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Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic Creates Special Lure Incentive

91043FF9 6DE3 4E35 AFC1 981007A3F881 263x300 Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic Creates Special Lure Incentive

Photo courtesy of www.MGCBC.com

With 105 boats already pre-registered for the 2019 Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic and many more expected before the June 3 kick-off, the stakes will again be high for this popular sport-fishing event. More than $2 million in prize money was awarded in 2017 and 2018. Yet tournament organizers are sweetening the pot just a little more this year.

“We’re adding a special $25,000 incentive that will be paid if the winning fish is caught on a lure,” says Tournament Director Bobby Carter. “It has to be strictly a lure with no meat or bait attached. Dozens of genuine trophy blue marlin have been caught on plastics in the Gulf over the years, so including this special payout adds an interesting wrinkle to this year’s event.”

The Classic was the first tournament in the Gulf to increase the minimum length requirement to boat a blue marlin to 110 inches. Fish are measured from the tip of the lower jaw to the fork of the tail. Smaller billfish can still be caught and released as part of the competition. Teams can also enter optional release division categories for a chance at six-figure prize payouts. Qualifying catches are verified by video confirmation.

“We are continuing to work with the other Gulf tournaments to standardize the catch and release rules,” explains Tournament Coordinator Bert Merritt. “That aspect is a major component as we all move forward, especially with the levels of prize money involved. Our catch data bears this out. In today’s climate, raising the length to 110 inches to boat a qualifying blue makes sense.”

In addition to the blue marlin weight category and the release division (smaller blues, white marlin and sailfish/spearfish), teams can also weigh yellowfin tuna, wahoo and dolphin. The swordfish category has been retired after the new Mississippi state record was set in 2017.

The Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic is hosted by the Golden Nugget Casino & Hotel in Biloxi. Besides world-class gaming, the area offers beaches, golf, shopping and fine dining for family members who choose to stay ashore.

The 2019 MGCBC will be held June 3-9 at the Golden Nugget Casino & Hotel/Point Cadet Marina in Biloxi, Mississippi. To enter or learn more about the rules and tournament history, please visit www.mgcbc.com or through social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter).

Contact: Bobby Carter, 228-239-2575; bobby@mgcbc.com

The 2019 Los Sueños Signature Triple Crown Comes to an End

lstcsail The 2019 Los Sueños Signature Triple Crown Comes to an End

©Los Sueños Resort and Marina • Photographer: Pepper Ailor

The number of billfish released in Leg 3, brings the three-leg combined total to 3,945 billfish overall

Los Sueños Resort and Marina, located at Playa Herradura on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific Coast, held the third and final leg of its sixth annual Los Sueños Signature Triple Crown billfish series, presented by Chantilly Air, March 27-30, 2019. Forty seven of the best and most competitive teams came together to release a total of 1,234 billfish over three days.

Going in to this event, the reports were that fishing was slow with 3-6 fish a day being average. But the teams found the fish and the radio went off with an early bite on Day 1 and ended with a nail-bite inducing finish on Day 3. With 100 points awarded for each sailfish release and 500 points for each marlin release, marlin always end up making a difference for the podium finishers. After all the scorecards were reviewed, a three-leg Triple Crown total of 3,945 billfish were released (3,820 sails and 125 marlin) – or 444,500 points achieved by the 51 teams that participated this year, 38 of which were registered in all three events.

TRIPLE CROWN DAY 1

It was Tarheel to call in the first fish of the tournament just eight minutes after lines in, followed in the same minute by a triple sailfish release by Shoe. By 8:37 am four marlin had been released, with another two released in the following hour. In the same amount of time nine doubles were called in a three triples. Needless to say, fishing started off promising. By 10 am a total of 117 billfish had been released (111 sails, 6 marlin) and Fish Tank was in top position, followed by Sea Angel in second, and Tarheel in third. At the end of the day though, Uno Mas had taken first with 2,100 points (16 sails, 1 marlin), Sea Angel remained in second with 1,900 points (9 sails, 2 marlin), and Blue Eagle finished third on time with 1,700 points (17 sails), over Scandalous and Dragin Fly. The fleet achieved 373 billfish releases on Day 1, including 361 sails and 12 marlin.

TRIPLE CROWN DAY 2

Just four minutes after lines in, it was Pez Collector to report the first sailfish release of the day to Tournament Control. Funny enough, they also released the last fish of Day 1 at 4:02 pm on Thursday! At precisely 11:24 am Fish Tank released a marlin, starting a flurry of marlin releases with 5 in under 12 minutes. Fish Tank was in top spot at noon with a two-day total of 3,200 points, followed by Hey Chama with 3,100 points, and Uno Mas in third with 3,100 points. In the end though, Uno Mas pushed their way back to top spot with 16 sails and 1 marlin on Day 2 alone for a two-day total of 4,200 points (32 sails, 2 marlin), followed by Hey Chama with 3,900 points (34 sails, 1 marlin), and Fish Tank finishing in third with 3,800 points (23 sails, 3 marlin) on time, over Sea Angel. A total of 531 billfish were released on Day 2 alone (517 sails, 14 marlin) for a two-day total of 904 billfish (878 sails, 26 marlin).

TRIPLE CROWN DAY 3

The first hour of Day 3 was an explosion of marlin hook ups and releases, with the first call of the day a marlin hook up by Reel Pushy at 8:05 am, which was released only five minutes later. By 8:40 am, a total of 8 marlin had been released, including a double header striped marlin by Numero Uno, who went on to win the day with an impressive 2,100 points after releasing 6 sails and 3 marlin. By 2 pm the fleet went on to release 212 billfish, with Hey Chama then in first with 3,400 points, followed by Blue Eagle with 3,400 points, and Fish Tank also with 3,400 points. Off Duty finished the day off nicely with a triple sailfish release at 4:04 pm, bringing the total billfish releases for the day to 330 (318 sails, 12 marlin) and the three-day combined total to 1,234 (1,196 sails, 38 marlin). Uno Mas finished first for the tournament with 5,000 points (40 sails, 2 marlin), followed by Big Oh in second on time with 4,900 points (39 sails, 2 marlin), and Hey Chama in third with 4,900 points (44 sails, 1 marlin).

CASH PRIZES & AWARDS

Nearly 700 guests came together under the stars at the Los Sueños Beach Club to enjoy a phenomenal buffet dinner and live music by Acustica Lounge’s Coco Hits. Immediately preceding the presentation of trophies, prizes and checks to the tournament winners, guests enjoyed the highly anticipated dock show filmed and produced by Rich Christensen and Michael Butler. The ceremony was closed out by a spectacular fireworks display by La Trinidad. Tournament winners took to the stage to receive a total of $240,000 in cash prizes, as well as other awards provided by tournament sponsors, including custom trophies by Gray Taxidermy, apparel by Tunaskin, framed prints of this year’s tournament art by Steve Goione, YETI coolers and tumblers, Huck buckets, Costa Del Mar, and Flor de Caña aged rum.

unomas The 2019 Los Sueños Signature Triple Crown Comes to an End

1st Place: UNO MAS

5,000 points, 40 sails and 2 marlin

Uno Mas is a 60’ Bayliss captained by owner Brooks Smith, with anglers Sam Peters, Matt Traber, Justin DeBoom, Terry Robinson, and Jeremy Agüero. Uno Mas came in sixth in Leg 1 this year and eighth in Leg 2. They previously took first in Leg 2 in 2018, as well as second in Leg 3 in 2015, where Brooks was crowned Top Angler.

2nd Place: BIG OH

4,900 points, 39 sails and 2 marlin

This is Big Oh’s first win since 2015 when they fished on Trophy Box and took third both in Legs 1 and 2. Big Oh is a 63’ Scarborough captained by Ronnie Fields, with anglers Gray Ingram (owner), Jimmy Fields, Anthony Rizzo, Rodney Ingram, and Bo Ingram. Big Oh previously won several of the Signature Billfish Series and Marlin Invitational tournaments, which were run by Los Sueños prior to the formation of the Triple Crown.

3rd Place: HEY CHAMA

4,900 points, 44 sails and 1 marlin

Hey Chama, a 65’ Bayliss captained by Irving Irausquin, with anglers Leonard Chapman, Manoel de Silva, and Marlon Prendas, comes to us from Curacao. They fished the Triple Crown for the first time in Leg 2 of the 2018 series. These young up and comers finished 39th in Leg 1 and 44th in Leg 2, and gave a tremendous show in Leg 3 for a podium finish.

Series Champion: FISH TANK

17,400 points, 144 sails and 6 marlin

Fish Tank, a 63’ Hatteras captained by Ben Horning, with owners/anglers Chris and Laura Jessen, and their fellow anglers Kitt Toomey, Mike Ivancevic, Darren Helwig, and Joe West. Despite not making the podium for Leg 3, Fish Tank was the clear and undisputed Series Champion of the 2019 Los Sueños Signature Triple Crown, finishing with an almost unbelievable 17,400 points (144 sails, 6 marlin), 3,500 points ahead of the closest runner up, Sea Angel (on time ahead of Uno Mas with the same 13,900 points). Going in to Leg 3 Fish Tank already had a 2,900-point lead, and the 31 sails and 3 marlin they released in Leg 3 alone sealed their fate. Kudos to Laura Jessen who, despite a broken foot, released 6 sails this tournament alone and 34 sails over all three legs!

