Galati Yacht Sales
Quantum Sails
Haynie Custom Bay Boats
Sea Lake Yachts
South Texas Yacht Service
Texas Sportfishing Yacht Sales
Marina Del Sol
Seabrook Marina
Tookie's Seafood

Fishmas Gift Guide

redfish earrings Fishmas Gift Guide

Gone Coastal Jewelry

Gone Coastal Jewelry features the highest quality nautical and coastal jewelry along with exceptional customer service. No matter which design you choose, their necklaces, bracelets, earrings, charms, pendants, rings and more fully embody the excitement, beauty and peacefulness of coastal life. GoneCoastalJewelry.com

columbia megavent2 Fishmas Gift Guide

Columbia Men’s Megavent™ II PFG Shoe

It dries quickly, drains water easily, and laces up fast. The latest Megavent™ hybrid shoe is made for the professional angler who needs an outsole that grips when wet, an upper that resists stains, and an overall design that performs when the excitement hits. Gulf Coast Mariner put these shoes to the test all summer in Cabo San Lucas and during the Texas Billfish Classic. They are extremely grippy boat shoes that don’t sacrifice comfort or durability. Columbia.com

Studio Abachar Pinup Girl Stickers

Impressive vintage-styled stickers from world-famous marine artist Amadeo Bachar. These 8” Clear vinyl stickers are printed with white ink behind Amadeo’s fish illustration to preserve opacity and unmatched level of detail. Each is coated with heavy UV to stand up to the elements— rain, wind and sun without fading. Also available in prints. Visit studio-abachar.myshopify.com

Cold Steel Bird & Trout Knife

The Bird & Trout knife is a much loved, lightweight tool that is enjoyed by hunters, fisherman and outdoorsmen the world over. Its lightweight one-piece construction and its versatile, ultra-skeletonized sheath make it effortless to carry and a joy to wear all day long. Made of Japanese AUS 8A Stainless Steel. Overall length 6 5/16” Blade length is 2 1/4” ColdSteel.com

Avid Angler Jewelry

Avid Angler Jewelry provides unique, realistic jewelry that has been designed and hand-crafted by fellow fishing and hunting enthusiasts. Be it sterling silver or 14k gold, these pendants, charms, pins, earrings, bracelets, tie-tacs and rings can be created to customize your collection. These inshore or offshore pieces express a love of nature and the outdoors and make a perfect gift. @AvidAnglerJewelryDesigns

YETI Rambler Half Gallon Jug

With rugged construction, FatLid™ insulation and a stainless steel handle, the Rambler® Half Gallon Jug is built to take on the wild. Whenever and wherever you need it, count on an ice-cold (or piping hot) sip from your Rambler to come to the rescue. Available in 2 DuraCoat™ colors and stainless steel. Yeti.com

Avet Patriot Series Reels

Give the gift of American Pride! All of your favorite Avet reels are now available in red, white and blue. The 6061 T-6 marine grade aluminum frame proudly displays our flag and features an anodized finish for superior corrosion resistance. Avet reels feature precision machined stainless steel gears and components and are proudly made right here in the good ole’ U. S. of A. AvetReels.net

Galveston Flounder Run: A Quick Guide

flounder map Galveston Flounder Run: A Quick Guide

WHERE TO FIND THEM

A: UPPER BAY

Flounder from upper Galveston Bay begin to exit areas like Clear Lake, Dickinson Bay and Moses Lake. Fish the shorelines outside these back lakes as flounder migrate towards the Gulf.

B: JONES BAY

Marsh dwelling flounder will exit through Highland Bayou and into Jones Bay. Fish marsh drains, shorelines and structure.

C: WEST BAY

Flounder exit the numerous coves and marshes and either head west to San Luis Pass or east to the Galveston Ship Channel. Fish the bayou mouths, marsh drains and shorelines as flounder make their exodus.

D: BOLIVAR

Flounder congregate near the structure and wells around Bolivar as they head to the pass.

E: TEXAS CITY DIKE

Flounder will hug the rocks and shorelines of this 5-mile-long levee during their migration. This is a great location for shore-bound anglers.

F: GALVESTON SHIP CHANNEL

During the peak of the flounder fun, fish stack up as they funnel through the channel. Any given shoreline or structure can hold flounder in the GSC.

G: GALVESTON JETTIES

This is your last shot at a saddle blanket before they enter the Gulf of Mexico. Fish big mullet and heavy jigs along the rocks during the outgoing tide.

big flounder 2018 Galveston Flounder Run: A Quick Guide

HOW TO CATCH THEM

THE BITE

Flounder are ambush predators, concealing themselves on the bay floor and striking when opportunity presents itself. There a couple telltale signs of a flounder strike. The most recognizable is the satisfying “thump” of a bite during your retrieve. Sometimes, the bite is more subtle and all of sudden you notice a dead weight on your line. And other times, a fish might strike viciously and move.

THE HOOKSET

The most important aspect of flounder fishing is patience!! Flounder often bite first to kill and wait before swallowing. Wait anywhere from 5 to 20 seconds before attempting to set the hook. Flounder have bony mouths and require a stout hookset. The no-stretch qualities of braided line are perfect for hooking flounder.

Down South Lure in Kickin’ Chicken, Gulp Shrimp in New Penny and H&H Grub in Glow/Chart.

BAITS AND LURES

Berkley Gulp baits are some of the best scented plastics for flounder, but any soft plastic on a quality jighead can get the job done. Scent is important and helps flounder hold on to the bait longer. Apply Pro-Cure gels to your unscented plastics, like Down South Lures, Chicken Boy Lures or Flounder Pounders.  You can also tip your jighead with a small piece of shrimp tail section.

Popular lures colors include pearl, pearl/chartreuse, strawberry/white, chicken on a chain, pink, chartreuse, new penny and many more.

Live shrimp, finger mullet and mud minnows are all popular, successful flounder baits.

It’s hard to go wrong with the real thing. The most popular live baits are finger mullet, live shrimp and mud minnows. Fish these on the bottom with a carolina rig: swivel,  weight (1/4 oz. to 1 oz. depending on water depth), a live bait or kahle hook and a 18” length of 15-20 lb mono or fluoro.

UNDERSTANDING THE FLOUNDER LIFE CYCLE

Life cycle of the Southern Flounder. Illustrations by Brandon Rowan.

Newly renovated Tommy’s Restaurant Oyster Bar serves up the best in seafood

tommys2 Newly renovated Tommy’s Restaurant Oyster Bar serves up the best in seafood

By Rick Clapp

ttollett Newly renovated Tommy’s Restaurant Oyster Bar serves up the best in seafood

Tommy’s owner Tom Tollett

Tommy’s Restaurant Oyster Bar is, and has always been, synonymous with the finest quality oysters, seafood, wine and spirits. A favorite among the NASA elite crowd, the eatery has been serving the entire Clear Lake community for 24 years.

