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Texas Billfishing Lures

April 1st, 2019

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

texasbillfishing Texas Billfishing Lures

Moldcraft Wide Range

moldcraftwiderangeblkpurp Texas Billfishing Lures

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

Capt. Darrell WeigeltCapt. Darrell Weigelt – PATRON

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

Wide Ranges

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

Capt. Kevin DeermanCapt. Kevin Deerman – LEGACY

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

Marlin Magic Baby Ruckus

Marlin Magic Baby Ruckus

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

Capt. Troy Day

Capt. Troy Day

Owner Jasen Gast – REHAB

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

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

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

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

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

Capt. Brett HoldenCapt. Brett Holden – BOOBY TRAP

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

Draggin’ Up Wins the 2018 Texas Billfish Classic

August 15th, 2018

team draggin up marlin Draggin Up Wins the 2018 Texas Billfish Classic

Draggin’ Up were named tournament champions and won the blue marlin division with their 514 lb fish.

The Texas Billfish Classic saw continued growth in participation and a substantial increase in prize money during its third year. The TBC fleet released eight blue marlin, one white marlin, six sailfish and weighed one big blue marlin. The TBC is one of the fastest growing billfish tournaments in Texas and the only event that allows participants to leave at noon on Thursday and begin fishing right away on the same day.

Draggin’ Up, a 74’ Viking from Houston, was the only boat to weigh a blue marlin on Saturday, Aug. 4 to claim top honors in the Blue Marlin Division. Angler Sam Rasberry’s 119.5 inch blue marlin topped the scales at 514 pounds.

“We were having a slow first day with no bites, so we decided to make a move for second day. We got the bite shortly after 9 a.m.,” said Draggin’ Up Captain Kevin Deerman. “We definitely knew the fish was a keeper after second set of jumps and got the gaffs ready. Great tournament and worked out for us betting heavy in the Blue Marlin kill pots!”

In the Billfish Release Division, Bimini Babe a 74’ Viking, took home top honors with three blue marlin releases and one sailfish, while Tico Time, a 65’ Hatteras, released one blue marlin and two sailfish to finish in second place. Over-Ride, a 64’ Titan, finished in third place releasing one blue marlin.

The Bimini Babe Team was also crowned Champions of the Billfish Classic Cup. This new event was developed to reward competitive teams fishing in both the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic and the Texas Billfish Classic. Owner Babe Appling, Captain Robert Jones and team left with an extra $10,000 and custom art to commemorate the big win!

The Tuna category was won by Clark Miller from Smoker II with a 93-pound Yellowfin. No stranger to the podium, Kurt Pantle on $EA DOLLAR$ came in second at 90 pounds, followed by Lee Bull on the REHAB at 50 pounds. A nice summer wahoo raised the bar pretty high as Jasen Gast and the REHAB crew pulled up his 51-pound fish, barely topping the second place fish brought in by Tiger Neal on the Smoker II. Brian Wood of Draggin’ Up, came in third at 29 pounds. The Dolphin category was taken with the only qualifying fish at 23 pounds by Chris Gavlick aboard the REHAB.

The Top Lady Angler was Emma Griffith on Over-Ride and the Top Junior Angler Award was presented to Ethan Middleton on the Change Order.

RESULTS:

Blue Marlin
1st- 514.0 lbs. Draggin’ Up – Angler Sam Rasberry

Catch and Release
1st – 2,000 pts – Bimini Babe – Captain Robert Jones

2nd – 1,000 pts – Tico Time – Captain Mike Hester

3rd – 600 pts – Over-Ride – Captain Jacob Dawson

Tuna
1st – 93 lbs – Smoker II – Clark Miller

2nd – 90 lbs – $ea Dollar$ – Kurt Pantle

3rd – 50 lbs – REHAB – Lee Bull

Wahoo
1st – 51 lbs – REHAB – Jasen Gast

2nd – 47 lbs – Smoker II – Tiger Neal

3rd – 29 lbs – Draggin’ Up – Brian Wood

Dolphin
1st – 23 lbs – REHAB – Chris Gavlick

Top Lady Angler
Emma Griffith on the Over-Ride

Top Junior Angler
Ethan Middleton on the Change Order

2015 Lone Star Shootout

August 31st, 2015

REHAB Blue Marlin Release1 2015 Lone Star Shootout

Lone Star Shootout champions, Team REHAB with a 412.5 pound blue marlin.

