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November/December 2013 | www.gulfcoastmariner.com


[Letter from the Publisher] Admiral (Publisher) Charles Milby

Commodore (Director of Art) Brandon Rowan First Mate (Graphic Designer) Victoria Ugalde Sales Commodore (Director of Sales) Patty Kane Sales Crew (Advertising Executives) Patty Bederka Debbie Salisbury Editorial Don Armstrong J. Price Blalock Sunnie Byerly Capt. Joe Kent Charles Milby Steve Parker Brandon Rowan Laura Snow Photography Sunnie Byerly Charles Milby Brandon Rowan Distribution Timothy Shinkle Company Admin. Assistant Lillian Harmon

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utting out this publication takes vision, time and talent. Few realize that the single largest element of this operation is that it all comes to fruition if and only if we all pull together. It seems to be working, we’re still here, we’re still working with our advertisers, and if things go as planned, you will be able to pick up the Mariner in more locations all around the bay next year. Now is a great time to advertise your company. Tell your story and let people know who you are. This week, get your boat in shape and head out on the water. The fall weather is such a joy, this is as good as it gets. Make sure you all wear your life jackets, don’t ever leave the dock without it. Water issues will be a very hot topic in Texas for the next couple of years. The bays along the Texas coast need a steady flow of fresh water to maintain a balance that produces seafood for everyone. Raising awareness of the water quality in our bays is just one way the Gulf Coast Mariner plans to keep you informed and make Texas a better place to live. Send us your photos and stories, you know what we like; fishing, sailing, and people on boats. Happy Holidays from the crew at the Mariner!

Captain (Editor) Mary Alys Cherry

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The Big Picture

Rear Admiral (President) Rick Clapp

Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine P.O. Box 1032 Seabrook, TX 77586 For information on advertising:

Charles Milby Publisher 4

Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine

November/December 2013

Phone: 281.474.5875 Fax: 281.474.1443 r.clapp@baygroupmedia.com www.GulfCoastMariner.com


FEATURES

November/December 2013

8 | Texas Tuna 101

The basics of how to fish for blackfin and yellowfin tuna around the floaters at night. By Brandon Rowan

10 |Expert Flounder Tips

November and December are prime months for flounder fish. The Ortiz brothers of Flounder Pounder Lures share their expertise and knowledge on these tasty flatfish. By Capt. Joe Kent

12 | Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 469 The complete rundown on this attractive cruiser that features comfort and performance at a competitive price.

14 | Moon Palace

20 | Dove on the Mind Dove hunting is a yearly passion for many Texans. The 2013-2014 winter season begins on Dec. 20. By J. Price Blalock

22 | Texas Duck Hunting Duck numbers are strong on the upper and middle Texas coast but the continuing drought makes local habitat conditions questionable.

16 | Women’s Redfish Rodeo

The draw of redfish is strong. Ladies came from as far as Canada down to the warm waters of Galveston for the Redfish Rodeo Women’s Tournament at Pelican Rest Marina. By Sunnie Byerly

18 | What’s in Your Bag?

Advice and ideas about what to take on the water from West Marine’s lead backup of clothing, shoes and accessories.

Letter from the Publisher LYC Named Marina of the Year

By Steve Parker

2013 Beneteau Rendezvous

24 | 2015 Ford Super Duty

Nautical Numbers

Tow Away! More muscle and upscale King Ranch trim highlight the powerful 2015 Ford Super Duty Truck. By Don Armstrong

An interview with Doris Richeson and James Malone, owners of this very unique 65’ Jefferson Monticello Yacht. By Charles Milby

Contents

Hunting and Marine Products and Gear 2013 J/Fest Southwest

ON THE COVER © Scott Kerrigan www.AquaPaparazzi.com

52nd Annual Christmas Boat Lane Parade on Clear Lake 2013 Viper 640 North American Championships Tide charts

By Laura Snow www.GulfCoastMariner.com

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S N A P S H O T S

2013 Beneteau Rendezvous Lakewood Yacht Club has been named Marina of the Year 2013 by the Marina Association of Texas

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nnouncement of the award was made at the MAT Installation and Awards Dinner at the Horseshoe Bay Resort on Lake LBJ near Austin during the group’s annual conference. LYC Harbor Administrator Lynda Hall accepted the honor for the Seabrook yacht club. Lakewood was chosen after several site visits by members of the Marina of the Year Committee, whose job it is to visit applicant marinas and determine the marina that best meets the high standards of the award. In order to qualify for the Marina of the Year award, the marina must first be a Certified Clean Marina. The evaluation is based on overall appearance, quality of facilities and services, including launch facilities, food service, ship’s store, fuel dock, service and repair area, docks and recreation areas. “We are thrilled to have been chosen Marina of the Year,” Commodore Carl Drechsel said. “This award recognizes all of Lynda’s hard work put into the management and operation of Lakewood’s marina, as well as the continual upkeep and improvements supervised by our General Manager Mr. Terry Chapman.” MAT began in 1973 as a non-profit, voluntary association dedicated to looking after the interests of marinas. Today, it boasts 104 marina members and 84 associate members, as well as Associate Advisors from Texas Parks & Wildlife, the Texas Sea Grant Program, and Board Legal Counsel. A yearly conference for all members is held at various resort locations where speakers present topics relevant to owning and managing a marina. At the conference, associate members exhibit their products and services so that marina owners and managers can access valuable information needed to supply their infrastructure as well as the business side of things such as software and insurance.

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Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine

November/December 2013


NAUTICAL NUMBERS

Got a Hot Catch? Send your pictures to art@baygroupmedia.com

128 meters Depth reached by Russian freediver Alexey Molchanov on a single breath, setting an AIDA world record for constant weight apnea.

1402 pounds Current IGFA all tackle record for blue marlin (Atlantic). Larger blues have been caught although not in accordance with IGFA regulations.

Photo: www.boobytrapfishingteam.com

Booby Trap mate Matt Reed, left, and guest angler Barry Shaneyfelt of Sun Coast Marine Works with his 300 plus pound swordfish. Sun Coast Marine Works has been one of the largest sponsors of the “Get Tight Sucka! Texas Swordfish Seminar� for the past three years.

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Year that the Panama Canal was officially opened. To this day it is still vital to world shipping operations.