The restaurant’s owner, Tom Tollett, is known for his attention to detail and the quality and has successfully engineered and remodeled the restaurant every few years. The newly remodeled Oyster Bar is simply stunning!

The new renovations have a very modern, panache feel with artistic overtones. The style of art displayed represents the many colors and tranquility found in Galveston Bay. The renowned Marjorie Slovack, a carriage trade interior designer, successfully developed a contemporary look that exudes a classy, yet relaxed atmosphere and ambience.  Futhermore, RBL construction transformed Slovack’s gorgeous design into reality.

Tom Tollett is a native Louisianian from Baton Rouge, Lafayette. He collaborates with his talented team of chefs and creates a diverse selection of fresh seafood and steaks to be enjoyed by his patrons.

His authentic Louisiana recipes have been perfected and developed over the past 42 years, encapsulating a story of culture and flavor from the best of Creole and Cajun seafood.

“There are two distinct types of cuisine found in Louisiana,” Tollett says. The popular Cajun style is pure country with simplistic flavors and a variety of vegetables and peppers. On the other hand, Creole style is influenced by the city with regional spices and savory seafoods, often smothered in rich creams.”

Tommy’s Restaurant Oyster Bar consistently ranks among one of the best seafood restaurants in both Harris and Galveston County. Not only do they cater to their loyal customer base, but also offer accommodations for private parties, corporate events and special occasions.

The chefs take great pride in serving dishes and entrees of the upmost quality. The bartenders and wait staff, like their boss, pay attention to detail and customer service.

One of Tom’s major passions is to educate the community and organizations on the importance of harvesting and farming oysters sustainably, and protecting this rich resource of Galveston Bay. Tommy’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar implements sustainability in their company with the help of local businesses. Tollett works closely with the Galveston Bay Foundation to help build new oyster reefs. He has served for many years on the Board of Directors.

“This restoration project helps build valuable ecosystems for many marine organisms,” Tollett said of the Galveston Bay Foundation’s efforts.

“Oysters filter 50 gallons of water per day and keep Galveston Bay clean and safe. Oyster reefs also create a buffer from the damaging effects of storm surges and flooding. Since 2011, over 250 tons of recycled oyster shells have helped revitalize the bay instead of becoming waste in landfills. Tollett wants his customers to know the importance marine conservation. He is integrally involved in the sustainable seafood movement to keep our waterfront community a gorgeous, elegant place to live. Their goal as a company is to protect our precious Galveston Bay through oyster conservation efforts and to provide the freshest, highest quality seafood and cuisine.

Try Tommy’s Restaurant Oyster Bar for your next culinary experience. Enjoy the smashing new renovations and modern ambiance. For reservations, call 281-480-2221 or visit them online at www.tommys.com. They are located at 2555 Bay Area Blvd., Houston, TX 77058.

The Galley: Warming Foods

By Betha Merit

Hot food may refer to temperature, like a warm bowl of chicken soup or an aromatic cup of hot chocolate. What’s more fun is to combine that hot with spicy heat, for a warmth from your mouth to your toes experience. Chili style is a very personal taste and creative specialty. No beans, yes beans, and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 alarm options. Personally, I’ve never met a chili I didn’t like. Nostalgia makes me remember chilly fall nights and my mom’s chili (with beans) served with saltines.

Jalapeño cheese cornbread and Mexican Caesar salad keep the heat going. Add a Margarita as the perfect cooling beverage pairing. Whether concocted with your favorite tequila with hand squeezed lime juice and agave syrup over ice, or using pre-mixed Margarita in a bottle, ready to pour over crushed ice. It’s all good.

chili recipe The Galley: Warming Foods

Becky’s Chili Beans

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 1 chopped bell pepper (optional)
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 5 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 Tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 (24 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (24 oz.) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (15 oz.) can drained, rinsed kidney beans
  • 1 (15 oz.) can drained, rinsed pinto beans

In a large pot heat olive oil over medium heat, adding onions, optional bell pepper and garlic. Sauté about 5 minutes. Add chili powder, cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper, stirring for 2 more minutes. Add the beef, brown and stir to break up meat into crumbles. Add all tomatoes and sauce, and beans. Bring to a boil, reduce to low heat, and cook for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

mex caesar salad The Galley: Warming Foods

Mexican Caesar Salad

SALAD

  • 1 head romaine lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup cooked corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup black beans (canned), rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 avocado, peeled and cubed
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried chili flakes (optional)
  • 2 handful tortilla chips, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup grated cotija cheese
  • lime wedges, to serve

DRESSING

  • 1/2 cup Caesar dressing
  • juice of one small lime
  • 2 teaspoons cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder

Combine all ingredients for dressing into a shaker bottle or jar. Shake well and set aside. In a large bowl combine romaine and remaining ingredients, reserving limes and crushed tortilla chips for serving. Dressing may be tossed into the salad or set out for self serving along with the tortilla chips.

Easy Jalapeño Cornbread

  • 1 (8 1/2 ounce) box Jiffy cornbread mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 3 Tablespoons jar or can jalapeños, diced and drained well
  • 1/2 to 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Combine cornbread mix, egg and butter in a mixing bowl.

Stir in remaining ingredients and mix well.

Place mixture in greased muffin tin or 8” by 8” greased pan.

Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes of until cornbread is golden brown.

Galveston Bay: 2018 Past and Present

dillman1 Galveston Bay: 2018 Past and Present

Joe Harris and David Hagemeyer

By Capt. David C. Dillman

galvestonbaycharterfishing.com | 832-228-8012

The Holiday season is here. Another year has come and gone and folks will begin making their plans for the holidays. If you enjoy the outdoors, fishing or hunting, this is prime time! Hunting begins in earnest and fishing can be the best of the year!

This past January and February, we experienced true winter weather along the Upper Coast. Wind, rain, and freezing precipitation greeted us throughout these two months. Some fish kills were reported, but nothing substantial along the Upper Coast.

During March and April, we did experience some late season fronts. As the weather stabilized, spring-like weather arose, as did the water temperatures. Good catches of trout came from Lower and East Galveston bay. Everything was shaping up for an excellent year of fishing.

May and June arrived and the weather took a turn for the best. Fishing in East Bay got even better, with excellent catches of speckled trout coming from the reefs. During the latter part of May, trout made their move to the middle areas of the bay. The trout catches increased around Eagle Point. In June, the wells located off of Eagle Point produced excellent catches of trout and redfish.

July and August blew in along with inconsistent winds. On any given day, the wind would blow from two or three different directions and velocity. This curtailed what was excellent trout fishing. Those who concentrated their effort on other species, were rewarded. I myself went after redfish and the action was outstanding! Winds finally settled in late August, and the trout catches rebounded, along with great catches of sand/gulf trout and drum.