ABOUT THE LOS SUENOS SIGNATURE TRIPLE CROWN

2019 marks the 6th Annual Los Sueños Signature Triple Crown billfish tournament series. The Triple Crown consists of three annual tournaments, in January, February and March each year, and is fished out of the world class Los Sueños Resort and Marina in Costa Rica. Mark your calendars for the 2020 Triple Crown! Leg 1: January 15-18, Leg 2: February 26-29, Leg 3: March 25-28.

ABOUT LOS SUEÑOS RESORT AND MARINA

Los Sueños Resort and Marina is the premier luxury real estate resort in Costa Rica. Nestled on the Central Pacific Coast, Los Sueños is an 1,100-acre oasis offering incredible ocean, rainforest and golf course view properties; a gorgeous waterfront Marina Village commercial area with restaurants, shops and lively entertainment; a large private beach club for residents; an 18-hole championship golf course; a superb 201-room Marriott Hotel; and much more, all within close proximity to world record-setting sport fishing waters. Information on Los Sueños Resort and Marina is available online at www.lossuenos.com. Information on Los Sueños real estate properties is available online at www.lossuenosrealestate.com. For further information, please contact Ashley Bretecher, Executive Director of Marketing and Communications, Los Sueños Resort and Marina, Toll-free: 1-866-865-9759, Direct Tel: 011-506- 2630-4005, or e-mail: a.bretecher@lossuenos.com.

Inaugural Swordfish Cup To Be Held Globally in July

QualifyingSword 300x300 Inaugural Swordfish Cup To Be Held Globally in July

Photo: Capt. Dave Lear

The 1st Annual Swordfish Cup, a tournament with a popular 24-hour format, will be held July 27-28, 2019. Anglers around the world will be eligible to compete in their respective time zones. This new global sport-fishing contest is being presented by Fly Zone Fishing and RJ Boyle Studio.

“We’re excited to announce this new tournament catering to the growing legion of broadbill enthusiasts,” says Robert “Fly” Navarro, president of Fly Zone Fishing. “We’ve already heard from multiple teams and I expect to see some hefty entries hoisted to the scales. The popularity of swordfish has exploded in recent years and this tournament is designed to showcase this incredible fishery. We’ll be doing live updates every three hours on FaceBook (flyzonefishing) and giving away some cool prizes donated by our sponsors for those watching the feeds.”

The entry fee for the Swordfish Cup is $1,500 per team, with the winner taking 80 percent of the fees for the heaviest fish exceeding the 200-pound minimum weight. All line class weights will be allowed. Contestants may only use conventional rods and reels, including electric reels mounted on rods. Hand gear, bandit gear and hydraulic reels are not permitted. Harpoons may be used to boat the fish, however. In the event of a tie, the first eligible fish boated shall be declared the winner.

SmallBoatSword 300x300 Inaugural Swordfish Cup To Be Held Globally in July

Photo: Capt. Dave Lear

Weigh-ins will be conducted at approved scales certified by governmental authorities within the last year. Fishing hours will be from 8 am on Saturday, July 27 until 8 am on Sunday, July 28, in each local time zone. Continuous video verification of the gaffing and boating of the fish with a GPS date and time stamp will be required to prove the catch was made during the specified tournament hours. The winning angler and/or team member may also be required to take a polygraph test to ensure compliance with the rules.

“Several prolific swordfish areas will be in play during our July time frame,” Navarro adds. “South Florida and the Keys, the Mid-Atlantic, as well as the Gulf of Mexico, Southern California and Hawaii could all produce the winning fish. And with the caliber of teams we’re expecting, the winning weight might be decided by mere ounces. It will be an exciting 24-hour window into the sport.”

For more information on the tournament or to register to compete, please visit www.swordfishcup.com

Contact: Robert “Fly” Navarro, 561-310-9214; fly@flyzonefishing.com

Texas Snook with Capt. Brian Barrera

slab snook 2 300x184 Texas Snook with Capt. Brian Barrera

I waited a long time to hold a snook, especially a slab like this one. Caught on D.O.A. Lures 4” shrimp in 305 nite glow and a 3/8 oz. jig head. Photo: Cindy Nguyen

brian4 198x300 Texas Snook with Capt. Brian Barrera

Capt. Brian Barrera before releasing a slot Texas snook. Photo: Kelly Groce

BY KELLY GROCE

South Padre Island is home to not only some of the best pastor tacos, but also the only fishable population of snook in the Lone Star State. I learned this after attending the D.O.A. Lures Outdoor Writers Event. That is also where I met Cindy Nguyen who is an amazing angler that has fished all over the world. She told me stories of catching snook in Florida. I think once I told her I had never fished for a snook let alone caught one, she felt bad for me. About a month after the writers event, Cindy gets a hold of me and says, “Let’s go get us a Texas snook.” It doesn’t take much convincing to get me to visit south Tejas, especially for a bucket list fish of mine. It only made sense that we ask SPI’s own Capt. Brian Barrera to take us. Brian is an overall great fisherman, but he has snook fishing dialed-in better than anyone else in the area.

Cindy Nguyen is no stranger to catching snook, but here she is with her first one caught in Texas. Photo: Kelly Groce

Cindy and I got to SPI around noon (thank you to the cop who gave me a warning for speeding due to my excitement). We met Brian and followed him to the boat launch, which is eight minutes away from the Mexico border, jumped on his Shallow Sport Boat, Blackbeard’s Delight II, and headed towards the Brownsville Ship Channel. Brian used a 1 oz. D.O.A. jig head with a D.O.A. 3” Texas Croaker shad tail that he said the snook had been loving lately. He tied on the ole’ faithful D.O.A. 4” shrimp with a 3/8 oz. jig head on another rod, which after a spot or two, Cindy caught her first beautiful Texas snook on. We then checked out a spot where you could literally see dozens of snook in the shadows and cast right at them, it was pretty unreal. The sun started to set and Brian showed us how to catch a few more before calling it a day.

After losing a slot snook by the boat the day before, I was happy to land this one. Photo: Cindy Nguyen

The next morning, I was determined to get my south Texas snook. I played some Selena on the way to the boat launch to get the fish in the mood. As we pulled up to the first spot of the day, there was tons of fry in the water and you could see snook hitting the surface. I tossed my D.O.A. shrimp as close as I could towards the rocks and started working it back, then I felt something slam my shrimp and I heard Brian say, “It’s a snook!” It jumped a couple of times before Brian netted it. Such a cool fish to not only catch, but to release. You lip them like a bass and they suck on your thumb until they are ready to swim off. Nothing could wipe the smile off of my face after catching some snook.

If you’re looking for your next fishing trip, check out South Padre Island and Capt. Brian Barrera. He’s a great fishing guide that can not only put you on snook but also trout, redfish and flounder. During the warm months he’s chasing big tarpon if you want a shot at the silver king.

I’ll be back that’s for sure.

South Texas Saltwater Experience
Capt. Brian Barrera
Fishing Guide & Wildlife Biologist
956.755.9413
brian@doalures.com

Capt. Brian Barrera with one last snook before dark. Photo: Kelly Groce

Builder’s Choice Repeats as Winner in 3rd Annual Marina Casa de Campo Open

2019 MCDC Builders Choice OYFD2959 1024x683 Builder’s Choice Repeats as Winner in 3rd Annual Marina Casa de Campo Open

The warm tropical hospitality of the Dominican Republic really seems to suit one North Carolina sportfisher. Builder’s Choice, a 64 Jarrett Bay based in New Bern, took top honors at the third annual Marina Casa de Campo Open last week at the luxurious resort in La Romana, DR. This marks the second year in a row that the boat has finished atop the Open leaderboard, which is co-sponsored by the marina and Fly Zone Fishing.

Led by Capt. Brent Gaskill, Builder’s Choice released five blue marlin the first day of fishing and added two more the next. Cabana, a 64 Spencer run by Capt. Eddie Wheeler, claimed second place with a two/one split of blues. Auspicious, an 80 Viking with Capt. Cookie Murray at the helm, made a last-day charge by releasing three blue marlin within a 45-minute span. Ties are broken by the time of release.

Blue marlin count for 400 points in the Open’s all-release format. White and hatchet marlin, plus spearfish, score 100 points while sailfish are worth 50. There are no line class rules in this event, but boats are limited to six rods. Lures and baits are both allowed, with ballyhoo the most common offering in the spreads.