131 feet

David Herbek of Friendswood and his tournament grade 27.75 inch redfish.

Ryan Ugalde of Baytown with a big african pompano caught out of Galveston.

Height that Teak trees (Tectona grandis) can grow. www.GulfCoastMariner.com

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A Quick Guide to Fishing the Floaters

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IGHT OWLS REJOICE, tuna fishing in Texas usually takes place from dusk to dawn. So, it’s pitch black and you’re bobbing along 100 plus miles offshore at the floaters (semi-submersible rigs). Well now what?

Jigging for Chum First things first, you need chum. The idea is to create a tasty trail of bread crumbs for fish to follow as you drift away from the rig. You could bring a bag of shad or other baitfish to get you started but all the chum and bait you need is right below your boat in the form of blackfin tuna. Cousin to the yellowfin, these smaller tuna max out at around 50 pounds and swarm the night waters around the floaters. There is no minimum length or bag limit for blackfin tuna in Federal waters. Take the knife to smaller, football sized fish but ice the larger 15-30 pounders. They put up a surprisingly good fight and taste nearly as good as yellowfin, just make sure to remove the large bloodline. So what is the best way to catch blackfin tuna? Why, with jigs of course. Blackfin are not particularly finicky and will hit just about any diamond, knife or butterfly jig you send down to the deep. Jigs from 6 to 10 ounces with glow-in-the-dark colors seem to draw the most attention. Yellowfin will also hit jigs although not with the regularity of blackfin. In fact, on one trip my two best fish, in the 50-pound class, were caught with glowin-the-dark and blue 8-ounce diamond jigs. To start your drift, position the boat down current of the platform and begin jigging. Stay

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alert as you let your lure fall, many times fish will strike as the jig flutters downward. If your line suddenly goes slack, ratchet up the drag and set the hook. The Japanese style of speed jigging does work in this situation but is tiring and not necessary. A slower yo-yo style of jigging works just fine and if you’re at the right depth then sometimes a few lifts of the rod tip is all it takes to entice a bite. Load your jigging reels with color metered braid to help determine what depth the fish are feeding. Sometimes it’s 30 feet, other times it can be 300 feet.

Chunking If things are going as planned, then you should have plenty of blackfin after that first drift. Cut your fish into one to two inch chunks and keep them handy in a designated chum bucket. On your next drift have one angler continue to jig while another tosses out a handful of chunks every couple of minutes. Set up two drift lines, one long and one short, each sporting a large bloody chunk of blackfin at the business end. Chunking, as it is called, provides your best chance for landing big yellowfin tuna, so heavier tackle is a must. Stout stand-up rods, 50 wide reels loaded with heavy mono, 60 to 100 pound fluorocarbon leaders and strong 4/0 to 8/0 circle hooks are standard gear. You don’t want to be outgunned when that 100 pounder finds its way to your chum line. Don’t be discouraged if the bite doesn’t happen in first 15 minutes. Many good fish have been hooked and landed far from the rig.

November/December 2013

By Brandon Rowan

Pop the Top Yellowfin tuna in the Gulf of Mexico sometimes shy away from jigs but will violently assault a topwater lure if conditions are right. It’s a very good idea to have a heavy spinning setup ready at all times for tossing poppers to surface crashing yellowfin. A Shimano Saragosa or Stella loaded with 60 to 80 pound braid on a 7 - 8 foot rod is a common outfit. The technique for working these lures is similar to the old tried and true popping cork. A sideways flick of the rod tip causes the lure to rush forward and create a commotion on the surface. If the flying fish have taken to the skies, then it could be a good time to toss a popper.

Skimming the Big Pool Flying fish are tuna candy. Sometimes they’re so thick they’ll fly right into the boat. Other times they drift tantalizingly close by but still out of reach.Your standard backyard pool skimming net solves this problem. Flying fish make superb bait so collect as many as you can and put them to work on a drift line. Nothing beats the real thing.

A Bloody Mess Tuna fishing is exciting, it definitely tests your arms and back – but it is not clean. Tuna must be bled to ensure the highest quality of meat. Cut the gills or make a small semicircle cut behind the pectoral fin to drain your fish. You might also want to wear an old shirt you don’t particularly care about.


www.GulfCoastMariner.com

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Phil Ortiz with a big Galveston flounder.

Phil and Joe Ortiz of Flounder Pounder Lures By Capt. Joe Kent

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ovember is by far the best month for flounder fishing along the upper Texas Coast. It stands out so much that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department set special rules for that month that include a reduction in the daily bag limit from five to two and the limitation of hook and line (rod and reel) as the only means of catching flatfish. With that restriction, flounder gigging is prohibited during November. The main reason for the great fishing in November is the annual flounder migration to the Gulf of Mexico reaching its peak and flounder stacking up in such numbers around the passageways to the Gulf that they are easy picking for anglers. Prior to the changes in the rules, anglers had a daily bag limit of 10 with a twoday possession limit. This allowed the gigging crowd to take 10 before midnight and another 10 per person after the clock struck 12 a.m. When the two-day limit was eliminated and the bag

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Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine November/December 2013

limit reduced to five per day, along with the November rules, flounder stocks began to rebound. With the flatfish now back to good numbers, let’s take a look at some tips from an expert on how, where and when to fish for flounder. Phil Ortiz, inventor and manufacturer of the popular Flounder Pounder artificial bait, is one of the noted experts on flounder and flounder fishing. Ortiz has fished commercially for flounder and for over 20 years has devoted his time to producing one of the most prolific flounder baits on the market, the Flounder Pounder. Recently, I interviewed Ortiz along with his brother Joe who assists him in manufacturing the baits. We started out with what I considered the most important question and proceeded from there. Kent: What would you say is the most important single factor in fishing for flounder? Ortiz: When the periods of sunlight fall, meaning


Kent: What about tides and moon? Ortiz: Tidal flow, whether incoming or outgoing, is 99% necessary. The moon phases are not as important; however, the better action will be during major and minor periods. Kent: What about the actual fishing? What color is your favorite and how do you fish for flounder?

