With the new year just getting underway, let’s address a topic that is one of the most debatable among anglers and that is when is the best time to go fishing and when is the worst.We also will address the best and worst seasons for fishing, again a very debatable subject.All of this centers around fishing the Galveston Bay Complex.
A number of years ago when the Houston Fishing Show was held in the old Albert Thomas Convention Center in downtown Houston a survey was taken of participants asking what they thought were the best and worst times to fish.
The answers were published in the Houston Post Newspaper which later became part of the Houston Chronicle.
According to the crowds visiting the show the best times are:
When you can; when the fish are biting; when you mow your grass the most often; during the Full Moon; during the New Moon; when it is overcast; when the wind is from the southeast; when winds are calm to light; summer and or fall.
The answers for the worst times were:
When the fish are not biting; when you take your vacation; during the winter months; during March; When it is stormy, windy, cold and when the tides are unusually low or high.
When reviewing the results of the survey I agreed with most of the responses for both the best and worst times.
Now, let’s take a look at what my experiences have shown as the best and worst times of year for fishing by evaluating each season.
Fishing often is good during the winter, especially the early part.While a number of species of fish have migrated away, trout, reds and a variety of pan fish are around.Winter presents two problems, one is the number of cold fronts that empty the bays and bring cold temperatures.This results in a disruption of the location of fish and their feeding patterns.
The other problem is with anglers who just do not like to be uncomfortable while fishing.Cold temperatures definitely present such problems.
Besides trout and reds, sheepshead, whiting and sand trout are good bets for action and tablefare.Toward the end of winter, the black drum run begins to take place.
In my opinion this is the worst of the seasons for fishing, especially around spring break each March.The culprit here is wind and constantly changing temperatures brought on by the continuous frontal systems.The three windiest months of the year occur during the spring and in order of magnitude they are April, March and May.The highlight of spring fishing is usually the black drum run when huge fish are caught all around the island, especially along the jetties and Texas City Dike.Some of the black drum are well over 50 pounds.
Summer is the beginning of more constant fishing and runs a close second to autumn as the choice of anglers for the best time to fish. Since offshore fishing is one of my choices, summer is my favorite time to fish, especially from mid-July to Labor Day.Just about all of the species of fish that are found around Galveston are present during the summer.
Fall is the choice of inshore anglers as fishing tends to peak in October and November and conditions are very pleasant to be outdoors.The annual croaker and flounder migrations of November add to the reasons for anglers choosing fall as the best time to fish.
In closing, I must go back to the very first reason given in the survey as the best time to go fishing and that is “when you can.” Have a great fishing year in 2020!
FlatsWorthy’s Chuck Naiser holds up Steve Soule’s redfish caught on the fly.
Working together to promote respect for anglers and resources alike
By Steve Soule
I recently had the opportunity to meet with the founder and president of a very unique and growing Texas organization, whose primary goal is to educate and disseminate information about sharing our coastal waters and resources. If you read my article two issues back, you know that this is something that I feel very strongly about. Chuck Naiser, who guides shallow water anglers in the Rockport area, has been actively guiding since 1993 and fishing the mid coast since 1967. He is definitely a man who has seen coastal change and is passionate about the preservation and enjoyment of our bays, marshes and shallow flats.
Chuck and I made an instant connection while discussing coastal change and it was truly fascinating to hear how much our observations and thoughts mirrored each other, even though we fish waters so far apart. It was immediately evident, even though we had never really gotten to speak one-on-one before, that we had seen very similar changes within each of our diverse and separate ecosystems. These changes were, and are related to the coastal habitat, as well as the people who utilize them.
Diverse Anglers, Mutual Respect
I’ve given a lot of thought to this over the course of many years, watching disturbing activity from boaters increase in the Upper Coast bays and shallows where I have spent the past 25-plus years of my life fishing. The phrase that Chuck and FlatsWorthy chose to use as a descriptor for the organization is “Diverse Anglers, Mutual Respect.” This couldn’t be more succinct and yet so encompassing. These bays and other inland waters belong to us all equally! There is no user group that has more right or entitlement to usage. We are all equal here and anyone with the ability to access coastal waters is perfectly within their rights to do so.
We have coastal enforcement agencies in place who already have an existing set of laws that we are all expected to follow. Texas Parks and Wildlife, along with Texas Game Wardens, are empowered to enforce these laws. Like any other policing entity, they are overburdened and understaffed. One of the most important distinguishing factors about the FlatsWorthy organization is its goal is to establish a set of guidelines, with regard to boating and fishing etiquette, established by users at all levels and styles. The organization seeks a broad and diverse input to help establish these suggested practices, and has chosen to attempt to work to spread information that will help make every day more pleasant for all users of coastal resources.
Its about educating, not legally mandating! If we can establish and maintain a unified, diverse group of people who actively promote and enjoy inshore waters, and work together to promote a level of consideration, etiquette and respect, we can negate the need for Governmental involvement.Therein lies one of the primary goals and core values; “self governing and cooperation, rather than regulatory enforcement” will allow all users to continue to enjoy the resources in diverse ways.
To date, the FlatsWorthy group has held many meetings, worked with biologists, broad and varied boating, fishing, kayaking and other groups to work to develop a understanding of the concerns each user group has. From this, it becomes clearer the level of respect and courtesy that is needed to help ensure that we can all enjoy coastal habitat and resources without infringing on others who are trying to enjoy them as well.
We have all seen, experienced, and heard multiple stories about boating activities that are much less than desirable. I have personally experienced more incidents than I would ever care to recall or recount. Interestingly, I feel that there are a great number of these occurrences that are accidental and stem purely from ignorance of acceptable behavior. Sadly, there are still a large number of inconsiderate acts on the water that likely can be attributed to individuals who just don’t grasp the concept of courtesy. Many can also be attributed to ignorance on one side, followed by arrogance or anger on the other. I have had my moments on the water of wanting to retaliate against inconsiderate boating behavior, but refuse to allow myself to succumb to the urge.