2019 MCDC Awards Builders Choice OYFD3488 1024x683 Builder’s Choice Repeats as Winner in 3rd Annual Marina Casa de Campo Open

“This is a full-fledged boat tourney,” explains Tournament Director Robert “Fly” Navarro. “The teams just go out, have fun and catch fish. We’ve gotten positive feedback on the simplicity of our rules.

“We co-host with Marina Casa de Campo to showcase the facility and celebrate these visiting boats spending time in the region,” he adds. “It’s a world-class resort and the fishing isn’t too bad, either. The marina and Casa de Campo take care of the hospitality aspects and event details while we run the tournament. We had live updates on social media throughout the tournament.”

Lainey Jones, competing aboard Mama Who, a 77 Jarrett Bay, was named the top lady angler for 2019. Jones tallied 800 points for two blue marlin released.

The dates for next year’s Marina Casa de Campo Open are set for March 14-16, 2020. For more information on registration and dockage, please visit flyzonefishing.com

Contact: Robert “Fly” Navarro, 561-310-9214; fly@flyzonefishing.com

Winter Wahoo

 

DSC 0012 300x200 Winter Wahoo

Photo: Kelly Groce

DSC 0067 227x300 Winter Wahoo

My first wahoo weighed in at 36 pounds. (Check out those seas behind me). Photo: Shayne Ellis

BY KELLY GROCE

I was lucky enough to tag along with Team Pay Czech as they went searching for wahoo out of Freeport Marina for the 2019 Winter Wahoo Championship. Despite the howling winds and 4-6’ seas, we caught wahoo, blackfin tuna, amberjack and barracuda and had an absolute blast while doing so. Huge thanks again to Joe Schiller, Joey Schiller, Shayne Ellis and Collin Ferrera for inviting me along my first overnight offshore trip as well as my first wahoo. Go Team Pay Czech!

 

Collin Ferrera stuck this beautiful wahoo. Photo: Kelly Groce

Texas City Pride: David Fremont of Boyd’s One Stop

fremont bait Texas City Pride: David Fremont of Boyds One Stop

David Fremont with a net full of lively shrimp. Boyd’s One Stop is located at the base of the Texas City Dike and provides bait, tackle, advice and seafood to its patrons. You can find David behind the counter, helping customers or out on the Dike taking pictures for the Texas City Dike Fishing Group.

David Fremont of Boyd’s One Stop, and Admin of the popular Texas City Dike Fishing Group talks history, Texas City fishing and Boyd’s big plans for the future.

Interview by Brandon Rowan

Where are you from? Tell me about your background and how fishing became an important part of your life.

I was born on Galveston Island in 1954. My daddy worked for Amoco Oil in Texas City and moved us over here when I was a year old. I grew up a street off Bay Street, which is walking distance from the Texas City Dike. I went to work at Boyd’s when I was 14 years old, and I was one of the first kids to go to work with Gene Boyd, the original owner. He was an outboard shrimper and lived across the street from us.

He came over one day and he says “Hey you want to go to work for me? I’m going to open up that old Surfside restaurant on the Dike and have a bait camp. I’ll pay you a dollar an hour and I’ll work you to death!”

Well a dollar an hour was like hitting the lottery for me back then so I jumped on it. But he didn’t lie; he paid me but he also expected an awful lot and also taught me a whole bunch about dealing with the public. He made it perfectly clear that the customers were his bread and butter and I was a necessary evil.  But he was tough, fair and just a great guy.

I stayed with Boyd’s until I went off to the local college and then worked for Amoco, like my dad did, and I spent 35 years there. I never quit coming to the Dike and fishing and having a good time.

How did the very popular Texas City Dike Fishing Group get its start?

After I retired, Jason Cogburn, the current owner of Boyd’s One Stop, asked me if I’d like to come help with some of the advertising and social media. I didn’t know too much about it all at first, but we had a little text group that we started with. Now Boyd’s has built up its Facebook followers to about 63,000 and the text group is still active. Like, this last week we just sent one out to about 25,000 people when we had crawfish on sale.

The Texas City Dike Fishing Group started out before Facebook. There was a handful of us old timers that would meet up and fish on the Dike regularly. We started using a real primitive fishing group on the internet as a way to keep in touch when we weren’t out there fishing together. We’d share stories and how fishing was going and such.

Then when Facebook took over, we were able to migrate to that platform with our same handful of guys. I started incorporating it with Boyd’s when people would come in and want to know what was going on with the fishing scene on the Dike. I would say “Well get on my little Texas City Dike Fishing Group! We’ll add you to it and you’ll see what the latest and the greatest is on what’s being caught.”

And in no time, it just kept growing and growing and now we’ve got over 15,000 people involved. Now I can keep people informed on what’s going on and what’s happening with Boyd’s, in terms of bait and fishing tournaments. This past season, our flounder tournament had 425 people in it. We were able to give away over $8,000 as we do 100% payout.

I know you guys have had some real trophy fish brought in during your flounder tournaments.

We have! We’ve had some real good catches. This past flounder run for the Dike was a little on the slow side but that’s just mother nature. Sometimes those flounder will migrate different ways and in larger numbers. The Galveston Channel still had plenty of fish to be caught. I was over there a time or two and had some good days. Some of our regular fishermen, like Jantzen Miller, also known as the flounder guru, is a great guy and won the tournament in 2017. He tags flounder and he keeps me, and many others, informed about what the flounder are doing. He fishes a lot and caught a couple ten pounders late last summer and early fall.

drum Texas City Pride: David Fremont of Boyds One Stop

Boyd’s 2019 Drumathon tournament runs until April 15. It is a $20 entry fee and 100% payout for the winners. Visit www.boydsonestop.com to register.

 

What’s the word on the Boyd’s Drumathon Tournament?

We haven’t done one in a couple years but a lot of guys said “Hey the flounder run is over, let’s play drum!” So that’s what we did! It kicked off in February and will go until April 15. There are categories for slot and oversized drum. It’s $20 to sign up at Boyd’s or online at www.boydsonestop.com and has a 100% payout. Last I checked, we already have 125 people signed up.

Tell me more about Boyd’s owner Jason Cogburn and some of the big things he has in the works.

Jason Cogburn worked here as a bait boy many years ago and was fortunate, in that he was able to purchase the place. It had been bought and sold a few times after Gene Boyd passed away. Jason has turned it into a very nice business. He’s a family man and a man of great faith. He has started working with crawfish and it has taken over a big part of the operation. We are still very much involved with bait and tackle, but the crawfish business eats up 5 or 6 months of the year and it keeps us busy.

We just recently finished construction on our 30,000 sq. ft. crawfish and seafood facility behind Boyd’s. We are still setting it all up but that’s where we’ll bag and process our live Louisiana crawfish. Currently, we sell quite a bit of wholesale seafood to the H-E-B chain of grocery stores. We are very involved with them and ship an awful lot of crawfish to their San Antonio hub. They distribute to the stores near there and we deliver direct to many of the Houston area H-E-B locations. This also includes some large table shrimp and quite a few blue crab.

Once the processing facility is up and running and in good shape, our next phase is to build a new Boyd’s storefront, similar to a ‘mini Bucees.’ This would also include a huge tackle area and a large variety of bait, more than what we even offer now. We’ll also have a large restaurant that could seat up to 200 guests.

Tell me some of the methods/baits/tactics that make an angler successful on the Texas City Dike

When folks first come to the Dike, and they haven’t done too much homework or talked with people who fish it regularly, it can be kind of upsetting, in that the Dike is unforgiving. There are a lot of rocks under the water, especially on the Texas City channel side. For the first few miles of the Dike it’s not too bad, but as you get towards the end, you have to be able to cast out a good 30 yards or so to get past that rock line and to a good bottom. Then you either reel in as fast as you can to check your bait or if you’re fighting a fish you try to get it up as high in the water column as you can. That’s for the bigger fish like bull reds, big drum, jackfish, stingray and a few occasional sharks.

For speckled trout, most folks use popping corks during the daytime to keep live shrimp suspended above the rocks. Some guys will toss lures and do well too. At night time during the speck season, a lot of people will use lights and generators and fish them with live shrimp or lures like tandem speck rigs or glow-in-the-dark plastics.

Another reason I take pride in the Texas City Dike Fishing Group is that we are able to help newcomers catch fish. We treat everyone as an individual and I really stress friendship and camaraderie with that group.

David Fremont is no stranger to big flounder.

What is your favorite fish to catch?

Hands down flounder. That’s because I love to eat them and they’re just fun to catch. And for an old man like me, you don’t have to work that hard for them. You just get you some live finger mullet or a Gulp or lure of your choice, and either jig it around the pilings or rocks, or you can throw it out and let it sit and just relax. For many years, it was a toss up between flounder and speckled trout for me, but in my later years, I must say I really do love flounder.

I’m a flounder man myself. Do you have an all-time favorite fishing moment or experience?