Kent: Is November the best month to catch that big “saddle blanket� flounder? Ortiz: There are a lot of large flounder caught during November; however, my experience has shown June through August to be the best time. Kent: It is pretty well known that the smaller male flounder make an appearance first during the flounder run. Why is that?

shorter days, signals go off in flounder to start moving. The shorter days translate into cooler water and give rise to frontal systems making their way to the coast. This has a snowballing effect in that the fronts move the water out of the marshes and back bays thus telling flounder to prepare for their move.

Kent: Now that we see the flounder beginning to move, what are other factors that affect fishing? Ortiz: The next most important is atmospheric pressure. A drop in pressure alerts flounder that change is on the way and the movement begins.

Ortiz: Color makes no difference; in fact the bait itself is not that important. It is all in the presentation. I once hooked a cigarette butt to one of my jigs and caught flounder by making the bait resemble a running shad.

Ortiz: It is because they move slower than the larger females.

Kent: I recall you telling me that noise, if anything, helps flounder fishing. Is that still true?

Ortiz: Yes, I encourage fishermen to support regulations to increase the minimum size for flounder to 17 inches. Why? Because most of the males are under 17 inches and it takes approximately four to six males to fertilize the eggs of one female. Before recent research on this topic, it was thought that a one to one ratio was satisfactory. Today we know otherwise.

Ortiz: Absolutely. Think about it, flounder lie on the bottom and any loud noise nearby will spook bait into running away. During the exit, the spooked bait will run past an awaiting flatfish and an easy meal results.

Kent: In closing, do you have any advice or recommendations to pass on to other fishermen?

www.GulfCoastMariner.com

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Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine November/December 2013


www.GulfCoastMariner.com

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MOON PALACE

Moon Palace proudly displays the stars and stripes as she cruises down the Galveston Ship Channel.

One of a kind 65’ Jefferson Monticello Yacht

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his 65’ Jefferson Monticello yacht was designed by Hershine Yachts for the Mossberg firearms family. It is now owned by Moonboat LLC, a partnership of Doris Richeson and James Malone and sign-named Moon Palace. Gulf Coast Mariner: How did you get started in this restoration project? Doris Richeson: James Malone and I also own a 50’ Chris Craft yacht (the IRS says that if the vessel is more than 29,’ it’s a yacht) also named Moon Palace, but when we saw the 65’ Jefferson Monticello — the only one ever made — and its potential, we were smitten. Adding to our ferver was the fact that we were advised that the owner was quite anxious to make a deal to sell the vessel. We learned that the owner was Bill Janklow, former governor of South Dakota, who had a brain cancer which was soon to claim his life. He wanted to sell the vessel and looked for a hasty sale, one in which the sale would be “as is where is.” However, when we had our prepurchase inspection, we were advised

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Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine November/December 2013


converted step by step from Tre Kronor’s bright colors to our favorite antique African and primitive decor, all the while, repairing, varnishing, replacing, and generally restoring the craft to our personal preferences, even as the major mechanical works were in progress, all done by local contractors. Michael Raach, a very talented wood artist, has labored for over a year building unique cabinetry and features such as the aft-deck drop-down TV cabinet and the aft-deck ceiling done in 2” wide bookmatched teakwood strips. GCM: Does the boat have any special feature you can tell us about? DR: Moon Palace is moored at Galveston Yacht Basin A47, the only covered slip at the Basin which is large enough to house the 65’ Jefferson. A47 is the slip built for the original Galveston Yacht Basin owners, Robert Everett “Bob” and Vivian Smith, and has space for vehicle parking as well as a hospitality area and room enough for a “genuine” Rolls Royce golf cart the partners love to drive on our Galveston sightseeing tours. I am working with Capt. Rob Robertson, who was captain on the 65’ Jefferson for a substantial period of time, and hope to get some information as to what I have been told is his very interesting story.

that the big twin diesel engines were essentially trashed, thus we amended our offer to Janklow to allow for the replacement of the engines. The sale was closed on December 7, 2011. Little did we know what a money monster the yacht would become. First we ordered the new Caterpillar C-18 1150 hp turbo diesel engines, and then realized the dual transmissions would not tolerate the strength of the

GCM: Do you plan to go cruising any time soon?

“Moon Palace can now achieve a respectable 24 knots.” new engines, hence the transmissions were upgraded to ZF transmissions large enough for even big C32 Caterpillar engines. When the 4-blade brass propellers did not challenge the new engines adequately, we had ZF design and build new 35” 5-blade props. Moon Palace can now achieve a respectable 24 knots. Wanting the extra safety of a bow thruster, we added this to take us into unaccommodating spaces. GCM: When and where did you buy the boat? DR: We first saw the yacht moored at another marina in Seabrook. It was then named Rock ‘n Roll. This vessel had three previous owners, beginning with the Mossberg firearms family, who had apparently selected the original Tre Kronor

decor, featuring bright yellows and blues and eponymous with its original name. GCM: What are some of the recent changes you are making (have made) to the boat? DR: The vessel has four bedrooms and four “heads,” aka bathrooms, both fly bridge and interior helm stations, main deck salon, formal dining room and buffet, full kitchen, aft deck hospitality station and 10 air conditioning units. as well as a hallway with full-view engine compartments, and Malone’s proudest achievement, four wet bars. Malone thinks the giant engines are works of art; I think they are works of necessity, but James won the argument: We have big hallway windows so all can see the roaring monsters.” Being rather Texas proud, James and I

DR: As we’ve repaired, renovated and redecorated, we have made Gulf of Mexico cruises, hosting family and friends, living on board when James and I are in Galveston. With the renovation and repairs completed and having passed Sea Trials in the open seas, Moon Palace’s opportunity for longer cruises has finally arrived. GCM: What is the best thing you enjoy about Moon Palace? DR: Even if Moon Palace is resting up for her next cruise, the best thing we enjoy is seeing a very favorite view of the world from our own private slip A47 at newly-revived Galveston Yacht Basin. About the owners: Most of James Malone’s family is deceased, but friends from North Texas and Galveston are sometimes aboard. Malone lives in Fort Worth and is owner of After-Dark Lightscaping. Doris Richeson is a multi-unit restaurant owner and has a very close-knit family of three grandchildren — all of whom are in her business — and their spouses and children. All have enjoyed being aboard Moon Palace, as have Doris’s friends from her hometown of Graham, Texas; Doris’s full-time residence is on Possum Kingdom Lake, 18 miles south of Graham. www.GulfCoastMariner.com

