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January/February 2020 | GulfCoastMariner.com

Family, friends, and most importantly, fun on Chris Heule’s tournament winning 74’ Viking

















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[Letter from Gulf Coast Mariner]

Admiral (President) Rick Clapp Rear Admiral (Editor) Mary Alys Cherry Captain (Creative Director/Partner) Brandon Rowan Commodore (Graphic Designer/Partner) Kelly Groce Sales Crew (Advertising Executives) Jason Allcorn Judy Gaines Karen Laroux



t might be true for old dogs, but it’s never too late for us to learn something new as anglers, boaters, parents, humans - whatever label you may wear. 2020 is here. I’m not really a ‘resolution’ kind-of-guy, but if you are, give this one a shot: Learn one new thing about something you love every day, week, or month. Your pick. Fall down the right rabbit hole and you might drastically improve a skill or find one that you had no clue you were interested in. Recently, and with the help of some very experienced friends, I’ve picked up fly fishing. It’s exciting, humbling and something I’ve come to enjoy. I also gotten myself into wood burning and I’m having a blast seeing redfish, marlin and all of my favorites come to life on wood. It combines my passions of fishing, art and woodworking all in one activity.


Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine

January/February 2020

Speaking of learning, I hope you pick up a thing or two from this issue. Learn to cook with our seafood recipes. Learn about great new products and lures in our “Gear” section, and proven products for your boat from Lucas Oil. Steve Soule’s article will help you learn redfish patterns during winter and his article on FlatsWorthy provides education on boating etiquette and respect. Learn about new destinations from Kelly Groce’s story on South Carolina’s Low Country. We’ve got too much good stuff in this issue to list it all here. Please read and enjoy! We hope this will be your best year yet.

Amber Sample Alisa Star Robyn Weigelt Editorial Capt. David Dillman Kelly Groce Capt. Joe Kent Brandon Rowan Steve Soule Capt. Brian Spencer Photography Mary Alys Cherry Capt. David Dillman Kelly Groce Cindy Nguyen Brandon Rowan Steve Soule David Teran Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine P.O. Box 1032 Seabrook, TX 77586

For information on advertising: Phone: 281.474.5875 art@baygroupmedia.com www.GulfCoastMariner.com

F O L LO W U S Brandon Rowan Partner/Creative Director

Photo: Brandon Rowan

| January/February 2020 11|Tie One On: Capt. Brian Barrera

26|Texas Bulls Under Birds

We ask captains, guides and those in the industry what they’re throwing and what they’re drinking after a long day of fishing.

Fighting huge schools of bull redfish under the birds with Capt. David Dillman. By Brandon Rowan


28|The Low Country

YOUR fishing and coastal life photos! Send your photos to art@baygroupmedia.com

Fishing South Carolina’s gorgeous Low Country for redfish and trout with D.O.A. Lures. By Brandon Rowan

14|Gear The latest gear from Columbia, Power-Pole, Shimano, Huk and more.

16|Lucas Oil Marine Products Lubrication and protection for extreme marine environments. Treat your boat right this winter.

30|Walking in a Winter Wonderland Tracking down cold weather redfish. By Capt. Steve Soule

32|The Best and Worst Times for Fishing

Contents Letter from GCM _____________________p. 8 Baked Creamy Lemon Redfish _____________________p. 10

Planning ahead for Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. By Capt. Joe Kent

Saltwater Soul Shore Patrol _____________________p. 10

LYC Ladies Association and youth sailing.

33|Resolutions and a New Year

_____________________p. 10 KDEN Lures

18|JH Performance Boats

Get your year in order for boating, fishing and life. By Capt. David Dillman

Name That Fish _____________________p. 11

17|Lakewood Yacht Club News

There is no such thing as fast enough. High quality, built to last shallow water boats manufactured by Richmond family. By Kelly Groce

20|Draggin’ Up Family, friends, and most importantly, fun on Chris Heule’s tournament winning 74’ Viking. By Brandon Rowan

24|FlatsWorthy Working together to promote respect for anglers and resources alike. By Capt. Steve Soule

34|The Shimano Experience Since 1921, anglers have relied on Shimano for top of the line fishing products. By Kelly Groce

ON THE COVER Draggin’ Up, Chris Heule’s 74’ Viking cruises offshore near a drilling platform.