I do and it makes me think of Gene Boyd because of the way he taught me about customers and getting folks excited about fishing. Before Hurricane Ike, maybe 15 years ago, it was spring break and I was out there fishing on the Dike with the big rods for bull reds and whatever would bite. A car pulls up near me and three kids jump out, early teens or preteens, and they come out near my rods and start throwing rocks in the water. I wasn’t too crazy about that.  But as I got to looking at them and the daddy trying to corral them I thought, “Hey man they’re just like me when I was that age.”

As luck would have it, one of my rods bent over so I hollered over to the kids “Hey you wanna wrestle a big fish?”

So they made a beeline, came running over and took turns fighting it. I thank the good Lord because they were able to bring in a real nice bull red. They were so happy, but not as happy as the daddy was; he was blown away!

In the course of about three hours, I counted 18 bull reds and black drum that we caught. Wore those kids out! Wore me and the daddy out too. Before they left, he told me, “You saved my life. It’s Spring Break and we came all the way from Oklahoma to Galveston Island but the beach was a washout with the weather. So I heard about the Texas City Dike, never been here before, but rolled on down and here you are. You put those boys on the fish of a lifetime and they will remember that forever.”

David saved the Spring Break of these three boys when he put them on fish after big fish.

That’s great story! Aside from fishing, what else are you passionate about?

I like taking pictures and most of the time it does involve fishing or family. But I like to share photographs of the Dike, fishing and the areas around Texas City. It’s all about keeping people excited about fishing. I like it when someone catches their first fish on the dike and shares it, or they catch their personal best.

Is there anything you want to talk about that I haven’t asked you about?

Boyd’s had its first annual Crawfest last year, and we’ve already got another one scheduled for March 30-31 at the base of the Dike. The City works with us on that and we’re very excited about it. I could talk about it all on and on.

I’m happy for you and your business and your endeavor with the magazine. All I can say is let’s get together and go fishing some time. Let’s catch a flounder!

That sounds like a plan!

Spring Bass Fishing

rowan bass Spring Bass Fishing

When extreme winds make the bay unfishable you might find me doing some bass fishing.

By Brandon Rowan

The high tides and strong winds of spring can create some real challenging conditions on the bay and in the marsh. Tired of fighting the wind? Look inland and hit the lake or local pond for some of the best bass fishing of the year.

3 Phases of Bass Fishing

PRE-SPAWN

This period occurs during late winter and early spring. As temperatures rise, bass move from deeper water and stage near the shallows. Bass begin feeding in anticipation of the spawn and can typically be found on submerged cover in creek channels or the first drop off from the flats.

SPAWN

Bass move to the shallowest areas to spawn. Beds are easily identified as circular areas cleared of most vegetation. You’ll find a mating pair, very protective of the area and ready to bite. This is one of the easiest times of the year to catch a bass.

POST-SPAWN

Immediately following the spawn, bass leave their beds. Big females are lethargic as they recover, but are susceptible to reaction lures or slow sinking lures too tempting to pass up. Find them on cover or laydowns just off the shallows. As we get closer to summer, bass start feeding to replenish their energy lost during the spawn.

brush hog bass Spring Bass Fishing

This nice bass couldn’t pass up a Texas rigged Baby Brush Hog. Photo by Brandon Rowan.

Lures & Tactics

These lure selections will get you on the right track to catching some bass this spring.

Strike King KVD 1.5 square bill crankbaits in Bluegill and Chili Craw.

SQUARE BILL CRANKBAIT

The square bill crankbait is shallow diving lure with an erratic wobble and random searching action. It can be successful throughout the entire spring bass season. When waters warm in early spring, bass begin feeding more aggressively in anticipation of the spawn. Find these fish near, or just off the shallow flats and protected coves. Colors like red and orange are a good choice as crawfish start becoming more active and are a favorite forage of bass.

During the spawn when fish are shallow and protective of beds, fish a bluegill or bream pattern. Bluegill are notorious egg thieves and bass will often annihilate this threat with vicious strikes.

After the spawn, big females will move away from the extreme shallows to recover. These fish are lethargic but can be provoked into a reaction bite. Burn bright colored crankbaits through areas just off the flats. Crashing the lure into brush or stumps and pausing is another great method to entice bites. The square bill shape is excellent at deflecting off cover.

3/8 oz Z-man Chatterbait in Green Pumpkin Purple with a Lake Fork Trophy Lures Live Magic Shad in Watermelon Red/Pearl Belly as a trailer.

CHATTERBAITS

Chatterbaits are extremely versatile baits that produce big bass. They have the flash of a spinnerbait, profile of a jig and vibration of a crankbait. They also excel in waters that have been muddied by spring rains.

The most popular retrieve is straight and steady, fished just above the bottom. But the possibilities are endless – you can use a stop-and-go retrieve, bump it into cover like a squarebill or drag and jig it slowly across a bed.

This is another lure that can imitate a variety of forage depending on colors and trailers. Colors like green pumpkin and bluegill/bream work great in the spring. Choose soft plastic swimbaits or creature/craw baits for more bulk and action. I like a Super Fluke Jr. when I want a more subtle tail wag. Single and double tail grubs are popular choices as well.

Left: Berkley Havoc Pit Boss in Junebug. Rig on 4/0 EWG hook. Right: Zoom Baby Brush Hog in Watermelon Red. Rig on 2/0 EWG or normal worm hook.

CREATURE BAITS

Texas rigged creature baits are a solid choice when sight fishing bass on beds. Two of my favorites are the Berkley Havoc Pit Boss and Zoom’s Baby Brush Hog, although a lizard is also a great option too. Bass don’t take kindly to these strange invaders trespassing on their nests. Sometimes they bite aggressively for the kill, but other times bite lightly to pick up and remove the invader. The compact size of most creature baits can lead to better hook-up ratios when bass are biting light.

Another advantage of using soft plastics is the ease in which you can change lures and colors if fish aren’t interested in your initial offering. Make your first cast beyond the bed and work your way into it. Experiment with retrieves until bass react, keeping your lure on the bed as long as you can.

Zoom Trick Worm in Green Pumpkin, Gary Yamamoto 5″ Senko in Watermelon Red and Green, and a Zoom Super Fluke in Baby Bass.

WEIGHTLESS SOFT PLASTICS

Weightless plastics can be tremendous for sight fishing beds when nothing else seems to produce. This is a slower fishing method so I save it for when all else fails. Senkos, Super Flukes and Trick Worms are all good picks when you want to hover and slow sink something above a bed.

Senkos, Texas rigged weightless or wacky, are also great to flutter past sluggish bass in the early post-spawn stage.

3/8 oz Strike King Hack Attack Jig in Green Pumpkin Craw. Trailer: Havoc Pit Boss in California.

JIGS

Pitching or flipping jigs is a time-tested bass fishing approach that is responsible for many big fish. Choose a jig you can work around heavy cover like the Strike King Hack Attack Jig. Minimal movements create action from your soft plastic trailer and flutter around the silicone skirt. This is important when you’re trying to agitate bedding bass or maximize time on a bed or in the strike zone.

Jigs are also great for probing cover and laydowns during the post spawn period. Use lighter finesse jigs or swim jigs with big trailers for suspended fish and heavier jigs if bass are closer to the bottom.

 

Upper Texas Coast Spring Fishing

By Capt. Steve Soulewww.ultimatedetailingllc.com

sight cast redfish Upper Texas Coast Spring Fishing

Capt. Steve Soule caught this nice red while fly fishing with Capt. Clay Daniel Sheward.

Spring on the upper Texas coast brings warming temperatures, to both air and water. We have longer daylight periods and typically much more sunshine, accompanied by vigorous winds and choppy bays. It also is the time when multiple food sources return to our bay waters and shallows, flowing new life into areas of the bays that may have seemed desolate and devoid of life during the winter. The combination of springtime transitional patterns and occurrences can, and often do, confuse and complicate the plans of bay anglers.

TEMPERATURE

This time of the year, we are still in a back and forth battle with passing cold fronts and swinging temperatures, though the greater trend is warming. With this in mind, we often have to change plans based on temperature. It is key to remember that as air temperatures drop below those of the water, fish will tend to move slightly deeper, and as air warms to temperatures greater than water, they tend to move shallow. This is in part due to the comfort level of the predators, but to an even larger degree, this pattern has to do with following their food sources.

Let’s throw in a little twist to this generalization. The bottom make up of the bay areas that you fish can also play a large role in temperature as well as comfort and availability of food sources for predators. Soft or darker colored mud bottom, especially in relatively shallow water will warm faster on sunny days. This can create comfort zones for both bait species and predators alike. So, as much as we watch temperatures, we also need to be aware of the amount of sun and bay floor make up to help focus our efforts on productive areas.

sunlight Upper Texas Coast Spring Fishing

The longer days in spring trigger spawning activity for many species of fish.