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Photos: Sunnie Byerly

It’s Redfish Rodeo time once again! By Sunnie Byerly

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adies from as far as Canada, New Jersey, but mostly from Texas, representing 38 teams, came together Sept. 27-28, to compete in the Redfish Rodeo fishing tournament. Except this time, the Bay Area gets to reap the benefits as the rodeo has relocated from the coast of South Padre Island to Galveston. This year it docked at Pelican Rest Marina, at 7819 Broadway in Galveston. The operating marina includes fuel docks, private pool, individual storage bodegas, private condos, an upscale steakhouse all paired with an island ambience of palm trees, oleanders and other tropical plants and so much more. Director Gina Nesloney, who calls it her baby, is behind this twice-ayear event and has been since she started it in 1995. This year the Redfish Rodeo directors and committee members decided for the second year in a row that local charity and nonprofit organizations should reap the benefits once again. First, second and third place winners get to select a charity of choice for a donation from Lloyd Hebert with Hebert Financial Services (3417 W. Davis, Conroe, TX 936441-3011). Lloyd Hebert is the Presenting Title Sponsor this year as he was last year. This year he is donating $3,000 to first place,

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Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine November/December 2013

$2,000 to second place and $1,000 to third place. Each winning team gets to choose which charitable organization Lloyd will make the donations to. After two full days of fishing, these ladies reeled ‘em in: Julia Braun with The Reel Squealers Team 13, brought home the largest red fish of the tournament weighing in at 10.02 lbs. Third place winners, The Reelin’ and Chillin’ WYOTEX Anglers Team 34, Terry Thomas, Brandi McCubbin, Barbara Young and Lucinda Gayle, selected Goliad Educational Foundation for their charity. Second place winners, Fishn’ Chicks Team 27, Lisa Morton, Danielle Bourgeois, Ruth Mallon and Martha Ceballos, had a total weigh in at 43.19 lbs. Their charitable donation went to Women of Wisdom and Strength. First place winners were Team Pucker 15, Georgianna Fox, Denee Ludeke, Natalie Flory, Vanessa Flory and fishing guide, Ralph Frazier, won with a total weigh in at 44.25 lbs., and chose the SPCA for their charity. For more information about the Redfish Rodeo fishing tournament, email redfishrodeo@ austin.rr.com or visit the website, www.rrtournaments.com. For more information about Hebert Financial Services, Lloyd Hebert can be reached at 936-441-3011 or visit the website, www. HebertFinancial.com.


www.GulfCoastMariner.com

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What’s in Your Bag? Beach bag, duffle bag, tote bag, ditty bag, shopping bag, tool bag, rigging bag or bag of ideas—whatever your bag, you’ll find some good ideas here.

The cool way to stay warm . . . ...with fleece! Polyester fleece. Pullovers, zip-ups, vests, pants. The hands-down best choice for layering under foul weather gear, wearing all by itself, or over or under just about anything! Here’s the deal: it’s very lightweight and soft, the “loft” of the fleece provides insulation just like fur on animals, dries amazingly fast unlike cotton and other natural fibers. For all who are greenconscious and favoring domestic products, take note. Polyester fleece is made almost entirely of recycled plastic beverage bottles, and most of it is made in the USA. A ton of pluses, and no minuses I can think of – it doesn’t get any better than this.

Fish-ing and Sail-ing These little books, by Henry Beard, are perfect gifts for the holidays. Wry, dry, and funny as all get out, written as “dictionaries” with terms and situations familiar to us all. An example: “Bar. Long, low-lying navigational hazard, usually awash, found at river mouths and harbor entrances, where it is composed of sand or mud, and ashore, where it is made of mahogany or some other dark wood. Sailors can be found in large numbers around both.” Give a lot of laughing out loud to your fisherman or sailor. These books also have great illustrations sprinkled throughout. (P.S. Beard has also written books about Golfing, Gar-den-ing and Ski-ing.) Check them all out at amazon. com.

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Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine November/December 2013

Yo ho ho... ...and a bottle of rum. Sailor Jerry. This spiced rum is so-o-o smooth, with vanilla and hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and buttery toffee. Described as “a straight up, no nonsense high quality, old-school spiced rum.” This rum, named for Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins, first a sailor and then a talented tattoo artist, is distilled in the Caribbean, heart of the rum world. Straight, on the rocks or mixed, you’re gonna love it. Ho ho ho, a fine item in Santa’s bag.


Cozy up with this one On your boat or by the fire, West Marine’s Sarasota Throw can’t be beat. Lovely, light weight and softer than a silky kitten, everyone on your gift list will love this one, including you. And if it never gets cold enough to cuddle up in it, you can put it in your lap and pet it. It’s that soft. These throws are available in-store only at the Kemah location on Marina Bay Drive.

Gobble gobble Ever thought of spending turkey day, Thanksgiving, on your boat? But how? Well, there are many ways. Deep fry or roast the bird at home and bring it to the boat. Heat up your galley and fill it with humidity, not to mention the clean up later. Or, grill it! Most of us have a barbecue grill on board, and a grilled turkey is to die for. The taste had no peer. A whole turkey, though, won’t fit on the barby, so get a small frozen or fresh turkey and have your butcher saw it in half lengthwise. Voila! Grill on low to medium heat only until juices run clear. Let rest a few minutes, carve it up, and enjoy. It’s a beautiful thing! Cheers!

Comments or suggestions? I’d like to hear from you at whatsinyourbag.laura@aol.com. www.GulfCoastMariner.com

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By J. Price Blalock

Dove hunting for many of us will always be a yearly passion.

