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Texas Saltwater Fishing

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CONT ENTS

EDITOR AND PUBLISHER Everett Johnson Everett@tsfmag.co com Everett@tsfmag.com

F EBRUARY 2010 Volume 19 No. 10

GENERAL M MANAGER Pam Johnson

FEATURES

18

Pam Pam@tsfmag.com

10 Plugging for Science 14 Should I Stay or Should I Go? 18 Latest in the life... 22 Bodie, Redfish, and Cold... 26 A Winter One-Two Punch

Mike McBride Kevin Cochran Billy Sandifer Martin Strarup Chuck Uzzle

DEPARTMENTS

10

19 28 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46

Coastal Birding Science and the Sea Let’s Ask The Pro Fly Fishing Offshore Conservation TPWD Field Notes Kayak Fishing According to Scott Youth Fishing Every Man’s Offshore

BUSINESS / ACCOUNTING MANAGER BUSIN Shirley Elliott Shirley@tsfmag.com ADVERTISING MANAGER Pam Johnson Office: 361-785-3420 Cell: 361-550-9918 Ads@tsfmag.com

Billy Sandifer UT-Marine Science Institute Jay Watkins Casey Smartt Bobby Byrd/John Cochrane CCA Texas Jennifer Bauer Scott Null Scott Sommerlatte Aaron Cisneros Ruben Villarreal

NATIONAL SALES REPRESENTATIVE Bart Manganiello Bartalm@optonline.net CIRCULATION SUBSCRIPTION – PRODUCT SALES Betty Newberry Cir@tsfmag.com ADDRESS CHANGED? Email Store@tsfmag.com DESIGN & LAYOUT GRAPHICS BY DESIGN Stephanie Boyd Office: 361-785-4282 stephanie@graphicsbydesign.biz

WHAT OUR GUIDES HAVE TO SAY

32 42

54 58 60 64 66 68 70

Dickie Colburn’s Sabine Scene Mickey on Galveston Capt. Bill’s Fish Talk Mid-Coast Bays with the Grays Hooked up with Rowsey Capt. Tricia’s Port Mansfield Report South Padre Fishing Scene

Dickie Colburn Mickey Eastman Bill Pustejovsky Gary Gray David Rowsey Capt. Tricia Ernest Cisneros

REGULARS 06 50 52 72 74 76 80

76

Editorial TSFMag Spotlight New Tackle & Gear Fishing Reports and Forecasts Catch of the Month Photo Gallery Gulf Coast Kitchen Index of Advertisers

production@graphicsbydesign.biz Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine is published monthly. Subscription Rates: One Year (Free Emag with Hard Copy Subscription)

$25.00, Two Year $45.00

E-MAG (electronic version) is available for $12.00 per year. Order on-line: WWW.TSFMAG.COM MAKE CHECKS PAYABLE TO: Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine Attn: Subscriptions P.O. Box 429, Seadrift, Texas 77983 * Subscribers are responsible for submitting all address changes and renewals by the 10th of the prior month’s issue. Email store@tsfmag.com for all address changes or please call 361-785-3420 from 8am - 4:30pm. The U.S. Postal Service does not guarantee magazines will be forwarded.

HOW TO CONTACT TSFMAG: PHONE: 361-785-3420 FAX: 361-785-2844 MAILING ADDRESS: P.O. Box 429, Seadrift, Texas 77983 PHYSICAL ADDRESS: 58 Fisherman’s Lane, Seadrift, TX 77983 WEB: www.TSFMAG.COM PHOTO GALLERY: photos@tsfmag.com

PRINTED IN THE USA. Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine (ISSN 1935-9586) is published monthly by Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine, Inc., 58 Fisherman’s Lane, Seadrift, Texas 77983 l P. O. Box 429, Seadrift, TX 77983 © Copyright 1990 All rights reserved. Positively nothing in this publication may be reprinted or reproduced. *Views expressed by Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine contributors do not necessarily express the views of Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine.

ABOUT THE COVER Jesse Casares is our cover angler with a footballfat 29-inch speckled beauty that pulled his Boga Grip scale to ten pounds. Jesse was fishing the Lower Laguna with Capt. Ernest Cisneros. Kudos to Jesse for practicing CPR!

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Times Inside!

Texas Saltwater Fishing

February 2010

5


Mother Nature’s

Wrath

It has finally come to pass, we’ve been beating the odds for almost a decade and a half but it appears as though our luck may have run out. Mother Nature reminds us once e again who is in charge with her cold shoulder. History says the Texas coast receives a deep freeze every seven years or so and this would have made our twentyfirst winter without one. It is Sunday evening, January 10, and Texas A&M’s monitoring station just north of the ICW in San Antonio Bay has been reporting seawater temperatures at or below 42º F for more than 48 hours and likely will not rise above this mark until some time tomorrow. Readings taken in the Seadrift harbor have indicated even colder temperatures in the shallows. My biologist friends at Coastal Fisheries say there is no magic temperature that will produce a fish kill but bad things start to happen when the water temp falls below 42ºF. The extent of the fish kill, especially our coveted seatrout, will not be known for several days as many fish succumb and sink, not to be seen until the water warms. Concerned anglers and duck hunters are reporting dead fish in the Matagorda Island lakes and I expect the same might be true anywhere between Galveston and Corpus Christi where fish, especially trout, were trapped in shallow water. This is bad news anyway you look at it for our mid-coast trout fishery. I have yet to receive reports of dead or cold-stunned redfish. Coastal Fisheries will be surveying the situation and we should receive more definitive information mid-week. I have written about the mid-coast seatrout decline in this column several times over the past year. I have been encouraging greater conservation through catch and release with our “Just Keep Five” campaign since 2005. And even though that slogan graces the lower margin of the pages of this even this issue, (some pages already gone to the printer); I think JK5 is done, faded into obsolescence as a tool to encourage conservation. Reducing bag limits on Texas’ most popular saltwater gamefish is not an easy task or it would have been enacted seven years ago. Ask Hal Osburn. As Director of Coastal Fisheries in 2002, Hal embarked on a novel concept of pro-active fisheries management he called Spotted Seatrout Work Group. By advising the public of the early signals, Hal hoped to stave off a more serious decline. I remember Hal saying, “the greater the spawning biomass before the freeze, the greater the number that will survive, and the best scenario for quick recovery.” The general fishing public didn’t understand Hal’s message, and when a legion of outdoor scribes ripped it to shreds it crashed and burned. So here we sit, almost eight years later, with a declining fishery dying or at least struggling in icy water. What can we do? For openers, I am calling for even greater conservation of spotted seatrout. Until we can understand the full impact, I say, “Just Keep None!” That’s right; we can all munch on something else for a while. Fried trout is being removed from the menu here at the Johnson Ranch and I’m asking you to join the team. I have great faith in TPWD’s Coastal Fisheries Division from Austin all the way through the staff at each field station to make a good decision here. They’re going to be out there gathering data over the next several days and then crunching numbers for several more. God forbid their findings will require emergency conservation measures, I’m praying it won’t come to that. But should they find reason to entertain reduced bag limits and schedule public scoping meetings to discuss the matter, I implore that you attend and listen carefully. Our midcoast spotted seatrout eatrout fishery needs your helping hand.

6

February 2010

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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Plugging for Science We awoke this past Monday morning

Well, help is here. Dr. Greg Stunz

of interest is that both Greg and Megan

to an oppressive blanket of fog, dense

and crew are literally wading into the

can claim first rights as CCA scholarship

enough to smother any hopes for

possibilities of unraveling the mystery.

recipients, and both have continued their

launching early unless you had some

Greg is an Endowed Professor at

paths to benefit all Texas anglers. That’s

of the same stuff between your ears.

the Harte Research Institute and an

your generous grassroots contributions

However, the mission, as it was, was not

Associate Professor of Marine Biology,

returning at measurable worth. Laura is

going to wait for an excuse as wimpy as

TAMU Dept. of Life Sciences. Funding

a different study and we’ll get back to her

only having a rock’s throw of visibility. So,

comes from both Harte and TAMU along

later. But first, let’s get back in the water

with strange gear but familiar enthusiasm

with a sizeable contribution from CCA.

with these scholastic fish heads.

aboard, Dr. Greg, Megan, Laura and

Additional assistance comes from the

I set out on an obscured heading with

Rotary Club of Corpus Christi, the Harvey

ridiculously thick morning, we could hear

a taco in one hand a handheld GPS in

Weil Sportsman Conservationist Award.

other boats running in blind circles and

the other. When it comes to fishing, I’m

The goal is to initiate a state-of-the-art

other nervous sounds emerging through

not sure which is more inspiring, the

tagging program to track movements

the white-out. Onward through the fog,

thrill of discovery or the glory of capture.

of estuarine sport fishes, specifically to

and in about thirty minutes, we had

Hopefully, this trip would include both.

determine if separate stocks of spotted

safely cut our way into a little area where

We called it, “plugging for science,” and

seatrout exist in the Gulf of Mexico and

certainly no one else would dare venture.

the end result has potential to yield an

the upper and lower Laguna Madre.

As we idled out of the harbor on that

Wrong! Human shapes suddenly

absolute revelation for all trout fishermen

appeared, then a ghost ship of Of course Megan only strutted a little.

along the coast. If there ever was a debated-to-death subject among trout fishermen, the tide

sorts, and then out of the soup came a sarcastic voice, “It’s OK Mikey, you can come on in.”

runner theory would qualify. You know,

It was, and in this situation

when every spring, those hard-bodied

could only have been, some

fish push in through the surf to invade

of the old devil-may-care

the bays with some serious line stripping

Troutmasters from winnings

attitude. It has always been a topic of

past; Dr. John Gill, Tansel

speculation, not only about when and

Basci, and Dr. Jay Wright of

where, but also why.

eleven pound trout Florida

Most old salts pride in their ability to

fly-fishing fame. Go figure.

tell a resident bay trout from one coming

I’m trying, but we should all

from the Gulf. The bodies of surf-run fish

be convinced that no spot or

seem much stouter and we speculate

condition is safe any more.

this comes from surviving the demands

Anyway, after exchanging

of nearshore currents and evading toothy

some potlicker talk, my crew

predators. Most fishermen have their

bailed into a little knee deep

own theories about timing, whether the

trough that we hoped would

movement is temperature or photo-period

be holding some of the larger

driven, but most all remain firm that these

Greg has some other heavy hitters

trout we needed. The transmitters being

fish exist. All but the scientific community,

in his boat, Megan Robillard, Fisheries

used are about as big as a fat thumb, so

that is. To date there has been no data

Research Coordinator, and Laura Bivins,

we needed some girth to accommodate

aside from what is commonly termed

marine biology master’s student. In fact,

this high dollar chunk of plastic. The

anecdotal, meaning information coming

this project is actually led by Laura, who

area was full of juvenile trout, but Megan

strictly from fishermen that has not stood

among other credits has completed some

was the first one to hook up with a real

the scrutiny of scientific method.

innovative studies on Florida snook. Also

fish. Another cool thing about this group

10

February 2010

Texas Saltwater Fishing

www.TSFMAG.com

Just Keep Five


strutted a little with her personal best. After the releases it was time to head to the Mansfield Channel to install the receivers. Enter Laura again. The water was about 52 degrees when she slipped into a wetsuit for the required dive. It’s all for

A fish of decent girth is required to tote the sounding device.

science, but we all heard her sputter something like,

If you catch one of these, please don’t eat it.

“I hate my life,” through blue

is that they conduct all their studies the

lips following the initial plunge. She wants

for trout wearing streamers that say,

sporting way, i.e., wading with rod and

to know what the big deal about Texas

“Internal tag, please release.” Seriously,

reel and throwing topwaters and Corkys.

trout is anyway, being that she is more

if you catch one, please don’t eat it. Just

Her fish went just over six pounds, a solid

used to catching thirty pound snook.

document the when and where and call

candidate for a good return. Greg soon

When the second device was set she

the number on the tag. The information

stuck a four pounder on his obsessively

sputtered something about deserving her

gained should be big and could shed

thrown “secret” topwater. (He’s going to

master degree right now.

light not only on tide-runners but the

throw it whether he should or not.) We

With the receivers in place, they now

value of coastal passes as well. So

caught a few more worthy of surgery, but

should “ping” movement of trout through

say the scientists among us who can

for the most part the fishing was foggy as

the Land Cut, Mansfield Pass, and Upper

actually work topwaters pretty darn well.

well. We didn’t exactly have a trophy day,

Laguna Madre complete with time and

Let’s all be excited to finally clear this

but none the less, the plan worked.

date stamps and other valuable data. We

tide runner fog.

should certainly know more than we do

Links to learn more:

precise incisions to insert the transmitters

now, which will be valuable information to

and filling out the required paperwork.

better manage precious stocks.

Never mind the smack talk about who caught what, and of course Megan only

The next phase is going to be tagging winter trout in the surf, and somebody

The water was about 52 degrees, but hey, it’s all for science.

http://harteresearchinstitute.org/staff/ stunz.html, http://fisheries.tamucc.edu/, http://www.vemco.com/products/ receivers/vr2w.php.

proposed the Dream Team to make

Mike Mcbride

it all happen, which may actually turn out to be more of a scream team. Billy Sandifer is the only animal I know who has routinely caught ten pound trout in the surf during winter, so along with

Contact

Laura did her surgery thing, making

Greg’s crew, myself, Capt. Tricia, Jay Watkins, David Rowsey and perhaps even our editor, EJ, the plan is to combine efforts to stick the data needed for this excellent study. With Billy’s guidance I imagine this crew will catch them if they are there. There might also be some interesting fodder for the next article from one of us. Trust me; there will be no smack talk there either.