INCREASING SUNLIGHT

Photo period is an often overlooked part of transitional periods throughout the year. Photo period, the number of hours of daylight versus night, triggers many things beyond the obvious additional heating of the water temperature. It’s well known that this is one of the triggers for spawning periods of fish. It also plays a large role in the timing of baitfish and other prey species returning to various areas of the bays. Coincidental timing I suppose, but since most all plant life requires sunlight to grow, its a well timed natural occurrence for the return or emergence of many of the smaller fish and crustaceans right when their food sources become more prevalent. Here’s an interesting thought about photo period and longer hours of daylight during spring. Even at the same daily temperature, longer days will yield greater warming than shorter days. This helps with the overall warming trend even on days when temps aren’t significantly warmer, purely because of the extended hours of daylight.

COMPARING SPRING & FALL

Keeping in mind that this is a transitional season, spring is one that requires more patience compared to fall. During our fall transition, the bays are at the peak of life, with numerous prey species readily available and in abundance. Much of the activity in fall centers around the mass migrations and attempted exodus from the shallows first,and then from deeper waters. Because the triggers for feeding are falling temperature, photo period decrease and changes in wind and tide, the ensuing patterns become fairly predictable.

In spring, things just don’t happen all at once. There are many factors that affect the return of bait species, and unfortunately, they don’t all happen at the same time. There are counter forces that can slow and change the timing of when they occur. With many of the returning species of bait, we are dependent on favorable offshore conditions along with onshore wind flow to bring them into the bays. Some, on the other hand must move to more open water from deeper inland, in creeks and bayous. Timing and location of these events is different every year.

THE WIND

In spring, wind plays a huge role in many ways. Wind can have an obvious effect on the location and supply of many smaller prey animals. As much as heavy south or southeast winds can make our fishing days challenging, these are much needed to speed the return of many offshore species to the bays. Even though the exact timing and amount of any given species hitting certain areas of the bays is very unpredictable, there are some things we can count on nearly every year.

The gulf passes and outlets will be the first to see many species and typically in the greatest quantities. Shortly after, the adjacent shorelines and nearby structures will gradually blossom with new life. Similarly, the upper reaches of the bays will begin to see an increase in bait flows that seek slightly higher salinities returning from low salinity areas up creeks and bayous. These are great starting points in our search for fish, knowing that these areas will consistently have the earliest increases in food supply for the predators that we seek.

Beyond the challenges of finding fish, springtime winds can make fishing unpleasant, difficult and often unsafe. Some quick thoughts on wind; how it effects fish and anglers when it comes to deciding where to fish. Logic tells us that wind can move many of the small species, especially when it works in unison with tides. Winds can drive schools of small bait to wind blown shorelines, and make movement or escape from predators very difficult. This can and will create something of a buffet line for predators who can more easily move and prey upon small species.

These shorelines are often overlooked, and some days they should be for safety. North and west shorelines that see the brunt of the spring winds are great under moderate wind days and days following hard onshore wind flows. On the days that the winds are just too high to fish these areas, it makes much more sense to fish protected shores. Again, look for the shorelines and areas that are nearer to gulf passes or upper reaches of the bays where creek flows will deposit concentrations of food.

Keep in mind that spring winds often can create more than just a comfort problem for anglers, but often a safety concern, making certain areas just not worth the effort or risk to fish.

mullet

Topwaters and plugs that imitate mullet are good choices at the start of spring. Downsize to smaller lures later in spring when predators are keying in on newly hatched baitfish.

LURES FOR SPRING

I couldn’t talk this much about springtime transition and food sources without mentioning what types of lures to throw and some timing aspects to consider. This is one of the best times to fish bigger mullet imitations, especially topwater baits, but you will often need to be patient to find success. Timing is often the key here, tides and moon position can make a big difference in getting bites.

As much as I would love to do nothing but throw topwater lures, some days you have to scale down and get lower in the water column to get bites. If you find yourself surrounded by smaller baitfish, it can be well worth the time to try some small plastic swimming tails on lighter jig heads. There are also times when only very light or natural colored baits work when all else fails. Matching the hatch isn’t always necessary but getting close to the size can help.

Something else fun to try during spring are lipped twitch baits, like those from Rapala and Bomber. The erratic darting action and slow rise or suspension on the pause can often be the trigger to get stubborn fish to bite.

TACTICS

Though spring can present challenges in many ways, it can bring equal rewards for those who pull together the many puzzle pieces. Watching tides and winds and planning accordingly can put you in the midst of schools of fish hungrily feasting on ever increasing supplies of small food.

Be prepared to adjust your plans, be thorough in your search and coverage of areas. If you are in an area that you feel sure there are fish, don’t be afraid to stick around and adjust your tactics. Some days a lure change can make all the difference.

Don’t let failure in one spot prevent you from trying other areas, and make great notes about areas that are showing abundant food. Many times the food sources will show before the predators, and knowing this will provide you with great fishing areas to return to later.

Galveston Bay Spring Fishing Outlook 2019

By Captain David C. Dillman

GalvestonBayCharterFishing.com | 832-228-8012

texas fish stringer Galveston Bay Spring Fishing Outlook 2019

Justin Clinfton caught a mixed bag fishing with his brother and two daughters.

ended my last article with me taking a trip to the warm waters and sunny beaches of Central America. It was perfect timing, as a strong cold front hit the Upper Texas Coast on the day of my departure. The forecast called for freezing temperatures, which never materialized. That was a blessing, for many states experienced their coldest temperatures in years. It is now the first week of February, as I write this article. It has been a typical winter so far on the Upper Coast; rain, wind, some cold days and lots of fog! Hopefully, we dodge any severe freezes. The old Groundhog predicts a early spring. But he has only been right around 38% of the time, about as good as our weather forecaster’s on the local news! So, what can we expect for March and April?

Starting the first week of March is the annual “Fishing Show” at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. The show runs from March 6 – 10. There will be everything about fishing under one roof; tackle, new products for the angler, boats, fishing charters and daily seminars. I will be at The Eagle Point Fishing Camp booth throughout the show. On Sunday March 10 around noon, I will be conducting a seminar on “Everything Galveston Bay, Where and When.” Come out to “ The Fishing Show,” you will not be disappointed!

Previously, some of you might have read about Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) proposing to reduce the bag limit of speckled trout along the Upper Coast. The five fish limit for trout started along the Lower Coast first and was extended to the Middle Coast a few years ago. During the TPWD commissioner’s meeting this past January, they agreed to proceed with voting on regulation changes during the next meeting. They seek to extend the daily five fish trout limit statewide. The vote for this regulation and some others will take place in Austin during the next commissioner’s meeting  March 19-20. You will be allowed to address the commissioners during the meeting on March 20.

TPWD will be holding statewide hearings about the proposed regulation changes. I advise everyone to attend one of these hearings. You will be given a chance to verbally speak and share your opinion about the proposed regulations. You may also write or email TPWD. One can keep abreast of local hearing dates and times by watching The Galveston Bay Fishing Show on Facebook and Youtube, live from Eagle Point Fishing Camp every Thursday.

Now for the fishing this March and April, I will personally concentrate my effort in East Galveston Bay. Last year the fishing was very good when the weather cooperated. Along the granite rocks known as the Galveston jetties, the Black Drum run will be in full force. Sheepshead, redfish and speckled trout will also be there for the taking. If the wind blows from the South-Southwest, fishing along the base of the Dike up to Moses Lake should produce speckled trout along with black drum. Also, don’t over look the shorelines around Eagle Point. Sometimes the fishing can be really good in spring around the pilings on those shorelines. Just a reminder for those that launch under the Kemah Bridge; those ramps have been closed. Eagle Point Fishing Camp is not far down the road and has a nice three lane ramp and is a full service fishing facility with live bait.

Kayak Fishing: A Plastic Boat?

GCMredfish1 Kayak Fishing: A Plastic Boat?

By Dustin Nichols

Some ask me that question. Also: “Why do you fish out of that?” Well…let’s get into answering those questions. Kayak fishing has started to take off here in Texas, and that’s not only limited to coastal areas.  With a plethora of reservoirs, lakes, creeks and bayous, chances are you have some type of water body you can access nearby.

Kayak fishing has seen tremendous growth the last five years. Eric Jackson owner of Jackson kayaks, says, “Fishing kayaks are booming.” He has seen how the sport has grown.

The development of more stable kayaks and high seating that aids in being able to stand up and sight cast redfish, or pitch to bass in deep cover, sure makes it easy to fish from. Who doesn’t love being that close to the action.

ACCESSIBILITY

The ability to launch from any public boat ramp or easement is a big draw for the kayak angler.  Even if you do not own a truck or trailer you can “car top” your kayak. There are plenty of options for rack systems and loading assist equipment that makes them easy to transport.  Plus, adding a wheeled kayak cart will have you from your vehicle to your launch quickly.

AFFORDABILITY

The price point for getting into a solid kayak is a lot cheaper than getting into a basic boat/motor package. You can shell out the dough for a brand new kayak or spend some time cruising Facebook groups and Craigslist to find solid used kayaks. Most kayaks are outfitted with rod holders and gear tracks already installed. You can also add lots of options to rig it the way you like.  Not to mention, with the addition of pedal driven kayaks, the amount of water you can cover has increased tremendously.