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his passion is best satisfied on opening day and celebrated like a right of passage. It’s hard to explain if you are not one of us crazy people who mark the date on the calendar every year, point your finger at every dove you see and go “BAM” and incessantly day dream of a miracle retrieve your dog simply cannot make. As opening day slowly approaches, talk turns to shotgun gauge, barrel length, ammo, weather, how best to cook them, good times and dogs. The sheer anticipation of the hunt keeps the mind occupied for hours and is always an excuse to gather with friends at the local watering hole. You re-live hunts of the past, the perfect double, limits for all and tasty dove poppers. But the truth about dove hunting, like history, is more sobering. North Zone opening day near China, Texas brought an abundance of birds. The owner of the lease, S. Tanner Garth, shot an easy limit of fifteen in less than an hour. Six other friends were gone with their limit before I bagged my first three. Two hours into the shoot Alan Calaway, who was shooting his infamous Remington 12 gauge auto, nicknamed “Mr. Murder,” wandered over and asked

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if I could use some help. Even though he had suffered from the heat and had to sit in the shade with a cold rag on his head while he drank a couple of cold beers, he too had his limit. Not to admit defeat, I quickly reminded him of the Texas Parks and Wildlife hunting regulations stating you had to shoot your own birds, and besides, I didn’t need any help. Shortly thereafter my son, Will Blalock, shooting a newly acquired Browning 12 gauge over and under, approached and asked how I was shooting. He, too, had his limit. I told him I had a couple of those tasty little birds and proceeded to blame my bird count on my gun and ability to find the dove once shot. Trying to be helpful my son left me with our bird dog and asked if I wanted to swap my Benelli 12 gauge auto for his over and under. I said no. There went the excuses. About this time I noticed the 300 acre plowed under rice fields we were hunting was slowly thinning out of hunters. I now had four birds and was almost out of shells. I should have carried more than 3 boxes. Thank goodness for fellow hunter, Mark Middlebrooks, a friend of 40 years. I walked over, took a seat and as my luck would have it he had an extra box. I had been shooting 2¾ 1 ounce #8. An advertised deal at $4.99 a box, the “Academy special.” He had 2¾ 1.5 ounce #7½. At $7.50 a box it was still advertised as a deal, but I don’t see how. Time to rethink the reloading game, especially the way I shoot.

Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine November/December 2013

The next six birds brought my count to six and Mark’s limit. My bird dog made short order of the retrieves and gave me a newfound belief in my dog handling skills. My son did a fine job training that dog. There is little in life more satisfying than watching my dog make a good retrieve. It does something for the soul, even if the dog is a part time bird dog and full time house pet. At sunset we packed it in. Out of 12 hunters we had 10 limits, Danny Middlebrooks’s 12 birds, three short of a limit and my eight birds, 170 birds for the afternoon. I would have had nine but I called my dog off a dove when my son shot a snake near that downed bird. It was just a water snake but a snake none-the-less. We put it in an empty shell box and handed it to Tanner Jr. Quite the surprise but he manned up and threw the headless snake back at us. The next day we sat on the porch and cooked our prize. The proverbial dove poppers. Everyone has a slightly different way of cooking them. I like to cut the breast off the bone and then marinate it in teriyaki, pepper, garlic, oil and vinegar. Then wrap the breast, a slice of jalapeno and monterey jack cheese in a small piece of bacon. Insert toothpick, grill and enjoy. A cold beer is recommended. A good time is always had by all. Dove hunting for many of us will always be a yearly passion.

Alan Calaway with Mr. Murder, J. Price Blalock, Will Blalock, Colt and Mark Middlebrooks.


GEAR FOR GAME & GUNNELS

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Find these products and more at Marburger’s Sporting Goods: 1400 Bayport Blvd Seabrook, TX 77586 • (281) 474-3229

BENELLI Super Black Eagle II Shotgun The original 3-1/2-inch semi-automatic shotgun. The ultra reliable SBE II sets the standard for semi-auto styling, versatility, and performance.

KENT CARTRIDGE

SURE-SHOT GAME CALLS Duck/Goose/Turkey/Deer/Small Game

Fasteel® 12G shell

Expertly designed and crafted, these calls will give you years of service in the outdoors. Each call is tuned and tested by world champion and professional duck hunters. True double reed design, sure quack peg design and every call backed by a lifetime warranty.

TealSteel® 12G shell

High quality waterfowl loads. Both have high end, all-weather primers, water resistant construction and a scientifically designed wad that reduces recoil and protects shot.

MOJO OUTDOORS Baby Drake & Dove Decoys

HOPPE’S 9

The Baby Drake comes with a rechargable 6-volt battery and is the most economically priced motorized decoy on the market. The Dove’s realistic, molded plastic hard body is fitted with MOJO’s patented breast peg mounting system that also comes with a clothes pin adaptor allowing the mounting on just about any support, including limbs, wires, branches or support poles.

The Gun Care People Since 1903

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Cleaning kits, gun oils, bore cleaners and anything else you may need to keep your gear in good shape after a day of hunting.

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Find these products and more at Blackburn Marine: 2030 Marina Bay Dr Kemah, TX 77565 • (281) 334-5474 • www.blackburnmarinesupply.com

MASTERVOLT

MASTERVOLT

WEST SYSTEM

HARKEN

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AGM 12/90 Battery

ChargeMaster 12/25-3

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ESP Furler

360 Panel

This type of battery is entirely maintenance-free and there is no gas formation with normal use. Not requiring any ventilation, these batteries can be installed anywhere. Their construction gives a very fast discharge at very high currents so AGM batteries are ideal for systems that require high currents.

3-Step+ charging technology for fast and complete charging. Mastervolt’s ChargeMaster guarantees fast and complete charging of your batteries no matter where you are. The ChargeMaster can charge multiple battery banks simultaneously.

This resin is formulated without volatile solvents and does not shrink after curing. It has a relatively high flash point and no strong solvent odor, making it safer to work with than polyester or vinylester resins.

This furler is easyto-assemble with an elegant design. Trim safely from the cockpit when it blows; unfurl instead of motoring when it’s light, for a great day of sailing.