Mike McBride is a full time fishing guide based in Port Mansfield, TX, specializing in wadefishing with artificial lures. Contact Skinny Water Adventures Telephone 956-746-6041 Email McTrout@Granderiver.net Website Skinnywateradventures.com/ Three_MudSkateers.wmv

In the meantime, please watch Just Keep Five

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

February 2010

11


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February 2010

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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Just Keep Five

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

February 2010

13


Should I Stay or Should I Go? A ssteady tead te adyy breeze bree br eeze ze snapped sna napp pped ed my my shirt shir sh irtt while whilile wh e I idled idle id led d toward towa to ward rd the the

Ie xpla xp lain ined ed tthe he ssituation itua it uati tion on a nd d irec ir ecte ted d my clients clilien ents ts to to follow follllow fo ow explained and directed

day’s first anchor site in the pre-dawn darkness. Tentatively, I

my lead; we worked slowly, mostly at an angle to the breeze,

set the Power Pole down, unsure if the water along my targeted

slightly downwind, casting our small topwaters straight with the

grass edge would remain adequately clear despite the wind.

wind to better cope with the floating grass that lay in parallel

Waves slapped the transom, occasionally spraying mist.

rows. Our inherent tendency, if the bite turned out to be

At least an hour would pass before I’d get a good look at the

slow, would be to allow the strong breeze to push us through

grass line, even if the water was holding relatively clear. If the

productive water too quickly, and we’d spook the fish we were

wind mucked it up too badly, identifying the edge might become

trying to catch.

impossible. We’d have to approach the area cautiously, probing for the target corridor mostly by my feel and memory.

I kept a close eye on the group while we repeatedly cast toward shore, unable to see whether we were contacting the

Ideally, we’d stand in a nearly barren, sandy gut running

narrow zone of prime potential. For the first hour or so, none

perpendicular to the wind and cast downwind, onto a grassy

of us had a blow up. I preached patience, and each time the

flat extending from shore. Most of the fish had been snuggled

guys started forward, I warned them to move sideways to the

tight to the subtle edge where the grass drops off into the gut, or

wind instead. Several times, I stated the importance of making

among shallow potholes on the shoreline side of the gut.

every cast to a slightly different spot and stressed the need for creative, variable presentations. Trout approaching thirty inches were likely right in front of us. In four of five previous stops there, I’d caught at least one trout twenty eight inches or longer. My staying power was therefore high, but I was beginning to wonder if the wind had changed things too much when I saw one of my clients hook the first fish. “Did you see that?” he asked. “I was ripping the rodtip real hard to get grass off the lure when she blew up!” “Good fish?” I asked, smiling with relief. “Pretty good, I think,” he nodded. Then a tall sheet of windswept suds erupted between us. “Trout or red?” I asked, fearing it might be the latter. “It’s a big trout!” he answered, and I started toward him to document another “picture fish“. The events leading up to that catch remind me of some relevant points related to one of the most critical components of successful lure fishing--the choice of whether to stay put or move when the fishing starts off slow in a spot. Most of the time, if I start off the morning fishing a spot on which I haven’t had recent success catching big trout, I’ll make a move within the first thirty minutes if the bites don’t come easily. That quick first move is a basic strategy; I want to see if things look the same (and whether bites are easier to obtain) at another spot before too much of the prime daybreak bite potential is lost.

John Gill caught this thirty inch trout on his second bite of the day, nearly two hours into the fishing. Numerous jumping mullet prompted us to make a short move from our original spot.

But, when I’ve been catching big trout most every time I stop at a spot and the weather and tide levels are stable, I’ll be more stubborn in standing my ground and waiting for something to happen. In the story detailed above, my client proved such

14

February 2010

Texas Saltwater Fishing

www.TSFMAG.com

Just Keep Five


good fishing or the long-

waders who aren’t catching where they

term history of the spot,

originally intend to fish. Some of those

referencing the conditions

people fail to accept the truth of what’s

of the moment. I’d prefer

preventing them from catching fish; fish

to start off every day

are present within a reasonable distance

fishing in a place where

of where they parked, but they aren’t

I’ve caught numerous big

doing the right things to catch them.

trout recently, but doing

Wandering off in search of fish on foot

so isn’t always possible,

without changing plugs and presentations

especially when weather

makes little sense to me in most cases.

conditions change rapidly.

I rarely park in a place unless there’s

Once I’ve decided to

This thirty inch trout attacked a pearl/pink FatBoy cast repeatedly into shallow potholes adjacent to a Baffin Bay shoreline.

a sweet spot in close proximity, one I

fish somewhere that I

believe should be holding fish. If I decide

haven’t had a recent run

fish are present in that sweet spot but we

of catching big trout,

aren’t yet catching, I’ll plant my feet and

one of two things will

change what I’m doing to try and make

need to happen in order

those fish take a bite. I won’t race off

for me to stay put for

across the bay like a greyhound.

more than an hour or

Having the patience of a heron

so. Either we’ll catch

is helpful when trophy trout fishing;

fish easily, preferably big

greyhounds are better off at the track,

ones, or I’ll see ample

chasing rabbits! When wading, I won’t

signs indicating fish

rush around in circles like a numbered

are there, most notably

mutt, but I also won’t stick to the ground

a strategy right that day, in spite of the

plenty of nervous bait and/or slicks. If I

like a slug, waiting for fish to show up

strong winds threatening to negatively

decide to stay when we aren’t actually

in a spot without a recent track record,

alter the spot.

catching fish, I will begin to methodically

unless I perceive real and tangible

change what I’m doing in order to make

reasons to do so.

regularly make the right decision of whether to move or stay put when they

something happen. It’s important to systematically change

find the fishing in an area to be slow.

presentation styles (and/or type of

Making the right choice means properly

lure) after deciding to stay put in a spot

assessing whether fish are present

and wait out a slow bite. Anglers who

or not. Many factors influence my

successfully alter their strategies will

perception of the likelihood of fish being

eventually catch fish more often than

in a spot, including the way I chose the

those who stubbornly refuse to adjust.

spot in the first place. Sometimes, I stop and fish because I

Several variables should be considered when making these changes, including

see signs indicating the presence of fish

the depth, clarity and temperature of

while passing close to an area. Such

the water, time of year, wind speed and

signs might be slicks, nervous bait, mud

both recent and long-term experiences.

stirs or even birds hovering over the

Randomly experimenting is less likely

water, standing on the shoreline or in the

to be effective than a thoughtful and

shallows nearby. The first stop of the

specific plan. Staying put and changing

morning will usually not be made after

presentations and lures is most of the

such observations, since I’m often putting

time more productive than covering

the Power Pole down before dawn, when

greater distances with the same plug

it’s impossible to see.

worked the same way.

I make the choice of where to start a day of fishing based either on a recent run of Just Keep Five

www.TSFMAG.com

Kevin Cochran

Contact

Consistently productive wadefishermen

The tendency to wander far from the

Kevin Cochran is a full-time fishing guide at Corpus Christi (Padre Island), TX. Kevin is a speckled trout fanatic and has authored two books on the subject. Kevin’s home waters stretch from Corpus Christi Bay to the Land Cut. Trout Tracker Guide Service Telephone 361-688-3714 Email KCochran@stx.rr.com Website www.FishBaffinBay.com

boat is a mistake I see made daily by Texas Saltwater Fishing

February 2010

15


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February 2010

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Latest in the life of an adrenalin addict Decades ago I fished expensive

very real complication as well. My federal

all of them are not negative in spite of all

Dacron line on the largest reels made in

permit stated that I could use an inflatable

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from the beach. There were no kayaks

inflatable. I knew right off that would create

in policy about me being able to have

back then and it would take hours to row

more trouble than it would ever be worth.

each bait far offshore in a one man vinyl

In late summer and fall we can often see

life raft. Dragging them back in was even

large schools of tarpon and other game

tougher than getting them out if you didn’t

species breaking the surface within sight

get a strike and if conditions allowed I’d

of the beach. I could just see pulling an

paddle out to the floats on my leaders,

inflatable along the beach with gung-

cut the leaders off and put them in the life

ho customers and then telling them we

raft with me so I then had to only crank

couldn’t go chase the fish of their dreams

in line rather than heavy sinkers and big

three quarters of a mile offshore. And I

hooks plowing furrows in the sea floor all

couldn’t afford to purchase an inflatable,

the way back. As time went on I bought

motor and trailer; the money just wasn’t

a used 14’ Zodiac with an outboard on

available. So, I just filed it away in the old

it and it sure made life easier and the

“wouldn’t it be nice” category we all have

enterprise more practical. Still it was not

and went on doing the best I could with

without lots of problems and for a guy

what I had and being thankful for it.

just sportfishing with no return on money

Many of my customers are more like

spent it proved expensive. BUT, this

family than clients and Dr. Rollin Sarradet

tactic caught big fish; more than I’ve ever

of Austin and his family have been

caught before or since.

treasured friends and fishing pals for the

When I started guiding on PINS 19

Rocky Guerra of Roy’s Bait and Tackle with the 16/0 rigs he built for me, time to go fishing!

better part of two decades. Unexpectedly,

years ago I considered investing in

Rollin e-mails me and wants to know if

an inflatable and an outboard but the

I’d be interested in a twelve and a half

customers on an inflatable as my last

overhead involved in operating a guide

foot Sea Eagle inflatable with a 25-hp

few annual permits had not stated such

service on PINS leaves very little in the

Yamaha and a trailer. He’s been doing

as earlier ones years ago had. After

way of profit margin and there was another

some upgrading lately and the inflatable

checking they advised me that they

Sharkathon organizers recently donated $2,000 to Friend of Padre, $500 to Harte Research Institute and $2,000 to NPS PINS. 18

February 2010

no longer had any

couldn’t understand why that restriction

utility to him and if I

had ever been in effect but that it was

can use it he’d bring it

not in effect now and all I had to do was

down and give it to me.

insure the inflatable and bring them the

Against my arguments

info and I was good to go. I bought 2 16/0

he said he’d rather

Penn Senator reels and had Roy’s Bait

see me be able to get

and Tackle replace worn parts bringing

some good out of it

them to tip-top condition. Roy custom built

than to just sell it and

me two Jawbone 8655 8.5 foot rods that

not long afterwards he

have some give in them instead of those

delivered it.

old back breaking tree trunk rods we used

There’s been lots

years ago. Every single piece of hardware

of changes on PINS

on the rods was specifically handpicked

under the newest

for it’s effectiveness and durability. Roller

administration and

guides were not used as they wear badly

Texas Saltwater Fishing

www.TSFMAG.com

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when running baits with an inflatable and

“cowboyish.” To take children or those

require constant maintenance. Instead

in poor health on such outings would

we chose Batson Forecast High Frame

be to do them an injustice and possibly

guides with high test zirconium inserts.

endanger them. I can assure you we’ll

Toughest material on the market. Roy

be wearing life jackets. There are other

Guerra did a superb job of wrapping both

issues to work out. One big one I’ve had

the guides and the decorative wraps. I’ve

problems with for years is that prime time

owned many a shark rod but these are the

dates are the stock in trade of a guide. So,

finest I’ve ever seen.

customers reserve a date but have one

We then put 2,500 yards of Momoi Blue

particular type trip in mind. Then short

Diamond Braid on each reel with 130

term conditions make that particular type

pound test Big Game mono for backing.

trip impossible although it’s fine for other

Each reel has at least 2,900 yards of line

types of fishing and my customers want to

on it. My guess is these twin 16/0s are the

cancel that date leaving me high and dry

only ones ever rigged in this manner. Sure,

without a charter and to re-book a second

I know all about getting cut off, abrasion

date. I’ve lost as many as five prime dates

from sand bars and the other problems

to one customer without ever getting his

involved but I learned a many a trick over

charter completed. I go way out of my way

the years which I hope will help with that

to be fair to customers but I’ve got to figure

and the potential of these rigs is mind-

out how to stop this as it’s impossible to

boggling. There are other issues as well;

make a living like that. I have much more

not the least being that rod, reel and line

of a problem than other guides with this

weighs 16 pounds 14 ounces but before

issue as most guides specialize in one or

folks start up with how it’s impossible to

at the most two types of charters while

fight a large fish with a rig weighing that

I offer a wide variety of services. It’ll all

much it’s appropriate to realize people

work out. Life’s a Hoot; get out and get you

were doing it when I showed up on P.I.

some of it.

BILLY SANDIFERʼS

Coastal Birding Black-necked Stilt -Himantopus MexicanusSlim wading bird, very delicate in appearance, with strikingly long red legs and a needle like bill. Black above with white below. Western and South Eastern U.S. to Peru. Lives in grassy marshes, mud flats, pools and shallow lakes. Some remain in our area all year but it is more common in summer as it breeds here. Usually seen in small groups wading and foraging shallow water.