GCMredfish2 Kayak Fishing: A Plastic Boat?

Stealth is paramount when chasing spooky redfish.

STEALTH

Sliding into that back lake to chase tailing reds is no problem. Accessing skinny water is a big plus for kayak fisherman. Also, sliding under bridges to access water that boats cannot can lead you to some pretty sweet spots.  It sure is cool to be cruising along and drop your lure directly in front of a red fish without even making a cast. Talk about a rush!  The stealth approach in a kayak is not only a benefit to inshore anglers,  but also those targeting bass!

FUN

Who doesn’t like having fun?  That’s what kayak fishing is all about.  As they say “ Even a bad day on the water is better than a good day at work.”  There are plenty of kayak clubs and groups all over.  The camaraderie is top notch and there are a ton of anglers out there that are willing to help a newbie get started.

SERIOUS BUSINESS

Let’s not forget the tournament scene.  From local club trails that target bass, to redfish series with major sponsors, there are no lack of events for the competitive minded kayak angler.  Most tournaments use photos of the fish caught on measuring devices called “bump boards” to determine the winners.  The fish are laid on the board then photographed with an identifier code, usually written on your hand, as a way to tell apart the anglers and make sure there is no fish submitted from another time out!

Let this sink in. Last year, KBF (Kayak Bass Fishing) had multiple events, both live and online, as a means to qualify for the national championship. Over 700 anglers qualified to fish the event on Kentucky Lake in Tennessee.  Guess how much money first place took home?  $100,000. Plus, one of our very own anglers from right here in Texas (Dwayne Taff) took the win!  I have had the honor to meet and fish with Dwayne.  He shared some of his thoughts with me on the growth of the sport and tournament scene.

“As a tournament angler, its even hard for me to imagine a 100K payday for fishing out of a kayak!” He said. “It’s unbelievable how I’ve seen the sport grow in the last few years and everywhere you go you see a kayak on top of a vehicle.”

He remembers fabricating accessories himself to make things more efficient on the water and now if you can imagine it, someone has already marketed it.  Businesses in the fishing industry are doing just that. The steady growth of the sport has lead many companies on board.

CHOICES

“There are so many kayaks out there!  How do I choose which one is right for me?”  That is a common question, so let me help you out.  It all comes down to the type of water you fish. The Jackson Coosa HD would be a great boat for moving water like creeks and streams up in the Texas hill country.

If you are interested in fly fishing, then the Jackson Mayfly shines with its molded in reel pockets for rod storage and open deck concept to keep line from snagging/tangling while stripping back your fly.

Are you adventurous and want the challenge of targeting some offshore species?  Well then, the Jackson Kraken 13.5 would be the boat for you to push your skills beyond the breakers!

What if you want a basic kayak that you can rig yourself, that is stable, lightweight, and paddles well.  Then the Jackson Bite would be a great boat for you.

But my best advice to you would be to go and visit your local kayak dealer and find out when the next “on the water” demo would be.  That way you can paddle different kayaks and make the best decision by paddling and checking them out in person.

So, are you ready to jump on the kayak fishing bandwagon?  I hope so. If the ease of access and affordability don’t reel you in (pun intended), then the great people involved in this sport should.  I hope to see you all on the water soon!

Dustin Nichols is Jackson Kayak National ProStaff and affiliated with Waterloo Rods, Kden Lures, Calibre Baits, Fuel Clothing Co., and Beck & Masten Buick GMC Coastal Bend

     

Boat and fishing gear checklist

texas fishing Boat and fishing gear checklist

Take the proper preparations with your gear and boat before fishing really heats up.

By Capt. Joe Kent

Spring presents an opportunity to visit about preparations needed to help ensure a trouble free time on the water during the best months for fishing that lie ahead.

During March and April many anglers and or boaters will use their equipment for the first time this year.  Many will have the unpleasant experience of launching their boat and encountering problems that ruin what would otherwise be a pleasant day on the water.

The equipment we are going to discuss includes the boat, motor and fishing tackle.  Each of those are vulnerable to damage when sitting up for long periods of time.  Finding a problem before heading out on that first trip of the season will save a lot of frustrations and expenses.

Let’s start with your boat and motor.  The number one problem according to marine mechanics is fuel that has been in the tank too long, especially untreated ethanol gasoline.  If your boat has been dormant most of the winter fresh fuel should be added along with a fuel treatment designed to enhance the fuel and absorb any water.

Ethanol based gasoline tends to break down and absorb moisture from the air, leading to expensive repairs if not addressed before running your engine.

The engine oil (for four-stroke engines) should be changed as well as the lower unit oil on all marine engines.  If you change the lower unit oil yourself, check for water. After setting up, if water is present it likely will drain to the bottom and come out first when the drain plus is removed.

Milky colored lower unit oil indicates the presence of water.  In either case, do not run the engine in gear until the source for the water is determined and repaired.  Most of the time it is a leaking seal.

Check your steering cables and fuel lines.  If cracks or noted in the fuel line, replace it.

Confirm that your bilge pump is working.  If your battery is over three years old, replace it.  Chances are it is not going to last much longer.

Before making that first trip to the ramp, crank the engine using an earmuff type fresh water flushing device.  Let it run for ten minutes and if no problems detected you are ready to head out.

While all of the above are good pointers for avoiding problems, nothing beats a check-up by your mechanic before making that first trip.  Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of trouble.

Close behind in importance is your fishing equipment and tackle. They should undergo a thorough inspection before that first fishing trip. Replace the line on your reels if they have been sitting up all winter.  Using a light penetrating oil such as WD-40, clean the outside of your reel and use a light reel oil to lubricate the internal parts.  Check the eyes on your rods for corrosion and clean or replace if necessary.

Clean out your tackle box and toss any rusty or corroded lures and hooks.  Also, check your supply of tackle.  Over the winter we often forget about items needed  for the upcoming season.

Utilizing time during March and April to prepare for the summer fishing season is time well spent.

2019 LOS SUEÑOS TOURNAMENTS BEGIN WITH THE LADIES

 

costa rica sailfish 2019 LOS SUEÑOS TOURNAMENTS BEGIN WITH THE LADIES

©Los Sueños Resort and Marina • Photographer: Pepper Ailor.

Los Sueños Resort and Marina, located at Playa Herradura on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific Coast, held the first leg of its sixth annual Los Sueños Signature Triple Crown billfish series, presented by Chantilly Air, January 16-19, 2019.

A total of 44 of the world’s most competitive billfishing teams comprised of 210 individual anglers challenged each other over three days of fishing, releasing a total of 648 billfish, including 582 sails and 66 marlin for a per boat average of 15 billfish releases.

fish tank los suenos 2019 LOS SUEÑOS TOURNAMENTS BEGIN WITH THE LADIES

Fish Tank, owned by Chris and Laura Jessen and captained by Ben Horning, took first place in both the Ladies Only Tournament and the Los Sueños Signature Triple Crown. ©Los Sueños Resort and Marina • Photographer: Pepper Ailor.

LADIES ONLY ONE-DAY TOURNAMENT

Held on Tuesday, Jan. 15, the first annual Los Sueños Ladies Only Tournament, presented by Chantilly Air and sponsored by Maverick and Galati Yacht Sales, brought together 49 individual anglers participating on 17 boats. It seemed like a clear battle between Family and Friends and D.A. Sea who were tied both for points and on time just half an hour before lines out.

Fish Tank (anglers Laura Jessen and Michelle Keeney) surprised everyone though, calling in a marlin hook up which they went on to release at 4:04 p.m. for the win, having released 8 sails and 1 marlin for 1,300 points. D.A. Sea (anglers Valerie Dunn, Susan McCart, and Judy Duffie) ended up second with 1100 points with 6 sailfish and 1 marlin release, and Family and Friends (anglers Jackie Kopp, Kristin Feller, and Andrea White) rounded out the leaderboard in third with 1,000 points after releasing 10 sails.

Awards were presented the following day and the ladies took to the stage to receive their cash prizes and trophies, sponsored by Gray Taxidermy. A total of $27,500 was handed out, 50% going to first, 30% to second, and 20% to third. Individual angler points follow the ladies through the Triple Crown and will be tallied to their total scores from that event to determine the Top Female Angler Overall. So far, Jackie Kopp of Family and Friends is well in the lead with 700 points from the Ladies Only and 1,500 points from the first leg of the Triple Crown.

©Los Sueños Resort and Marina • Photographer: Pepper Ailor.

TRIPLE CROWN DAY 1

It was Numero Uno who fittingly released fish “numero uno” of the tournament at 8:05 am on Day 1, Jan. 17. By 10 a.m., the competitive fleet of 44 teams and 210 anglers had released 89 billfish, including 84 sails and 5 marlin. Tarheel took an early lead with 800 points, over The King and I and Blue Eagle, each with 700 points. The King and I showed their stripes early with 1,800 points by noon, taking a 600 point lead over Tranquilo with 1,200 points and Outlaw with 1,100 points.