This system uses an open frame to mount a broad selection of modules, allowing multiple functions to be combined in a single panel. With options ranging from battery management to source selection, the 360 Panel System provides unmatched design flexibility.

www.GulfCoastMariner.com

21


Duck Numbers Strong But Local Habitat Conditions Questionable

By Steve Parker

T

EXAS DUCK HUNTERS are excited about the prospects of the upcoming 2013-2014 Texas waterfowl season, but on a local level it remains to be seen how poor habitat conditions along the Upper and Middle Texas Coast due to prolonged drought and the severe decline in rice acreage will affect bird numbers and hunters’ success. On the national level, duck numbers look strong… not quite as good as last year, but plenty good enough to justify the effort. According to the USFWS, the total breeding duck estimate in the traditional survey area was 45.6 million birds, a slight decrease from last year’s total but tied with the 2011 estimate, which was the second-largest population on record. Most duck species populations remain above their long term averages. But as Texas hunters are becoming all too familiar with, good numbers of ducks up North don’t necessarily equate to good hunting down South as a variety of factors…notably temperature and precipitation, are more determinative to hunting success. With the general trend to warmer winters, Texas hunters often find themselves praying for cold weather to force the birds down to their ancesteral haunts… and usually wondering if anybody up there is listening. The warmer weather coupled with the massive increase in corn acreages planted in the Midwest as allowed the birds to winter far to the North of their historical wintering area. To complicate matters, due to the high carbohydrate content in corn, the birds are able to ride out bouts of cold weather, which in recent history seem to be of shorter duration followed

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by warm ups. Whereas, the birds used to leave in advance of cold front, now they… especially mallards and large species of Canada geese, gorge on corn, hunker down and wait for the warmer weather to return. Eventually, they must leave but they wait as long as possible and travel less distance when they do actually move. And other waterfowl species are adapting as well. Truth be told, most of today’s readers have never seen a reliable flight of mallards and Canadas on the Texas Coast. But if you ever talked much to your Grandpa…or maybe your Great Grandpa, you know they used to be the main targets around here. By the early 1960’s most of them had started wintering North of us due to changed agricultural practices up North, the final decimation of the last great Texas freshwater marshes due to development, subsidence and increased salinity, construction of large reservoirs, etc. As most of us have known it, this is the Land of Snow Geese and Pintails. But that is changing too. Due to the decline of rice acreage and our marshes… largely due to some form of development, the snow geese have taken a shine to the Mississippi Delta…fly over it sometime and you’ll wonder why anything would ever leave there to fly over 500 miles of pine trees to come to what’s left of the Texas coast. And the pintails have moved on down the coast to the still expansive seagrass beds, but not without consequence…biologists suspect that one of the leading factors linked to the decline of the pintail population is that without rice the pintail hens leave Texas to return North to breed in poor condition, which both increases mortality and decreases nesting success.

Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine November/December 2013

As they say, the only thing constant is change. Usually it’s a gradual shift that cannot be appreciated without time and hindsight. But with regard to waterfowl hunting around Houston, for the most part we are probably going to experience a jolt this year due to the massive and unprecedented decline in rice acreage south and southwest of Houston. Due to prolonged drought, for the second year in a row the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) decided not to sell water to rice farmers. This is a big

“All the duck hunters I know are praying that the rains will come, the drought will go and normalcy will return to the prairies of the Upper and Middle Texas Coast.” hit. The bulk of what is left of rice in Texas is in the Colorado River drainage… Eagle Lake, Wharton, Bay City, etc. Sure there are some farmers who grew rice on wells and the guys in Garwood on the Lehrer canal system (which has the senior agricultural water rights on the LCRA) grew some rice but nothing like normal. The Pierce Ranch grew 700 acres of rice compared to its normal 4,500 acres… and what they grew is seed rice which is inferior to waterfowl for variety of reasons. For most of the summer it looked like the farmers on the Lehrer canal system and Brazos River were going to be okay… decent acreages and good crops. Then came the next shot, both the Lehrer and Brazos shut off second crop water…which


is a second “ratoon” rice crop grown from the stubble of the first rice crop that is typically harvested in July. Ask any rice farmer and they’ll tell you that the first crop pays the costs…currently about $1,000 per acre, and the second crop is profit. And the folks at John Deere don’t care….they still want payment on the $250,000 tractors, combines, etc. So the farmers are in a bad spot. And so are the birds. The big problem as far as hunters are concerned is that second crop of rice is cut in late October, which leaves ample waste grain for the birds. Waste rice from the first rice harvest is long gone by the time the birds arrive in the fall. The presence of grain provides a large enough food source when coupled with what’s left of natural habitat (which ain’t much) and man-made habitat such as moist soil units. Sure if it rains a lot, this whole country will flood and the birds will respond, but lots of water usually means scattered birds and tough hunting. And, while some of our area is still under drought conditions, in general we’ve gotten some decent rains that have at least started to restore soil moisture thereby enabling moist soil and aquatic plants to emerge, but the landscape is still suffering from the drought. The point of this cheery account is that if you want to kill ducks you’d better start finding some decent habitat…pronto. It may be hard to find but it can be done. I manage 2 Bayous Lodge adjacent to the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge near Angleton, Texas. We have been spending our summers swatting mosquitoes and making habitat for longer than I care to remember. If you have a place, like the work (which probably means you are a masochist) and put in the time you can have excellent hunting in the shadow of Houston. I fear that the days of just showing up on a pond on opener, throwing out a bag of dekes and killing a limit are coming to a close to being over. The guys that consistently kill ducks today either work for it or pay handsomely for it. Food for future thought. If you haven’t leased land yet, you need to get moving. If I had to pick an area for a long term lease, I’d seriously look east of Houston in Chambers, Jefferson and Liberty Counties. The reason being that this area is serviced by the Lower Neches River Canal System, which has much more rainfall and far fewer people utilizing it. Rice has made a major comeback over there. Up until recently rice had declined over there more than any other region

in the State, but it looks better over there than it has in 20 years. I suspect that with the current trends that area will continue to develop and, if the rains don’t return, it will become the largest…and maybe only, rice producing area in Texas. Plus they have the biggest chunk of what’s left of Texas freshwater/intermediate marsh and enough rain to keep it somewhat viable….it’s not what it once was, but the guys willing to brave the ‘skeeters, mud and cow crap traversing the marshes from

Smith Point East to Louisiana still seem to do okay. For the guys that hunt the coastal marsh and bays southwest of town, the problem y’all have is that the drought increased the salinity in the bays, bayous and associated marshes which seriously reduced food production. The Justin Hurst WMA near Freeport reported slow teal hunting and while their ponds were wet, food is scarce and the birds weren’t there. Matagorda County didn’t seem to fare much better… guys that hunt near Mad Island had slower hunting than experienced in many years. In general, I’d do a lot of scouting and try to find areas of better habitat. Areas regularly influenced by tide without freshwater to offset the salinities are probably devoid of food, but if you can find areas closer to freshwater inflows you should find better conditions. If you can make it to the seagrass beds from Port O’Conner South, things should be pretty much business as usual…. the bulk of