From boat launch to destination, be it hunting, fishing, birding or just recreational fun, everyone on the water deserves respect and consideration. We, as users, all find pleasure on the water, and many like Chuck Naiser and myself have spent many years promoting what we love. With growing populations and interest in coastal waters, we aren’t likely to see anything short of a continued growth in those who spend time on the water. Given this fact and having an understanding of how to successfully navigate our challenges with respect to others users, we can continue to share and enjoy a healthy coastal fishery for many generations to come.
If you want to learn more about an organization working to make everyone’s time on coastal water better, take a look at www.flatsworthy.com
Among the many things you will find when you look at their website is the FlatsWorthy Code of Angler Respect (COAR). The tenants are 1) Respect Fellow Anglers 2) Respect The Resource 3) Respect The Law
If you like the sound of this organization, please take a look and see if its a good fit for you and your angling and or boating style.
Every year, people make resolutions, but rarely follow through with them. Without a plan, resolutions fail miserably. Most result in failure.
I, myself, make resolutions every New Year. Rarely, do I follow through with them. This year I plan to resolve this issue. How many of us do the same; make resolutions and not follow through with them? What I hear from a lot of folks I encounter is “I really need to use my boat and fish more this year.” If you fall into this category, January and February is the best time to resolve this resolution.
The weather this time of year is “iffy” to say the least. This makes it the right time, to get your boat and fishing gear in order. Do not hesitate getting that boat into a shop for repairs and maintenance. Before doing so, take all items out of your boat. It is amazing how much ‘stuff’ you can collect during a fishing season. Discard all that is no longer serviceable. Don’t overlook your rods, reels and tackle. Get your reels serviced, rod eyes replaced, and inventory your tackle. I would also recommend having preventive maintenance performed on the boat trailer. Being organized and ready makes that first spring fishing/boating trip enjoyable and not a chore.
If you’re new to boating and fishing, do not miss the annual Boat, Sport and Travel Show at Reliant Center, January 3-12, 2020. On display will be the latest boats, boating accessories, fishing tackle, marinas and fishing charters. I will be at the show everyday in the Eagle Point Fishing Camp/Waterman’s Harbor booth. Stop by and lets chat!
Billy, Stockard and James Bragan.
On the fishing front, catches of trout, redfish, black drum and sheepshead have been good in Galveston Bay. Timing is everything this time of year. Warming periods between fronts is the key. For those who like to pursue flounder, TPWD held scoping meetings in December about further restrictions on these fish. If any change is recommended the vote will take place in Austin, during the commissioner’s hearing in March. I suggest you monitor the web for any new proposals and public comment meeting the next couple months.
I am looking forward to this coming year both spiritually and personally. I have a “plan” in place to keep my New Year’s resolutions. As a new Christian, my walk with Christ will be number No. 1 on my list, along with my upcoming marriage later in the year. I will continue to fish, which is my passion, and God willing, introduce new anglers to fishing. Lastly, I can’t say enough about the great people that keep the magazine in print. I am very blessed to write for them. Until the next issue, ‘tight lines’ and may God Bless you this coming year.
Capt. Aubrey Black and the love of his life, Capt. Sally, combined their talents, experience and passion for the outdoors and started the fishing and hunting lodge of their dreams, Baffin Bay Rod and Gun.
By Kelly Groce
On October 3, 2019 the fishing community unexpectedly lost one of the great ones, Capt. Aubrey Black of Baffin Bay Rod and Gun. Aubrey was a kind and wonderful man whose passion was putting his clients on their personal best speckled trout.
Together, Aubrey and his wife, Capt. Sally, achieved their dream of having a first-class fishing and hunting lodge on Baffin Bay. Sally is absolutely devastated by the loss of Aubrey, but very thankful for all of the outpouring support from friends, family and the fishing community.
To keep Aubrey’s legacy alive, Capt. Sally and the entire crew at Baffin Bay Rod and Gun invite everyone to continue booking fishing and hunting trips at “The Last Best Place on the Texas Coast.”Visit them online at www.baffinbayrodandgun.com
This ceviche recipe uses lemon drop peppers, which have a citrusy and peach-like flavor that perfectly pairs with seafood. Their heat is comparable to the serrano pepper. I grow my own but you can find them at Fiesta or online. There are a couple different varieties of these yellow Peruvian Aji Limo peppers, all perfect for ceviche.
I used a fresh, surf-caught speckled trout for this ceviche recipe and it was honestly the best way I’ve ever had trout. I was surprised. But use your favorite, ultra-fresh fish when making ceviche. My all-time favorite fish is definitely wahoo.
Lemon Drop Ceviche
1 pound of your favorite, fresh fish fillets
1 whole white onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
3-4 lemon drop peppers, diced
1 large avocado
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBSP dried parsley
Pepper to taste
Soak your fillets in lime juice overnight. The next day, cut the fish into small cubes and place into a large bowl. Mince the onion and rinse with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels and add to bowl. Dice the tomatoes, avocado and peppers and add to mixture. Add cilantro, salt, parsley and fresh cracked black pepper to taste. Mix well and chill for one hour. Serve with your favorite chips, cerveza or tequila.
Marbled skies of fall color hold waves of waterfowl, and hover over some of the best bay fishing in the world. Here in Texas we are blessed to enjoy the harvest basket of winter sports. Combining fins and feathers brings days of duck hunting and fishing together. Hunting waterfowl can be a excellent and easy way to introduce youth and inexperienced hunters to the hunting sports. For seasoned hunters, the beauty and strategy of the hunt, and the game taken fulfill the wild spirit in each of us. This winter come experience hunting and fishing the right way; cast and blast Texas style!
Fall and winter prove to be some of the best fishing of the year.