_____________________p. 11 Nautical Numbers D.O.A. Snapshots _____________________p. 35 Food and Wine Pairings: Salmon _____________________p. 36 Flounder Tips _____________________p. 36 KHEA Radio 2020 _____________________p. 37 Galveston Bay Tides _____________________p. 38



BAKED CREAMY LEMON REDFISH By Brandon Rowan | FRIED FISH IS DELICIOUS but it can get repetitive and dealing with used oil is a hassle. Change things up with this creamy baked fish recipe. It is seriously good and works well with most white, flaky fish like mahi, wahoo or grouper. 2 Fillets from a lower slot redfish 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream 3 TBSP Butter 1 TBSP Dijon mustard 2 TBSP Lemon juice Sea salt and cracked black pepper Onion powder Garlic powder Parsley

Preheat oven to 395 degrees. Place redfish in a baking dish and season both sides with salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder to your taste. In a small bowl, add the cream, butter, mustard and lemon juice and microwave every 20 seconds until the butter is melted. Mix the sauce together and pour over the fish. Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on thickness of fillets. Twist a fork into the fish to check doneness. It will flake easily once cooked. Sprinkle parsley flakes over the fish and serve. Pairs well with rice and a steamed vegetable like asparagus or broccolini.

SaltWater Soul Shore Patrol Billy Wagner of Saltwater Soul Apparel has started a new movement to help keep our shorelines clean, Saltwater Soul Shore Patrol. Fed up of seeing litter around the Galveston area, Billy started picking up trash by himself and posting online how much trash he would collect in such a small distance and time. The amount of fishing line, hooks, plastic and trash he collects has quickly grabbed the attention of locals who see how littered some of our bay and bayou shorelines are, not just the beaches. Let’s help Billy keep our hometown waters pristine for the fishery, ourselves and future generations. Contact Billy or follow Saltwater Soul Shore Patrol on Facebook and Instagram for more information on volunteering at clean-up events and to keep up with the latest news. Instagram: @saltwatersoulshorepatrol • Facebook: @SWS4L

KDEN Lures Blazin’ Shad

KDEN Lures has spent countless hours developing the perfect swim bait, designed to meet the demands of any fisherman. The Blazin’ Shad paddle tail swim bait is available in 4’’ and 5’’ models with a variety of color options to meet any condition. All KDEN Lures swim baits are made in Texas using a revolutionary plastic formula that produces one of the strongest, most durable swim baits on the market. The ribbed V shaped belly design paired with a unique paddle tail creates amazing vibration and life like action while being pulled across the water.


Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine January/February 2020

KDEN Lures 5” Magnum in Blazin’ Chicken, top, and 4” Blazin’ Shad in Roach and Tupelo Honey colors.



WE ASK captains, guides and those in the industry what they’re throwing, for what species and what they’re drinking after a long day of fishing.

60 Wahoo can swim at speeds up to 60 miles per hour. Scientists first believed wahoo were closely related to billfish because they both lack gill rakers, but after more research found that they are part of the Scombridae family that includes mackerels, bonitos, and tunas.

I’m doing a lot of snook and juvenile tarpon fishing right now. With that being said, the trusty Shimano is always rigged up with a D.O.A. Lures Bait Buster, in a variety of colors worked “low and slow,” or I’m burning a D.O.A. 3” shad tail in anything with chartreuse on a 1/2 to 1 oz. jighead through the thermocline where the fish like to hang this time of year. Once back at the dock after a long day in the elements, I like to have a Kimo Sabe Mezcal Reposado on the rocks or an old fashion. And bartender... keep ‘em coming!


D.O.A. Lures Bait Buster in 309 Glow/Gold Rush Belly

Seagrass beds rank with coral reefs and rain forests as some of the most productive habitats on the planet. Texas waters are home to 5 different types of seagrass; Shoal Grass, Star Grass, Manatee Grass, Turtle Grass, and Widgeon Grass. Seagrass provides food and shelter for fish.

D.O.A. Lures 3” C.A.L. Shad Tail in 455 Texas Croaker

Name that fish B. Oarfish C. Snake Mackerel D. Lancetfish

Photo: NOAA

ANSWER: D. The Lancetfish, of the genus Alepisaurus (“scaleless lizard”), is a large predatory fish found in all of the world’s oceans, except the polar seas. These strange deep water fish are often bycatch and found from 300-6,000 feet of water. They are among the largest living bathypelagic fish forms.

A. Spiny Sailfish

1,000,000 Millions of pounds of Atlantic croaker are caught and sold every year in the U.S. and exported to other countries. Annual catches have declined due to overfishing. The “croak” sounds happens when their swim bladders vibrate. GulfCoastMariner.com


GOT GREAT PICS TO SHARE? SEND TO: art@baygroupmedia.com

Captain Tom Walsh with a nice red from Seabrook flats, assisted by his dog Buckeye!

Martha Teran with a chunky speckled trout.

Garrett Blumenshine, Simon Porter and Gary Brown all harvested these stud low fence bucks over the Christmas holiday in La Salle County.


Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine January/February 2020

(TOP) David Teran with a picture perfect redfish on a sunny day. (LEFT) Capt. Grant Hoisington and his wife Elizabeth found these saddle blanket flounder fishing in East Bay. (BOTTOM) Capt. Ruby Delgado shows off this pale redfish she caught wade fishing.




Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine January/February 2020



Not all oils are created equal Lucas Oil Marine Products offer lubrication and protection for extreme marine environments


orrest and Charlotte LUCAS

started Lucas Oil Products with the simple philosophy of producing only the best line of lubricants and additives available anywhere. Since its inception, Lucas has steadfastly adhered to this corporate objective. Through innovative product research and development, along with aggressive marketing programs, Lucas has established itself as a top selling additive line in the American truck stop industry. Lucas is also one of the fastest growing additive lines in the consumer automotive industry. A premium line of oils, greases and problem-solving additives has helped to firmly establish Lucas as a prominent figure in this marketplace. Lucas also produces a heavy-duty line of products for the industrial and agricultural markets. President Forrest Lucas sums it up; “Our forte is to make better products for industries and specialty situations that are not having their needs completely satisfied by other oil products and, believe me, the major oil companies have left a lot of weak spots. We have an excellent staff and a world of technology which we have gained through years of research. Together we have done a great deal in a short period of time and we intend to do a lot more.” Lucas has long been directly involved in the American racing industry through


Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine January/February 2020

multiple vehicle sponsorships and racing event promotions, at all levels. Seeing a need for better lubricants in this industry, the Lucas people went to work again. The end result being a line of highperformance engine oils and gear oils that are second-to-none in the racing industry. The Lucas success story has been built upon hard work, an unparalleled line of premium products and an unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction. This single formula for success will continue to guide Lucas Oil Products as it grows in the years to come.

Marine Products

Lucas Oil offers a complete line of marine products that meets or exceeds all manufacturers specifications. Lucas 4-Stroke Marine Engine Oil SAE 25W-40 is fortified with special additives that coat all moving parts to guard against rust, corrosion and moisture during long storage periods. This oil increases catalyst life in newer inboards and also has applications for 4-stroke outboard and personal watercraft. No matter the style of boat or type of engine, Lucas has got it covered. They also produces oils for 2-stroke engines and a formulation specifically for 4-stroke outboard motors. For racing or high performance tournament boats, look to Lucas Extreme Duty Marine SAE 20W-50 Engine Oil. It is designed for use in high performance situations that require the ultimate protection. It lowers oil temperatures, extends oil life and minimizes metal fatigue. This product is compatible with methanol and all racing fuels.

Treatments, Stabilizers and More

It takes more than just oil to keep your boat working at tip-top shape. Lucas Marine Fuel Treatment fights corrosion, keeps fuel lines, carburetors or fuel injectors clean and free of deposits while lubricating and protecting vital engine parts. Powerful detergents improve cleanliness in the fuel system and internal engine parts. If you’re one that puts the boat away during the winter months, look to Lucas Fuel Stabilizer to prevent gasoline breakdown during storage. It’s easy to use and safe in all grades of gasoline and in all 2 and 4 cycle engines. Fishermen will be especially interested in Lucas Fishing Reel Oil. A special blend of oil and additives penetrates into tight spaces to lubricate and provide corrosion resistance in even the harshest saltwater environment. It’s also a great product for your folding hunting or bird knife. In fact, Lucas produces a whole subset of oils, cleaners and polishes for guns and hunting rifles. Whether you’re boating or hunting this winter, Lucas Oil provides the best products to keep you enjoying the outdoors with friends and family. Palmer Power Marine Distributors carries Lucas Oil products at their Houston location, at 6451 Rupley Circle or at the Kemah location at 935 Lawrence Rd. You can call the Houston store at (713) 644-6410 and the Kemah store at (713) 244-6650, or visit them online at www.palmerpower.com Visit www.lucasoil.com for information on their full product line and other retailer locations.


LYC Youth Sailors Raced in the USODA Midwinter Championship


en Lakewood

New officers of the Lakewood Yacht Club Ladies Association get together for a photo at their annual Holiday Luncheon at the club Dec. 6. They are, from left, Immediate Past President Sherri Romer, Fleet Capt. Ann-Marie Doolin, incoming President Elaine Keith, Secretary Linda Weidmann, Parliamentarian Judith Shaw, Treasurer Linda Elting and Vice President Janelle Leistad. Photos by Mary Alys Cherry

Pat Macaluso, Dottie Legendre and Linda Weidmann, from left, prepare to drink a holiday toast on arrival at the Lakewood Ladies Association Holiday Luncheon at the yacht club.