Length: 14” Wingspan: 29” Weight: 6 oz

fifty years ago and some have been doing it ever since. The largest fish I ever personally caught was a 746 pound

If we don’t leave any there won’t be any. - Capt. Billy L. Sandifer

Tiger that picked up a bait I’d placed 2,000 yards off the beach. I weighed 152 for everyone but the inflatable will certainly be a blessing for laying baits with smaller sized rigs as well. And there’s so much additional potential for the inflatable. The ability to fish inshore rocks for snapper in

Capt. Billy Sandifer

Contact

pounds at the time. These big rigs aren’t

state waters and running and gunning on surface feeding game fish are the two that will probably be of the most interest but I have several other scenarios in mind as well. And obviously I can’t think of having any better odds at getting a Beach Winter Mako than with these long rigs. I’ve got to get all of this figured out in my mind but I anticipate these trips will be available by the time you read this article. I am going to be selective when booking customers for charters onboard

Billy Sandifer operates Padre Island Safaris offering surf fishing for sharks to specks and nature tours of the Padre Island National Seashore. Billy also offers bay and near-shore fishing adventures in his 25 foot Panga for many big game and gamefish species. Telephone

Photo by Jimmy Jackson

361-937-8446 Website www.billysandifer.com

the inflatable as obviously this is a bit Just Keep Five

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

February 2010

19


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February 2010

21


Bodie, Redfish, and Cold Water Sharks Smoke from the driftwood fire rose up and circled around

The coffee pot began percolating, the hot coals next to the fire

Bodie’s ancient Stetson as he added another chunk of wood

working as well or better than any gas stove, and Bodie pulled out

to the blaze. It was cold and very still; the full moon lit the early

two beat up, stainless cups from his bag. Using his coat sleeve as

January night like a giant Q-Beam. A meteor streaked across the

a potholder, Bodie grabbed the hot handle and poured two cups of

sky, a giant tracer fired from an unseen gun in space, mocking the

steaming coffee. “Coffee’s ready, Tommy,” Bodie told his friend who

moon’s bright glow.

nearly standing in the fire, staring back into the saltgrass. Tommy

Bodie’s friend and fishing partner, Tommy Meyers, ran into the

moved closer to Bodie and gratefully took the steaming cup.

camp and dumped an armful of driftwood next to the fire. “I thought

“Did you bring cream and sugar, Bodie? I can’t drink coffee

I heard a rattler while I was picking up wood, Bodie. Maybe we

if there’s no cream and sugar you know, just can’t do it, tastes

should cut our trip short.”

horrible if you don’t use cream and sugar,” Tommy whined.

“It’s too cold for snakes, Tommy. You probably just brushed some dry saltgrass or something,” Bodie said.

“In my bag Tommy; help yourself,” Bodie sighed. Tommy rummaged through Bodie’s bag and found a Ziploc containing

“Well it sounded like a rattler,” Tommy insisted, “and I could

packets of sugar and creamer, a welcome surprise.

hear something sneaking around in the grass like it was stalking me or something, so it could have been a cold weather rattler,” he

“Can I have a honey bun Bodie? There’s a couple in your bag!” Tommy pleaded.

muttered to himself. Bodie smiled at his timid friend’s nervousness; Tommy just didn’t like being out in the dark.

22

February 2010

“Help yourself, but make sure you leave me one for later,” Bodie said. “Didn’t you bring any food, Tommy?”

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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“I got some sardines in mustard

your gear, Tommy. Those fish can’t be long

no need for head lamps, and together

sauce, some cans of those vie-ennie

in getting here as fast as the tide is moving

Bodie and Tommy slid their feet along the

sausages in bbq sauce that I like, some

in!” Bodie whooped.

sandy bottom, feeling the cold water as it

cans of beanie weenies, some dried

“Maybe we could just get in the

squeezed their waders against their legs.

sausage from deer season three years

boat and sort of drift with the tide,

Tommy started casting, reeling his soft

ago, and crackers if you want some,

Bodie. That way we wouldn’t have to

plastic bait back slowly to him. After doing

Bodie,” Tommy proudly offered.

wade and get all cold and stuff,” Tommy

so about ten times, he announced, “Well,

suggested hopefully.

they didn’t show up tonight, Bodie, so I

Ugh, thought Bodie. “Maybe later Tommy Boy.” Sipping coffee, Bodie

“Nah, a boat will spook them, and if

guess we might as well go home right?”

walked the narrow strip of sand to the

it’s as big as that pilot claimed, we’re in

water’s edge where he had jammed a

for a night of catching that doesn’t come

“They’ll be here when they get here and

stick earlier. Lit up by the moonlight, Bodie

around very often, so get ready,” Bodie

not before, so stop wasting casts, and

could see that the stick was now quite wet.

told his friend

don’t be complaining about a sore shoulder

Tide’s coming in, Bodie thought to himself.

Pouting, Tommy started pulling on

“Give it time, Tommy,” Bodie grinned.

from empty casts either.” Tommy cursed

Just then, something rammed him from

his waders, and after falling twice (and

under his breath since that was going to be

behind. “What are you doing, Tommy?!

three more times while trying to put on

his next excuse for a nice warm bed back

You almost knocked me into the water!”

his wading boots), he finally succeeded.

at his house.

Bodie yelled as he wrung spilled coffee

Bodie was already on the shoreline with

out of his coat sleeve.

his rod and reel in hand, waiting not quite

subtle but noticeable, quite wide, and it

patiently for his friend. Realizing he was

was coming fast. “They’re coming Tommy

you in case you saw a cold weather rattler

20 yards from Bodie, who offered him

Boy! Cast out ahead of the school and let

or something,” Tommy finished lamely.

safety from things that go rattle in the

your lure sit for a while before you work it

Bodie gave his friend a narrow-eyed look

night, Tommy sprinted towards his friend

back. Let’s not to spook them before we

that made Tommy flush in embarrassment,

and fell on his rod breaking it in half.

get hooked up,” Bodie instructed. Both

then headed back to the fire with Tommy

“Dang it! Bodie, I broke my rod and didn’t

watched the school of fish move towards

right on his heels.

bring another one, so I’ll just sit in the boat

the mouth of the channel, stirring up the

and let you get the fish,” Tommy lamented,

bottom as they foraged for whatever they

sounding a bit too relieved.

could find along the way. They both cast

“I, uh, well, thought I’d better go with

Refilling his cup, Bodie thought about the school of redfish the helicopter pilot had seen as he flew over a channel

“No, you’ll go to the boat and get one

They both saw the wake. It was

slightly ahead of the moving wake and

the day before, the same channel that he

of my spares and you’ll do it pretty dang

slowly twitched their rods, hoping the fish

and Tommy were now camped on. Mr.

fast, too,” Bodie said. Tommy recognized

would find their lures.

O’Connor had hired the helicopter and its

that tone and hurried to the boat, only

pilot to help Bodie and his crews gather

tripping once in the process. He grabbed

cattle into working pens and trucked to a

an expensive, seven-foot Laguna with a

new pasture. When the work was done,

new Calcutta reel on it and carefully made

the pilot told Bodie that he had seen a

his way back to where Bodie waited. Bodie pointed with his rod, “The fish

channel, covering at least a good acre

should come in right over there Tommy,

of water. Bodie asked the pilot for more

where the sand bar dips down to about

details and found that he knew exactly

three feet. There’s more than enough

the place the pilot spoke of. The pilot told

room for both of us to stand on hard

Bodie that he would be happy to take

bottom and not crowd each other, so let’s

him up in the chopper but Bodie declined

spread out some.”

the offer, telling the pilot thanks but he

“You ever hear of cold water sharks

knew the area. Besides, the helicopter

cruising around here, Bodie?” Tommy

was costing his boss a lot of money and

asked.

not for finding fish. Now, Bodie hoped the

Tommy inched slowly away from his friend,

with the tide tonight.

careful in not moving too far.

Just Keep Five

www.TSFMAG.com

Martin Strarup is a lifelong saltwater enthusiast and outdoorsman. Martin is also a collector and dealer of vintage fishing tackle and lures, especially those made in Texas.

“No” was all the reply he got, so

school would be moving into the channel “Better get your waders on and grab

Martin Strarup

Contact

huge school of fish moving through a

…to be continued.

Email Trouthunter@swbell.net

With the bright moon, there was Texas Saltwater Fishing

February 2010

23


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A Winter One-Two Punch It is always the hope of fishermen to

at least a dozen black drum over 40

do battle with a mighty fish, a giant of

pounds caught by clients using live

epic proportions that will live forever

shad or cracked crab. Let me say this,

in memories. For most folks who do

a drum that size is a real deal workout

not regularly frequent offshore waters,

any way you look at it. For nearly every

your choices of really big fish are rather

person who catches one that size it’s

small. The occasional redfish of 35 to

the biggest fish they have ever caught

40 inches are often the biggest boys in

on a rod and reel and a proud day for a

the neighborhood next to alligator gar or

guide when they can put people on the

maybe a big catfish. You can add a pair

biggest catch of their career.

of names to the list of heavyweights that

The really big fish are normally found

routinely make a name for themselves

closer to the jetties, along the ship

during this time of year though, black

channel, and out in the gulf. On a run

drum and stripers.

out to the lake recently I stopped to

While the dedicated legions of big

watch a fisherman do battle with one

trout anglers are waist deep on a

of these giants. Slow powerful runs

shallow flat, there a few folks taking

kept the rod bent nearly double as

advantage of another bite that offers

the beast worked the drag system for

up a real opportunity to tangle with a

more than 20 minutes. My clients and I

monster. The jetty systems that line the

were amused by the fight and shouted

channels become a highway for some

encouragement and congratulations as

very underrated and oversized fish as

the fish was finally brought to the boat.

big black drum congregate in the deep

Perhaps the best comparison of what

holes there that have eroded over time.

happens when you tie into one of these

Under normal conditions black drum

giants is hooking a runaway fork truck.

with a switch. Hooking and landing a

can be found in respectable numbers

They won’t outrun you but you just can’t

fish in the 40 to 50 pound class is real

most of the year. Generally speaking,

stop them.

treat for any fisherman, especially those

the drum that are found on the north

Big black drum can be caught on a

of the inshore persuasion. Big fish like

end of Sabine Lake and in the Sabine

variety of baits, shad, mullet, or shrimp

these don’t come around often so take

River usually run anywhere from 12

are good options but the best bet is

advantage of the opportunity.

to 20 inches. During winter is when

crab. Big black drum are suckers for

the big fish show up. While fishing the

a piece of crab fished on or near the

punch is another hard pulling specimen

Sabine River and Intracoastal Canal

bottom. Popular rigging for this method

that receives little pressure due the

in January and February I have had

consists of hooking a 1/4 of a whole

places where they normally reside.

26

February 2010

Now the other member of this 1-2

crab onto a 3/0 or 4/0

Striped bass are a welcome diversion

live bait hook that is

for local fishermen during winter and

tied to a 1/2 ounce

early spring. Many anglers only find

weighted Carolina rig

these brutes by accident as they probe

with 18 to 24 inches of

the river for redfish. It wasn’t until the

leader. Some fishermen

last five years or so that we really got to

beef up their tackle by

pattern these fish and become proficient

using 20 to 25 pound

at catching them. Most of the ones

test monofilament and

we caught were strictly by accident

heavy rods; use your

while chunking crankbaits along the

own discretion and just

shorelines and at the mouths of the

remember what they say

marsh drains while targeting redfish.

about chasing a bear

The toughest ones by far to catch are

Texas Saltwater Fishing

www.TSFMAG.com

Just Keep Five


stripers crushed my lure. For this time of the year there are few fish I would rather chase and still fewer who fight as well as the stripers do. The striper and the black drum are not high on the “flashy” or “sexy” list but they rarely fail to impress those who catch them. The sheer size of these fish and the strength with which they pull can be a real eye opener, especially if you are one of those who dismiss these fish the ones that suspend in the main river,

as inferior or not worthy of your time. I,

any fish suspended is a tough target

along with a whole host of other anglers

and these are just exactly that. By

will be glad to tell you how much fun and

relying on good electronics anglers can

challenging these fish are to catch. They

position themselves and make a proper

are a tremendous option and alternative

presentation by casting up current and

to the species you target every day

allowing their bait to fall into the face of

and can certainly provide plenty of

the fish.

excitement. In the coming weeks if you

Another great option is to fish with

are looking for a challenge, do yourself

a heavier jig or swim bait and fish

a favor and check out winter’s 1-2 punch

vertically or by slowly trolling, freshwater

of black drum and striped bass, they just

anglers refer to the technique as

may surprise you.