This bring us to September and October. In my last article, I stated these two months were the “transition period” for Galveston Bay. Indeed it was! During the first week of September, everything was good and fish were falling into their seasonal change. Then, the Galveston area experienced rain, almost, if not every day in September. We did not have a major flush of freshwater into our bay, but in some locations, 100 year old rainfall totals were broken for the month.

dillman2 Galveston Bay: 2018 Past and Present

Maco Fowlkes, Gage Fowlkes and Mike Bishop.

In October, Florida was hit with a catastrophic hurricane, which caused our tide levels to rise 2 feet above normal. The high tides have curtailed catches. Look for tide levels and fishing to return to a normal fall pattern as more cold fronts occur.

Finally, this bring us to November and December; what I refer to as the “Holiday Season.” There is no better time for a true sportsman in Texas. Fishing between the fronts can produce some of the best catches of the year, and hunting season is wide open. On the fishing scene, the annual flounder run will be in full swing. These fish will be making their migration to the Gulf, and lots of anglers will target just these fish for their well known table fare! Trout and redfish will be plentiful in the upper end of our bay system. I will be fishing between the fronts and preparing for the annual Houston Boat Show starting Jan. 4, 2019.

Eagle Point Fishing Camp will continue to hold live bait. They can be reached at 281-339-1131 for updates on bait and fishing. Until next year, may God Bless all of you during this great time of year.

The Golden Croaker Disappearing Act

croakerkent The Golden Croaker Disappearing Act

Big croaker like this one are hard to come by these days.

By Capt. Joe Kent

While not a piece of legislation, this characterization is a question on the minds of many senior anglers who once enjoyed the annual golden croaker runs during the autumn.

October and November are the prime months for this event and for many years Rollover Pass and other passageways into the Gulf of Mexico would be lined with anglers virtually shoulder to shoulder with their baits in the water during the big runs.

During my growing up years, my dad would take me to Rollover Pass when word got out that the croaker were running, and in most instances I caught several croaker in the one to two pound category.  Dead shrimp fished on the bottom was the bait, and just about everyone around me was catching fish.

The annual migration, or run as it is commonly called, usually coincided with the annual flounder migration or flounder run.  Rollover Pass also was a popular spot to catch flounder during their migration.

Over the past three to four decades, a noticeable decline in the numbers of the big or bull croaker has taken place.  While this fish continues to make its journey to the Gulf each fall, large concentrations have not been observed.

Sporadic reports continue to come in of isolated catches of the migrating fish with a few of them being well over two pounds in weight.  Three-pound croaker were not at all uncommon during the migrations of years ago.

Croaker are a resilient fish and can reproduce often and in varied conditions. This is one reason the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has not been greatly concerned over their populations.  They are not as sensitive to salinity levels or cold temperature as many other fish.

So, we ask the question:  “What has happened to our stocks of croaker?”

For at least two decades, anglers have been inquiring about the decline in the bull croaker, especially the ones that used to dominate the migrations.  Today, questions are coming from year-round croaker anglers wondering why they are not catching as many and that the sizes seem to be getting smaller.

As a child and a teenager, I was among those anglers fishing just out of Seabrook for nice-sized croaker.  Scotts Reef, probably a mile or two from shore, was noted for its big croaker.  Not the average size of the fall migration but in the ¾ to pound and a half range.  That was a great eating size and very popular for the table.

Today, croaker remain widespread and are easily caught; however, the average size seems to be progressively declining as well as the numbers being caught.

Early on, it was thought that the bycatch from shrimp nets was the culprit; however, croaker have been enduring that for decades and the number of shrimpers on Galveston Bay is declining.

Many anglers feel that the demand for small croaker for bait, one of the top choices for speckled trout, is a major factor.  More and more bait camps are offering live croaker for bait and, when there is a shortage of live shrimp, the other top bait, croaker are usually available.

Several professional fishing guides have told me privately that the bait market for live croaker is taking its toll on the stocks and, while I am not advocating a prohibition of the sale of bait croaker, I do think a serious study of the situation is warranted and if any appropriate regulations should be enacted, they should be encouraged to help this fish rebound.

TPWD has been successful in restoring our trout and redfish populations and croaker stocks should be next on their list to build back.

2018 Seabrook Saltwater Derby Results

sbrook2 2018 Seabrook Saltwater Derby Results

The 9th Annual Seabrook Saltwater Derby took place on Friday, Sept. 28, 2018. Many nice fish made it to the scales, despite challenging conditions. Participants enjoyed cold beer, tacos and giveaways a-plenty at the weigh-in at CABO Clear Lake.

Heaviest Redfish

1. Brandon Perez: 9.19

2. Tyler Cervenka: 8.76

3. Daniel Marshall: 8.27

Heaviest Trout

1. Daniel Marshall: 4.07

2. Michael Fesco: 3.83

3. Troy Albright: 3.52

Heaviest Flounder

1. Gerald McDermott: 3.08

2. Michael Fesco: 2.14

3. Kyle Cervenka: 2.14

Heaviest Redfish Stringer

1. Waterloo: 23.7

2. Pullin’ 3 G’s: 21.14

3. Degens from up Country: 20.71

Heaviest Trout Stringer

1. Muy Loco: 14.31

2. Three Amigos: 11.81

3. Gig Em: 11.2

Fishing Cabo San Lucas

Blue marlin, wahoo and scenic Pacific views from one of the world’s hottest sportfishing destinations.

Photography by Brandon and Meagan Rowan

pueblo bonito beach Fishing Cabo San Lucas

The Pacific thunders against the beach outside of the Pueblo Bontio Pacifica Golf & Spa Resort

mr cabo Fishing Cabo San Lucas

EL ARCO: Meagan in front of “Land’s End” – Cabo’s famous rock arch formation.

The sun rises over Cabo San Lucas as the sportfishing boats make their way offshore.

We were greeted with calm seas on our outing.

This marlin hit a naked caballito (Bigeye Scad) on the shotgun line and absolutely lit up with color next to the boat. Capt. Ramone and First Mate Julio of RedRum Sportfishing were absolute pros and put us on the fish.

 

My first blue marlin breaks the surface. Caught with RedRum Sportfishing on the ‘ReelRum’

A pair of remoras are revealed on the underside of this marlin.

 

This wahoo hit a skirted plunger on the port rigger line. We had unbelievable ceviche and grilled wahoo that night.

The Keys to Shallow Redfish Success

soule2 The Keys to Shallow Redfish Success

Captain Clay Sheward with a healthy marsh redfish.

By Capt. Steve Soule

“Everything happens for a reason.”

We’ve all heard this expression, maybe not so often when we talk about fishing, but it definitely applies. As we learn an area or just learn to fish, things happen throughout the course of our days on the water. When we are novices, or less experienced, most of these things seem random or happen by chance. Whether it’s catching a fish or finding a new spot, it isn’t easy to see how the pieces of the fishing puzzle fall into place. Over time, the pieces come together, and details of how and why become much more clear.

