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Max Conner

June 29th, 2019

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.

Silver Kings and More On South Padre Island

June 29th, 2019

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.’

Coastal Artist Jake Jones

February 28th, 2019

jjtarpon Coastal Artist Jake Jones

Artist Jake Jones takes old, discarded fish mounts and transforms them into vibrant pieces of art. www.freshfishgallery.com

Naples artist Jake Jones transforms old surfboards and fish mounts into oceanic works of art

Where are you from and where do you reside now?

I was born in California and grew up on the East Coast of Maryland. I currently reside down in sunny Naples, Florida. I do most of my work outside and it sure is nice in January and February to be able to create art in my driveway

What inspires your style of artwork?

My artwork comes from a life-long love of the ocean and the amazing creatures that inhabit it. Most of my work is done on ‘found items’ and I get a lot of satisfaction bringing something that was broken or discarded back to life.

jjonesturtle Coastal Artist Jake Jones
We love that you use reclaimed surfboards, old fish mounts and driftwood for your pieces. Can you tell us more about your process?

  I’ve always been an artist but my recent direction kind of goes back to the day that I found an old Sailfish mount on Craigslist for $50. It was just too cool to pass up. I knew I wanted to do something creative with it, but I wasn’t quite sure what. I ended up painting it lime green with a purple sail, hand brushed Polynesian style graphics on it and then put it back on craigslist under furniture. Someone bought it right away so I thought I might be on to something.  I also came across an old surfboard that was damaged so I removed most of the fiberglass outer shell to be able to carve into the foam underneath. I really enjoy the process of carving a surfboard and they are the creative pieces that I am most proud of.

Besides art, what else are you passionate about?

Well I have two daughters in college that I am very proud of and besides my passion for art, I enjoy working out and seeking new adventures with my girlfriend Tammy.

If you had to pick, where is your favorite place one of your pieces is currently hanging up on the wall?

I sold a few pieces to a local brewery and they featured my art on this very cool wall that was made from old whiskey barrels. I really loved the combination of textures and colors when my art was hung there. I always ask my clients to please send me a photo of my work in their home so that I can see it. I get a lot of enjoyment seeing how my work is displayed in people’s homes.

Where is your favorite place to travel and why?

For the most part I enjoy being close to the ocean but I have to say that in recent years I really enjoy the mountains and the people of Georgia. I did some hiking there along the Appalachian Trail the last two summers and I just really love that area.

How can our readers purchase and enjoy your art?

My website is FreshFishGallery.com and my Facebook page is www.facebook.com/freshfishstudios.

I really enjoy posting progress photos of the projects I have going and of course if you see something you like or want something commissioned please feel free to contact me! My email is artbyjake@gmail.com.

Are there any upcoming events or news you’d like to share with us?

I’m very excited about a gallery opportunity that is in the works, but besides that I just wanted to thank you for the opportunity to be interviewed!

Coastal Artist Anastasia Musick

January 1st, 2019

musick tarpon Coastal Artist Anastasia Musick

Anastasia Musick with her tarpon painting “Eyes on the Prize.”

Interview by Kelly Groce

Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from and when did you start painting?

Originally I am from Kazakhstan but I have lived all over Europe and Asia (11 countries to be exact) before I was even 17!  Shortly after I came along, my family endured many hardships from the changing times, causing us to constantly move.

Like many young kids, I was fond of drawing, painting and anything artistic, but I tended to dedicate all of my time to this interest over anything else.  Certainly it was a good focus, as no matter where we lived or what the language, I had to start learning that particular year(s), I had consistency and stability in my artwork. I think was more beneficial to me than anything.

When I was around 11 years old, I was starting to paint and draw animals and floral art at a very rapid rate.  My mother would place the finished works in shops wherever we were living at the time.  By the time I was 15, I was being contacted for commissioned pieces of a very wide array of subjects, including freshwater fish, birds, and a lot of floral works.

How did you get into painting wildlife?

I have from the very beginning painted a host of subjects without boundary, but I would say that the time period I started focusing mostly on marine and wildlife was 2-3 years ago. My first saltwater piece was around that time as well.

musick swordfish Coastal Artist Anastasia Musick

“Dancing in the Moonlight”

Aside from art, what else are you passionate about?