“strolling”. The tried and true method of fishing live bait scores some big fish as well and live mullet, shad, or techniques mentioned will catch big wintertime stripers but the most exciting has to be the topwater plug. Stripers will occasionally school and break the surface making them ideal targets

Chuck Uzzle

Contact

crawfish are tops on that list. All the

for surface pluggers. The strikes are violent. Dickie Colburn and I found the stripers mixed with speckled trout one day under the birds in the Sabine River of all places. All the trout were solid but the stripers stole the show as they peeled drag and gave great fights. Stripers love low-light conditions so the crummiest overcast days play right into their hand as they prowl around looking to ambush their next meal. I have spent

Chuck fishes Sabine and Calcasieu Lakes from his home in Orange, TX. His specialties are light tackle and fly fishing for trout, reds, and flounder. Phone 409-697-6111 Email cuzzle@gt.rr.com Website www.chucksguideservice.net

some great days in less than desirable conditions with a smile on my face as Just Keep Five

www.TSFMAG.com

Texas Saltwater Fishing

February 2010

27


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February 2010

TM

Texas Saltwater Fishing

The University of Texas

Marine Science Institute www.ScienceAndTheSea.org © The University of Texas Marine Science Institute www.TSFMAG.com

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

February 2010

29


JAY WAT K IN S

Ask the Pro February is typically

will be holding trout of the size and weights

period may last two days or more. And

our coldest ďŹ shing month.

that many dream of this time of year. One

thus, monitoring weather conditions, water

For many it is a time to

mullet pushing or ďŹ&#x201A;ipping over a soft muddy

temperature and bait location becomes

reďŹ&#x201A;ect on past seasonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

ďŹ&#x201A;at can signal the start to a fabulous day

critically important to your success.

experiences and look

on the water, yet after thirty-plus years of

Over the past three weeks our weather

forward to the coming

doing this I am still amazed at the number

has been controlled by steady low pressure

of spring. However, for a segment of the

of anglers who continue to ďŹ sh areas with

working out of the PaciďŹ c southwest. When

Texas saltwater community, February is

NO BAIT PRESENT only because the area

these systems collide with colder air from

the favored month to pursue a lifetime best

has produced good results in the past.

the north our area receives rain and heavy

trout and the popularity of this pursuit has

Without the presence of bait your

cloud cover for several days. With water

brought ďŹ shing pressure in some areas that

chosen area will likely not produce. I spend

temperatures in the mid to lower 50s it can

has to be seen to be believed.

the majority of my time looking for bait

become difďŹ cult to get some of the bigger

activity, in fact; I use my GPS to mark areas

ďŹ sh to pattern. This is especially true if the

feeding habits and locations become a

holding bait from day to day. My reasoning

air temperature and water temperatures

little more deďŹ ned. Mud ďŹ&#x201A;ats with varied

behind marking the bait is simple, the bait

are about the same. Mature trout simply

structures of grass, scattered shell or rock

moves depending on weather, water and

opt for staying along deeper drop-offs and

that lie adjacent to deep water can become

tidal conditions â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and when the food source

eating only when they absolutely must. By

havens of ďŹ sh activity during warming

moves the gameďŹ sh follow. I am a ďŹ rm

positioning ourselves near fast warming

trends and prior to frontal assaults. For the

believer that trout never stray far from the

shallows on the day the sun pops out

most part the smaller baitďŹ sh will leave the

bait this time of year. They simply stage

and air temperatures rise above water

shallows but some larger mullet and shad

nearby, eating when needed, and then

temperature we dramatically increase the

remain. These â&#x20AC;&#x153;one meal wondersâ&#x20AC;? as I

doing nothing for long periods. Depending

odds of getting a shot at a truly special ďŹ sh.

call them are the keys to locating areas that

on the size of baitďŹ sh eaten, the no-feed

After a few months of cold weather trout

One of the absolute biggest trout I have

'( 

   )

   



                !  " # $  $%!! &

  



'(  *+* *,   -./   0  12 

    30

February 2010

' ( $       '      &     & '  &!  &  ' )  &! $ !  && ' (  !  & ' %         $ ' *+, $ !   

 !"# $%& ,+, *  - .   /0121+

Texas Saltwater Fishing

  $3 # $ 

www.TSFMAG.com

Just Keep Five


A SK THE PRO

Trout of this class will be our targets as we seek to take advantage of February’s warming trend patterns here in Rockport.

ever seen was during a winter warming trend after a bitter three day storm that dropped the water temperature into the

temperature variances during the day are

40s. I was unable to get that fish to eat

always a controlling factor and monitoring

anything I threw as she moved slowly

bait location and movement is something

from one pothole to the next. She had two

you simply must become good at. Your

large fish with her but she was by far the

approach to the fishing area also requires

largest of the trio. I swear she had to have

great attention to detail. You can’t crowd

been twelve pounds or more and the other

the area. Mature trout feel your presence; I

two appeared to be ten pounders. I know

promise. Working from “outside-to-inside”

they all look bigger in the water and the

is my preferred approach. If the fish are

big ones always seem to escape but, trust

holding on structure near the shoreline I

me, these fish were all monsters. To this

approach from as far offshore as I can, and

day I continue to slip in and work this small

vice-versa if they are holding deep. Always

section of shoreline every time the mercury

remember to give the area a wide berth and

drops into the freezing range and is followed

you’ll being doing yourself a really big favor

up by a bright sunny day. Who knows,

in the odds department.

maybe her DNA is still swimming in the fish that currently reside there.

May your fishing always be catching! Jay Watkins

decent numbers of what I call solid fish have started to show. My pre-front bite has been much better than my warming trend pattern but I expect the warming trend pattern to strengthen as the fish become more acclimatized to prevailing cold weather. Catching larger trout on a consistent basis during late-winter requires extensive local knowledge. Minor changes in bottom contour that you can almost ignore in other

CONTACT

Locating numbers of large trout in the Rockport area has been hit and miss but

Jay Watkins has been a fulltime fishing guide at Rockport, TX, for more than 20 years. Jay specializes in wading year-round for trout and redfish with artificial lures. Jay covers the Texas coast from San Antonio Bay to Corpus Christi Bay. Phone 361-729-9596 Email Jay@jaywatkins.com Website www.jaywatkins.com

seasons become critically important. Water Just Keep Five

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

February 2010

31


FLY F I SH IN G D EPART M EN T

C A S E Y SM ART T

Aleene’s Fabric Fusion Every now and then

drops of Aleene’s on a white sheet of

Aleene’s, and put them back on the

I come across an

paper to test how long they took to

turner. The next morning, I removed

unusual material at a

dry and how tough they were once

the flies and was thrilled with how

craft or department

they hardened. To my surprise, the

they looked. The Aleene’s on each fly

store that looks like

drops dried in several hours. They

had shrunk slightly from its original

i might i h work k ffor tying flies. Most of it

shrunk slightly as the water in the glue

volume, but the flies were smooth and

these non-traditional materials end

evaporated, but the solids left behind

translucent… exactly like traditional

up disappointing me because they

were crystal clear and extremely

Surf Candy flies.

really weren’t intended to be dunked

tough. They weren’t glassy-hard and

in saltwater and chewed on by fish,

brittle, but more like clear plastic or

but sometimes one turns out to be

vinyl. I was impressed and ready to try

genuinely useful and definitely worth

Aleene’s out on some flies.

writing about. A few months ago, I stumbled onto an unusual bottle of glue in the sewing dept. at Wal-Mart. The glue was called Aleene’s Fabric Fusion, and the label on the bottle said, “Non-toxic, permanent, dry

Next, I tried Aleene’s as a substitute

cleanable, fabric adhesive.” Upon

for epoxy on beaded eyes for shrimp

closer inspection of the bottle, I noticed the glue was clear and syrupy

patterns. Traditionally, these eyes are The first flies on which I used

made by stringing pairs of tiny glass

(like epoxy). I was intrigued because

Aleene’s were Surf Candy patterns.

beads (usually black/red or black/

most water-based glues are milky and

The body portions of these flies

orange) onto a strand of monofilament.

runny, and I had never found any that

are traditionally made by soaking

A drop of epoxy is placed on each pair

could hold up to the kind of soaking

synthetic-fiber flies with epoxy and

of beads, fusing them to the mono and

and abuse inflicted on saltwater flies.

rotating them on an electric turner

optically blending the beads together.

In spite of better judgment, I tossed a

as the epoxy cures. The epoxy

The result is a wonderfully lifelike

bottle of Aleene’s into the cart. A few

penetrates the fibers and creates

crustacean eye that can be used on

days later, I started experimenting

a juicy translucent appearance.

shrimp and crab patterns. I strung

with it.

Surf Candies are relatively easy

up a few sets of eyes and placed

flies to make, but the epoxy stinks,

a large drop of Aleene’s on each

it’s messy, and I pity the poor guy

where I would normally place epoxy.

who accidentally gets it in his eyes.

Several hours later, each had dried to

Unfortunately, besides expensive UV-

a beautiful finish. I couldn’t help but

activated acrylic resins, epoxy has

wonder what was in this stuff.

thus far been the only adhesive that

To answer that question, I got online

really works for these flies. I tied up a few raw Surf Candy patterns, coated them each with a liberal glob of Aleene’s, and stuck The first thing I noticed when

32

them on a turner. An hour later, I

I squirted some Aleene’s onto a

removed them and was quite pleased

toothpick was that it looked EXACTLY

with the result. The Aleene’s had

like epoxy. It was viscous, crystal

penetrated the fibers of the fly and

clear, and it rolled and sagged easily

smoothed out to a shiny, clear finish.

and pulled up a copy of a Material

around the pick. But unlike epoxy, the

The fly bodies were translucent and

Safety Data Sheet for Aleene’s Fabric

Aleene’s had no noxious fumes and

fishy-looking. I stuck eyes on each

Fusion. It turns out the adhesive is

did not require any mixing. I put some

of the flies, added a second coat of

a water-based polyurethane. It has

February 2010

Texas Saltwater Fishing

www.TSFMAG.com

Just Keep Five


needed with a few

glue for him/her to use. It has the same

(slightly heavier than water),

drops of water. Best

consistency as epoxy, without the nasty

and it conforms to the ASTM

of all, there are no

side. Likewise, if you spend much time

D-4236 standard as a

fumes and cleanup

working with epoxy or other adhesives, I

nontoxic material.

highly recommend you pick up a bottle of

Aleeneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s is just slightly

Aleeneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s and experiment with it. You can

tough and will not crack or

ďŹ&#x201A;exible, which is good

ďŹ nd it at Wal-Mart and most craft stores.

discolor. I had several Surf

because it wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t crack.

A 4-oz bottle costs around ďŹ ve dollars.

Candy ďŹ&#x201A;ies that turned milky

However, this makes

Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s great stuff. As always, if you have any

after accidentally staying

it unsuitable for the

questions, feel free to contact me or visit

closed up in a wet box for

standard rigid spoonďŹ&#x201A;y

my website at www.caseysmartt.com.

several weeks, but that was

made from epoxy-

an extreme condition and

coated Mylar tape.

a mistake on my part. So

For this reason, I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t

far, I have used Aleeneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

consider Aleeneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

Fabric Fusion in all sorts of

to be a complete

applications. It works great

replacement for epoxy,

as a protective coating, an

but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s close.

underlayment, a penetrating

If you have a

resin, or a general adhesive.

youngster learning

VIDE

O

It can be

to tie ďŹ&#x201A;ies, Aleeneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

thinned if

would be a great

CONTACT

is a snap. Dried

The dried glue is super

Casey Smartt has been ďŹ&#x201A;y ďŹ shing and tying ďŹ&#x201A;ies for 30 years. When he cannot make it to the coast he is happy chasing ďŹ sh on Texas inland lakes and rivers. Phone 830-237-6886 Email caseysmartt@att.net Website www.caseysmartt.com

Check out Caseyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Fly Fishing Video Library at www.TSFMag.com

SASHIMI JERKBAITâ&#x201E;˘

SASHIMI JOINTEDâ&#x201E;˘

SASHIMI PENCILâ&#x201E;˘

SASHIMI MINNOWâ&#x201E;˘

The color schemes and patterns on the Yo-Zuri Sashimi lures actually change colors as the angle of view changes. Most baitďŹ sh will change colors to blend into their environment or signal that they are in distress; these are the ones that gameďŹ sh key in on to eat. These new highly-detailed lures mimic that color changing behavior, attracting your favorite inshore predators â&#x20AC;&#x201D; redďŹ sh, seatrout, and more. The winning combination â&#x20AC;&#x201D; YoZuri Sashimi Luresâ&#x201E;˘ and Yo-Zuri H.D. CARBONâ&#x201E;˘ Fluorocarbon leader. - (- ($("   3(- +(-$)(&- (- ($("     Just Keep Five

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

February 2010

33

FLY FISHING DEPARTMENT

a speciďŹ c gravity of 1.08


O F FSHO R E

BLUEWATER JOURNAL Don’t Forget the Captain BO BBY BY RD & C AP T. J PHN CO CHR AN E

A new decade is

down to one thing. You can’t beat having a great captain

upon us and as we look back over the years, offshore

on board. And without one, all the information, gadgets and

fishing in Texas has come a long way. From the early days

technology in the world won’t help when problems arise. So,

of navigation by compass and sextant to later devices

captains, take pride in your work and learn as much as you

such as Omega, Loran and GPS satellite navigation

can about all aspects of your boat. Keep maintenance logs,

systems, finding a vessel’s position on this planet has

make sure your craft is seaworthy and always be ready for

become much easier. In addition, integrated electronics

anything that might happen. Boat owners, give your captain

systems, fuel efficient/high horsepower propulsion,

the support and necessary tools that he needs to operate

global communications and an information mega-source

and maintain your vessel in top condition. You will catch

called the internet, has revolutionized the sportfishing

more fish, have less break downs, be inconvenienced much

industry. The sport of offshore fishing has become much

less and have a much better time on the water. Good luck

more sophisticated with computer programs and internet

and good fishing this New Year.

websites providing more information than ever before.