For advanced or professional level anglers, fishing isn’t left to chance. It simply cannot be if you want to find shallow redfish success and find it regularly. I’ve learned lessons over many years and watched similar scenarios play out time and time again. The perspective of a guide, especially one who isn’t actively fishing, but more teaching and directing customers to fish is a very different one. Years of pushing a small skiff around the shallows teaches you many things. You get to watch fishing moments play out from a totally different point of view. It’s like having a grand stand seat on the front row, watching the entire scene play out in front of you, successful or not.

There is a ton to be learned both visually and with the end of the push pole about contours and bay bottom variations. My early years as an avid wader taught me many lessons that simply could not be learned from a standing in a boat. Contours, tapers and bottom composition are some of the most important factors in determining fish location and feeding pathways. These things, like so many that have led to fishing success for me are often quite subtle and the type of things that go totally unnoticed by the majority of people on the bay.

Sharpen Your Sight

I had a day several years ago fishing with a customer new to shallow water. I had met him around 5:45 am for a mid summer sight casting trip. As per my usual, the morning was spent trying to acclimate the customer to the world of shallow water fishing. Trying to teach him to see fish, even when they aren’t visible, and understand the signs. This particular day, I became much more aware of just how many signs and subtleties I look for and try to relate to customers. It was somewhere around 11 a.m. when I mentioned a small mullet jumping. This was a little more obvious than many of the things I had pointed out that morning. The customer responded that this was the first thing they were able to notice, despite me talking and pointing things out all morning. I found this rather interesting, mostly because it made me realize that the level of scrutiny I look at my surroundings, goes far beyond what most people would see.

For those new to the sport, I’m sure that it’s tough to keep up with someone like me who is constantly pointing out things of interest and trying to describe their significance. Moreover, it probably generates some concern when they can’t or simply don’t see even half of what I tell them I’m looking for. I talk about all manner of things from “mud boils” and swirls, to wakes and pushes. Not the average language for most, and among the thousands of jumping mullet, flying birds and general commotion on the water, these things aren’t easy to distinguish.

reds918 The Keys to Shallow Redfish Success

Kristen Soule’ with a shallow water redfish and a shirt borrowed from dad.

Now, when we start to take this to an even more intense level of things like seeing a two-inch white shrimp jumping 50 feet away from you, it becomes easy to understand how this can be challenging when its all so new.

In my nearly 40 years of shallow water fishing, I’ve had the pleasure of fishing with hundreds of anglers, from complete novices to those who have fished this coast much longer than I have. I’ve always made a point of trying to learn something from every situation, and there have been many days when lessons have come from people with considerably less experience. Perspectives can be so different as we progress in fishing and gain knowledge and experience.

I have a great friend and fellow angler that I have known for many years and have gotten to spend more days on the water recently. We just had a day on the water where he asked me about boat positioning. This is all important in sight fishing, especially fly fishing, and a topic that all of my friends seem to expect me to have an exact answer to. This particular day, I gave a response that had become something that I’ve come to take as fairly obvious. “Follow the contour line;” a fairly subtle depth change that runs along this particular shallow flat. Something that in my mind had become a standard practice and to me was quite visible. It took some time, zig zagging back and forth across this contour before he began to realize what I meant. Just one of the many things that has led me to greater success in finding fish.

For many years, I have made a point to take careful notice about where I see fish and as much as possible what they are doing and the direction that they are moving. When you fish shallow, you get to see so much more and the opportunities to learn are everywhere around you. If you make a practice of little things like this,  over time you can start to see patterns form that will only lead to future success. Sometimes these patterns apply within the course of a day, other times they are the type that would get logged into the memory banks as seasonal.

One of my favorites has always been trying to note what depth the fish are at. Given that most of the water I fish is shallower than most people would fish, it’s much easier to take note of. You probably wouldn’t think that the moving between 7 and 10 inches deep would make much difference, but there are many days when it really does.

roseate spoonbill

The Other Birds

Birds on the bay can be some of the best indicators around. I always tell people they are way better at finding fish than we are. We fish for fun, mostly. Birds find fish, and things that fish eat, to survive. Knowing various birds that we see around the bay and understanding what their various behaviors indicate is another invaluable tool. We all know the value of seagulls in leading us to hungry packs of trout or redfish. How many of us pay attention to a snowy egret or an ibis? If you saw three roseate spoonbills walking a shoreline, would you pay them any attention? Do you ever pay attention to pelicans? Could you even identify a loon? Every one of these birds can and will lead you to fish, along with many others. But without having seen them in action and having the experience of knowing what they mean, they just become a part of the coastal scenery.

The keys to success aren’t always obvious. I’ve told people for years that you can’t always go look for the fish. Some days you have to look for the signs of the fish. The movements visible on the waters surface; a shrimp flipping out of the water, being able to distinguish a different type of baitfish, or recognizing the difference in the way mullet jump. Being “tuned in” to your surroundings and constantly making the effort to learn and understand the “why” can only make you a better angler and one who finds success more consistently over time.

Galveston Bay Trout Fishing: The Transition

By Capt. David C. Dillman

galvestonbaycharterfishing.com | 832-228-8012

hutchb Galveston Bay Trout Fishing: The Transition

Hutch Burns with a nice trout.

We all can remember sitting down and chatting with our parents and grandparents as a youth. My conversations with them would usually be about memories of past times. The conversation always ended with them saying “Life is short; the older you get, the faster times goes by.”

Now, as I near the ripe age of 58, I understand what they meant. It only seemed like yesterday that the summer of 2018 began, and now the end is near. Fall is knocking on the door. Galveston Bay is about to go into a transition period.

JohnM Galveston Bay Trout Fishing: The Transition

John Michael Provenzano’s redfish.

September still might feel like summer during the day but slight changes in the air temperature will occur at night. The evening and early morning air will be slightly cooler and drier compared to the previous two months. This subtle change will begin to slightly lower the water temperature in the bay. This will spark a movement of shrimp and baitfish from out of the back marshes and into the main bay. Speckled trout will transition themselves, no longer seeking the depth of deep water. The fish may remain around deep water structure but will be feeding higher up in the water column. Live shrimp fished under a popping cork 4-6 feet deep will be lethal on these trout, while the “croaker bite’ will slow down.

Come October, we will see the “transition” in full swing. Passing cool fronts will lower the water levels and temperature even more, triggering a bigger movement of shrimp and baitfish from the back ends of Galveston Bay. Speckled trout will move to these areas to forage on what is exiting the marsh. Flocks of seagulls will pinpoint the location of these fish when they are feeding. Don’t rule out drifting the reefs and structure with live shrimp under corks, keying on presences of bait and slicks in the area.

Remember not all trout make this movement. Depending on the weather and cool fronts, plenty of fish will still be caught in the areas you were fishing in August. Eagle Point Fishing Camp will have a great supply of live shrimp. Those anglers in the Kemah, Seabrook and Clear Lake area can call 281-339-1131 to check on their bait supply.