Over 40 fish were released in the next two hours, but the leaderboard changed very little. The King and I ended the day in first with 2,000 points, Wire We Here ended up releasing 6 sails and 2 marlin for 1,600 points and second place, and Blue Eagle released the same fish for the same points, just 13 minutes later to take third for the day.

TRIPLE CROWN DAY 2

The King and I had a slow start to Day 2 with zero releases by 10 a.m., but managed to hold on to their first place spot. Wire We Here released four sails in the same period to tie The King and I with 2,000 points, just one sailfish release and 100 points ahead of Reel Pushy. By noon the fleet had released a two-day total of 380 billfish and Fish Tank had pushed The King and I down to third on time after Wire We Here, both with 2,100 points, and taking top spot with 2,300 points. Family and Friends were keeping their name in front of spectators, taking top spot with 2,600 points by 2 p.m., followed by Fish Tank with 2,400 points and Reel Pushy in third with 2,300 points. By the end of the day Family and Friends had earned enough points after releasing 7 sails and 2 marlin for a two-day total of 2,600 points, to keep their first place position. Reel Pushy released 7 sails and 2 marlin on Day 2 for a two-day total of 2,500 points, and Fish Tank rounded out the top three with 2,400 points after releasing 9 sails on Day 2. The top nine teams were all within one marlin and one sail of the lead going in to Day 3.

TRIPLE CROWN DAY 3

Day 3 followed the same trend as the first two days with a good morning bite. By 10 a.m. the fleet had released 61 billfish for a three-day total of 522 billfish (469 sails and 53 marlin). The King and I were vying for the leaderboard and had amassed 3,300 points to take first over Reel Pushy in second with 3,100 points, and Tranquilo in third with 2,800 points. At noon it was still anyone’s game. Fish Tank was in first with 3,500 points. The King and I was in second, now with 3,400 points, and Reel Pushy in third with one more sailfish for 3,200 points. The 2 p.m. leaderboard would end up being a prediction of the Leg 1 finishers, showing Fish Tank in first with 4,200 points, The King and I in second with 3,400 points, and Reel Pushy in third with 3,300 points. Fish Tank went on to release four more sails, ending the day – and the tournament – with 4,600 points.

RESULTS

Los Sueños Ladies Only Tournament

1st Place: FISH TANK

Fish Tank, a 63’ Hatteras captained by Ben Horning, with anglers Laura Jessen and Michelle Keeney. Michelle was the top angler for this event, with 900 individual points after releasing 4 sails and 1 marlin.

2nd Place: D.A. SEA

D.A. Sea, a 60’ Viking captained by Climaco Rodriguez, with anglers Valerie Dunn, Susan McCart, and Judy Duffie.

3rd Place: FAMILY AND FRIENDS

Family and Friends, a 50’ Craig Blackwell captained by Joshua Porras, with anglers Jackie Kopp, Kristin Feller, and Andrea White

Los Sueños Signature Triple Crown

1st Place: FISH TANK

4,600 points, 31 sails and 3 marlin

Fish Tank, a 63’ Hatteras captained by Ben Horning, with owners/angler Chris and Laura Jessen, and their fellow anglers Kitt Toomey, Mike Ivancevic, and Darren Helwig. Fish Tank also took third place in Leg 1 of the 2016 Triple Crown and third place in Leg 3 2017. Laura Jessen is familiar with the stage, having also been the Top Female Angler in 2017.

TOP ANGLER

Chris Jessen of Fish Tank achieved the highest points out of all participating non-professional anglers after releasing 6 sailfish and 2 marlin for 1,600 points.

2nd Place: THE KING AND I

3,400 points, 9 sails and 5 marlin

The King and I, a 50’ Ocean Yacht, captained by Victor “Pia” Ceballos is from Guatemala and first started fishing the Triple Crown in 2018. Anglers Pablo Sechel, Sergio Alvarado, Juan Pablo Ramos, Juan Andres Morales and Charles Donato finished in second place in Leg 1.

3rd Place: REEL PUSHY

3,300 points, 18 sails and 3 marlin

Reel Pushy, a 58’ Monterey co-captained by Chris Workmon and Dave Dalfo also just started competing in the Triple Crown in 2018. This is their second year and angler/owner Robert Banker along with his fellow anglers Patrick Lanahan, Samantha Mumford, Tyler Wall, and Kevin O’Connor.

ABOUT LOS SUEÑOS RESORT AND MARINA

Los Sueños Resort and Marina is the premier luxury real estate resort in Costa Rica. Nestled on the Central Pacific Coast, Los Sueños is an 1,100-acre oasis offering incredible ocean, rainforest and golf course view properties; a gorgeous waterfront Marina Village commercial area with restaurants, shops and lively entertainment; a large private beach club for residents; an 18-hole championship golf course; a superb 201-room Marriott Hotel; and much more, all within close proximity to world record-setting sport fishing waters. Information on Los Sueños Resort and Marina is available online at www.lossuenos.com. Information on Los Sueños real estate properties is available online at www.lossuenosproperties.com. For more photos from Los Sueños tournaments, please click here

2019 Annual Gulf Coast Boats Fishing Tournament

April 27, 2019

header 300x179 2019 Annual Gulf Coast Boats Fishing Tournament

Babes on the Bay All Women’s Fishing Tournament

May 17-18th, 2019

BabesLogo500 401x208 300x156 Babes on the Bay All Womens Fishing Tournament

Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic

June 3-9, 2019

mississippi Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic

Texas Billfish Classic

July 31 – August 3, 2019

tbclogo 233x300 Texas Billfish Classic

Fishing the Lower Laguna Madre with D.O.A. Lures

DSC 0033 2 Fishing the Lower Laguna Madre with D.O.A. Lures

This beautiful Lower Laguna Madre trout couldn’t resist the D.O.A. 4″ C.A.L. Jerkbait in Candy Corn.

By Kelly Groce

Back in August of 2018, I was in Port Aransas celebrating my father’s birthday for the weekend. On Sunday, I decided to drop some Gulf Coast Mariner Magazines at local businesses, one of them being Port “A” Outfitters. I see a man walking down the stairs who I know is Mark Nichols, the creator and owner of D.O.A. Lures. I’ve always been a huge fan of his lures, especially that dang shrimp. He’s walking right by my car so I have to say something.

“Excuse me, are you the D.O.A. man?”

“I sure am.” Mark responds.

We shake hands and chat about fishing in Stuart, Fla. where he resides. I hand him a copy of the magazine before we part ways. My day was made.

Fast forward a few months… it’s just another day at the office here in Seabrook. The phone rings and Christmas came early. Capt. Brian Barrera, who is a fishing guide and also works for D.O.A. Lures called to invite me to their 2018 Outdoor Writers Event in South Padre for four days. Without hesitation, I said I’ll be there.

The day of the trip comes, I’m listening to the Bite Me: Texas Saltwater Fishing podcast for the majority of the drive down (if you don’t listen to this podcast, you should) and daydreaming about drifting clear water with grass and sand pockets as far as the eye can see. I’ve been to South Padre three or four times prior, but it was always to go surf, never to fish.

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The view every morning before we took off for a full day of fishing and fun.

I pull up to home base for the next few days, which is a beautiful house right on the pristine waters of the Lower Laguna Madre. When I walk in, I’m immediately greeted by D.O.A. Lures employee/local fishing guide/fish slayer Capt. Brian Barrera (if catching Texas snook and tarpon is on your fishing bucket list, Brian is your guy). As I’m relaxing and meeting fascinating people from all over the country and the industry, Mark pulls up by boat (of course he had been fishing the next canal over, catching redfish and trout). I see Mark and say “Remember me from the Port “A” Outfitters parking lot?”

He says, “Of course I do, welcome!”

The sun starts to set and a delicious feast of authentic pastor and beef tacos are being cooked on the deck overlooking the water by local restaurant, Mr. Taco. We are given D.O.A. Kits that contain their family of lures such as TerrorEyz, Swimmin’ Mullet, Shrimp, Jerk Bait, Shad, Paddle Tails and more. Capt. Brian informs everyone who their fishing guide would be for the next day, we talk a little longer and eventually everyone makes their way to bed.