Well to be completely honest, I don’t really have much time to do much else!  I paint 8-12 hours a day, 7 days a week, and when I am caught up I try to go fishing or enjoy my time on the water.  I take what I do incredibly seriously and try to give every ounce of energy I have to becoming better. After all, I have a lot of folks who have invested in me by owning originals.  I would be doing them a disservice if I did not increase their piece’s value over time.

I do love to fish but unless it’s a subject I am completely new to, it really does not make the artworks any better to continually see the same species—at least for me it doesn’t, but what does improve the paintings is pure repetition. This is the only requirement needed to have the knowledge or capability to paint or draw anything with success.

“Nine Lives”

What is your favorite fish to catch?

Redfish and Mahi.

Favorite location to fish or travel?

When time allows, I like to take either my paddle boat or kayak to a tiny little area in Charlotte Harbor that always is harboring at least a few hungry reds!  Within the last two years my vacationing has been sort of limited, but I have really enjoyed the various beaches I’ve visited in Texas and of course the boardwalk in San Antonio was a fun time.

Favorite fishing moment?

The very first redfish I caught had a little over 13 spots and I think that’s when I fell in love with fishing and wanted to dedicate that as my predominate focus.

“Ambush Queens”

How can our readers purchase and enjoy your art?

I have hundreds of pieces that I do reproductions of in small numbers, apparel and a host of other things available.  Easiest way to contact me is either to go to Facebook and search me out: Anastasia Musick. Also feel free to contact me on my business page: Musick Art Corporation. You can also find my website at www.AnastasiaMusick.com

Are there any foundations or organizations you are involved with that you would like to tell our readers about?

I work with CCA Texas, Florida and several kidney research foundations.  In 2019 I was selected to be the Texas CCA STAR Platinum Print Artist and would like to continue working with them and others.

“The Prospectors Bill”

The Tarpon Inn – Port Aransas, Texas

September 1st, 2018

38434508 2037057679639960 7928543258009927680 n 292x300 The Tarpon Inn   Port Aransas, Texas

A portion of the 7,000 scales hung up on the walls in the lobby of The Tarpon Inn. Photo: Kelly Groce

Tarpon, Texas

Port Aransas, Texas was once upon a time called Tarpon, Texas because of the large numbers of Tarpon being caught in its surrounding waters. In the early 1900’s, the word about the abundance of Tarpon in the area began to spread and fisherman from all over the country began making their way south to see for themselves.

United States President, Franklin D. Roosevelt was one of these fisherman. Prior to WWII in 1937, FDR came to Port Aransas on a mission to catch a big Texas tarpon. FDR and his son Elliott fished with the famous fishing guide, Barney Farley. Barney Farley was a guide and a brother to Fred Farley who designed Farley Boats. FDR caught a 4’, 80 lb. tarpon that day (pictured right) and apparently had a blast while doing so.

If you caught a tarpon back then, the tradition was to sign and date one of its scales. These scales were then hung on the wall inside of the Tarpon Inn. FDR continued with this custom and added his scale to the wall.

FDR Fish The Tarpon Inn   Port Aransas, Texas

President Roosevelt catching a tarpon on a Farley boat off the coast of Port Aransas in 1937 with famous fishing guide, Barney Farley. Photo: Doc McGregor

The Tarpon Inn was built in 1886 with surplus lumber from the Civil War barracks. The building became a hotel after it was first housed by men working on the south jetty in Port Aransas. It’s been a popular place for fisherman and visitors to stay ever since.

The Texas Historic Landmark, The Tarpon Inn, established in 1886. Photo: Wikipedia

The walls in the lobby of the Tarpon Inn are covered in over 7,000 tarpon scales (a portion pictured above). Each scale has the signature and hometown of the angler, along with the date, size and weight of their catch. It is truly remarkable to see this sort of history on the walls. There are scales from all over the country, even the world. The oldest scale dates back to the 1890’s. The most famous scale in the collection is the one signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt himself.

The Tarpon Inn is a beautiful and historic place to stay if you plan on visiting Port Aransas. You can walk to nearby restaurants and bars, and watch large tankers and fishing boats go by from your rocking chair on the long, sea breezy porch. The beach and jetty is also just a short drive away. The rooms are very comfortable, but do not have televisions or telephones that way you can truly relax on island time.

 

The Tarpon Inn
200 E. Cotter Ave.
Port Aransas, TX 78373
www.TheTarponInn.com or 361.749.5555