Don’t Forget! It’s time again for the winter wahoo

Technology has really changed the face of sportfishing as

run on the deep rocks offshore. This time of year it is

a whole and has made it more efficient, faster, safer, and

tough to find calm enough seas, but when you do, it can

more productive.

be very rewarding. Many of the fish will average over 50

This new technology is an immense

lbs and the bite can be quite intense. Pick your weather

accomplishment and the future holds great promise of even more inventions and ideas that will surely change the way anglers go about fishing in the future. But some

Never, ever, discount the value of a seasoned captain!

details of fishing are perpetual and cannot be changed by machines and gadgets. “You can’t catch ’em at the dock…” Nothing compares to experience. You can talk about fishing all you want, but you need to spend a lot of time on the water. A good captain on board can fill that requirement. Information and technology is great, but a captain’s instinct is also critical for success. Knowing how to interpret all this new data is a challenge. Side Scan Sonar is a great tool, but it takes experience and savvy to operate it successfully. Safety is a big issue when you are well offshore and there are many new devices for sending out emergency signals and transmitting coordinates. However, nothing can take the place of a prudent captain when it comes to how safely a vessel is operated and maintained. Experience, equipment maintenance, systems knowledge and evaluating risks all play a big factor when you are navigating offshore in marginal weather or at night. Confidence in a knowledgeable captain to get you through these obstacles with flying colors is what makes it all worth while. The captain is the one responsible for everything and everyone on the boat, whether he is an owner/operator or a professional captain. So in this day and age of great advances in technology, science and data, it still comes

34

February 2010

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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Just Keep Five


we are the exclusive Texas dealer for

red and all black, as

CABO Yachts. Come by and get a

well as blue/silver. Of

great deal on your next boat. For more

course, the ballyhoo is

information check out our website at

always a great choice,

www.foxyachtsales.com or you can

usually skirted or behind

contact John Cochrane at captjohn@

an Islander lure. As

foxyachtsales.com.

OFFSHORE

black/purple, black/

for tackle, four 20-30 two-speed reels spooled with 50lb test line will and head out the night before for an

work great. Consult your local tackle

early morning arrival. This is prime

shop to help you get rigged up right.

time for the best wahoo bite. The

One other thing about wahoo fishing;

deepwater rocks around the Flower

when the bite is on, try to conserve

Gardens and to the east provide the

our resource. It’s tempting to load the

perfect location for these bluewater

boat, but you will do us all a favor if you

speedsters. Concentrate on drop-offs

only keep a reasonable amount of fish

and edges around 150-200 feet of

to eat and release the rest. For more

water while trolling deep swimming jigs

information about wahoo fishing off the

and a weighted ballyhoo. Some of our

Texas Coast or to just talk about fishing

favorite lures are Strike Pro Wahoo

and hunting, come by the Fox Yacht

Hunters and similar lures by Yozuri

Sales - Seabrook Office at Tops-N-

and Braid. Rapala Magnums are also

Towers. At Fox we have an extensive

a good choice. We like dark colors like

inventory of brokerage boats and

Just Keep Five

www.TSFMAG.com

Texas Saltwater Fishing

CONTACT

pound-class rods and Born in Galveston, Capt. John Cochrane has been a professional captain for over 25 years. He concentrates his fishing efforts in the Gulf of Mexico, promoting big game fishing and billfish research. A native Texan, Bobby Byrd has fished the Gulf of Mexico since he was eight. In 1995, Bobby combined his love of fishing and boating into a business when he opened Tops-N-Towers in Seabrook, Texas. Contact Fox Yacht Sales / Seabrook 281291-0656 Tops-N-Towers 281-474-4000 Capt. John Cochrane 409-739-4817 Websites www.byrd-cochrane.com www.topsntowers.com www.foxyachtsales.com

February 2010

35


CONSERVATION PAGE

BROUG HT TO YOU BY. . .

Everyone Can Be a Marine Conservationist As the saltwater fisheries see more and more pressure

as the respect between a parent and child. Respect for

from the recreational fishermen, lively discussions

the resource can be shown in many ways - including

often break out among individuals as to who is the true

obeying all bag and length limits, doing as little damage as

conservationist and why. There are many “groups” or

possible to the habitat by avoiding grass beds and other

“types” of fishermen in the world of recreational fishing,

natural structure when running your boat, keeping litter in

and each has their own reasons for choosing the way

the boat and removing any that you might see, releasing

they fish and approach the sport. We are often blinded

some “keeper” fish when you have plenty in the freezer

by our own reasoning and often tend to shun the thoughts

or really do not plan on eating any for a while, or simply

and methods of our peers that approach fishing in a

taking the time to slow down, look around and see if there

different way.

is anything out of the ordinary about your surroundings,

If one was to do a method survey at a busy boat

and if so, what is it and what can be done.

ramp at any given time, he or she would most likely find

Give back to the resource by stopping and taking the

many types of fishermen, including live baiters (shrimp

time to walk a shoreline without your rod and reel and pick

and finfish in general), dead baiters, and artificial bait

up litter and debris when you are out on a trip, take part in

fishermen (including jigs, top waters, suspending baits,

an organized cleanup effort in your local area or the area

etc.). In between all of these different types of fishermen, you might find those who are happy to catch anything they can, those that want to “limitout” every time under the provisions of current bag and length requirements, someone who simply wants a few fish

you enjoy fishing, help out with

We are often blinded by our own reasoning and shun the methods of our peers.

to eat, the trophy hunter, the

community projects in your area, or ask yourself and your peers what can I do to help make an area better. Help conserve the resource by teaching others the importance of respect and giving back, volunteer for a children’s function to

species specific fisherman, and the guy that just wants to

help educate the younger generation the importance of

be on the water.

the resource, or volunteer to help with a conservation

So who is the true conservationist out of all these

organization so that important legislative and fisheries

groups? In reality, true conservationists come from all

management battles can be won and conservation

these groups. Each individual has his or her own set of

projects can be completed.

skills, desires, and reasons for choosing how they fish and

In the end, no one type of conservationist/fisherman is

why they fish. No one group of fisherman is any less of

better than the other. We all want a viable and sustainable

a conservationist than the other as long as they respect,

resource for our generation, our children’s, grandchildren’s

give back to, and help conserve the wonderful resource

and all future generations to come. Be respectful of the

that we have available to us.

resource, get involved and make a difference.

We often talk about respect in all aspects of life, and respecting the resource is as important for a fisherman

36

February 2010

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Other conservation news and events

www.TSFMAG.com

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CCA Texas Contributes $10,000 to Nueces Bay Marsh Restoration Project

towards phase one, which will restore approximately 30 acres. Contracts should be awarded by the end of

Total contribution to grow to $20,000

February and actual movement of dirt for

through secured matching grants

the restoration project should begin in March. CCA Texas / HTFT and CBBEP will also host a volunteer grass planting

from throughout the state to take part in

Project. This project, under the guidance

a hands-on effort to enhance and restore

of Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries

Texasâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s coastal habitat.

Program (CBBEP), will eventually restore

â&#x20AC;&#x153;CBBEP looks forward to partnering

approximately 150 acres of lost marsh

with CCA Texas and HTFT on this

along Nueces Bayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Portland Causeway.

project and we look forward to working

In addition to these funds, HTFT is also

on other projects together in the future,â&#x20AC;?

currently going through ďŹ nal approvals

commented Ray Allen, CBBEP Executive

for a $10,000 matching grant from the

Director. Allen further commented,

Fish America Foundation, pushing the

â&#x20AC;&#x153;This donation will help restore lost

total contribution and funds secured to

marsh that is important to the health

$20,000.

and sustainability of this part of Nueces

This restoration project will consist of multiple phases and these funds will go

Bay and provide opportunities for all recreational ďŹ shermen to enjoy.â&#x20AC;?

Upcoming events February 18th â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Texas State Chapter Annual Banquet (Location TBD, San Marcos, TX) February 25th â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Four Corners Chapter Annual Banquet (Community Center, Midlothian, TX) February 25th â&#x20AC;&#x201C; San Bernard Chapter Annual Banquet (Riverside Hall, East Bernard, TX) Be sure to check the CCA Texas Events Calendar at www.ccatexas.org.

Suspending Twitchbait MirrOdineÂŽ 17MR-EC 2-1/2" Long, 1/4 Oz.

for the Nueces Bay Marsh Restoration

Suspending Twitchbait MirrOdineÂŽ XL 27MR-BKGCH 3" Long, 3/8 Oz.

of event allows volunteers locally and

t/BUVSBM#BJUGJTI1BUUFSO t'FBUVSFT-PX'SFRVFODZ'JTI$BMMJOH3BUUMFT t1SFNJVN)PPLTBOE)BSEXBSF t5SBOTQBSFOU-VNJOFTDFODF'PJM t4JYUFFO1PQVMBS$PMPST t(SFBUGPS5SPVU 3FEGJTI 4OPPL 5BSQPOBOE4USJQFE#BTT

recently approved $10,000 in funding

The Record Setters ÂŽ

27MR MirrOdineÂŽ XL â&#x20AC;&#x201D;17MR MirrOdineÂŽ

day in late spring at the site. This type

BIG Fish On MirrOdines! 27MR MirrOdine 17MR MirrOdine

CCA Texas Executive Board and Habitat Today for Fish Tomorrow (HTFT)

-4#"*5 $0.1"/:ÂŽ 0GGJDF

XXXNJSSPMVSFDPN 0/-*/&$"5"-0("7"*-"#-&

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February 2010

37


F I ELD

N OT E S

Mapping a New Path By Jennifer Bauer | Fish and Wildlife Technician Dickinson Marine Laboratory | Oyster Mapping and Restoration Project When most people think of a job as a fisheries

myself, Jennie Rohrer, Bill Rodney, and David Westbrook.

technician, they generally think that means working

The main objective of the program is to map and identify

with fish. When I started with Texas Parks & Wildlife

submerged habitat in Galveston Bay, Sabine Lake

Department (TPWD) I did just that; I identified, measured,

and the nearshore Gulf of Mexico. With this baseline

and counted fish collected in sampling gear and brought

information it will allow us to assess impacts resulting

in by anglers. Now, however, I am a fisheries technician

from hurricanes, vessel groundings, oil spills, etc. At the beginning of the Oyster Mapping and

Figure 1. The survey vessel, R/V Karankawa, with the side scan sonar fish (yellow) mounted on the side.

Restoration Project, we compared different habitats and organisms found within Texas’ estuaries and determined that monitoring oysters would be the best indicator species to evaluate habitat changes over time. The reason for choosing oysters as our keystone species is two fold. First, oysters are an ecologically, recreationally and commercially important aquatic species that provides nursery, refuge and foraging habitat for numerous fish and invertebrates. Water filtering capabilities of oysters also make them a valuable species in our bays. Second, oyster reefs are a permanent structure on the bay

that works with a different type of fish, a sonar fish. I was not expecting to work this close with complex technology, but

Figure 3. A side scan sonar display of oyster reef habitat. Oyster reefs appear lighter, while muddy areas appear darker.

when the opportunity arose to learn a new technique to assess habitat changes over time, I was excited to become a part of it. The opportunity to start this new program was given to TPWD via a grant from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) with funds from a congressional appropriation to provide aid for fisheries disaster relief and recovery from Hurricanes Rita and Katrina. Now, the Coastal Fisheries Division of TPWD has an Oyster Mapping and Restoration component made up of

38

February 2010

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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FIELD NOTE S

areas, like mud, appear darker (Figure 3). Once

Figure 2. An underwater video image of oysters collected on a ground truthing trip.

multiple images and ground truthing data are collected, we can begin to distinguish oyster reef complexes and other habitat types as well as identify objects of interest. Following Hurricane Ike, our side scan sonar images were effective in assessing habitat changes. Passage of the storm and retreating storm surge led to significant sediment transport in Galveston Bay, resulting in widespread impact to oyster habitat. On average we found a 60% loss of oyster reefs throughout Galveston Bay caused by storm surge derived sediment and debris. Estimates in East Galveston Bay, however, show an 80% loss of oyster habitat (Figure 4). Interestingly, the images do not only reveal negative impacts from Hurricane Ike. For example, oyster reefs near the Houston Ship Channel were scoured by retreating storm surge, resulting in higher elevations of reefs relative to the surrounding bay bottom which will expose oysters to better water flow over the reef and the

bottom making them susceptible to fast moving waters from

phytoplankton upon which they feed. The images have also

natural disasters that can lead to sedimentation or scouring

allowed us to determine the best methods for assisting in

of oyster reefs. Changes in oyster habitat can be detected

recovery that include helping with debris removal and aiding

with images created by our new side scan sonar system,

in current and future oyster reef restoration projects.

a Teledyne Benthos C3D (Figure 1). This sonar allows us

With the success of the Oyster Mapping and Restoration

to not only detect changes to oyster reefs, but also map

Project thus far, we hope to eventually expand the project

shallow water habitats and determine water depths and

to survey the entire Texas coast allowing improved damage

bottom contours.

assessments for the entire state. Although we do not wish

Side scan

Figure 4. A comparison of an oyster reef (highlighted blue) in East Galveston Bay before (left) and after (right) Hurricane Ike. Approximately 88% of this reef was buried by sediment after the storm.

sonar creates

for more hurricanes,

an image of

technology has

the bay bottom

better prepared

based off the

us to assess

absorptive

damages and

and reflective

aid in a quick

acoustic

recovery that

properties of

will not only

each habitat

benefit the

substrate.

oysters, but

Unfortunately,

everyone who

side scan sonar

uses the water.

can not indicate whether an area is mud, sand, oyster shell, rocks, etc. Using a variety of ground truthing methods, including oyster dredges, sounding poles and underwater video (Figure 2), we can identify different bottom types. As a result, we have concluded that dense areas, like oyster

Check the TPWD Outdoor Annual, your local TPWD Law Enforcement office or www.tpwd.state.tx.us for more information.