“our” ducks now spend the winter there. No matter where you hunt, if you are serious about being successful in an area with 6,000,000 people and a declining habitat base, you need to at least be able to identify important plant species utilized by waterfowl, understand where such species are likely to occur and if at all possible enhance their presence. My advice is to pick up a copy of Charles D. Stuzenbaker’s “Aquatic and Wetland Plants of the Western Gulf Coast” to aid the search... it’s hard to know a plant’s value to waterfowl if you don’t know what it is. Of particular importance is the ability to identify widgeongrass, which is a submerged aquatic plant heavily used by local waterfowl. It is a high value plant, but of more relevance this year is that it can tolerate relatively high salinities and grows very quickly once salinities are reduced…which the recent rains have done. I have a pond that has a high salt content and was dry all summer to the extent to nothing grew there, but since receiving some decent rains in mid-August it has grown a very good crop of widgeongrass. Peyton Parker The recent rains and Sam Parker will continue with their best that trend until hunting buddy, Jeff Malonson the cooler days of Houston, of Fall take hold Texas and a limit and slow down of ducks taken growth. Mother last season at 2 Bayous Lodge in Nature does a Brazoria County, good job of playing Texas near catch up when Angleton. the conditions allow….something is always waiting to take advantage of the improved conditions. All the duck hunters I know are praying that the rains will come, the drought will go and normalcy will return to the prairies of the Upper and Middle Texas Coast. But it would be short-sided to say that this drought will not have long lasting effects on the landscape, especially with regard to the Texas rice industry, to which our local waterfowl populations are closely tied. As a consequence, the presence of large numbers of waterfowl…the natural by-product of lots of rice, will probably become more of a rarity. Good habitat and numbers of waterfowl can exist even under these circumstances but it takes work….and a few people doing the brunt of it will not replace what has been lost. If you are serious about hunting waterfowl, this year may be an omen of things to come…and hopefully a catalyst to ensure that the birds find a better place when they return next Fall. www.GulfCoastMariner.com

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TOW AWAY More muscle and upscale King Ranch trim highlight the 2015 Ford Super Duty

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014 promises to be a big year for the Ford Motor Company with the introduction of an all-new F-150, among others. Until then, the blue oval has to work with what it’s got, and that’s not a bad thing. They sell more trucks than any other manufacturer. Last month, at the opening of the Texas State Fair, America’s truck leader introduced a revamped 2015 F-Series Super Duty lineup featuring a second generation 6.7-liter Power Stroke® V8 turbo diesel engine with increased towing capabilities and a refreshed, Texasinspired, King Ranch model. One of the most significant improvements to the engine is a larger GT37 turbocharger that replaces the previous GT32 model, enabling more airflow to the engine and, in turn, producing more power and torque than today’s model.

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“One of the most significant improvements to the engine is a larger GT37 turbocharger.” Ford also engineered its six-speed transmission that uses a new torque converter to manage the increased horsepower and torque. Other changes for 2015 include a strengthened frame, suspension, new commercial grade 19.5-inch wheels and tires, and core work components shared with F-Series Super Duty chassis cab models. The reinvigorated interior for the 2015 Ford F-Series Super Duty King Ranch edition is inspired by the place where American ranching was born. “King Ranch is an American original with a proud heritage of hard work that defines the American ranching lifestyle,” said

Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine November/December 2013

Doug Scott, Ford Truck group marketing manager. “What really stood out at the actual ranch is how prominent the “Running W” is, and how it defines and unifies the ranch,” said Barb Whalen, Ford color and material design manager. “Similarly, we wanted that brand to define the new Super Duty King Ranch.” The Running W – the brand used on cattle raised at the ranch – provides a focal point for the interior. It is stitched to make the seat backs and center console appear to have been branded. A lighter, richer shade of Mesa leather trims the seats, center console lid, armrests and steering wheel. Exterior updates include the new, darker Caribou paint for the wheel lip moldings, bumpers and lower body. The bed rail caps, bumper caps and running boards are executed in black. Specific numbers for power, torque, horsepower and most importantly, the MSRP, weren’t released, but we’re sure they are all just as stout as the 2013’s tow rating of 24,700 pounds. The current F-450 model starts $50,445.


2013 J/Fest Southwest Results - Lakewood Yacht Club Nov. 2 - 3 Class J/22

Place Boat Skipper 1st Blackburn Marine Racing Casey Lambert 2nd Unnamed Dove Kivlovitz 3rd TILT Chris Morian

J/24

1st Rumline Bryan Dyer 2nd Tropical Aggression Stuart Lindow 3rd Happy Dance Bill Worsham

J/70

1st Stampede Pasquinelli/ Wilson 2nd GB Chris Lewis 3rd J Boats Southwest Scott Spurlin

J/80

1st GC/ Quantum Racing Terry Flynn/Dave Whelan 2nd Parsons Project Luke McAllum 3rd Hendrix Kurt VanderWall

J/105

J/PHRF (sym)

J/PHRF (asym)

1st Infinity Uzi Ozeri 2nd Blue Flash Matthew Arno 3rd Stinger J B Bednar 1st Footloose Chris Alk 2nd Press to +MECO Glen Stromme 3rd Toccata Gary Trinklein 1st Unnamed Kevin Hayes/Mike McGaugh 2nd Hamburg Albrecht Goethe 3rd It’s a Thrill! Rod Johnstone

League City 52nd Annual Christmas Boat Lane Parade on Clear Lake Saturday, December 14, 2013

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ing in the holidays with this Clear Lake tradition. More than 100,000 people traditionally enjoy this event from land and from hundreds of boats anchored throughout the Lake The parade features more than 100 brightly decorated power and sailboats that will traverse the Clear Lake channel from the South Shore Harbour Marina and the Nassau Bay Lagoon to Galveston Bay.

