Lunch and Pool Stop at Harbor Walk, sponsored by Legend Marine Group, from noon to 2 p.m. At 3 p.m. is the Texas Tiki Dinner: Watering Hole and Dinner stop at Topwater Grill and Marina. Then Les le Bon Temps Rouler the party begins at Marine Max at 7pm.

Finally the 2019 Outlaw Challenge concludes Sunday, June 23 with the Steel Horse Stampede – Bike and Car (Poker Run) Rally. Registration will take place at Crazy Alan’s Swamp Shack Kemah at 8 a.m. Then the final stop will be the Seafood Buffet and awards at Topwater Grill. This significant Texas performance boating event has the support of seven local Texas cities and city councils, including Seabrook, Nassau Bay, Kemah, El Lago, Pasadena, Clear Lake Shores, League City, and Galveston.

The Texas Outlaw Challenge responsibly supports several local charities through generous event participant and sponsor donations. These proceeds help the following local charities: Shriners Children’s Hospital, The Bridge Women’s Shelter, Boys & Girls Harbor, Clear Creek Environmental Foundation, Kemah Lions Club, Seabrook Rotary, Seabrook Marine Group, Galveston-House Families Exploring Down Syndrome, and various Veterans groups. The Texas Outlaw Challenge supports the local community and businesses with a substantial economic impact that is estimated well over $1 million each year.

The future looks bright with more exciting Outlaw Challenge Events and Races being planned in 2020 and beyond. Various boat races, contests and festivities are in the works. The five-day high performance packed event features boats that will be powering into the area from coast to coast. Let’s all thank those power boaters, families, support crew, participating sponsors, and local Bay Area Houston cities that support this world class event. Remember please treat participants of the Outlaw Challenge with all the warmth, kindness, and any courtesies that you or your company can offer this elite group of guests to our Houston Bay Area. The Outlaw Challenge is a major economic shot in our arm for Clear Lake. A special thanks goes to Paul Robinson and his fine organization for keeping this spectacular marine happening in Bay Area Houston.

Sun Protection Out on the Water

specktrout Sun Protection Out on the WaterMake protection from the sun a priority

By Capt. David C. Dillman

GalvestonBayCharterFishing.com | 832-228-8012

As a child, I never worried about problems associated with the sun and it’s rays. I grew up around water all my life, from swimming in our backyard pool during my early years, to spending my weekends fishing Matagorda at the family cabin. Then I got my first set of “wheels” and it was off to the beach every chance we got, as long as the sun was shining. After college, I worked a nine year stint with the YMCA. Outdoor activities were a big part of the job. Over the last 30 years I have owned and operated a fishing charter service.

Once May came around, I can remember watching television and seeing those ads for Coppertone Sun Tanning Lotion. These ads would continue all the way through Summer. I was one of those that didn’t need much help achieving that dark tan. During these three decades, the 60s, 70s, and 80s, not many of these commercials advertised the use of a sun blocking product, only tanning lotions and oils. The harmful effects of the sun’s rays were very seldom or at all mentioned.

Last August my bottom lip developed severe blisters. I fished four days in a row, in the Gulf, prior to the breakout. I went to one of those urgent care clinics and the doctor attributed the blisters to severe sunburn of the lip. This had never happened to me before but I did not question the diagnosis. After a couple weeks of medicine, blisters went away but my lip was still tender. This past March, the problem started again. This time, under the advice of a friend, I went to UTMB Dermatology. They gave me some medicine to help heal the blisters, but also ordered a biopsy of my bottom lip. After the results, I am now on a topical chemotherapy treatment, which I began in early April. All of this was caused by damage from the sun.

During the past 25 years, much more knowledge has come to light about the harmful effects from over exposure to the sun. These days, the use of sunscreen and sun protective clothing is advertised across all media platforms. I seldom used any protection at all from the sun. I can now honestly say, “take precautions from the sun!”

Trout Fishing Starts

I always called May and June the official start of “trout fishing” in Galveston Bay. For myself and some others, the “season” never stops. But starting in May, one will notice a increase in boats on the weekends and by June, people will be out seeking trout in earnest. Everything seems to fall in place for some great fishing. Lower and Middle Galveston Bay, East Bay and even Trinity Bay should all produce nice catches of trout. The closure of the boat ramps under the Clear Lake Bridge will impact lots of boaters. Eagle Point Fishing Camp is a great alternative. They boast a three lane ramp, with ample dockage, secure parking, live bait, tackle, snacks, drinks, ice and clean restrooms to accommodate your angling or boating needs for the day. They can be reached at (281) 339-1131 for updates on conditions and bait supply.

Remember to be courteous on the water and protect yourself from over exposure of the sun. See ya on the bay!!

Lower Laguna Madre Fishing

By Capt. Lee Alvarez

SouthPadreIslandFishingTrips.com | (956) 330-8654

lee trout Lower Laguna Madre Fishing

Nick Cantu with an impressive Lower Laguna Madre speckled trout caught with Capt. Alvarez.

There really is no better time of the year for me than right now. Baseball season has begun, summer is looming on the horizon and fishing in the Lower Laguna Madre near South Padre Island is just about as good as it gets. Throw in the fact that you can once again fish in comfortable clothing, and there really isn’t a whole lot to complain about. That is unless you don’t like a little bit of extra wind.

May and June in South Texas also means strong winds, which can sometimes blow in the 35-40 mph range. Increasing temperatures combined with hard winds on the shallow flats of the LLM often brings good fishing. When water is blown out and potholes or grass beds are nearly impossible to see, long casts with 10 lb or 12 lb FINS Windtamer Braid will get your lures out further from the boat.