It has been a long hot summer but fishing remained good. I am looking forward to fishing these months and enjoying the cooler weather. The fish seem to bite through out the day, on any given tide. Take time away from your busy schedule and get on the water!

Changing Galveston Flounder Patterns

texas galveston flounder Changing Galveston Flounder Patterns

By Capt. Joe Kent

Autumn, or Fall Fishing, as we more frequently call it, is one of the best times of the year to fish the Galveston Bay Complex, especially for flounder.

In recent years, we have discussed the changing scene of fall fishing, noting how the timing has been altered.  We likely all agree that we have seen a delay before the action gets underway; however, we have not discussed how flounder fishing has changed as a result.

Hopefully some pointers will help increase your harvests of this popular fall flatfish.

Fifty years ago, the first cold front of the season usually arrived in mid-September.  Following it, fish would start changing their patterns, as an awareness took place that winter was not far behind.

By October, the water temperature in the bays had dropped and that, combined with the shorter periods of sunlight, gave way to the action.  Flounder were noticeably more active and were beginning to make their way toward the passes and outlets into the Gulf of Mexico.

freeport flounder Changing Galveston Flounder Patterns

Colder weather brings out the big girls.

At some point between Thanksgiving and mid-December the sows are on their way and that is time for trophy flounder catches.

Today, much has changed due to the delay in the arrival of cooler temperatures. During the era we have been discussing, the water temperatures were below 70 degrees by mid-October and the first freeze of the year, albeit a light one, usually took place by late October.

The fall flounder run was well underway in October and old-timers looked at the peak of the annual run as taking place between the Full Moons of October and November.  Now that same group looks to the same lunar phase between November and December.

A good example of how this delay has been recognized was when the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department imposed special flounder regulations during November, as that was the month when the annual migration reached its peak and started winding down.

Not long ago the TPWD extended the November bag limit of  two fish per person to mid-December.  When the regulation was enacted all signs pointed to November as the time for the peak and the winding down.  Now, it is well into December before the migration shows signs of running its course.

Today, the flounder run has its peaks and valleys; however, one thing that anglers are noticing is that many of the flatfish do not make the migration and remain in the bays.

The reason for this is that due to the warmer than normal conditions, bait still hangs around and with it a certain number of flounder.

During the run, there will be a few major cold fronts that empty the marshes and back bays.  When this occurs, flounder will head to deeper waters and many take the signal to move on to the Gulf.

In recent years, the after effects of the fronts do not last long and many of the fish, including bait, will head back to the marshes and back bays.  Savvy anglers have observed this and take advantage of the situation.

Flounder catches will increase as we get closer to the end of the year.

By mid-December, the majority of flounder is on its way to the Gulf or has arrived there.  Still a few stragglers will remain.

Prior to 2010 I had never caught a flounder during January or February.  In January that year a friend and I were drifting for trout in West Bay tossing soft plastics when I landed a 16-inch flounder.  What a surprise it was.

Today, successful anglers plan their trips and hit the water just before a “Blue Norther” hits or several days afterwards. Toward the end of the run, the big sows finally start their journey and that is usually after a series of major cold fronts empties the marshes and drops the water temperatures into the upper 40s.

It usually takes several of these “Blue Northers” to encourage the majority of the flounder to head to the Gulf.

At some point between Thanksgiving and mid-December the sows are on their way and that is time for trophy flounder catches.

While live shrimp, mud minnows and fingerling mullet are three of the top natural baits for flounder when the big girls are moving, live mullet up to six inches in length is the resounding preference.

Berkley Gulps, Flounder Pounders, Chicken Boys and a variety of other soft plastics also work well and give the natural baits serious competition.

$EA DOLLAR$ Tuna Tradition Continues

TBC tuna $EA DOLLAR$ Tuna Tradition Continues

Brandon Rowan, Matt Taylor, first mate Adam and Kurt Pantle with our 90 lb. tuna.

I went from reporting on the Texas Billfish Classic to fishing it

By Brandon Rowan

It was Wednesday night and the Texas Billfish Classic’s Kick Off Party was in full swing. It was good times, great food, cold drinks and plenty of early entry giveaways from Costa Del Mar, YETI and more. Tournament director Jasen Gast and company put on one hell of an event.

As the party was winding down, for some of us, my wife Meagan and I said our goodbyes. We headed to the truck and I spotted an old friend I’ve fished with many times over the years.

“YAMAGUCHI!” I yelled.

Capt. Mark Yamaguchi and I shook hands and instead of a hello/goodbye I got an invitation.

“Hey man, we need you. We’re short and need someone who can fish tuna.”

For someone who is, uh, not much of a morning person, tuna fishing until sunrise is one of my favorites. After a thumbs up from my better half, it was game on and I rushed home to prep my gear.

jack beal $EA DOLLAR$ Tuna Tradition Continues

Capt. Mark Yamaguchi and $ea Dollar$ owner Jack Beal.

The next morning I met the crew and we headed out from Freeport. Jack Beal, owner of $EA DOLLAR$, runs a tight ship with a solid crew. First mate Adam was the youngest of us but already boasts years of experience in multiple fisheries. I also met trolling experts Fred, who has fished with Jack for over 25 years, and Gary who has over 30 years experience in various countries. On night crew with Mark and I, was Matt and Kurt who brought in first place tuna during last year’s tournament.

The first night of fishing started out promising. We had cooperative seas, bait in our lights, a few fish early on poppers and easy jigging for blackfin. But our optimism faded as the hours dragged on and the sun began to rise. We busted our asses all night with no yellowfin tuna to show for it.

On Friday, conditions grew worse. The seas tumbled higher and rain pelted the boat. No matter; the sun set again and the night crew went back to work. But our luck started to change, as the air grew thick with flying fish. We netted well over a dozen flyers and sent them back out wearing circle hook jewelry. But drift after drift, we came up empty. Around 2 a.m., Mark made the call.

“Alright bring them in and lets make another drift.”

Those were the magic words. Kurt’s reel started screaming and it was fish on! The line continued to quickly peel away as Matt and I strapped him into the harness.

We knew this was a good fish but we didn’t realize how tough this one would be. A battle of wills began. Kurt gained yards and yards of line only to have the fish to strip it all away in an instant. This tug of war went on at least a dozen times before we finally saw color. Twenty minutes into the fight we were greeted with a tail, instead of the big head and open beak of a yellowfin tuna.

“She’s tail wrapped!” Adam said, gaff in hand.

The tuna must have heard him and sped back down to the deep, taking advantage by kicking that big tail, as we were unable to turn her head.

Thanks to the teamwork of the whole crew, Kurt’s unwillingness to give up and some attentive driving from Mark, we finally got the fish back to the boat. This time the line came free of her tail and the familiar circling of a doomed tuna began. We were ready.

Adam was quick with the gaff and close to 100 pounds of fresh sashimi hit the deck. It took 45 minutes of grit and hard work but she was finally in the boat. It was high fives all around!