CAST FOR FINS
The bays come alive with coastal gamefish as air and water temperatures drop. Deeper water and softer bottoms hold smaller creatures that help get these fish through the winter months. Shrimp, crabs, mud worms, clams and mollusks, are just some of the building blocks of the food chain. Small minnows, baitfish and sport fish follow. These gatherings, and favorable water conditions, group winter fish in areas that fishermen can enjoy some awesome catching.
Strong cold fronts may seem like a good time to stay inside and dream about boiling hot summer days on the water, but then you’ll miss some of the best fishing of the year! Whipping winds roll the bottom and bring up those hidden food sources. Redfish, trout and black drum go into a feeding frenzy with each cold front. The first day or two is usually the best; those beautiful sunny third and fourth days are usually too pretty and fishing slows. The colder the water gets, the longer it takes fish to digest their meals. This can make feeding patterns predictable but spread out. Watching the lunar feeding tables will help anglers score the right times to be on the water. Here in the Laguna Madre and Baffin Bay Area we find some of our best fishing both close and far from the dock. The flats of the Laguna Madre hold an enormous amount of bait, which migrates into the ICW Canal when it gets cold. Schools of gamefish follow, putting all those fish in one area.
We work the edges of the drop off with soft plastics for some of the most insane trout and redfish action you have ever seen! Fall bait favorites are easily the 3” DOA CAL Shad. This is the perfect imitation of a small pinfish or mud minnow. Colors should include pumpkinseed/chartreuse, purple/chartreuse, blood red and glow. The larger 5” Jerk Shad is my go-to bait for big trout in the shallows with a light 1/16 oz. DOA jighead. This combination floats and flutters like a sand eel looking for any way out of becoming a meal! The 3 and 5” DOA jerk baits also fit the bill. They imitate both a fleeing minnow as well as the sand eel profile.
The best time to hook up on the hard fighting, great tasting black drum is now! The schools of drum gather during the winter months to feed on small clams and crab. We bring in limits of these fish all winter. Live shrimp works best, as well as crab and sea lice. The absence of trash fish and pin perch during the winter months makes fishing with shrimp much easier. The rock piles of Baffin Bay and the fish funnel to the south the Land Cut, are famous for their winter fishing greatness. We anchor up on those big rock piles and use live shrimp deep under popping corks to load the box with drum, trout, and reds.
When the temperatures really drop low, we find redfish fall off of the flats by the thousands into the deeper holes. Catching big redfish every cast can be an out of body experience! Last winter we had one morning where we brought 60 redfish to hand with three anglers in about three hours! Don’t let the heater keep you out of the best fishing of the year this winter, come experience miles of grassy flats boiling with excitement.
Texas Coastlines host over 20 species of waterfowl, each very beautiful. Photo: Joseph Farah
BLAST FOR FEATHERS
Like a squadron of fighter jets, the flock of descending ducks rounded the blind and cupped in for a landing. As their feet opened for the landing, fire erupted from the line. The lead birds dropped and a few more pops dropped two more. As the ripples stretched across the sky mirrored surface, my dog leaped across the flat for the first feathered trophy of the morning.
Big game hunting is expensive and puts the stress and buildup into one shot, one trophy. Waterfowl hunting is about ACTION! Diverse species are found with each duck specialized in its own way for feeding and flying. Colors like the most beautiful skies highlight their body in a rainbow of beauty. Young hunters can grasp gun safety, responsible shooting and hunting, as well as the idea of taking a life much easier, with waterfowl versus big game hunts.
The fact that I have the best and biggest, most comfortable duck blinds makes gathering friends and family much easier. We make it easy for you to hunt hard. My clients are still high and dry in days of rain and 40 mph north winds
We usually hunt some big sets with over 250 decoys for a mixed bag and lots of action. We use smaller, more specific set ups for trophy birds and particular species. Advanced hunters are usually looking for their favorite species; this is a lot of fun hunting and setting up for that perfect trophy bird for the mount. It is sometimes hard to convince the wife to hang big deer heads on the walls. Beautiful birds go up easier in the house and office.
Ducks have some defining patterns that you must consider on the hunt. They eat, fly, rest, drink and roost. As a group, inside the region there will be some ducks doing all of these things at any given time. Ducks also trade places between the areas they do this. We hunt all day! Don’t be fooled into going in after 9 a.m! Many times you will be missing the best activity. Much like fish, the lunar feeding tables mirror their activity. They will be feeding at peak times, but traveling and landing in your decoys before and after those peak times.
Ducks always want to land with the wind in their face. Hunt where they want to be, and not were you want them to be. Birds of a feather flock together holds true. Species will land and sit with their own kind even in flocks of thousands. Motion decoys in your spread can make or break you, so don’t be set in your ways. Make changes with the actions of the birds. Calling can bring ducks in from afar, or scare them away. Soft calling is best. We don’t have a lot of loud and vocal mallards here on the coast!
This winter come experience the beauty of the Texas coast with some fins and feathers! We will be here to help you start off right and make every adventure a success. Hunt smart and safe and always be a good ambassador of the hunting community.
We can accommodate the smallest and largest groups, just like welcoming you into my home. Get out and enjoy the best hunting and fishing in the world, right here in Texas! Follow all our blasts and casts on Facebook AT JOEY FARAH’S BACKWATER FISHING or call 361-442-8145.
Cast and blast events are perfect for group entertainment! Photo: Joseph Farah
HB 4032 caps the sales and uses tax on boats at $18,750 and makes Texas competitive with other Coastal states, like Florida.
By Rick Clapp
The recent passing of the Texas Marine Industry Bill has been approved as HB 4032. It was successfully filed and signed by Texas Govenor Abbott. The passing of this marine bill will most positively impact the Clear Lake Area and Bay Area Houston Marine Region. We will now have a strong opportunity to compete with the state of Florida and other coastal states for large yachts, sailboats, and high priced center console fishing boat sales.
“The state of Texas can now return to its place among the Nation’s leaders in yacht and boating sales, and employment related to the marine industry,” said John Preston, president of the Texas Marine Industry Coalition (TMIC) and owner of the Boater’s Directory.