DAY 1 OF FISHING
Cup of coffee… check. Breakfast taco… check. Camera and fishing gear… check. I walk downstairs and there waiting for us is a fleet of boats, mostly Shallow Sports, to take us fishing for the day. I had the pleasure of going out with local guide and super nice guy, Capt. Joel Ramos. My fishing partner was Tommy Thomson, regional sales manager at Shimano. The weather is perfect, a little overcast with a high of 75 degrees. We drive for about 30 minutes, then Capt. Joel Ramos stops, shuts off the motor and says we’re going to do a drift here. It is just what I imagined… as far as you can see clear water spotted with sand pockets and grass. I started throwing D.O.A. Lures 4” C.A.L. Jerk Bait in one of their newer colors Texas Croaker. It doesn’t take long and we all start catching trout cast after cast. Capt. Joel hooked up onto a pretty 22” trout on the 4” C.A.L. Jerk Bait in Candy Corn. It appeared, the fish liked the contrast of that bright orange lure color. The night before, we were given some D.O.A. 3” C.A.L. Shad Tails in a new color that is not yet named. It’s a brown with gold flake top with a pearl colored bottom. I switched to this bait and caught a few decent trout on that lure as well. Tommy threw on the D.O.A. topwater, the PT-7 (featured on the cover) and had a huge trout blow-up on it, that was pretty exciting. The PT-7 is a fun topwater to work with a lot of action. Capt. Joel wanted to get us on some reds next, so we went to a real shallow spot along a shoreline. I stuck with the 4” C.A.L. Jerk Bait in Texas Croaker, and Capt. Joel stuck with the 4” C.A.L. Jerk Bait in Candy Corn. 22 was Cap. Joel’s number that day, because after a few minutes at the spot, he hooks up to a nice 22” redfish. We get some footage of the fish and let him go. Shortly after, I hook up on a red I’d say was about 20” on the Texas Croaker Jerkbait. The water was so clear it was pretty neat to see the lure hit the water and then a flash which was the redfish chasing after it. After a full day of fun and fishing, we head back to casa de D.O.A.

The D.O.A. legend, Mark Nichols and myself on an evening boat ride.

That afternoon, everyone is sitting around trading fish stories from the day. Mark points to me and says, “Want to go for a boat ride?”

“Yes sir” I say.

We board his Maverick Mirage skiff, which is one beautiful boat. We go for a cruise and enjoy the stunning South Padre Island sunset. SO… here I am sitting on Mark Nichol’s boat with an ice cold Corona overlooking the Lower Laguna Madre while listening to him talk about fishing and his life. Mark is incredibly knowledgable about fishing and has lived a life full of adventure. I learned that Mark grew up in Houston and his dad had a shrimp boat on Clear Lake. That 45 minutes on his boat is truly a moment I’ll never forget.

DAY 2 OF FISHING
I get paired with Capt. Lee Alvarez. He was born and raised in the area and knows these waters like the back of his hand. I felt like I was getting special treatment since it was just Capt. Lee and myself on his boat this day. There was a front coming in that night, so it was overcast and rain was on the horizon. I had to throw that Candy Corn Jerkbait after the success we had on it the day before. We did some drifts and caught tons of trout on it. We were drifting this one area and a school of about five beautiful upper slot redfish swam right in front of the boat. We saw the school of reds again and we started sight casting at them, but didn’t land one. Either way, very cool seeing fish like that. The rain started coming down pretty good, but the fish were still biting, so I was a happy camper. After all, a little water never hurt no one.

On the ride back to the house, I was gathering my thoughts on the past few days of fishing. Myself alone, caught probably 70+ trout and some nice redfish in just two days on nothing but D.O.A. Lures. D.O.A. stands for Deadly On Anything, and after the non-stop catching I had experienced, that slogan is without a doubt true. These lures are like candy to fish, they can’t say no. An absolute must-have for any angler’s tackle box.

That evening, it was Mark’s birthday. The crew had got him a cake that was decorated with the D.O.A. logo and lures. Some tasty burgers were being grilled on the deck while we continued to celebrate and enjoy each other’s company. My face was starting to hurt after all the laughs.

The next day, it was difficult to head back home. After the few days I got to spend with Mark and the rest of the D.O.A. Lures crew, I must say his lures are amazing, but this group of people are even better. The camaraderie I experienced was bar none. Not only did I learn a lot, but I left South Padre feeling like I had a whole new family.

The stars aligned that day I met Mark in that parking lot in Port Aransas. I never thought I would run into him, let alone be invited to South Padre to fish with him for several days. Mark’s passion for fishing and his energy is contagious. He has lit a fire for me to continue pursing my passion of fishing, writing, and photography. And for that I will forever be grateful to Mark.

Huge thanks to Mark Nichols and the entire D.O.A. Lures crew for an incredible trip. I’ll be back to catch my Texas snook. Until next time amigos!

Mark Nichols and Dave Stewart hold a massive black drum they caught on a D.O.A. C.A.L. Paddle Tail. Photo by Danno Wise

Capt. Brian Barrera stuck this beautiful 28″ trout using the D.O.A. 4″ C.A.L. Jerkbait in Candy Corn. Photo by Ed Zyak

Ed Zyak with a nice 24″ snook caught with Capt. Brian Barrera. Photo by Capt. Brian Barrera

New Year, New Beginnings

GraceSutherland New Year, New Beginnings

Grace Sutherland with a nice red

By Capt. David C. Dillman

galvestonbaycharterfishing.com | 832-228-8012

As we usher in 2019, I always reflect on the past year. I think of the trials and tribulations that I faced in 2018, but it was also a very rewarding year. I now set my sights forward and fully embrace the challenges and rewards of this coming year.

 My January starts at the 2019 Houston Boat, Sport and Travel Show. This event takes place at the NRG Center, Jan. 4-13. If you are in the market for a new boat or RV, you should attend this event. For those looking to re-power, come check out the latest technology in outboards. I will be at the Eagle Point Fishing Camp booth, numbers 612-613 throughout the show. Stop by, and I will be there to answer all questions about boating, boat storage, and of course fishing! The rest of my January will be filled with a much needed vacation to the blue waters of the Caribbean.

The beginning of the year, is also the time to get your boat seaworthy for this coming year. If your boat needs to go to a shop for service, this is the time. Do an inventory of what is stored in your boat. It is amazing how much “stuff” one can accumulate in your boat‘s storage hatches. Discard all non-serviceable items and check your PFDs for any defects.

On the fishing scene, look for continued good action on speckled trout along with scattered redfish. The usual winter locations, Clear Lake, Kemah/Seabrook flats, and the northern areas of Galveston Bay should hold fish. West Galveston Bay is also well known for its winter fishing.

Speaking of trout, one should keep abreast of the TPWD proposal of decreasing the trout daily bag limit. They should release their recommendation sometime in January. Hopefully, the Houston/Galveston area can make it through this winter without a major freeze event. If so, this spring we should see some really great fishing according to the fall gill net surveys from the TPWD.

I hope everyone had a great holiday season this past year. I look forward to seeing you at The Houston Boat Show.

Top 5 Winter Billfish Destinations

Spend your winter at one of the five hottest fishing grounds this side of the globe.

tropic star lodge Top 5 Winter Billfish Destinations

PANAMA

The Tropic Star Lodge in Piñas Bay has been producing world-class inshore and offshore fishing since 1963. Nestled 150 miles southeast of Panama City, this remote destination offers access to the abundant fishing grounds of the Pacific and splendor of the pristine Darien Jungle.

Expect hot action on some of the most sought-after pelagic fish during January and February. Black and blue marlin fishing will be excellent, as are the prospects for hooking into large pacific sailfish, big cow yellowfin tuna and bull dorado.

Despite its far-removed location, the Tropic Star Lodge has accommodations and amenities to please the most persnickety of travelers.

Visit TropicStar.com for more information.

SergioPucci Top 5 Winter Billfish Destinations

Photo by Sergio Pucci

COSTA RICA

The Los Sueños Resort and Marina is a 1,100-acre master planned destination resort, offering all the services and amenities of a small city. Calm waters and short distances to one of the healthiest billfisheries in the world make it a highly popular sportfishing destination. The main attraction during winter is unrivaled action on big pacific sailfish, but yellowfin tuna and dorado make appearances as well. Visit lossuenos.com for info on charters and lodging.

GUATEMALA

Sailfish Oasis in Guatemala, “The Sailfish Capital of the World,” is home to one of the largest breeding grounds for Pacific sailfish. Guatemala holds both the conventional and fly fishing records for most sailfish released in one day. The Sailfish Oasis lodge is situated in a secure, tree-lined, residential development, on the edge of a canal that overlooks the mangroves. Their fleet of sportfishing yachts can accommodate the needs of every angler. Visit SailFishOasis.com for more information.

Famous arch in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

MEXICO

Cabo San Lucas is host to a strong striped marlin bite during the winter months. The action on these acrobatic fighters continues through spring and into early summer. This popular Baja destination has no shortage of accommodations and fishing charters. We recommend RedRum Sportfishing (redrumcabo.com) and Chupacabra Sportfishing (chupacabrasportfishing.com)

Fort Lauderdale, Florida is a winter sailfish hot spot.

FLORIDA

South Florida’s peak Atlantic sailfish season begins in January and sets off a flurry of fishing activity in Fort Lauderdale, the Florida Keys and as far north as Fort Pierce. The prospect of a multi-fish day is good, as large schools of these spirited fish move up and down the coast all winter long. Trolled lures are effective but live bait fished under a kite is the most popular method.