The circle hook was stuck delicately in the corner of the mouth and came free too easily for comfort. We quickly put the tuna on ice and went back to work. Again, we drifted, jigged and popped until sunrise but that was it; one and done. Aside from a few badass blackfin, we only caught one yellowfin tuna, but it was the quality fish we were looking for.

On Saturday, $EA DOLLAR$ roared back into Freeport with a big tuna and a wahoo for the scales. I snapped a couple shots of Draggin’ Up weighing their big blue marlin from the water and then it was our turn. The tail rope was secured, the tuna was hoisted up and we held our breath waiting for the numbers.

TBC staff measures the tuna before weighing it.

“90 pounds on the dot!”

We had one fat tuna but it was just shy of the first place weight of 93 lbs. We took our pictures, got back on the boat, cleaned up, and made ourselves halfway presentable for the awards dinner where we were presented 2nd place tuna trophy.

Jack Beal and Kurt Pantle with the 2nd place tuna trophy.

 It was another killer event with good food and plenty of drinks for famished, thirsty crews. Draggin’ Up came in first with their big blue marlin and were named tournament champions. The first ever Billfish Classic Cup was awarded to Bimini Babe. The night ended with TBC’s Jasen Gast 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.

Another one was in the books with many good fish weighed and several billfish released. Jack Beal’s $EA DOLLAR$ continued a tradition of bringing big tuna to the scales. I would look for it to happen again next year.

For more photography from this tournament, visit Gulf Coast Mariner’s Facebook and the Texas Billfish Classic Facebook.

Olympia Grill opens its League City location this fall

kriticosbros Olympia Grill opens its League City location this fall

The Kriticos brothers, known for superb Greek and seafood in Galveston, will open Olympia Grill’s League City location at the end of September.

Island veterans bring award winning seafood to the mainland

By Xander Thomas

Doctors are now writing some patients prescriptions to eat at Olympia Grill.

Yes, according to Larry and Tikie Kriticos, they have seen this happen. “We’ve actually had doctors take a prescription pad and write ‘you need to eat at Olympia,’” Larry said. They say that because of the restaurant’s focus on healthy cooking.

“We try to, beside make them happy, cook a healthy dish for them,” Tikie said. “Our restaurants are low salt, we only use two oils, olive oil and canola, and there’s no trans fats in our cooking.”

They have always paid attention to health when it comes to their food. They don’t use preservatives in their fish and shrimp, and they only buy wild-caught.  How fresh exactly is the seafood, you ask? “When he came in the door, he was looking around,” Larry likes to tell customers about the fish.

The Kriticos brothers have been working in restaurants all of their lives, beginning when they were very young and helping out in their families’ eateries.  Larry says their father and uncle have always had nice restaurants in Galveston, and that’s “what we grew up in.” But they don’t completely follow their example.

Tikie says that at very young ages, he remembers unwrapping gifts Christmas morning, eating breakfast, and his father having him get ready to go to work.  So to give their employees time to be with their families, he says, since they worked so many holidays, they close Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The first Olympia Grill was opened in 2004 on the Seawall, and about five years later was followed by the location on Pier 21.  Now, finally, in 2018 we are getting a location on the Mainland, but the Kriticos brothers say this hasn’t been an easy task.

greek salad Olympia Grill opens its League City location this fall

Gyro Salad

Tikie says that the “official” opening of the newest location has already come and gone multiple times, but that they are now looking forward to the end of September.

The important question is…  What will be the incentive to get people into that door?  Tikie says the happy hour specials will do just that.

“During happy hour only, it’s not on our menu, but Greek nachos,” Tikie said enticingly “with corn chips and gyro meat and tzatziki sauce and cheeses.”

What makes the food appealing is the pair of restaurants’ multitude of awards.  For two years in a row, in 2014 and 2015, Olympia won Restaurant of the Year.  In 2013, it was honored for the highest quality seafood in the U.S., out of 35,000 restaurants.

If you miss happy hour, don’t worry, there are plenty of items on the regular menu the brothers feel confident will not disappoint.

“Baked stuffed shrimp with a butter wine sauce,” Tikie says is one of their top best selling items, “being Greek, our hummus is the No. 1 app.”

He also says the flaming cheese is “exciting” because it “comes to your table on fire.”

Although born on the Island, their family is straight from Greece.  They speak Greek, they cook Greek, and they were more than happy to settle the age-old question.  It’s pronounced Yeer-oh, but Tikie says if you’re American you can say Jy-roh.

Olympia Grill’s newest restaurant is located at 2535 I-45 South in League City. For more information, email OlympiaLC@olympiagrill.com or visit OlympiaGrill.com

The Galley: Texas Slam of Shellfish

By Betha Merit

On the backside of summer, we aren’t quite ready for comfort food with its payload of creams, cheeses and calories. So, what are we going to do with our haul of Texas shellfish? Make a one-pot spicy broth meal with all of it. Served with crusty bread and herbed butter, of course.

And are you still thirsty from the high heat? Let’s get creative with rum. Colorful drinks are a great, celebratory aperitif. For sure you can offer a simple rum punch of fruit juices and regular Bacardi. And for fun, try a layered drink with raspberry rum for a nod to the “red, white and blue.”

slam shellfish The Galley: Texas Slam of Shellfish

Oysters, Crab & Shrimp in a Spicy Broth

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 lb. cooked crab meat
  • 1 lb. shrimp peeled/deveined
  • 1/2 lb. shucked oysters
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic, bay leaf, and crushed red pepper. Sauté about 1 minute. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 to 20 minutes. Stir in all the shellfish and basil, cooking for about 2-3 minutes. Serve immediately in bowls, with warm crusty bread and herbed butter.

herbed butter The Galley: Texas Slam of Shellfish

Herbed Butter for Bread

Soften 1 stick of butter at room temperature. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of dried basil, thyme, or tarragon. Also, add 1/4 teaspoon of dried garlic powder. Tastes better if made ahead of time for flavors to deepen.

Rum Punch

For the minimalist! Fill glass with crushed ice. Add 2 ounces orange juice, 2 ounces pineapple juice and 2 ounces rum (plain, flavored, or spiced). Stir. Repeat as frequently as you dare.


Bacardi Bomb Pop

Fill glass with ice. Pour a splash of grenadine over ice. Add 1-2 shots of Bacardi Raspberry slowly over ice, then 2 shots lemonade, then 2 shots Blue Curacao. Slow pouring keeps the layers separate, which mimics your old time 3 layer popsicle. It’s tricky.

WYC Charity Regatta Benefiting Sailing Angels

sailing angels 300x300 WYC Charity Regatta Benefiting Sailing AngelsWaterford Yacht Club will be hosting its Fifth Annual Regatta Charity benefiting the Sailing Angels Foundation on Saturday Oct. 20. This event will provide an exciting opportunity for Galveston Bay sailors to enjoy an afternoon of fun and competitive sailing. All proceeds go directly to the Sailing Angels Foundation.