This bill will take effect Sept. 1, 2019 and shall effectively make the Texas marine industry competitive with other coastal states with lower tax policies for boats. The bill sets a limit on the 6.25% sales and uses tax for all taxable recreational vessels at $18,750, effectively matching the $18,000 tax that Florida enacted in 2010. The bill contains an additional provision to allow boats for use outside of Texas to temporarily remain in the state to utilize Texas marine service companies for refit and repairs.
There is also a provision to establish a fee permit system for out-of-state registered vessels if returning to or visiting Texas waters for temporary periods of time and spend money in our coastal communities. The intent and effect of each measure of the bill is to eliminate the incentives other states have been providing for large boat buyers and keep business in Texas. The bottom line is that the boat sales tax cap and additional provisions of HB 4032 will provide more boats, more boating and more business for Texas.
The bill took a tremendous amount of time, money, effort and planning, as well as an intense lobbying effort in Austin. It was heavily supported by the members of the marine industry and local communities.
“We want to thank all our members and supporters who responded to our call for action. They wrote letters and called legislators, contributed money, and made many trips to Austin. Their efforts paid off,” said Jay Dee Jackson, Treasurer of TMIC and Sales Manager for Galati Yacht Sales. “Our well-organized grass roots effort was extremely effective and we achieved the goal we sought.”
There are so many people to thank that were instrumental in passing the bill, such as Greg and Glenda Allison, John Preston, Jay Dee Jackson, Senator Larry Taylor, Representative Greg Bonnen, Genie Morrison, Dennis Paul, Ed Thompson, Todd Hunter, and Senator Louis Kolkhorst and many other rank and file members of TMIC.
Finally we all want to thank TMIC and all the local marine service people that helped pass the Texas Marine Industry Bill as it will have a major economic impact for years to come. A celebratory party is set for Nov. 9 at Lakewood Yacht Club from 6-10 p.m. For more information call 281-474-5875.
For more bill information feel free to contact the Texas Legislative committee
In the frantic rush of summer live bait fishing, many proven lessons for summer success are passed by. Those long days of our youth were filled with adventures and memories. Today it seems like a rush to get out and then get in. Slow it down and turn up the heat on your summer fishing this year! Here are a few not quite forgotten, but tried and true summer strategies to bring trout, reds, and flounder to hand!
First light is the best time to find big summer trout. Protected shorelines will be clean of floating grass, allowing anglers to dance top water plugs over skinny grass flats, shallow rocks and oysters. Big mature trout will be hunting their last meal before retreating to cover and deep water at first light.
A topwater bait imitates a wounded mullet or shad chased up against a shoreline by packs of trout during the night. Throw plugs that you can see at a distance; visual awareness is essential in timing your hookset, as well as aligning your technique with the soul of the ocean. Look for flats where there are signs of baitfish. Surface action, birds and good tidal flow are a good start. Later in the day, move towards deeper drop offs with smaller soft plastics like the 3”DOA CAL SHAD in natural color patterns, imitating pin perch for all-day action.
Summer flounder are great targets around piers and docks, this flat fatty was jigged up on a DOA 3” CAL Shad glow/pink.
Fantastic summer flounder fishing can be as close as the dock you are standing on! Flounder are mostly a strategic ambush predator. They love to position themselves along the pilings of piers and docks. This is where small shrimp and minnows gather. They will lay just down current of the posts waiting for you to jig a small soft plastic along their sight path.
Step carefully so you don’t rock the dock and to keep your presence unknown. Flounder seem to be more aggressive towards bright colors. White, chartreuse, and pink have always been a coastal favorite. An old timer once told me never use a black net, always a green one! Black nets will send flounder on a bolting run as it looks like a dolphin. They seem to swim right into a green one.
Summertime belongs to the redfish! Chasing redfish during these long summer days can be an all day event. First light finds them digging and hunting the extreme shallows for crabs, shrimp and small baitfish. Before the sun gets bright and the shadows of birds spook surface mullet, anglers will find reds up so shallow that their tails will be cutting the surface, alerting us to their location. Walking side current will allow you to sneak up on them and project a perfect cast ahead of them.
My best baits are the DOA Shrimp and soft plastics rigged with a very light 1/16 oz. jig head, both for silent and natural sounding entry. Sight casting for reds will teach many lessons in how fish react to fishermen. At times you will watch redfish bolt towards lures at first sight, but most of the time they are very spooky and dart away from loud baits hitting the water. Cast well past the fish and bring the bait into their path. Redfish usually have a two foot sight awareness in front of them. They are used to scanning for food sources jumping up in front of their faces.
As the sun rises, switch to topwater plugs and make grid pattern casts over the flats. Scattered redfish will explode on the plugs, and allow anglers to cover large areas of water. Remember, redfish have bottom facing mouths. This means they must pounce down or turn over to get the bait off of the surface. I always let them bend the rod tip before I set the hook with topwater plugs.
The best and time proven bait for summertime redfish is the gold spoon! This lure perhaps dates back to the beginning of mankind, as bone and shell tied together to bring fish to hand and mouth. The flash and vibration of the glittering spoon awakes redfish from their resting places in thick grass. It imitates both the flash of perch and mullet, but mainly persuades them it is a fleeing crab, their favorite meal. I work my spoons with a fast retrieve with hard jerks and flutters. I adjust my presentation as needed to a light fluttering and stroking of the spoon over the bottom as well. You need to be loose and try new techniques to match the aggression and moods of the reds.
Target areas void of boat traffic, with grass and sand mixed bottom. Most redfish will be found in areas containing a good variety of bird life. Each species feeds on different things; a variety of birds means a buffet of redfish food!
Skip the bait stands and get a head start on your SUMMER FISHING! These lessons passed down from anglers of our past still hold true to our hearts and stringers here along the Texas Gulf Coast. Head out with a few pockets full of these specialized baits, concentrate on fishing and leave your stress on the beach. Summertime memories seem to last forever long past our last casts.