Long-time members Rosemary Bettis, left, and Marcy Fryday visit as they await the start of the Lakewood Ladies Holiday Luncheon.

youth sailors traveled to New Orleans to participate in the annual USODA Midwinter Championship, hosted by Southern Yacht Club Nov. 28-30. A total of 68 sailors raced at this two-day event, with a wide range of different sailing conditions. While Saturday, the wind blew from the N-NE with max intensity of 8 knots, Sunday came fully stocked with S-SW winds and gusts from 12 to up to 23 knots. The weather fully cooperated, with sunny skies and no rain, and the RC did a great job finishing eight races during these two days. Lakewood sailor Stephen Momeier took the overall win and got his name engraved on the perpetual trophy. After a very consistent and wellsailed regatta, Momeier secured the win with even a race to spare, showing great determination and focus. He finished 1st in Red Fleet as well as first GYA sailor, who got his name engraved on the perpetual trophy. Two more sailors finished in the top 10, with Matias Martin missing the podium by just one point but scoring a bullet and getting 3rd in Red Fleet. Charlie Allen was the other Lakewood sailor in the top 10, finishing 8th overall. Inside the top 20, were

Dylan Tomko, Casey Small and Ewan Dossin. Dylan sailed a fantastic regatta, and fought for the White Fleet overall until the last upwind, missing the win by just two points but getting 12th overall and 2nd in White Fleet. Casey Small didn’t end up far behind, finishing 15th overall with a few ups and downs but bringing two awards back home, with her 3rd overall in White Fleet and 2nd overall in the Girls Division. Closing the top 20 was Ewan, who despite the heavy winds on Saturday, claimed 20th overall. The rest of the Lakewood sailors exhibited great perseverance and determination as nobody retired and all of them sailed until the end, displaying a vast improvement on their heavy wind skills. Patrick McNamara, being our youngest sailor, claimed the last spot in the White Fleet, and finished 5th overall to achieve his first award in a USODA Regatta. Following Patrick was Sydney Small, who, despite not sailing her best regatta, fought hard and finished 36th overall. Closing the Lakewood representation were Teddy Reiser in 39th, with his first-ever top 15 race result in a USODA Event, and Dax Marsden in the 48th overall. Complete Race Results can be found at southernyachtclub.org.




Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine January/February 2020



Draggin’ Up’s 3rd place blue marlin at the 2018 Poco Bueno Tournament.

DRAGGIN’ UP Family, friends and most importantly, fun on Chris Heule’s tournament winning 74’ Viking

By Brandon Rowan


or Chris Heule, owner of Draggin’ Up,

it’s all about being out there with family and friends. Catching fish is just the icing on the cake. Draggin’ Up has hit the ground running in the short couple years they’ve been on the tournament scene. Multiple blue marlin have hit the scales, awards have collected and tournaments have been won. That’s a whole lot of extra icing. “I bought Draggin’ Up in September of 2016. I had always wanted a sportfish,” Chris Heule said. “I have a big family, with a lot of friends, so I was looking for something that could handle the crowd of people that we run with.” Chris was born and raised in Seabrook and hasn’t strayed too far since. He now calls Friendswood home but keeps Draggin’ Up at Lakewood Yacht Club in Seabrook. “I’ve always enjoyed the water so I wanted to stay near the water,” Chris said.


Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine January/February 2020

Family First Chris and his family fell in love with the room and performance that a Viking Yachts 74, like Draggin’ Up, has to offer. “My son Sam loves to fish too, so him and the crew he brings make a big impact on the boat,” Chris said. “All of his friends hang out with us.” Chris and his son, Sam Rasberry, share a mutual passion for fishing and hunting, and get to spend a lot of time together. But it’s not a boys club out there. Chris’ wife Erika and his daughter Kennedy also love boating and fishing. Kennedy recently caught her first sailfish on a trip to Isla Mujeres “I don’t have to bargain with Erika to go out on the boat, she’s always ready to go fishing!” Chris said. AT THE HELM No ship is complete without a captain and Draggin’ Up has one of the best in the biz. Capt. Kevin Deerman has been fishing most of his life and took his first captain job in 1986. Deerman has some serious notches on his belt. As former captain of the Legacy, he was at the helm when angler Richard B. Richardson, Jr. reeled in the 972.72 lb. Texas state record blue marlin during the 2014 Bastante John Uhr Memorial Billfish Tournament. “Kevin Deerman: He is the reason we do what we do,” Chris said of his

Team Draggin’ Up captured their first 1st place finish at the 2018 Texas Billfish Classic.