The regatta will be held in Galveston Bay with the post-race activities being hosted at Sundance Grill II at 6 p.m./ Waterford Harbor Marina, 800 Mariner’s Drive, Kemah, TX 77565. Cost for the regatta is $110 per sailboat entry. Dinner tickets are $25 per person. Race participants will receive one dinner ticket, one skippers shirt and a great skippers bag of goodies if registered by the Oct. 11 deadline. Additional dinner tickets can be purchased for $25 through www.waterfordyc.com. The post-regatta event will feature dinner, music, awards, and a silent auction to support Sailing Angels. The skippers meeting will be held at Sundance Grill on Friday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. For tickets and additional information visit www.waterfordyc.com.

The race course will consist of a 9.62 nautical mile course in Galveston Bay outside of the Kemah channel bounded by Redfish Island, the Houston Ship Channel and Red Bluff Point. There will be both a Spinnaker and Non-Spinnaker Class. This event is open to area yacht clubs, sailing clubs, and sailors. The Sailing Angels Foundation is a 501(c) (3) non-profit charitable organization, based in the Greater Houston area. Sailing angels provides boating excursions, free of charge, to children with cognitive, physical or emotional needs and / or chronic illnesses as an opportunity for educational and recreational therapy. Also invited by the foundation are wounded warriors and military veterans. These special participants are encouraged to crew on the boat to the best of their abilities. Family members are encouraged to join in the experience. The Foundation relies on volunteers who donate their time and boats. All financing for Sailing Angels is raised through charitable donations throughout the year. More information can be found at www.sailingangels.org.

The Waterford Yacht Club Board and members encourage the Galveston Bay boating community to come together, support this wonderful charity, and enjoy a great sailing event!

Galveston Bay oysters continue to recover one year after Hurricane Harvey

harvey oyster galveston Galveston Bay oysters continue to recover one year after Hurricane Harvey

By Brandon Rowan

Some Galveston Bay oyster reefs still struggle one year after Hurricane Harvey. Last August, the storm produced an unprecedented 51 inches of rain that inundated the bay with fresh water. The balance of salinity was upset and this decimated local oyster populations.

“East Bay experienced the worst of Harvey’s effects with very few live oysters left.” Christine Jensen, a TPWD Fisheries Biologist said.

“It remained too fresh for too long for most oysters to survive. Hannas Reef had 51% mortality, Middle Reef had 95% mortality, and Frenchy’s Reef had 100% mortality.  Almost all of the restoration areas in East Bay were killed.”

East Bay was not the only area hit hard by Harvey.

“Some reefs on the west side of the ship channel also saw significant mortality near where Dickinson Bayou drains into the bay. Dollar Reef had 90% mortality and Todds Dump had 62%.” Jensen said.

One year later

The reefs near Dickinson Bay and East Bay have still not fully recovered.

“The reefs that experienced high mortality after Harvey will take at least two years following the storm to recover.” Jensen said. “Our samples this year are showing a later spat set (baby oysters) than usual.”

However, many areas of Galveston Bay have shown improvement. The reefs in deeper water, in the center of the Bay and near the Houston Ship Channel, were able to support several months of commercial oyster fishing during the 2017-2018 season.

Gulf Coast Mariner to sponsor Hurricanes FC 2019 season

keyes clapp Gulf Coast Mariner to sponsor Hurricanes FC 2019 season

Bay Group Media CEO Rick Clapp and Hurricanes FC owner Brendan Keyes.

Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine is proud to sponsor professional soccer club, the Bay Area Hurricanes. Club owner Brendan Keyes announced the agreement with Gulf Coast Mariner starting with the January 2019 season.

The sponsorship deal was signed by both parties on Aug. 3, 2018. It’s a one-year agreement with an optional year on both sides. Keyes said: “Gulf Coast Mariner is one of leading lifestyle magazines in Texas and will give us tremendous credibility in the Bay Area, also all over Texas. For the Hurricanes FC, this is a perfect match.”

Mariner President and CEO Rick Clapp commented: “I want to support the local professional men’s soccer club and I believe Keyes has the passion and vision to make the Hurricanes FC expand the great game of soccer.” Gulf Coast Mariner’s new logo will appear on the home jerseys of the Hurricanes FC.

Hurricanes FC announced that the new sponsorship with Gulf Coast Mariner “is the biggest sponsorship deal in the club’s history.”

Brandon Rowan, creative director/Partner of Gulf Coast Mariner, said: “We are looking forward to be working with Keyes and the Hurricanes FC.”

“The new Hurricane uniforms will be unveiled in August by Kaizen Sports, our team uniform supplier for the last 5 years,” said Keyes. “We would also like to thank Kaizen Sports for continued sponsorship providing the best uniforms for our players.”

Rick Clapp is the former owner of the Houston Force, a professional APSL  soccer team. Keyes was a player on Clapp’s soccer team and now both are united again.

“I am excited about promoting the game supporting a championship team as well as encouraging youth to play America’s Most Exciting Sport Soccer. They all stand at the anthem. Please come support us we will do it right I promise.”

For more information, contact Sumer Loggins at 281-474-5875 or email Sumerdene@gmail.com

Don’t Let Your Sails Get Burned

silken 2015 06 03 0499 Don’t Let Your Sails Get Burned

By Quantum Sails

Nobody likes getting sunburned, and neither do your sails. What happens when the sun burns your sails?

If not properly protected, sunburned sails can tear while in use, stranding you and your family. Ultraviolet (UV) covers can help protect your sails and your sailing season. Even seasonal UV exposure in the Northern latitudes can cause serious problems in a short amount of time. Quantum Sails Pacific Loft Service Manager Emre Kalaycioglu has a lot of experience helping customers. Here are his tips.

WHY ARE UV COVERS IMPORTANT?

If you have a furling genoa or mainsail, you probably keep it on your rig for an extended period of time. However, the elements – especially the sun – are harmful to your sails. Over the years, the sun will begin to burn out the sail’s leech, and sunburn will appear on the sail. These sunburned areas weaken over time. While sailing, stress on the sails can cause the threads to break in the weaker areas. A proper UV cover can protect your investment from the damaging UV rays of the sun.

HOW DO I TAKE CARE OF THE UV COVER?

A common misconception is that when a UV cover is installed it will last forever, but the sail cover actually needs to be maintained to last.

Something that most people overlook about their UV covers is how often they need to be re-stitched in order to last. While the UV cover can last anywhere from 4-8 seasons – depending greatly on exposure and maintenance – the thread may only last about half the lifespan of the cover, as it degrades faster than the cover itself. Bringing your sails into your local Quantum Sails loft to have the covers re-stitched will increase the lifespan of your UV covers and ultimately your sails.