As a writer, sometimes wesuffer from what is known as “ writer’s cramp.” Coming up with material is not as easy as one would think. I always try to pen something that keeps my readers engaged. I definitely suffered through writer’s cramp, for this July/August article. This writing will focus on events that happened in May, first “the bad and ugly” and then “the good,” as I try to remain positive!
On the afternoon of May 10, 2019 a tug, pushing two barges, and a tanker collided in the Houston Ship Channel. The incident lead to the barge spilling a estimated 9,000 barrels of a substance called reformate. This caused a total closure of the channel, along with a seafood consumption advisory for the middle and upper portions of Galveston Bay. How an accident like this can happen is anyone’s guess. The “saving grace” is that this product floats and it evaporates quickly. Once it is gone from the water, there is no long term effect on environment or marine life. Couple this with the ITC fire earlier this spring and it has been eventful for the upper portion of Galveston Bay.
Eagle Point VIP Robert Drew
Then if all this was not enough, Galveston Bay received a large dumping of fresh water from Lake Conroe and Lake Livingston. Then to top it off, we had sustained winds from the E-SE gusting at times to 25 knots for over two weeks. This of course did not allow the bay system to “flush” the water out through the Galveston jetties. The salinity levels dropped to below 5 parts per thousand in many areas, except in far East Bay, Lower Galveston Bay, the Jetties and West Bay. Now enough of “the bad and ugly,” and onto the “good!”
The “good” to all this is that the bay is slowly but finally clearing up! Fishing has and will continue to be good in those areas not effected by the runoff. The big question is when will fish return to their normal pattern in Galveston Bay? Fish naturally return to the same areas year in and year out. Every incoming tide from now on will push the fish into their “normal areas” for July and August. These areas include the shell reefs of the channel, adjacent gas wells and some areas of Trinity Bay. These fish will even push farther North towards the middle of August, barring any kind of major weather system. Other “good” news is the bait situation at Eagle Point Fishing Camp is getting better. By July their live bait supply should be great, with both shrimp and croaker. Also if your in the mood for some fresh table shrimp, fresh off the boat, give them a call. They can be reached at 281 339-1131 for fishing updates, bait supply and table shrimp.
Sales tax for recreational boats in Texas has been capped to $18,750.
TMIC Legislative effort backed by grassroots support proves successful
In a major victory for Texas’ struggling marine industry, a long sought measure limiting the sales-use tax on boat purchases and providing for out of state vessels to utilize Texas waters, marinas and service companies is now poised to become law. After final passage in Texas House and Senate, and final filing by the Governor on June 14, 2019, HB 4032 will take effect on Sept. 1, effectively bringing Texas marine industry competitive balance with other coastal states that have had far lower boat tax policies.
The Texas Marine Industry Coalition (TMIC) was established barely one year ago to bring the Texas marine industry together and provide a strong platform and voice to promote and protect the interest of the industry and Texas’ boating communities. TMIC built a strong and effective coalition of members from the entire Texas coast and many inland boating communities. The group set the Texas Marine Jobs bill as its No. 1 legislative priority and spearheaded the efforts to pass this vitally important legislation.
“Thanks to a strong lobbying effort in Austin and incredible support from members of the marine industry and our communities, the Texas Marine Industry Jobs Bill is about to become law. The goal of TMIC and the result of this bill is to stem the flow of larger vessels, tax revenue, jobs and economic activity now going to Florida and other states due to those states proactive tax policies. The state of Texas can now return to its place among the nation’s leaders in boat sales and employment related to the marine industry,” said John Preston, President of TMIC and owner of The Boater’s Directory.
The Texas Marine Industry Jobs Bill sets a limit on the 6.25% sales and use tax for all taxable recreational vessels at $18,750, effectively matching the $18,000 tax cap that Florida enacted in 2010. It contains an additional provision to allow boats purchased for use outside of Texas to temporarily remain in the state to utilize Texas marine service companies for refit and repairs. Also included in the bill is a provision to establish a fee permit system for out-of-state registered vessels to return to or visit Texas waters for temporary periods of time and spend money in our communities to support the marine service industry. The intent and effect of each measure of the bill is to eliminate the incentives other states have been providing large boat buyers to purchase and/or take their boats and their business out of Texas. The boat sales tax cap and the additional provisions of HB 4032 will provide more boats, more boating and more business for Texas.
“We want to especially thank Senator Larry Taylor and Representative Ryan Guillen for their strong leadership as the primary bill authors. Thanks also to Representatives Greg Bonnen, Genie Morrison, Dennis Paul and Ed Thompson all of whom signed on as co-authors in the House. Representative Todd Hunter and Senator Lois Kolkhorst recognized the benefits of this legislation to their districts that are still recovering from Hurricane Harvey and provided tremendous advocacy for the Texas Marine Industry support to help achieve final passage of the bill,” said Randy Bright, TMIC Vice-President and broker with Galati Yacht Sales. He added “A special thanks to Joey Park and Billy Phenix for their hard work and effective professional representation in Austin. Getting this bill passed was no easy task and we are grateful that our legislators and the Governor were able to recognize the positive economic impact and the importance of it to the hard working men and women in the marine industry.
“The service sector of the Texas marine industry really needs this legislation”, said John Bowen, TMIC Vice President and owner of Elite Diesel Service. He added “The boats affected by this bill spend a great deal of money everywhere they go. We see the effects of this in our business as the Texas fleet has been shrinking thru attrition with replacement boats calling other states home. I’m excited that we can begin to return this business to Texas”
“We want to thank all our members and supporters who responded to our calls for action. They wrote letters and called legislators, gave money and made trips to Austin. Their efforts paid off for sure and proved that an organized grass roots effort is effective and can achieve great results,” said Jay Dee Jackson, Treasurer of TMIC and Texas Sales Manager for Galati Yacht Sales. He added, “We got such great support from so many people and organizations and we needed every bit of it. Thanks to that great collective effort, the Texas Marine Industry faces a brighter future today.”