captain. “He has really pole vaulted us to the marlin and bigger gamefish we are catching now. We wouldn’t be where we are now without our crew and Kevin.” Before Draggin’ Up, Chris and Kevin were strangers, but closer to each other than they knew. “We didn’t know each other but it’s crazy how many mutual friends that we had,” Kevin said. “But I can’t tell you

Some impressive fish have been weighed at tourneys, but the majority of fish caught on Draggin’ Up are tagged and released.

how grateful I am to have Chris and his family in my life. They’re great people and they enjoy doing the things that I love. If they weren’t so passionate about fishing we wouldn’t be out there doing what we’re doing.” TRICKS OF THE TRADE We all know the drill. The pineapple is a must and absolutely no bananas

Draggin’ Up owner Chris Heule, center, celebrates a win at the Texas Billfish Classic with his son Sam Rasberry, left, and Captain Kevin Deerman.



“The one story that stands head and shoulders above the rest is the 20 hour blue marlin fight during the 2018 Poco Bueno Tournament.” gods found it greedy. The guys on Draggin’ Up also insist that Chris keep his comments to a minimum. “We can’t let Chris make any comments on anything that might happen because then it will happen,” Kevin said. For example, Chris couldn’t help but talk about how good a hook-up ratio they were having during a trip. But on the next trip out, the boat only went 1 for 5. “And on another trip, Chris said to me ‘It’s amazing we haven’t seen any sharks in a long time!’” Kevin said. “So I yell down ‘One shark, coming up!’ It wasn’t more than 30 seconds later that a 500 lb. tiger shark came up chasing the teaser. Of course, it took a bait and we caught it.”

Chris Huele’s 74’ Viking, Draggin’ Up, has plenty of room for a large circle of friends and family.

on board. Every boat has their own superstitions and rituals and Draggin’ Up is no exception. Chris, Kevin and Sam lit up with excitement when asked about theirs. “Oh man, I didn’t before I met Kevin but now I have a whole slew of them,” Chris laughed. “Some of them we can talk about, some are hush hush.” And I’m good with that. Here at GCM, we’re not about giving away fishing spots or secret tournament rain dances. But Chris and company were gracious enough to let me share a few of them.


Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine January/February 2020

Dunkaroos are big on Draggin’ Up. “That’s when you take a bucket full of ice and water and you stick your head in there. When you come up you drink a beer.” Sam Rasberry said. “Every since we started doing that we seem to get a marlin bite a few minutes later so we keep it going.” The guys agree that the boat has to be jamming Post Malone and of course, no bananas are allowed on board. Kevin experimented with two pineapples for extra luck but went back to a solo fruit after that didn’t work out. Maybe the fish

Tournament Success In their first tournament season, Draggin’ Up came out swinging. In 2017, they clinched a 4th place blue marlin at Poco Bueno, Kanon Lasserre was named top junior angler at the Lone Star Shootout, and they weighed a 3rd place blue marlin at Texas Legends Billfish Tournament. Things got even better in 2018 with a 3rd place blue marlin at Poco Bueno and a 1st place win at the Texas Billfish Classic in Freeport. The boat stays busy and fishes tournaments up and down the Gulf Coast. “We really like the Mississippi Billfish Classic. We look forward to that one every year, but we have so many good ones on our coast,” Chris said. “The Houston Big Game is another one of our favorite competitions,” Kevin added. “We got top private boat the first and second year we entered.” In 2018, the boat also collected awards for Top Captain, Kevin Deerman, Top Male Angler, Sam Rasberry, and 2nd place blue marlin, Chris Heule. Draggin’ Up likes to keep the mood light and the mojo going during tournament time. Rituals and superstitions come into play and also antics, like catching fish out of an inflatable kiddie pool on the cockpit, are not out of the question. The boat’s second favorite fish to catch is Yellowfin Tuna but they never get tired of seeing the man in the blue suit.

The Bahamas are one of Team Draggin’ Up’s favorite destinations.

“When a blue marlin hits your bait, it’s completely different than anything else out there,” Kevin said. Chris agrees. “You could be having the slowest day, with everyone walking around pouting and moping, and the mojo on the boat is completely down, but when that bait goes off everyone’s attitude completely changes,” Chris said. FiSH FROM HELL The guys from Draggin’ Up have seen some truly wild occurrences in the few years the boat’s been on the water. The boat travels and Chris’ absolute favorite destination is the Bahamas. But the water is not without peril. The boat encountered a tropical wave on a trip to Isla Mujeres one year and the next year they were struck by lightning. But the one story that stands head and shoulders above the rest is the 20 hour blue marlin fight during the 2018 Poco Bueno Tournament. “We have so many memories from this boat but that one marlin trumps anything we’ve ever done. Fish don’t usually last that long,” Chris said. The crew did everything they could to stay awake during the fight and Chris never left the fighting chair. “We tried every trick in the book,” Kevin said. “We made circles on it, tried

place in the tournament with the 575.5 lb marlin.