This gives an angler a better opportunity to hook up when blind casting. Maintaining a good distance from fish is critical to keep from spooking them and windy days typical of this time of year will help increase that distance. In these types of conditions, one of the easiest and most effective methods for locating fish is to use a soft plastic lure worked under a popping cork.

One of my favorite techniques is to tie on a 3” D.O.A. Shrimp (Glow/Holographic Flake Belly or Nite Glow/Chartreuse) with a 1/8 to 1/16 ounce jighead fished under an oval-shaped cork. This method (which works best in 3-5 feet of murky to off colored water) has been producing great numbers of keeper sized speckled trout for my clients. Under windy conditions, popping corks make a little extra commotion for your lure and help get it noticed. With the brightest cork that you can find, give several quick jerks of the rod tip to pop the floater and let it sit still. Repeat. Vary the length of time you allow the cork to rest in the water. A fish will eat your lure when the cork is still and upright and your bait is suspended in the water column.

On many of my recent charters, my clients have been hooking up to solid 18 – 26 inch trout using a D.O.A. Shrimp tied to 24 inches of fluorocarbon leader line under a cork. Many of the trout that have been caught have been spitting up shrimp which we have perfectly matched with our lures.

The 2019 Shallow Sport Boat Owners Tournament on South Padre Island is just around the corner and this year’s tournament has some exciting new rule changes. In an effort to promote conservation, Shallow Sport has decided to change the format of this year’s tournament from an individual to a team competition. This is one of the largest boat owner tournaments in the state (263 boats registered last year) and this awesome measure will dramatically decrease the number of fish killed during the tourney and will keep our bays healthy and stocked for future generations of anglers to enjoy.

Follow Capt. Lee on social media:

FB: Capt. Lee Alvarez’ South Padre Fishing Charters

IG: leandro_alvareziii

Kayak Fishing Tips

brandon rowan trout Kayak Fishing TipsThat’s a paddlin’! Tales and observations from a floating piece of plastic

By Brandon Rowan

GREENER PASTURES

“Yup that’s the spot.” In the back of the marsh, far removed from the beaten path and at least several miles away from the launch. Yup, that’s the one.”

I don’t know about you, but that train of thought has definitely danced across my mind while scanning Google Earth for that new honey hole. I mean, the extra effort and difficulty will reap equal rewards right? That sometimes rings very true but is not always the case.

I made it a point to get out, paddle and explore new areas this year. Numerous trips in, I started noticing a trend: a surprising amount of good catches came from spots I typically passed during the journey to the “honey hole.”

Sometimes it was a shad flip, a hovering bird, or even a last ditch effort that put me on a location but you can’t argue with results of trout, redfish and flounder. Believe me, I won’t discount these ‘easy’ spots in the future.

HEAD ON A SWIVEL

Even subtle signs, like a single shad or mullet flip, can expose feeding fish underneath an otherwise calm water surface. Hell, what’s one more extra cast? Plus, it’s a pretty triumphant moment when the thump of a good fish confirms your suspicions.

Birds can be your guide in the marsh too. Hovering terns and gulls are a dead give away to activity but don’t discount shore walkers, like the Spoonbill. Their lives depend on their ability to find bait. Where there’s bait, there are predators.

down south lures trout Kayak Fishing Tips

I caught a lot of fish in late winter and early spring on these super model Down South Lures. Special colors, like this plum/chartreuse mullet eye and Purple Reign sans chartreuse tail, can only be found at special events like the Houston Boat Show and Fishing Show. Contact DSL owner Michael Bosse at 210.865.8999 for information on availability.

Subsurface twitch baits like this Rapala Twitchin’ Mullet are just plain fun to fish and productive, too. I caught my biggest trout of the year, 27 inches, on this olive green 06 model.

MEAT’S ALWAYS ON THE MENU

Knowledge of your area and the available forage through each season is crucial. Late winter and early spring was a great time to throw mullet imitations and I leaned on topwaters and big plastics like the Down South Lures super model.

But the days lengthened, the trees began to bloom and it wasn’t long before the bay was flush with freshly hatched bait species. Predators don’t overthink fishing locations and easy spots. They are opportunistic feeders and love easy meals. Later in spring, I starting throwing small baitfish imitations, like the smaller sized Rapala Twitchin’ Mullet.

One foggy April afternoon I was rewarded with a beautiful 27” speckled trout. I found her intercepting small shad forced back into the cove by a hard wind driven current. After a spirited fight, measurement and quick picture, I set her free and watched her swim away strong.

Egret Baits’ 2” Vudu Shrimp under an oval cork is a favorite in the marsh when fish are keyed in on itty bitty shrimp. I like pearl/chart or glow.

SHRIMP DINNER

Looking ahead to May and June, shrimp imitations will be a good bet. The surf is going to start looking real flat and I’ll be ditching the kayak for west end beach wading or seawall rock hopping. I love catching trout on topwater, but by far some of my most productive days have come from rigging a clear/gold D.O.A. Shrimp under a popping cork.

Glassy surf and its fishy possibilities are the stuff of dreams. But the stout early summer winds of the upper coast are often our reality. If that’s the case, you’ll find me in my favorite stretch of marsh chasing redfish. They eat small in my spot and rarely turn down a 2” Vudu Shrimp under a short leader and oval cork.

It’s about to get hot my friends so take care to keep yourself hydrated and safe. I hope to see you all out there!