For additional information or comments please contact any of the following members of the TMIC Legislative Committee: * John Preston 832/788-2860 * Randy Bright 713/816-2165 * John Bowen 832/226-2881 * Jay Dee Jackson 941/720-5081 *Email – firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the TMIC website; www.tmicoalition.org
The Texas Marine Industry Association (TMIC) was formed by a group marine industry professionals to bring together Texas marine businesses, their employees, vendors and customers to create a strong platform and voice to promote and protect the interests of the Texas Marine Industry. TMIC’s Mission: To build a strong, organized and effective association of Texas marine industry businesses, employees, vendors and their customers for the purpose of providing strong advocacy to protect, promote and support the recreational marine industry in Texas. To be a strong voice of representation at the federal, state and local level on issues of importance to our members and our industry. To provide value to our members as a source of information and communication on issue and events important to their businesses and our industry.
As a child, I never worried about problems associated with the sun and it’s rays. I grew up around water all my life, from swimming in our backyard pool during my early years, to spending my weekends fishing Matagorda at the family cabin. Then I got my first set of “wheels” and it was off to the beach every chance we got, as long as the sun was shining. After college, I worked a nine year stint with the YMCA. Outdoor activities were a big part of the job. Over the last 30 years I have owned and operated a fishing charter service.
Once May came around, I can remember watching television and seeing those ads for Coppertone Sun Tanning Lotion. These ads would continue all the way through Summer. I was one of those that didn’t need much help achieving that dark tan. During these three decades, the 60s, 70s, and 80s, not many of these commercials advertised the use of a sun blocking product, only tanning lotions and oils. The harmful effects of the sun’s rays were very seldom or at all mentioned.
Last August my bottom lip developed severe blisters. I fished four days in a row, in the Gulf, prior to the breakout. I went to one of those urgent care clinics and the doctor attributed the blisters to severe sunburn of the lip. This had never happened to me before but I did not question the diagnosis. After a couple weeks of medicine, blisters went away but my lip was still tender. This past March, the problem started again. This time, under the advice of a friend, I went to UTMB Dermatology. They gave me some medicine to help heal the blisters, but also ordered a biopsy of my bottom lip. After the results, I am now on a topical chemotherapy treatment, which I began in early April. All of this was caused by damage from the sun.
During the past 25 years, much more knowledge has come to light about the harmful effects from over exposure to the sun. These days, the use of sunscreen and sun protective clothing is advertised across all media platforms. I seldom used any protection at all from the sun. I can now honestly say, “take precautions from the sun!”
Trout Fishing Starts
I always called May and June the official start of “trout fishing” in Galveston Bay. For myself and some others, the “season” never stops. But starting in May, one will notice a increase in boats on the weekends and by June, people will be out seeking trout in earnest. Everything seems to fall in place for some great fishing. Lower and Middle Galveston Bay, East Bay and even Trinity Bay should all produce nice catches of trout. The closure of the boat ramps under the Clear Lake Bridge will impact lots of boaters. Eagle Point Fishing Camp is a great alternative. They boast a three lane ramp, with ample dockage, secure parking, live bait, tackle, snacks, drinks, ice and clean restrooms to accommodate your angling or boating needs for the day. They can be reached at (281) 339-1131 for updates on conditions and bait supply.
Remember to be courteous on the water and protect yourself from over exposure of the sun. See ya on the bay!!
Nick Cantu with an impressive Lower Laguna Madre speckled trout caught with Capt. Alvarez.
There really is no better time of the year for me than right now. Baseball season has begun, summer is looming on the horizon and fishing in the Lower Laguna Madre near South Padre Island is just about as good as it gets. Throw in the fact that you can once again fish in comfortable clothing, and there really isn’t a whole lot to complain about. That is unless you don’t like a little bit of extra wind.
May and June in South Texas also means strong winds, which can sometimes blow in the 35-40 mph range. Increasing temperatures combined with hard winds on the shallow flats of the LLM often brings good fishing. When water is blown out and potholes or grass beds are nearly impossible to see, long casts with 10 lb or 12 lb FINS Windtamer Braid will get your lures out further from the boat.
This gives an angler a better opportunity to hook up when blind casting. Maintaining a good distance from fish is critical to keep from spooking them and windy days typical of this time of year will help increase that distance. In these types of conditions, one of the easiest and most effective methods for locating fish is to use a soft plastic lure worked under a popping cork.
One of my favorite techniques is to tie on a 3” D.O.A. Shrimp (Glow/Holographic Flake Belly or Nite Glow/Chartreuse) with a 1/8 to 1/16 ounce jighead fished under an oval-shaped cork. This method (which works best in 3-5 feet of murky to off colored water) has been producing great numbers of keeper sized speckled trout for my clients. Under windy conditions, popping corks make a little extra commotion for your lure and help get it noticed. With the brightest cork that you can find, give several quick jerks of the rod tip to pop the floater and let it sit still. Repeat. Vary the length of time you allow the cork to rest in the water. A fish will eat your lure when the cork is still and upright and your bait is suspended in the water column.
On many of my recent charters, my clients have been hooking up to solid 18 – 26 inch trout using a D.O.A. Shrimp tied to 24 inches of fluorocarbon leader line under a cork. Many of the trout that have been caught have been spitting up shrimp which we have perfectly matched with our lures.
The 2019 Shallow Sport Boat Owners Tournament on South Padre Island is just around the corner and this year’s tournament has some exciting new rule changes. In an effort to promote conservation, Shallow Sport has decided to change the format of this year’s tournament from an individual to a team competition. This is one of the largest boat owner tournaments in the state (263 boats registered last year) and this awesome measure will dramatically decrease the number of fish killed during the tourney and will keep our bays healthy and stocked for future generations of anglers to enjoy.