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

February 2010

39


K AYAK

F I SH IN G

First Fishing Kayak Every year around this time I start getting

C AP T. SCOT T NULL

c calls and e-mails from folks about to jump into

frills kayak for under $300 or you can drop close to four grand for the Surfango. The most popular range is $800 to $1200.

kayak fishing. Most have been thinking about it for quite a

You can outfit a top-line kayak and be ready to start fishing for

while and have done a bit of research on what boat to buy

around $1500, very affordable when you compare with even

and are trying to narrow down their choices. Others have no

the most economical powerboat.

clue and simply ask, “What’s the best kayak for fishing.” That’s a tough question these days as there are so many

So with all these choices and options available, how do I answer the question? I begin by asking a few questions of

fishing-appropriate kayaks on the market. Back when I

my own. What kind of fishing do you plan to do? Where do

started it was merely a matter of choosing narrow and fast

you plan to fish? What is your budget? And lastly, how big a

or wide and slow. To say the choices were limited would

fella are you?

be an understatement. Since that time the manufacturers

The answer to the first two really need to be honest.

have responded with a myriad of kayaks aimed squarely at

Different conditions and styles of fishing require different

the fisherman.

models. Everyone gets into this sport with thoughts of fishing all sorts of places, they want to do it all. Being honest about where you will spend the majority of your time will result in getting a kayak that is best suited for what you will truly be doing. Being less than honest will result in a boat that is right for a style of fishing you might only do occasionally and will not suit the majority of your trips. If you are planning on sticking to the marshes chasing reds fairly close to the launch point; I tend to steer towards the wider and more stable models. These might not be as efficient or easy to paddle, but a kayak that is stable

Demo days can be of great assistance to first time buyers.

enough to stand up in is a valuable tool in that environment. If the angler is looking at

With so many choices it can be quite confusing to those first tinkering with the idea of fishing from a little plastic boat. Fishing kayaks

Surf kayaking is best approached in a boat designed for the job.

now come in lengths from ten to sixteen feet and widths from twenty-eight to a whopping thirtyeight inches. You can choose to paddle or pedal and there are even models factory-equipped with electric trolling motors. At the end of the spectrum is the motorized Surfango with a 9.5 hp jet drive engine allowing you to zip along at over 30 mph and then paddle into your honey hole. Along with increased variety, the price range has also increased dramatically. In the past most of the acceptable models were within $100 of each other, so cost generally wasn’t much of a factor in the decision. Now you can pick up a no-

40

February 2010

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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things add up in cost of materials, they also require more man-hours to assemble. For me, quality equals durability Hobie’s Pro Angler offers extreme stability for flats fishing along with pedal-power to help get you there.

and I’m pretty tough on my equipment. I expect it to work as designed and withstand the everyday abuse of fishing in saltwater without failing. That last question, “how big a fella are you?” often gets a laugh. But it is an important factor. A really big guy in a fairly small boat will seriously affect the paddling and

K AYAK FISHING

use stainless bolts and nuts. Not only do those little

stability. Also, a person who is undersized for the boat they choose can have issues because the kayak sits too high on the water and is adversely affected by wind. Most manufacturers express some sort of weight capacity in their literature for the various models. The problem is that there is no industry standard regarding this issue. While one company may list the maximum weight for their boat to perform at an acceptable level, another may list paddling longer distances or fishing the open bays; I’ll lean more

their max as the point at which the boat will remain safely afloat.

towards the longer, narrower boats that are much more efficient

Listed weight capacities can be little more than a general guide.

and tend to track in a straight line much easier when faced with

You’ll also have to keep in mind that your gear can add a good

a crosswind. Fishing the surf is best done in a kayak designed

deal to the total.

with a more upturned bow and increased stability to allow safe

While I can generally help somebody narrow down their search

launching and landing in rough conditions. Don’t get me wrong,

to a few models by answering these questions, the only real way

all of the available models will take you fishing. However, if you

you’ll know what kayak fits you best is time on the water. Most

buy a surf boat because you might occasionally hit the beach

kayak specialty retailers have rental programs that will allow you

but will spend most of your days in the marsh, you aren’t getting

to take a boat out on the water for a day or two. Many of these

the most for your money.

shops will also apply that rental fee towards the purchase of your

And speaking of money, the

kayak if you end up buying from them.

next question that needs to be answer is about the budget of the buyer. As stated above,

Rental fees are cheap and well worth it if Dean with red – Kayak fishing…gotta love it!

they keep you from making an expensive mistake. If you can’t do the rental, at

you can get into this sport

least attend one of the many kayak demo

on a slim budget or you can

days that are held each spring. I just

spend a little more and get real

spoke with three of the major shops in

quality equipment. One of the

Texas and each have plans for demo

questions I get all the time is

days in March or April.

in regards to the price of the

Once you’ve picked the perfect kayak

various boats. As with many

you can begin considering accessories,

other things, you get what you

but that’s a whole other topic for another

pay for. The lower end boats will

article. Good luck and welcome to the

use cheaper or thinner plastic

kayak fishing addiction.

and have fewer amenities while

CONTACT

the higher priced boats use better base materials and have more features. Also, the method for attaching eyelets, footpegs and other hardware will affect the price. Less expensive boats will use rivets as connectors

Capt. Scott Null is a devout shallow water fisherman offering guided adventues via kayak, poled skiff, and wading. Phone 281-450-2206 Website www.letsgofishing.net

while the higher priced boats

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

February 2010

41


ACCORDING

TO

SCOTT

C AP T. SCOT T SOMM ERL AT T E

Bright Horizons

As I sit here writing this February column shortly after celebrating the New Year, I realize that I (and many other anglers) am, in fact, celebrating the end of 2009 rather than the beginning of 2010. You know what I’m talking about: a bad economy coupled with severe drought conditions and followed by torrential rains. All in and all done, the year 2009 was kind to very few of us, but as the old saying goes, when you’re at rock bottom, the only place you can go is up. So to get this New Year started off with a bang, I am going to focus on what I believe to a big bright horizon with lots of possibilities. For example, let’s take a look at the very first day of 2010. Outside of being

windy and cold that morning, it was as pretty a day as I can remember. Of course, being the day after New Year’s Eve and all, I slept in and missed the sunrise. There was no way I was going to miss the sunset over the bay, too, so a new fishing buddy and I launched the skiff and set off across the bay to witness the end of what I hope to be the first of many beautiful days this year. This particular day even ended great as we had the opportunity to cast a bucktail to a small pod of fish just as the sun was hitting the horizon. The first fish of the year is always a special moment for me and to share it with a new friend means even more. The point being, that after all the awful

The first fish of the

year is always a special moment for me and to

share it with a new friend means even more.

42

February 2010

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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CONTACT

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great fishing we all hope for. As for the rotten economy, well it has hit us all in some way or another. In many cases, it hit people so hard that they couldn’t afford to fish as much as they normally would have. However, if you believe everything you hear on talk radio and TV, the economy is getting better, albeit very slowly. Again, I have high hopes, not only for the many people in the fishing industry that have taken major hits to their incomes, but to everyone out there because simple economic principals dictate that we need to make money to spend it, and you have to spend money to go fishing. So with 2009 behind us, it’s time to focus on all the good things to come in 2010. I think the cards are stacked in our favor because as I said earlier, when you are low as low can get, the only place to go is up. For all us fishermen out there, it’s going to be a spectacular year with bright, sunny days where the only thing to do is pick a point on the compass, point the bow to the horizon, and go fishing. Here’s to you all in this upcoming year! Wishing you the best of tides, the fairest of winds, and all the great stuff like that!

ACCORDING TO SCOT T

weather we’ve had, I am hoping Mother Nature gives us a break this year and allows us to reap the benefits of all the harsh conditions she’s dealt lately. That’s right folks; the drought is over! (For now.) I mean, let’s face it; the prominent weather pattern in Texas is one giant drought interrupted by the occasional torrential flood, which is exactly what we got this past fall: lots and lots of rain! None of us got to fish as much as we would have liked, but it goes without saying that we needed every bit of rain that fell. Thankfully, as of late, we are seeing fewer and fewer big green blobs on the radar, and the salinities in most of our Texas Bays have dropped to a more normal level or, in some cases, at little fresher than normal levels. Let me tell you, this is good news for our bays. This last year, most of our bays experienced hyper-saline conditions causing detrimental effects on the nursery areas that are necessary for rearing shrimp, crabs, and baitfish. The saline deprivation also created unfavorable growing conditions for habitat necessary to sustain what little forage did survive the higher salinities. At no time was this more apparent than when the autumn months arrived, but the fish never moved into the shallows to hunt the numerous white shrimp that should have been there. I have high hopes that we’ll receive some appropriate rains this year to help the bays start producing the crustaceans and food fish that are so important to the

Capt. Scott Sommerlatte is a full time fly fishing and light tackle guide, freelance writer and photographer. Telephone 979-415-4379 Email vssommerlatte@hotmail.com Website www.scottsommerlatte.com

Texas Saltwater Fishing

February 2010

43


YO UT H

F I SH IN G

TEXAS SALTWATER THROUGH

If Fish Could Talk A ARON CISN EROS

Recently, when my friends and I were out wading,

best comedians. I think I’ve even heard the catfish at the

bottom and took a splash in the frigid bay waters. We all

cleaning table chuckling from time to time. Personally,

turned just in time to see him flopping like a fish out of

I’ve witnessed many legs split between the boat and the

water. Boy, did we have a good laugh, even though we

dock, resulting in very wet, and very surprised fishermen.

knew our trip was going to be cut short. As we made our

If the fish in those waters could talk, we would certainly

way back to the boat, one of my friends made a comment

die of laughter.

to us that stuck. He said, “I wonder what the fish thought

What would fish say to the angler that owns more lures

he was.” We continued poking fun at my friend even as

of different colors that rivals the amount of handshakes

we hurried back to the dock. While we packed up, he sat

and photos Mickey Mouse gives in a year? Also known as

on the ice chest, shivering uncontrollably, and thinking it

the pack mule fisherman, this angler knows it all, has a

was not funny at all.

theory for everything and anything that lives in the water,

Every fisherman has his fair share of funny stories to

44

Busy boat docks can rival the funniest jokes from the

one of my friends lost his balance in the not-so-friendly

and carries the whole fishing department on his waist and

tell. If there is ever a time when you are feeling a little

shoulders. To fish it’s all the same as a cane pole, small

depressed, grab a lawn chair and sit yourself around

amount of line, a bobber, and some live bait. Though this

noon time at the busiest boat dock where fishermen are

excessive spending is all in the love of the sport, I’m sure

coming and going. I guarantee you’ll get a few laughs.

fish would agree that we own far more equipment than we

February 2010

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YOUTH FISHING

YOUTHFUL E YES

If fish could talk...

need. With all our boating and fishing

monster trout! The trout had hardly

shows coming up, displaying the latest

any spots on its back. I managed to

technology and equipment, perhaps

nervously hold her for a second, and

fish are having their own watery

that’s when she fell out of my hands.

conventions, with seminars such as

The hook came off, and she swam

“How Not to Get Caught” or “When

away with a smirk. If she could’ve had

to Jerk on the Line of the Jerk.” If fish

her say, it would’ve probably been to

could only talk….

continue my chase for the rest of my

Fishing dates back to prehistoric times and has certainly offered countless fun filled moments for

life and remember that fishing should always be fun. Fishing at all levels has brought

anglers of all ages throughout time.

many families together. It has allowed

Fish would probably taunt us, if they

sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers

could, to continue our pursuit of

to enjoy the outdoors. It has brought,

happiness through this sport because

and continues to bring, life-long

they know that we won’t always win,

lessons to all who are exposed. Yes,

despite the latest equipment we

fishing with the cane pole underneath

possess. I’m convinced that every

the old bridge has become more

fisherman has a story to share about

expensive with all the trinkets and

the one that got away. I will always

gadgets that are offered today, but

remember my own. It was by far the

it has brought immeasurable value

biggest trout I have ever seen or

to those who have experienced the

hooked, of course. I estimated her at

sport. Most certainly, if fish could

around the 31-32 inch mark. It was a

talk, they would tell us to continue the

clear blue-sky day, and I was working

chase because who wouldn’t like the

a mud flat that had lots of bait. The

attention and all the laughs we give

redfish were thick and easy to catch,

them? Plus, if they’re like us, they

and on another bite where I thought I

might like to see their photographs in

had yet another redfish, I horsed the

magazines. Ha!

fish in. As the fish got closer, I saw a Just Keep Five

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

February 2010

45


E V ERY

MAN ’S

OF FSHO RE

Striking Yellow Gold - Part 1 Who would

to a 5-foot length of fluorocarbon

you are at chunking, so small

have guessed that

leader (60, 80 OR 100#). These

modifications, such as adding a

by designing a

are tied to either a circle hook or

small pea-sized egg weight above

spar-type oil rig

live bait hook that is deployed in

the swivel or rubber core sinker

tto d ill in i very deep water, ocean drill

a manner that keeps the chunk

above your chunk rig can increase

engineers would contribute to blue

moving continuously for about a

your chances. Also, if you change

water fishing like never before.