Photos from last year’s parade. Images provided by the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce.

www.GulfCoastMariner.com

25


S N A P S H O T S

Galveston Bay Tides

2013 Viper 640 North American Championships

EAGLE POINT, TX NOAA Station Id: 8771013

NOVEMBER Fri 11/01 04:23 AM 1.2 H 12:15 PM 0.5 L 08:39 PM 1.3 H Sat 11/02 12:42 AM 03:55 AM 12:43 PM 10:03 PM

1.2 L 1.2 H 0.3 L 1.4 H

Sun 11/03 12:18 PM 0.2 L Mon 11/04 01:44 AM 1.4 H 12:59 PM 0.1 L Tue 11/05 02:23 AM 1.5 H 01:46 PM 0.0 L Wed 11/06 03:09 AM 1.6 H 02:37 PM 0.0 L Thu 11/07 03:48 AM 1.6 H 03:33 PM 0.0 L Fri 11/08 04:13 AM 04:32 PM Sat 11/09 04:14 AM 05:34 PM

1.5 H 0.1 L 1.4 H 0.2 L

Sun 11/10 03:54 AM 1.3 H 06:36 PM 0.4 L Mon 11/11 03:32 AM 1.2 H 07:39 PM 0.6 L Tue 11/12 03:15 AM 10:17 AM 04:02 PM 08:41 PM

1.1 H 0.7 L 0.9 H 0.8 L

Wed 11/13 03:00 AM 10:29 AM 06:06 PM 09:45 PM

1.1 H 0.5 L 1.0 H 0.9 L

Thu 11/14 02:46 AM 10:54 AM 07:37 PM 10:50 PM

1.1 H 0.3 L 1.1 H 1.1 L

Fri 11/15 02:26 AM 11:23 AM 08:56 PM

1.1 H 0.1 L 1.2 H

Sat 11/16 11:55 AM 10:16 PM

0.0 L 1.2 H

Sun 11/17 12:28 PM 0.0 L Mon 11/18 12:02 AM 1.2 H 01:03 PM -0.1 L Tues 11/19 01:36 AM 1.3 H 01:40 PM 0.0 L Wed 11/20 02:29 AM 1.2 H 02:19 PM 0.0 L Thu 11/21 03:08 AM 1.2 H 03:00 PM 0.0 L Fri 11/22 03:35 AM 03:41 PM

1.2 H 0.1 L

Sat 11/23 03:47 AM 04:23 PM

1.1 H 0.1 L

Sun 11/24 03:41 AM 1.0 H 05:05 PM 0.2 L Mon 11/25 03:20 AM 0.9 H 05:48 PM 0.3 L Tue 11/26 02:52 AM 0.9 H 06:34 PM 0.4 L Wed 11/27 02:24 AM 09:56 AM 04:27 PM 07:28 PM

0.8 H 0.4 L 0.6 H 0.6 L

Thu 11/28 01:56 AM 09:52 AM 06:29 PM 08:31 PM

0.8 H 0.2 L 0.7 H 0.7 L

Fri 11/29 01:28 AM 10:10 AM

0.8 H 0.0 L

Sat 11/30 12:57 AM 10:40 AM

0.9 H -0.2 L

NOAA GULF COAST TIDAL PREDICTIONS www.tidesandcurrents. noaa.gov/tide_ predictions.shtml?gid=225

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DECEMBER Sun 12/01 12:17 AM 1.0 H 11:17 AM -0.3 L Mon 12/02 12:23 AM 1.1 H 12:01 PM -0.5 L Tue 12/03 01:17 AM 1.1 H 12:48 PM -0.5 L Wed 12/04 02:09 AM 1.2 H 01:38 PM -0.6 L Thu 12/05 02:53 AM 1.1 H 02:30 PM -0.5 L Fri 12/06 03:19 AM 03:22 PM

1.1 H -0.4 L

Sat 12/07 02:59 AM 04:13 PM

0.9 H -0.2 L

Sun 12/08 02:15 AM 0.8 H 05:03 PM -0.1 L Mon 12/09 01:46 AM 0.7 H 05:50 PM 0.2 L Tue 12/10 01:27 AM 08:57 AM 03:36 PM 06:32 PM

0.6 H 0.2 L 0.4 H 0.4 L

Wed 12/11 01:11 AM 0.6 H 09:18 AM -0.1 L Thu 12/12 12:54 AM 0.6 H 09:49 AM -0.3 L

Mon 12/16 12:15 PM -0.5 L Tue 12/17 12:51 AM 0.8 H 12:53 PM -0.5 L Wed 12/18 01:40 AM 0.8 H 01:30 PM -0.5 L Thu 12/19 02:17 AM 0.7 H 02:05 PM -0.5 L Fri 12/20 02:39 AM 02:39 PM

0.7 H -0.4 L

Sat 12/21 02:42 AM 03:09 PM

0.6 H -0.4 L

Sun 12/22 02:17 AM 0.5 H 03:38 PM -0.3 L Mon 12/23 01:38 AM 0.5 H 04:04 PM -0.2 L Tue 12/24 01:02 AM 0.4 H 04:22 PM 0.0 L Wed 12/25 12:31 AM 0.4 H 08:29 AM 0.0 L Thu 12/26 12:03 AM 0.4 H 08:29 AM -0.2 L 11:36 PM 0.4 H Fri 12/27 08:54 AM 11:10 PM

-0.4 L 0.5 H

Sat 12/28 09:30 AM 10:58 PM

-0.6 L 0.6 H

Fri 12/13 12:30 AM 10:24 AM 11:18 PM

0.7 H -0.4 L 0.7 H

Sat 12/14 11:00 AM 10:44 PM

-0.5 L 0.8 H

Mon 12/30 11:01 AM -0.9 L

Sun 12/15 11:37 AM -0.5 L 11:50 PM 0.8 H

Tue 12/31 12:17 AM 0.7 H 11:52 AM -0.9 L 11:01 PM 0.7 H

Sun 12/29 10:14 AM -0.7 L 11:25 PM 0.7 H

NOAA GULF COAST MARINE FORECAST www.nws.noaa.gov/ om/marine/zone/ gulf/gulfmz.htm

Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine November/December 2013

Texas Coast Yachts owner, Jeff Johnson, left, and yacht broker, Robert Williams show the winning ticket for a cruise on a Jeanneau sail boat.



Gulf Coast Mariner Nov/Dec 2013