Another common mistake most sailors make is keeping their sails hoisted on the boat for an extended period of time. It’s important to drop your sails and, whenever possible, keep them in a cool, dry place between sailing trips. To prevent the UV cover from deteriorating, wash your sails with fresh, clean water on a regular basis, then let them dry completely before refurling (washing and drying is very important for your sails, especially after a rainy season).

When leaving the boat, take extra caution to make sure your sails are set and won’t come loose with any strong winds. An extra sail tie could help prevent your sails from flogging, which will protect your sails and UV cover from extra wear and tear.

WHEN IS IT TIME TO SERVICE?

UV covers degrade with UV exposure and use. While a UV cover in New England may last anywhere from 6-8 seasons, that same cover in the Caribbean may only last 3-4 seasons.

It’s important to check over your sails at the beginning and end of every season. See if there are any chafed or damaged areas on your sail and UV cover. Be sure to check the side of the sail opposite the UV cover. If you see any color change on that side, it’s time to replace the UV cover as soon as possible, as the discoloration means the current UV cover has expired and is no longer protecting your sail against the sun. Delaying that replacement can cause extensive damage to the sail.

WHAT MATERIALS DO YOU SUGGEST FOR A UV COVER?

At Quantum Sails, we recommend Sunbrella UV Cover fabric. Our sewing machine thread we generally use is 138 Dabond thread for sewing UV covers – it’s thicker than what our competitors use, and thus lasts a little bit longer. We can also use UV stable thread, such as Tenara or SolarFix thread, but it’s considerably more expensive, so may not always be the best option.

For more great sailing tips and tricks or to learn about Quantum Sails, visit www.QuantumSails.com.

Draggin’ Up Wins the 2018 Texas Billfish Classic

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

Texas Billfish Classic returns to Freeport Aug. 1-4

bmarlinjump Texas Billfish Classic returns to Freeport Aug. 1 4

Charity-minded tournament brings billfishing back to Freeport

By Brandon Rowan

tbclogo 150x150 Texas Billfish Classic returns to Freeport Aug. 1 4The Texas Billfish Classic celebrates its third year of bringing highly competitive billfishing back to Freeport. Over the past three years, the tourney has grown steadily and produces one of the most popular and enjoyable tournament formats on the Texas Gulf Coast.

History

The original tournament was formed in the 1980s by many of the bluewater pioneers who put Freeport on the map as a Blue Marlin hotspot in the 80s and 90s. During this time the Billfish Classic was a premier event with a rich history of record catches and great times.

In 2015, Tournament Director Jasen Gast resurrected the Texas Billfish Classic and added much more.

“One of the biggest success stories of the TBC is not the fishing, but what we are able to do on land,” Gast said. “Since 2015, the TBC has donated more than $25,000 to local and regional non-profit organizations.”

The tournament works closely with three charities – the Freedom Alliance, The Billfish Foundation and the Freeport to Port O’Connor Toy Run.

  • The Billfish Foundation operates worldwide to advance the conservation of billfish and associated species to improve the health of oceans and economies.
  • The Freeport to Port O’Connor Toy Run has delivered toys, clothing and Christmas meals via boat to thousands of needy children on the Texas coast since 2006.
  • The Freedom Alliance goes above and beyond to meet the needs of wounded warriors and their families. This includes rehab/recovery funds, customized wheelchairs, care packages to deployed troops and a scholarship fund for the children of fallen heroes.

A Patriotic Tournament

Jasen Gast has owned REHAB, a tournament winning 45’ Davis sportfisher, for five years now and has a history and passion for taking disabled children, veterans and others out on fishing trips. The opportunity to further help the needy came to Gast after meeting the Freedom Alliance’s Pepper Ailor while fishing in Costa Rica.

“I met Jasen during the Triple Crown in Los Sueños, Costa Rica. He wanted to bring a more patriotic aspect to his tournament,” Ailor said.

Since that meeting, the Texas Billfish Classic has already donated thousands to the charity and much more in the way of real life experiences and trips for our nation’s heroes.

“We are not a one and done charity,” said Pepper Ailor, who has worked with the Freedom Alliance over the past 13 years. “We stay in the lives of these heroes and bless the troops with genuine relationships.”

Each year the TBC invites a group of veterans down to Freeport to be involved in the week’s events and also embark on an offshore trip. With no cell phones or distractions, deeper connections are made during the inevitable lulls of a fishing trip and the shared exhilaration during the high excitement moments.

Veteran group after a solid day catching fish during a donated trip on Galveston Bay in 2017. Photo by Pepper Ailor.

Last year’s group of invited veterans enjoyed a great inshore fishing trip. Marine Sgt. Cory, Army Sgt. Bill, Cpl. Jeramie and Master Chief Kevin spent a day on Galveston Bay catching redfish, flounder and trout.

“He has so much fun on those trips! Jeramie’s wife Lindsey said. “He comes back with new friends and so many stories! Thank you for inviting him! He is keeping in contact with several people through text. He just had the best time!”

Great things continue to be born of the relationship between the Freedom Alliance and TBC. Dudley Wood, a tournament participant and owner of the 54’ Bertram Smoker II, even donated a hunting trip to a group of five veterans he met during the tournament last year.

Gulf Coast Mariner encourages our readers to donate and volunteer for the Freedom Alliance and other worthy veterans charities but Pepper Ailor wants to see something greater happen.

“Form a genuine relationship with a veteran.” Ailor said. “There is too big a gap between the lives of our defenders and the public sector. Our veterans need to do a better job opening up and civilians need to listen better.

Marty Griffith’s Over-Ride with the tournament record blue marlin at 410 pounds. Photo by Brandon Rowan.

People’s Choice

The TBC continues to be one of the fastest growing competitive billfish events in Texas. The high number of billfish catches in August along the Texas shelf also adds to a spirited weigh-in and awards banquet on Saturday night. Fishing the TBC is known to be hot by day and festive at night.

“He puts on the best as far as I’m concerned,” said Dudley Wood of Smoker II. “He lets us leave during daylight and that is huge. That’s why I quit some other tournaments that start you running out at night. The safety of my captain and crew is paramount.”

“It is a great tournament,” said Shawn Kurtz, owner of Hey Girl, the winning boat of the 2017 tourney. “Jasen has put together a pretty good program. It gets better and better each year.”

New for 2018 is the inclusion of the Billfish Classic Cup trophy. The winner of the BCC will be decided by the boat with the highest total release points from both the Texas Billfish Classic and Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic, and in turn, take home a minimum of $10,000 cash.

This conservation minded tournament also encourages billfish release with the highest minimum in the state for harvesting Blue Marlin at 107 inches.

Don’t miss the hot fishing and festive nights this revived classic brings to Freeport. The general public is welcome and encouraged to attend the weigh-in on Friday and Saturday.

For information or to register for the Texas Billfish Classic visit them online at www.TexasBillfishClassic.com or contact TexasBillfishClassic@yahoo.com