minute. Then the line is reeled back

your hook from a thin wire diameter

The Nansen and Boomvang spars

in so more chunks can be dropped

to a thick wire diameter, you’ll have

first gave us this opportunity. The

over, so your chunk rig can again

all the extra weight you need to

Nansen Boomvang spar area

be dropped back into the chunk

get a bite. One of my own personal

is accessible for most offshore

line and let out. A ball bearing

preferences when I’m chunk fishing

anglers from Galveston all the way

swivel is used in the chunk rig

for yellow fin tuna is to throw

down to Port Isabel. Due to the fact

because it helps take the twists out

some silver glitter with my chunks,

that the Nansen Boomvang area

imitating small

receives lots of fishing pressure for

fish scales. This

its yellow fin tuna from party boats,

keeps the yellow

yachts, and center consoles, fine-

fin curious about

tuned methods are needed for a

what’s going on

successful trip. The four methods

further up the

of attack for the yellow fin tuna

chunk line.

chunking, jigging, top waters, and

The setups

stick/jerk baits. All of these methods

I like for this

are very successful but require the

method of

right rod, reel, and line to achieve

Selection of proper leader material, hooks and swivels will enhance your yellowfin success.

the goal of enticing a yellow fin tuna into a strike. The first method is CHUNKING. Chunking involves cutting black

2-speed reels, such as the Shimano Tiagra 16, Talica 16, TLD

fin tuna, bonito, or skipjack tuna

20 or 30 2-speed

with or without the skin into 1-inch

of your line. A note: when you use

reels, Daiwa Saltist 40 or 50

cubes and establishing a chunk

fluorocarbon leader material that is

2-speed reels, Avet LX 6/3 or HXW

line. The advantage you gain with

pretty light, such as 60#, it’s a good

2-speed, or Accurate B2 30 or 665

skin still attached is being able

idea to double over the

to hide the knot under the skin,

leader material when

so the yellow fin can’t see it. The

tying the swivel and

chunk line is basically a series of

hook on. That way,

chunks thrown over the side of

there is more surface

the boat about every 20 seconds

area on the hook and

to draw yellow fin tuna in close.

swivel eyes, so a long

When you arrive at either Nansen

fight doesn’t result in

or Boomvang spars, keeping the

a lost fish due to the

chunk line going all night is a must

eyes cutting through

to increase your chances of drawing

the leader material.

in the yellow fin. Dropping your

(Leader material is

chunk rig in the chunk line consists

inherently un-stretchy.)

of using anything from a small, ball bearing swivel (150# or 200#) 46

fishing are small,

February 2010

Carrying a range of jig styles and weights is the best way to find the bite.

The current can affect how successful Texas Saltwater Fishing

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knife jigs or butter fly jigs are very popular, but I still also

reels are 6 to 6 ½ feet long and have a mono rating of 30

suggest candy bar style and diamond jigs, especially when

-80# test. Spectra backing to a mono top shot is required

everyone else is using butter fly jigs. A different kind of fall

due to the limited mono line capacities these reels have,

or flutter might be all it takes to draw a strike.

but even so, they sure are lighter than other reels that carry much higher mono line capacities. The second method I would like to elaborate on is Manufacturers now offer a dazzling array of reels applicable to yellowfin angling.

names such as Jerry Brown, Power Pro, Momoi Diamond

JIGGING. Jigging

braid, and Sufix Performance Braid (a very thin, super

involves tying on

strong version with little to no stretch). The introduction of

various sizes, colors,

specialized jig rods for vertical jigging has really changed

and weights of lures

the offshore fishing rod market. Both the small, light-

to discover what the

weight rod (that feels like the weight of a bay fishing outfit)

yellow fin tuna wants

and the jig rod (that is almost the same diameter as bay

that particular night. I

fishing outfit) are starting to become the norm. Many rod

don’t recommend only

manufactures offer these as a model to take down serious

one type of jig, color,

fish like the powerful yellow fin tuna. Traditional jigging

or weight because

methods of letting the metal jigs fall and racing them back

of variables such

up to the surface is still popular, but new methods such as

as the current. For

walking the dog vertically are gaining in popularity.

instance, if you only

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One of the key components that makes vertical jigging so effective is spectra line, which is sold under many popular

The next two methods of attack on yellow fin tuna will be

have light jigs, they

TOPWATER LURES and STICK/JERKBAITS. Remember to

won’t get deep down

keep the chunk line going and take various sizes of metal

in the water column

jigs to account for the current (or lack thereof). All these

when the current is

different methods have been developed because until

running hard. I know

you’re out there, you won’t know what the fish wants.

Texas Saltwater Fishing

February 2010

47

E VERY MAN ʼ S OFFSHORE

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February 2010

49


TSF

MAG A ZIN E

SPOTL IG HT

TSF M AG A ZIN E SPOTL IG HT

Gulf Coast Marine

50

Gulf Coast Marine at 10121 S. Padre Island Drive in Corpus Christi, TX has been a family-owned business since 1954. Founded by Bill Holmes Sr. and now with Billy Holmes Jr. at the helm, Gulf Coast Marine takes great pride in offering their customers what they call, “guaranteed fastest possible service in South Texas.” Billy says his father founded the business on great service and customer relations and the tradition continues. “It’s been our trademark for as long as we’ve been in business. We have families who have been buying boats and all their service work for three generations and we are very proud of these relationships.” Gulf Coast Marine offers the most extensive selection of boats and outboard motors in one location on the Texas Coast. The brands and models cover the full spectrum of fishing boats from shallow lagoon to bluewater. Their sixteen bay service center staffed by factory-trained technicians is equipped with state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment for all the outboard brands they carry and a test tank to troubleshoot difficult engine performance problems under load. To support the service center, Gulf Coast Marine maintains a $1.0 million parts inventory. Billy Holmes says, “The outboard service parts network in this country is not nearly advanced as the auto parts industry where you can get almost anything overnight. Waiting days or even a week for parts to get a customer back on the water is unacceptable, so we stock a large inventory for all brands to be able to deliver world class service.” The list of boat brands currently available at Gulf Coast Marine includes, Blue Wave, Everglades, Glacier Bay, Gulf Coast, SeaArk, Shallow Sport, Shallow Stalker, Shearwater, Sterling, Striper, TwinVee Catamarans, UltraCat and World Cat. Their outboard lineup is equally impressive with Evinrude, Johnson, Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki and Mercury. Chances are if you are looking for a boat and motor combination to suit your personal fishing application you can find it at Gulf Coast Marine! February 2010

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Receiving manufacturer’s Customer Service Awards is a blue-chip indication that assures prospective buyers they will receive excellent service after the sale and Gulf Coast Marine has garnered their share, including a host of platinum level prizes. Billy Holmes counts two of the industry accolades they have received as very special, the Boating Industry Association’s Top 100 Dealers Award and the very first presentation of the prestigious R. J. Doherty Award. Stop by their store or visit online at www.gcmboats.com to learn more about products and services offered. Clicking the service tab on the home page will allow customers to schedule service appointments and also order parts. Gulf Coast Marine 10121 S. Padre Island Drive - Corpus Christi, Texas 800-622-2449 2009 Striper Walk Around O/B

2007 Everglades Boats 243cc

2008 Sea Hunt BX19

2005 Shallow Sport 21V

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Layering For Comfortable Winter Wade Fishing Winter wade fishing requires good gear…period! Winter waders face water temperatures that range anywhere from 60º to 45º and unless you are dressed correctly it can be downright miserable. It may not feel too bad at first, but trophy trout rarely come on the first cast. What we’re talking about is a cold boat ride to kick things off and then getting belly deep water and working very slowly for several hours at a stretch, all for one big bite. Layering with garments made from fabric that wicks body moisture under breatheable waders is the best setup man has yet to invent. I learned this to be true after too many years of cold weather wading in cotton and neoprene. Duck hunting had to be even worse than fishing as scurrying around in calf deep muck to set the decoys and then hustling after downed birds is a workout. Settling steamily into the blind to await the next flight brings on a world-class case of the cold clammies as your body temperature returns to normal but the body moisture created by the exercise cannot escape. I remember peeling my waders when the hunt was over and thinking they must have surely sprung a leak. Proper layering begins with underwear and Simms offers some of the best with their Waderwick line of tops and bottoms. What we need to accomplish here is covering ourselves in layers that keep us warm and dry without restricting mobility and making us look the Michelin man. Waderwick tops and bottoms are made from material that stretches and also possesses exceptional insulating properties. Of course as their name implies, they wick body moisture too. Next comes fleece tops and pants and Simms offers these Just Keep Five

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garments in a variety of styles and weights and the Simms Guide Series are my personal favorite for the really cold days. In addition to being made from two-way stretch 300 series fabric for warmth and comfort, Guide Series pants actually have pockets and a zippered fly. Nothing aggravates me more than pants with no fly and no pockets. The tops are of half-zipper style at the neck with a zippered chest pocket. The lining of both tops and pants is soft velour for warmth, comfort, and as you might guess, it wicks moisture. Not every fishing day that starts cold ends that way. Thank God for afternoon sunshine. This is where layering really shines. Long about midday we often find it necessary to shed a layer. Being able to ditch any combination of four garments under our waders and wading jacket makes it easy to adjust to rising temperatures. One thing we haven’t covered is a plan for keeping feet warm and Simms has you covered with a full line of liner socks and heavier boot socks in a range of styles and weights. I have seen so many winter waders who try to make do with their summer gear in winter and that usually does not work too well. I recommend oversize wading shoes for wintertime as cramming extra layers into your summertime gear will likely leave your feet pinched. Pinching and general tightness of wading shoes will reduce blood circulation and if the pinching doesn’t take you back to the boat early, freezing feet will. Be smart when you shop. Slip on a pair of heavyweight socks and waders before trying on shoes. As a general rule, I go up two sizes. They are not only more comfortable and my feet stay warmer, they help me glide over soft mud – kind of like skis. Gray-bearded fat men need all the help they can get in this department!

Where to find Simms Fishing Products: Angler’s Edge – 5000 Westheimer – Houston Backwoods Equipment – 2725 W 7th St. – Fort Worth Cabela’s – IH 35 – Buda / 12901 Cabela Dr. – Fort Worth Fishing Tackle Unlimited/Cut Rate – 12800 Gulf Fwy / 8933 Katy Fwy – Houston The Tackle Box – 3305 N. Ben Jordan – Victoria Gruene Outfitters – 1629 Hunter Rd – New Braunfels Johnny’s Sport Shop – 101 Boothe Dr. – Eagle Lake Living Waters Fly Fishing – 2111 Sam Bass – Round Rock Rockport Tackle Town – 3010 Hwy 35 North – Rockport Roy’s Bait & Tackle Outfitters – 7613 SPID – Corpus Christi Seaworthy Marine – 102 South Fulton Beach Rd. – Fulton Sportsman’s Finest – 12434 FM 2244 – Austin Tackle Box Outfitters – 6330 North New Braunfels – San Antonio Tailwaters Fly Fishing – 2416 McKinney - Dallas

Texas Saltwater Fishing

February 2010

51


NEW Tackle Fleece For Cold Weather Wading

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American Rodsmiths is pleased to announce the release of the ALL NEW Team Series™ Inshore Rods for the 2010 fishing season featuring American Rodsmiths latest fishing innovation… The V17 PRO TOUR GRIPS™. Designed in a partnership with golf industry leader Winn Grips, the NEW V17 Pro Tour Grips™ are designed to provide a secure grip and exceptional comfort while fishing, even when wet. In fact, tests have proven that the wetter they get, the better they get.

Simms tops and bottoms are designed to keep the wading angler comfortable in the cooler water temperatures we face in the coming months. Simms new Guide Top and Pants feature 300-weight two way stretch fabric which offers excellent warmth, breathability and mobility. Lofty velour interior is soft and warm with lifetime wicking performance. The tops feature 1/2 zip front and one zippered check pocket. Bottoms feature zippered fly, adjustable drawcord waistband, zippered back pocket and sideseam pockets. Top and Pants retail for $99.95.

The Wiley X Zak frame is incredibly rugged yet remarkably light. Wide temples and wrap-around shape give an aggressive style while blocking side light and wind.

AVAILABLE JANUARY 2010 at a dealer near you. For more information, contact American Rodsmiths, or email Americanrodsmiths@ yahoo.com

52

February 2010

SIMMS

Wiley X Active Series Sunglasses: Zak with Blue Mirror Polarized Lenses

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

Like Wiley X eyewear, the Zak07 is certified OSHA-grade occupational eye protection with high velocity impact resistance (ANSI Z87-2). Blue Mirror shatterproof polarized lens is a green tint to boost contrast between different shades of vegetation. Blocks 100% of harmful UV rays. Advanced 8-layer lens construction.

As a leader in providing the U.S. Armed Forces with protective eyewear, Wiley X delivers combat-proven technology and performance. Lifetime warranty against defects. MSRP $126. 800-776-7842. www.wileyx.com

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& Gear ForEverlast Hunting & Fishing Products, Inc.

Texas Tackle Factory

Waterloo Rods

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ForEverlast will introduce in 2010 a Generation II or G2 series of products improving several of our current products designs and introducing some very unique new items to our selection while keeping the same great value in place. The first makeover will be with our very popular Ray Guard Shields by which we have added black protective edging to all edges of the guards to increase longevity of the product and for extra protection we have added an extra armor shield out front to guard against rocks and other underwater objects over the shin area. G2 series products will be available at your favorite tackle shop or visit us on the web at www. foreverlast. com for more information.