“In loving memory of our teammate and dear friend Darrell “D” Guidry. -Chris Heule & Team Draggin’ Up

getting it to come up, or on both sides of the boat and the fish just kept switching on us. It was on the leader most of the time.” The man on the leader, Andy Hollen, literally collapsed once the fish was landed. It took 20 hours, and a fight reminiscent of The Old Man and the Sea, but the crew was able to capture third

MANY FIRSTS Chris entertains a large group of friends and family on Draggin’ Up and the boat boasts several first catches. At least 18 people have caught and released their first blue marlin on board. “When we go out and fish, we tag and release the majority of billfish,” Chris said. “It’s important to do what’s right and preserve what we do. It’s not always about killing. We are passing on the future of these fish still being able to be caught where we live.” The amount of billfish released far outnumbers those retained. Kevin can count on two hands the amount of marlin retained over the years, including time before Draggin’ Up. All in all, Team Draggin’ Up doesn’t have too much to complain about, especially with all of their accomplishments in such a short span of time. They continue to stay the course with family, friends and fun out on the water. Look for Chris Heule, Kevin Deerman, Sam Rasberry, mates Conner Golightly, Seth Brennan and the whole Draggin’ Up extended family, to continue making waves in the 2020 billfish tournament season. GulfCoastMariner.com



separate ecosystems. These changes were, and are related to the coastal habitat, as well as the people who utilize them.

Working together to promote respect for anglers and resources alike By Steve Soule


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


Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine January/February 2020

FlatsWorthy president Chuck Naiser holds up Steve Soule’s redfish caught on a recent outing.

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-onone before, that we had seen very similar changes within each of our diverse and

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.







t’s absolute madness off the bow of Capt. David Dillman’s boat. Gulls dive, shrieking and squabbling, as bronze backs break open the green tinted surface of Galveston Bay. It’s a bad day to be a shrimp. Late in November, Capt. Dillman and I had an epic, double digit day, catching redfish under the birds. You never know what might be schooling underneath any given flock, but to our delight, it was brute sized redfish all day! Heavy jigheads, in the 3/8 - 1/2 oz. range, and KWigglers soft plastics produced the best results. Several double hook ups made for a beautiful, chaotic day that we won’t soon forget. We left ‘em biting and all fish were released.

TOP: Capt. David Dillman of Spec-tacular Trout Adventures shows off one of the many big redfish caught in late November on Kwigglers soft plastics. LEFT: Gulf Coast Mariner’s Brandon Rowan caught this gorgeous bronze red on a Kwigglers 4” paddle tail.


Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine January/February 2020

The colorful broom-sized tail of a huge bull redfish.

David shows off one of our double hook-ups.

The side-to-side action of the KWigglers 4� paddle tail was too much for this bull red to ignore.




Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine January/February 2020

Walking in a winter wonderland TRACKING DOWN COLD WEATHER REDFISH

By Steve Soule ultimatedetailingllc.com


fter 51 years of

living in some of the southernmost regions of the United States, its very safe to say that I’m not the biggest fan of cold weather. I have however, many years back, learned that I truly love winter fishing. Once you can get past the initial shock of cold air and water, even the damp and cloudy days can be some of the best that we will see all year. Let’s take a look at why winter is often so good for anglers and how to capitalize on cold weather fishing.

Forage Focus

As summer exits on the upper Gulf Coast, our abundance of baitfish and other food sources begins it dwindle. At first glance, this definitely doesn’t seem like it would lend itself well to better


fishing. But if we think back to the dog days of summer, one of the most difficult parts of consistently catching fish would be locating the right areas. But when nearly every place that you would consider fishing is covered with mullet and other obvious signs, it can be confusing. I know it seems strange to think, but less abundant food supply can lead to better catches. Why, you ask? Well, when there are food sources at every location, it becomes difficult to determine which area has not only the proper food sources, but also the predatory creatures we so desperately want to capture. During the cooler months, less can often equal more when it comes to catching redfish and trout. As food sources dwindle, they also concentrate! The resident populations of mullet and other fish now occupy much more limited areas of the bays, and remaining populations

Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine January/February 2020

tend to become concentrated in areas of greatest comfort and reliable food sources. To less experienced anglers, this may still sound like it won’t help us locate fish. But as you begin to explore the bays in winter, it becomes evident that if you find concentrations of bait fish and other food sources, you will inevitably find concentrations of predators nearby. On the coldest, and most difficult days, never overlook the slightest presence of baitfish!!