That’s a paddlin’! Tales and observations from a floating piece of plastic
By Brandon Rowan
“Yup that’s the spot.” In the back of the marsh, far removed from the beaten path and at least several miles away from the launch. Yup, that’s the one.”
I don’t know about you, but that train of thought has definitely danced across my mind while scanning Google Earth for that new honey hole. I mean, the extra effort and difficulty will reap equal rewards right? That sometimes rings very true but is not always the case.
I made it a point to get out, paddle and explore new areas this year. Numerous trips in, I started noticing a trend: a surprising amount of good catches came from spots I typically passed during the journey to the “honey hole.”
Sometimes it was a shad flip, a hovering bird, or even a last ditch effort that put me on a location but you can’t argue with results of trout, redfish and flounder. Believe me, I won’t discount these ‘easy’ spots in the future.
HEAD ON A SWIVEL
Even subtle signs, like a single shad or mullet flip, can expose feeding fish underneath an otherwise calm water surface. Hell, what’s one more extra cast? Plus, it’s a pretty triumphant moment when the thump of a good fish confirms your suspicions.
Birds can be your guide in the marsh too. Hovering terns and gulls are a dead give away to activity but don’t discount shore walkers, like the Spoonbill. Their lives depend on their ability to find bait. Where there’s bait, there are predators.
I caught a lot of fish in late winter and early spring on these super model Down South Lures. Special colors, like this plum/chartreuse mullet eye and Purple Reign sans chartreuse tail, can only be found at special events like the Houston Boat Show and Fishing Show. Contact DSL owner Michael Bosse at 210.865.8999 for information on availability.
Subsurface twitch baits like this Rapala Twitchin’ Mullet are just plain fun to fish and productive, too. I caught my biggest trout of the year, 27 inches, on this olive green 06 model.
MEAT’S ALWAYS ON THE MENU
Knowledge of your area and the available forage through each season is crucial. Late winter and early spring was a great time to throw mullet imitations and I leaned on topwaters and big plastics like the Down South Lures super model.
But the days lengthened, the trees began to bloom and it wasn’t long before the bay was flush with freshly hatched bait species. Predators don’t overthink fishing locations and easy spots. They are opportunistic feeders and love easy meals. Later in spring, I starting throwing small baitfish imitations, like the smaller sized Rapala Twitchin’ Mullet.
One foggy April afternoon I was rewarded with a beautiful 27” speckled trout. I found her intercepting small shad forced back into the cove by a hard wind driven current. After a spirited fight, measurement and quick picture, I set her free and watched her swim away strong.
Egret Baits’ 2” Vudu Shrimp under an oval cork is a favorite in the marsh when fish are keyed in on itty bitty shrimp. I like pearl/chart or glow.
Looking ahead to May and June, shrimp imitations will be a good bet. The surf is going to start looking real flat and I’ll be ditching the kayak for west end beach wading or seawall rock hopping. I love catching trout on topwater, but by far some of my most productive days have come from rigging a clear/gold D.O.A. Shrimp under a popping cork.
Glassy surf and its fishy possibilities are the stuff of dreams. But the stout early summer winds of the upper coast are often our reality. If that’s the case, you’ll find me in my favorite stretch of marsh chasing redfish. They eat small in my spot and rarely turn down a 2” Vudu Shrimp under a short leader and oval cork.
It’s about to get hot my friends so take care to keep yourself hydrated and safe. I hope to see you all out there!
Though darker meats of the Gulf like Amberjack and Kingfish are not the most sought table fare, it’s hard for me to release a nice Amberjack knowing what a crowd pleaser these bruisers can be! It’s taken me a few tries to get this dip the way I like it and I hope you all enjoy it as well!
1lb – Amberjack fillets
1 Tbs Brown Sugar
Dash of Old Bay
Smoke at 200° for 2 hrs on your Traeger Grill.
After removing from the smoker, using gloves, break the fish down into a bowl of flaky meat.
Add the following ingredients one at a time and blend until consistency reaches a nice heavy spread.
1 Tsp Minced Garlic
3 Stalks of Celery Chopped
1 Chopped Jalapeño
1/2 Chopped Red Onion
1/2 Cup of real Mayonnaise (I use Duke’s)
1 package of Cream Cheese
1 handful of Chopped Cilantro
1 Tsp of Saté Chili (this will give it a little heat and nice color)
Tip: Using a stand mixer will make this much easier.
Refrigerate and serve chilled with your favorite chips or crackers.
SOAK UP THE SUN: Ample cockpit seating and a hydraulic swim platform makes summer days on the water a breeze.
The state-of-the-art Cruisers Yachts 50 Cantius perfectly blends luxury and function for unrivaled comfort
By Alyssa Jackson
Set sail on this 2018 50’ Cruisers Cantius that is perfect for extended-stay voyages, as well as quick day or weekend trips on the water. This one of a kind cruiser, handcrafted in the USA, is equipped with three staterooms and two heads, and plenty of space for endless entertaining. It also features easy joystick docking to ease the minds of it’s captains. With numerous lounging options, this yacht offers an abundance of comfort for your days on the water.
The master stateroom is full beam with an ensuite. It includes a luxurious and comfortable lounger and plenty of storage to bring along all of your trip’s necessities. The VIP stateroom encompasses panoramic windows for a beautiful waterfront view. The third stateroom features dual bunks for the opportunity to bring along even more family and friends. The accommodations on this vessel are abundant!
The salon’s unique open-floor concept and aft galley allows for infinite entertaining. The retractable windows create an oasis on the water by offering 360-degree ocean views. Plush seating surrounds the space to allow for plenty of relaxation and conversation. The creatively constructed galley with a retractable aft window offers an exceptional atmosphere of functionality and opens the space to create inclusivity for all onboard.
ROOM WITH A VIEW: The roomy salon and adjacent galley have everything you need to entertain family and guests.
TAKE A SEAT: The helm boasts innovative joystick and digital throttle features.