VIEW THE 2015 LONE STAR SHOOTOUT RESULTS HERE

By Dawn Messina

The Lone Star Shootout, formally The Houston Invitational Billfish Tournament, started in Galveston in 2005 as a function of The Houston Big Game Fishing Club. It was moved to Freeport in 2007 and six years ago, again moved to Port O’Connor a location that has proven to successfully attract bigger participation.  The Lone Star Shootout provides serious funds for the Houston Big Game Fishing Club’s charitable programs, supporting college scholarships and other programs relating to fishing, boat safety and Warrior’s Weekend.

To date HBGFC, due in large part to the funds raised at the Shootout and with the support of its members and corporate sponsors, has funded over $150,000 in scholarship money.

The tournament was held July 22-27, following the week of Poco Bueno at Port O’Connor’s Caracol Coastal Development. Most of the boats that fished Poco also participated in the Lone Star Shootout. However, captains and crew members may change, fishing a different boat from the previous tourney.

The tournament concludes with an awards party, remembered and talked about each and every year for great food, entertainment and fellowship. Prizes are awarded for billfish, wahoo, tuna and dolphin.  The Perpetual Champion’s Trophy is the prized possession of each year’s champion and has become one of the most sought after trophies on the Gulf Coast tournament trail.

I found the Lone Star Shootout to be the most fun to attend. It’s smaller than Poco Bueno, but still offers the opportunity to compete against some of the best billfish teams in the U.S. and a chance to win big money. The Shootout has one of the largest payouts of any tournament in the western Gulf with a billfish release format.

The action started off hot on day one and kept going to the last minute of fishing with no less than ten boats reporting at least two marlin releases. After all the boats were in, videos reviewed and paperwork confirmed, the field had caught a record total of 98 billfish! The totals were 35 blue marlin, 30 white marlin and 33 sailfish.

The Lone Star Shootout had 52 participating boats this year, offering optional side pot betting instead of a Calcutta. These side pots pay out 95 percent of the total amount entered and the remaining 5 percent of the total will is donated to HBGFC Charitable and Scholarship Funds. Optional side pots include billfish release pots in the amounts of $5,000, $2,500, $1,000, and $500, daily pots of $500; gamefish pots, including weighed blue marlin pots of $3,000, $2,000, $1,000 and $500; a winner-take-all pot of $2,500 for total tournament points and a crew side pot in the amount of $400. This year’s total was a whopping $965,900! The Houston Big Game Fishing Club received $48,295 for their charitable fund.

The tournament also featured a $1 million reward for a state record blue marlin! To qualify for this reward, the fish must be certified by the State of Texas and caught according to all tournament rules and any other rules as specified in the $1 million reward rules published and provided to participants prior to the fishing days. Wow! Now we’re talking!

The point system employed during the tourney awards any released blue marlin 750 points for both the release side pots and for total score. Weighed blue marlin will count one point per pound for weighed blue marlin side pots and 750 points each for the total points scored. Released white marlin score 200 points and sailfish 100 points. Scoring for the overall tournament points will consist of total billfish release points, plus 750 points for each weighed blue marlin meeting the tournament minimum length of 102 inches.

lonestar 2015 Lone Star Shootout

The Shootout was well attended this year.

There was one aspect of the event I found interesting, that I never really understood until a good friend, Mark Phillips explained it. There is the “meat pot” and the “biggest fish pot,” meaning a boat can come in with the biggest fish and not win the big money depending on which side pot they bought into! They win a beautiful trophy and bragging rights but not necessarily money. Betting on the “meat pot” is very expensive but provides opportunity for a nice payout. So it’s kind of, “put your money where your mouth is” so to speak! It can be $40,000 and up depending on across-the-board betting for one boat and all species of tournament fish caught during the tournament.

Congratulations to the Lone Star Shootout Champion team REHAB, who scored 2,450 points with two blue marlin releases, two sailfish releases and weighed a 412.5-pound blue marlin on day one of fishing. REHAB is owned by Jasen Gast and captained by Troy Day.