Winter Lure Choices

Now that we have unlocked the key to locating predators in cooler water, we can get down to catching them! Hopefully. Winter is a “pick your poison” time of the year. My personal lure preference

Capt. Steve Soule, left, with a nice red and Stephen Young with a good one on the fly rod.

are larger mullet imitations for covering open water areas and structure. If I could only fish with one type of lure for the rest of my life, it would have to be a topwater. They prove deadly effective to the patient winter angler. Most won’t have the level of dedication and patience required to fully take advantage. If, by chance you are within the group of patient and you want to see some of the most explosive strikes that fish can provide us with, then tie on a Super Spook or She Dog and be prepared for some fun. Here are a few general rules for topwater fishing: 1. Make sure that you vary the retrieves! 2. Don’t assume tight cold water means you have to fish slowly to get bites. 3. Be patient 4. Some days, what you think is slow, isn’t slow enough, so go slower

Soft Plastics

Lures that imitate mullet are a good choice during winter.

There are always those days when they trout and reds just don’t want to come to the surface to eat a topwater. Though these days disappoint me greatly, it’s a fact that must be accepted. Coupling this fact with the fact that I’m constantly searching for the bigger fish, I will continue with my larger baitfish patterns during winter. Subsurface finesse baits, such as MirrOLure Catch 2000, Catch 5, Corky original and Fat Boy are some of the most effective winter standards on the Texas Coast, and rank very high on the list of big trout and redfish producers. These subsurface baits, much like topwaters, require a great deal of angler input to be truly effective. But once you’ve mastered a few retrieves, they will astound you with their ability to pry open the mouths of fish in very cold water. The key here is to experiment and vary retrieves and learn some of the many things that these baits can achieve. And of course, just like in the case of the topwater, there are days when slow just isn’t slow enough, so go slower! Another type of bait or lure that can prove exceptional during the cooler months of the year, and is equally effective in the hands of a dedicated angler, is the “Twitch Bait.” What I’m referring to here are floating or suspending lipped baits. The big brand names that

we all know in this category would be Rapala, Bomber, and more recently Yo-Zuri, along with a host of others. This category of lures has been around for many years, and can be just as effective as the others mentioned above. They can do so many things once the operator has taken the time to explore various retrieves. When you’re just getting started with this category, just varying speed with steady cranking can be very effective. Of course, like every other lure type, there are so many options with start and stop, fast twitches, and definitely lots of pauses. Cold water, though it can provide us with some devastating and explosive attacks from our favorite predators, can also frustrate us with horrifically slow and subtle bites. On these days, learning new retrieves is often the trick that can take a day from zero to hero. Fast, slow, in-between speeds, starts and stops, and often long pauses can lead to some of the best catches when water temps plummet. Winter’s coldest days are the ones that make some of the best anglers shine. These are the days where the average angler just gives up, but for those who possess patience and persistence, and of course, who are in the “right” areas, be prepared for some serious photo ops.

If you just aren’t ready for the “grind mode” and patience isn’t your thing, that’s okay. Soft plastics, such as “rat tail” or “swim tails” will still produce well. Bass Assassin Sea Shads or MirrOLure Lil’ Johns offer less angler input and will typically produce much better numbers when fished though concentrations of baitfish. These are perfect for the drifting anglers and can work just as well for a wade fisher. To be honest, the Sea Shad has become one of my staple baits for sight fishing year round. A small profile with a swimming tail is effective in so many situations. Add to this, these baits require very little beyond just a steady retrieve to catch fish consistently, making them

great for those just getting into lure fishing. Last but not least, of the fun things about winter fishing is the water clarity and potentially extreme low tides. Though for many of us these can make for tough fishing days and potential new oyster rash on our prized fiberglass fishing crafts, they also combine to give us some of the best bay learning and exploration days of the year. Get out there and take advantage of the clear water and low tides. Learn some new areas and expand your understanding of the areas you already fish. Take your time when exploring; make sure that you look for structure. Try to gain a better understanding of the tide flows in these new areas. Don’t get in a rush. Try some new lures and new retrieves, and don’t forget that some days, slow just isn’t slow enough.




By Capt. Joe Kent


ith 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.

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.

The beachfront trout bite is hot during summer.


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.


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.


Inshore fishing can be good during the winter but the wahoo action can be spectacular offshore.


Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine January/February 2020

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

The flounder run is highly anticipated each fall.


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!

Resolutions and a New Year By Capt. David Dillman galvestonbaycharterfishing.com 832-228-8012 “A resolution is a plan of something to be done.” 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.