Cruise with ease with the innovative joystick controlling feature and digital throttles. Ample seating is incorporated in the cockpit for many guests, as well as a lavish bow lounge to escape reality and soak up the sun and beautiful views surrounding you. The list of amenities continues with a compact, yet efficient grill that sits within the transom, hydraulic swim-platform with convenient stairway, as well as a state-of-the-art audio system and descending blinds that transform the master stateroom into a media sanctuary. The gorgeous slate gray hull is truly picturesque as it gracefully glides along the water.
Not just known for her looks the 50 Cruisers is an efficient seaworthy vessel that will make your time on the water enjoyable while you travel to your desired destination. Cruisers Yachts reports that with the Volvo IPS 600 (435HP) at wide open throttle they reached a top speed of 32.93 knots (37.90 mph) at 2950 rpm. Best cruise came at 2500 rpm where the boat went 25.46 knots (29.30 mph), burned 42 gph for .70 statute miles per gallon, and had a calculated range of 282 statute miles at that speed.
This 50’ Cruisers Cantius is truly one of a kind. It is extremely spacious for its size and complete with many opulent amenities, bounteous accommodations and storage, and a perfect blend of comfort and extravagance for your memorable getaways. Come by Galati Yacht Sales in Galveston, Texas to take a look at the incredible Cantius.
STRETCH YOUR LEGS: Retreat to the full beam master statesroom and rest in spacious comfort after a long day of cruising.
The green sea turtle, pictured here, is one of three species that nest on Texas beaches. Kemp Ridley’s and Loggerhead sea turtles also nest here.
Keep an eye out for sea turtles on Texas beaches over the next several months. Sea turtle nesting season runs from April to September and you can play a vital role in protecting the populations of these turtles.
If you see a nesting turtle, please call 1-866-TURTLE5 (1-866-887-8535)and report the location. Please keep your distance and do not disturb the turtle during its nesting activities. If possible, remain at the site until a biologist arrives.
With the public’s help, we can increase populations of critically endangered species like the Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle.
Think personal watercraft crossed with a wakeboard, a skate board, add a hint of dirt-slinging, engine-buzzing motorbike, and then multiply it.
Jordan Davlin is bringing the exciting new water sport JetSurfing to Texas.
The man behind one of America’s newest water sports in the US is the dynamic Jordan Davlin, a native from Clear Lake City, Texas. He is an army veteran who served our country overseas, including Iraq. Afterwards he attended the University of Texas at San Antonio to study Business Management with small business concentration. Davlin is an entrepreneur at heart and has realized his dream with JetSurf Houston. He owned and managed 3 promotional and marketing companies in San Antonio before coming back home to Clear Lake in 2016 to support his family’s business. Davlin discovered JetSurf a year later and got involved after investigating the prospect of a unique and exciting new water sport product. He researched the Czech company MSR engines who designed and built the two stroke engine and state of the art technology driven by precision jet propulsion. JetSurf motorized surfboards sales and events are increasing all over the world, especially in Europe and Asia. It is just beginning to increase in demand and grow rapidly in America. These awesome motorized surfboards are quickly becoming one of the world’s most popular and fun water sports products.
Davlin represents JetSurf in the Greater Houston Area, which includes Seabrook, Lake Conroe, Galveston Island, and also South Texas, including South Padre Island. Moreover, Houston is the third largest boating, yachting, and sailing community in the country. Jet surfing is a versatile sport for all types, whether you enjoy a leisure ride, a day of exploring the water, big wave surfing, jumps and tricks, or progressing in the sport of competing in motosurf races. JetSurf Houston Academy allows easy access for anyone to rent a JetSurf board and enjoy the adventurous waterfront lifestyle. Many yachtsmen, sailors and boaters use a JetSurf in lieu of a dingy or raft. It is also a great boat accessory because of its mobility and portability. It travels well and is easily transported by car, boat, or airplane. A JetSurf board weighs less than 40 pounds, is under 6 feet in length, and travels at speeds up to 40 miles per hour.
JetSurfing is an absolute blast!
JetSurf Houston opens their doors on April 11 with a ribbon cutting ceremony and the festivities continue throughout the weekend. Their exciting, energy packed Grand Opening and race will be held on April 11-14 at Endeavor Marina storefront location. JetSurf Houston will be hosting the first motosurf race in Texas on April 13-14. Enjoy a day of electrifying, fun-filled water sport festivities, good food, cold drinks, and live entertainment. Demonstrations, practice races, qualifications, and heats begin sharply at 10am.
The certified trainers at JetSurf Houston Academy enjoy teaching people about the newest water sport, which is rapidly growing globally. The Academy offers JetSurf boards on a lesson basis. You will receive personal instruction as well as helpful tips and coaching from highly skilled and trained personnel. JetSurf boards can become easy to ride with proper training from JetSurf instructors, so whether you are a novice water sport enthusiast, just simply enjoy a leisurely ride, or want to learn how to race, you will love the experience of riding a JetSurf board. JetSurf motorized surfboards are the newest technology in water sports that have the most vibrant, eye-catching style.
JetSurfing and leisure boating go hand-in-hand.
You can easily purchase a JetSurf board at the JetSurf Houston showroom located at Endeavor Marina on Clear Lake. Bay Area Houston and Gulf Coast Mariner are proud sponsors of JetSurf Houston. For more information call 281-JET-SURF(538-7873), email Jordan Davlin at email@example.com, follow JetSurf Houston on Facebook and Instagram, or visit Jetsurfhouston.com. JetSurf Houston Academy is located at Endeavour Marina at 3101 E. Nasa Pkwy, Suite H, Seabrook TX 77586, as well as Waterpoint Marina in Lake Conroe, and Offatts Bayou in Galveston.
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.
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.
The longer days in spring trigger spawning activity for many species of fish.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 lastfive 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.
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.
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.
Stealth is paramount when chasing spooky redfish.
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!
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.
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.
“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
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 neededfor the upcoming season.
Utilizing time during March and April to prepare for the summer fishing season is time well spent.