Joe Holecek with a bull red. GulfCoastMariner.com



Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine January/February 2020



Flounder Tips and Tactics By Capt. Brian Spencer The Flounder Professor


he fall flounder run

F ood and W ine P airin g Smoked Salmon rye crackers with caper cream By Alisa Star


his is one of those appetizers that are simple, easy on the eye and elegant. It looks beautiful on a wooden charcuterie board alone, or next to some fresh fruit. Salmon is a darker fleshed fish that makes it pair well with dry white wines, or lighter reds. Two of the most classic wines to pair with Salmon is a dry Chardonnay, or a light Pinot Noir wine. Both of these types of wines are lighter bodied and has subtle dark fruit and floral aromas that hold up well to wild Pacific Salmon. I would suggest Chateau St Michelle, this Chardonnay is a good quality wine and is reasonably priced. Mark West Pinot Noir is a good lighter wine that pairs well with Salmon as well. Caper cream recipe • 12 oz room temperature cream cheese • ½ c. plain yogurt • 1 tbs. fresh lemon juice • ½ chopped red onion • 2 tbsp. drained capers • Salt & pepper • Rye crackers/toasted rye bread • Sliced cucumber • Fresh dill sprigs • Smoked salmon

Mix cream cheese, yogurt, lemon juice, capers, salt and pepper. Cream together until smooth. Add a small amount on the bottom on the cracker to hold the sliced cucumber in place. Top the cucumber off with smoked salmon and dill.


Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine January/February 2020

showed some awesome numbers up and down the coast it was a great sight to be seen. During that time of year, the fish are typically way bigger since a lot of them are females heading out to deep waters to spawn. A few fish I have seen being pulled in have been in excess of 8 pounds! Granted, most of them are all around 5 or 6 pounds, which is still a hefty fish in anyone’s eyes. My personal best is almost 27 inches and 8.7 pounds and she was caught late in the year a couple of years ago. I was fishing an old spot of mine during the run and was bouncing a lemon pepper Chickenboy Lure on the bottom when she decided to bite. She was fighting weird, almost like a big redfish so I didn’t try and tire her out and just horsed her in. Luckily, she was hooked well and I was able to land it but that is one memory I will never forget. A good fishing memory is one thing a child will have ingrained in their mind if you get them out there and no matter the outcome, it is something that will always be in their memory. Even if you don’t catch any fish it is definitely the experience that means more than a cooler full of bounty. Although it is nice to catch also, the lesson on how to fish will get them further than a full belly. If you ever get the chance to take a person who is either a child or new to the sport you should do it so that the sport can be passed along to others and not be forgotten. When fishing, a great place to lay your line would near any kind of structure with a nice big drop-off not too far away from it. Deep ship channels and basins are a great place to start, or even the jetty. Lately my bait of choice has been to run a tandem rig with a bubba clucker in the front, in one of the many great colors, but with stained water I would choose a good bright one and in the back, usually a Gulp! Swimming Mullet in either

It’s hard to beat flatfish! Capt. Brian Spencer with a chunky 20” flounder.

chartreuse or pink. I use a 1/4 ounce jighead in the front and 1/8 ounce in the back to keep it in the best area of the water column. But adjust accordingly to your depth and water current. As we get further into January, the flounder will start to trickle out and then be gone until around March. You can still catch them year round it is just not always as easy as it is during the run. Check out my YouTube channel at “Flounder Professor Outdoors” for tips on how to tie up the tandem rig and subscribe for a chance to win a free flounder trip! When I reach 500 subscribers I will pick one name and then when I get to 1,000 I will pick two names. Get out there and go catch a big one. Until next time, tight lines and sharp gigs. • •

Flounder Professor Outdoors /@ You Tube & Facebook Flounder Professor @ IG & Twitter

Sponsors: Chickenboy Lures, Power Pole, Wet Sounds, Waypoint Marine, Penn Fishing, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Slick Sticks, Steves Lures, Kelley Wigglers, ForEverlast Inc, Houghy Sticks, Redtail Republic, Stinkypants fishing, Jerrys Leds, Salt Thugz Apparel Co



Galveston Bay Tides EAGLE POINT, TX NOAA Station Id: 8771013



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Profile for Bay Group Media

Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine January/February 2020  

Draggin' Up: Family, friends and fun on Chris Heule's tournament winning 74' Viking. Also in this issue: Winter redfish, FlatsWorthy, KDEN L...

Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine January/February 2020  

Draggin' Up: Family, friends and fun on Chris Heule's tournament winning 74' Viking. Also in this issue: Winter redfish, FlatsWorthy, KDEN L...