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There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to pry a limit of toothy flounder or speckled trout off a nylon stringer after a long, tiring wade. TTF’s new EZ Slide stringer was designed to let you work smarter, not harder. This 15-foot long, heavy-duty nylon stringer is coated in TTF’s EZ Slide sheath material. When you’re ready to offload your limit, just remove the EZ float stopper and let your catch slide effortlessly into the

Jimmy Burns of Waterloo Rods says, “Our new blanks are smaller in diameter and lighter, making them the hottest new rods on the market.” Waterloo Rods have always maintained the highest quality and craftsmanship. Built in the USA and made of the finest components including titanium guides and best graphite materials on the market. If you want to fish with the best, Waterloo Rods are for you.

livewell or onto the cleaning table. And for just $19.99 at www.TexasTackleFactory.com, this stringer is EZ on the wallet, too!

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

February 2010

53


DICKIE COLBURNʼS

Sabine Scene DICKIE COLBURN Dickie Colburn is a full time guide out of Orange, Texas. Dickie has 37 years experience guiding on Sabine and Calcasieu Lakes.

Telephone 409-883-0723 Website www.sabineconnection.com

While we can only hope that the fishing on Sabine in 2010 will match what we enjoyed this past year, it certainly has not disappointed over the past month or so. It may have been even better thus far due to less runoff from the lakes and surface temperatures that climb

into the fifties on most days. This is not to say that you should load up and head in this direction expecting an easy outing as any given trip can still be more akin to casting practice than catching. The good news, however, is that when it is good it is very good! More so as a matter of choice than any other factor, I

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February 2010

Texas Saltwater Fishing

will spend most of my fishing time on those flats adjacent to the ICW or those bordering drains on the Louisiana shoreline this month. Both are confidence areas in that they hold good concentrations of small mullet with the safety of deeper water nearby. Do not eliminate any lure in your box that you can fish slowly and still keep suspended off the bottom. The key word is “slowly”. A Corky Fat Boy or Devil, a Catch V, and the MirrOdine XL are hard to beat right now. Everyone has their own confidence colors, but I will trust my outings to pink, pearl-chartreuse, electric chicken or bone. When swimming 5-inch tails like the Assassin Shads or MirrOlure soft mullet rigged on a 1/8 ounce head, I will add pumpkin-chartreuse and red shad to my arsenal. We seldom fish deeper than five feet with the most productive bite usually taking place in depths of 2 to 3 feet of water. During the colder hours of the morning we do a little better at the five foot mark. Tidal movement is always the most critical factor for us, but I never pass on the warmer hours of the afternoon. I know that most of you still cannot force yourself to give this a try, but I continue to have clients that hate the Corky

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Even the worst of weather hasn’t slowed the redfish bite.

do as well or better than I do by fishing it under a Bass Assassin Kwik Cork. The deadliest combination for me is a 4-inch Corky or Fat Boy fished on 18 to 24-inches of leader under the oval shaped cork. The rig has the added benefit of the noise factor and the lure remains in the strike zone regardless of how inattentive or cold they may get. For some reason, at least here on Sabine and Calcasieu, it also attracts more redfish than fishing the same lure in a conventional manner. There is no question that this rig is easier to fish with a spinning rod. I prefer a seven foot CastAway SLS7-X rod combined with US Reel’s 230SX spooled with 20-pound Power Pro. I also use 20 to 30 pound monofilament for a leader rather than fluorocarbon. Not unlike my inability to explain why I continue to abandon certain lures that worked well in the past, there is no good reason for not targeting the oyster reefs on the south end of the lake from now through the month of May. For years, that was the only area we fished in the winter and we caught a world of big trout. When all else fails, I invariably find myself returning to the reefs and wondering Just Keep Five

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SABINE

why I don’t fish them more. There is obviously more to it than simply tying on a jig and drifting until you break it off on the shell, but that is a good place to start. The trout have everything they need to survive even the coldest of days. Depths range from 3 to 22 feet over shell, there is a good exchange of bait which includes sand eels on each tide change, and the salinity level is consistently healthier than any other area of the lake. There are days, even certain hours of each day, when the same suspending lures and shallow water techniques work on the reefs, but the fish that stack up on the deeper breaks are the main reason for running south. Bring along lots of jig heads as you will leave the lake lighter and include at least one pack of every color plastic that you own. It is critical that you control the speed of your drifts and tracking them on your GPS enables you to easily repeat a productive trail. The catching can be so incredible when you get everything right that you will wonder why we ever leave it as well!

Texas Saltwater Fishing

February 2010

55


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Phone Number: Fax Number: E-mail Address: Website:

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956-944-2354 956-944-2515 pmft@granderiver.net www.portmansfield.us

www.reactionstrike.com / kris@reactionstrike.com

Texas Saltwater Fishing

February 2010

57


MICKEY

On Galveston Howdy, Capt. Mickey here, we finally got the holidays behind us and it’s time for me to try and offer a little fishing recap and a fishing forecast that might come true. The way the weather has been of Contact late I could probably throw Mickey Eastman’s a dart and be about as Guide Service accurate. So let me kick Telephone 409-883-0723 everything off here by saying I hope all are well and keeping warm here in the New Year and I hope you get to enjoy lots of days on the water in 2010. Winter is taking an unusual toll on the coast as we Mickey Eastman is a full-time fishing guide out of Baytown, TX. Mickey has 26 years guiding experience on the Galveston area bays and is the founder of Gulf Coast Troutmasters, the largest speckled trout tournament series of all time

seem to be getting one of those old-fashioned winters. We’ve had major weather issues, with all the rain, fog, cold weather, and winds. We really had a flurry through most of the month of December. As things have gotten colder and drearier, you’ve just had to pick your days, and the bite was usually slow. Everything has been slow: West Bay, East Bay, Trinity, all the big three. However, West Bay had a little bit of shine to it about the middle of December. There was a lot of small and mid-size fish up to about three and four pounds caught drifting on the reefs and on the streaks in the middle. Really, West Bay’s been the most consistent of all our bays, which sometimes happens at this time of year when Ol’ Man Winter gets serious on us. Once that water stays in the 50s a long time, West Bay tends to produce a lot more consistently. Burnett Bay, the

Advanced Trophy Trout Tactics is a 65- minute instructional DVD which offers detailed advice on how to catch big trout on artificial lures. To preview and/or purchase, visit www.fishbaffinbay.com, or call 361-688-3714.

“I received the DVD and give you an A+ on all segments.” ~Steven Copeland

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February 2010

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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GALVESTON ON

little bay back upstream here from Trinity, has also been loaded with little fish, and lots of boats are drifting out there catching anywhere from fifteen to thirty trout a day, sometimes full limits for everybody, but no size worth crowing about. A few fish have been in the fivepound class, but mostly they’re all “just keeper” stuff. Trinity Bay has finally gotten rid of all that fresh water it accumulated; it turned over just at the end of December. There has even been a little bird action from the spillway back towards Fisher’s Reef in about eight or nine feet of water, where the greener, clearer water was. The river’s finally gone down, and regular tides are returning. We’ve had a northeast wind and really above-normal tides all season, but now the waters have salted back up significantly, so it’s not looking too bad for the rest of the season if we just get some good weather. There’s a front blowing in now; as I write, it’s gale-force winds here out of the west-northwest. We’re going to lose a lot of water, and this is going to be about a one-week set back, but that’s just part of the winter game we have to play. East Bay’s been yielding a few really good trout along the north shoreline behind these fronts. There’s always that one-day window when you can squeeze in behind the front and work that north shoreline. There’s not a lot of fish, but there have been some nice ones in the 28 to 29-class being caught over there and that’s something you can crow about. You have to really work hard for those fish, though. Mostly 51MR Mirrolures and Corkys have been doing the trick in about three feet of water. It’s really hard wading; you just have to put in your time and pay your dues, and some good fish will come out of it. In the last few tournaments around here (we had a couple during December), the fish were really nice, so that’s a good sign for the spring coming up. Hit your good weather trends behind these harsher fronts when you can and concentrate on deep shell in

ou get a West, East, and Trinity Bays. If you good warming trend that lasts a few days and that high pressure moves off, those fish will really slide in shallow, kind of like they do over at Calcasieu and Sabine. For the most part, though, your fish are going to stay in that 4-8 foot range where they can snuggle down in that mud right at the edge of the shell. We haven’t really had many warm, sunny days this season so far, and that’s hurt us, but that’s the way it goes. The good news is that we’re saving fish while we wait. A lot of pressure has left the bays, as we’re not hitting them as hard. That’s good news for this coming year. Maybe there’ll be a couple double-digit trout from one of the nearby flats in March or early April. Keep your lures ready!

If you get a good warming

trend that lasts a few days and that high pressure

moves off, those fish will really slide in shallow.

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

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February 2010

59


CAPT. BILLʼS

Fish Talk As we have heard many Bill Pustejovsky is a full-time guide at Matagorda, TX. Bill fishes year-round for trout and redfish in all the Matagorda Bays. Wading and drifting for trophy trout and reds are his specialty. Telephone 979-863-7353 Email CaptBill@ GoldTipGuideService.com Website www.goldtipguideservice.com

properties

times, “History repeats itself,”

during our cold

and never were any words

winter months

more applicable to our trout

mainly because

fishery. Habit and routine

all our fish at

are the manner in which

this time are

we predict and focus upon

feeding on

upcoming fishing trends.

finfish and

With that said, February is

eels and have

historically classified as Big

been for over a

Trout Month of the Year. This

month. Their

title not only pertains to East

bodies have

and West Matagorda Bays

adjusted to

but to each bay system on the

the cold water

Texas Gulf Coast. Fact is, Jim Wallace caught the state record

by now and

trout, 13 pounds 11 ounces, in Baffin Bay on February 6, 1996.

they have

He happened to accomplish this feat throwing one of the best

established a

big trout baits around, the standard Corky. This bait has magical

feeding pattern.

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February 2010

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Wayne Brueggen with a big red fish caught while drifting East Matagorda Bay over shell, Chickenon-a-Chain Saltwater Assassin.

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MATAGORDA DA

You’ll be

Fishing for big trout is not

able to toss

everyone’s cup of tea. Chances are you

a few other

may fish all day with only a few bites although

baits such

they will more than likely be good ones. You just never know,

as Broken

you may hit the lottery and meet up with a massive school of

Backs and

big trout, 25-inchers and up, out for recess and on a feeding

Saltwater

frenzy. Big trout do run in schools and they do have lunch

Assassins

break although this time of year you may also find a little

but the main

fasting going on.

focus will be

Boat fishermen, don’t worry because there will be opportunity

to pinpoint

for you as well. Drifting scattered shell and mud in East

the feeding

Matagorda Bay can produce quality trout while requiring you to

patterns.

look for slicks and streaky off-colored water to find your treasure.

Here are a

Remember to make long drifts and use plastics on 1/8 ounce

few tips that

lead heads. Fish your bait slow. If you are not getting hung up

may come in

on the bottom shell or feeling shell then you are fishing too fast.

handy:

Slow it down a bit. I hope this will help you to catch more fish. I have a motto for catching big trout in February, “Fish early, fish

Mike Hilliard also found the reds willing.

1. Fish 3-4 days before

late, fish shallow, fish artificial.” Until next time, God Bless…Capt. Bill

and after a full moon or new moon because of tidal flow. 2. Fish muddy flats with some shell around with deeper water, say 3-5 feet, close by. Start shallow while slowly working your way deeper. 3. Normally the bite will not happen until well after sunup as this gives the surface water temperature time to warm up a bit. Bait will begin to move and so will the fish. Not saying to delay trying your favorite spots until daylight because nobody has perfect foresight, however odds are it won’t happen until later in the day. Hardcore trophy trout wade fishermen are determined and they start fishing at first light and will stay with it until dark. 4. My choice is an 8 lb test diameter braided line because it is more sensitive to light strikes. Also, I recommend using a 20 lb test fluorocarbon leader in clear water. 5. Check for the presence of baitfish. A good rule of thumb says, “No bait, no fish.” 6. Erase all distractions. Your mind and eyes need to stay focused on the water. Wear stingray guards, the water may be cold but why take the chance? More critical in winter than any other season, wear high-quality polarized sunglasses to detect subtle subsurface bait flashes and fish movement. Take my advice; you will be able to stay focused while not having to worry so much about stingrays or tired, smarting eyes. The sun’s glare can wear on you as the day progresses and you may miss big trout swimming right by you. That in itself is enough to get your heart and adrenaline pumping. Just Keep Five

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

February 2010

61


Special Moments Dear TSF Mag, Here are a couple pictures of me and my two girls, Ashley and Taylor, with a redfish from the weekend. We were watching the whooping cranes in Rockport when they decided to fish… Love the magazine! Bill Huber

Dear TSF Mag, My son, Joseph Helms, 5 years old, caught his biggest redfish to date.,27” 7lbs, in Port O’Connor. Joseph has been fishing as soon as he could hold a pole. He’s always ready! Jeremy

Dear TSF Mag, My 11-year-old son, Cameron, is a devoted reader of your magazine. He insisted that I send you a picture of his biggest redfish yet. It was caught on December 31 with Capt. Johnny Watts out of South Padre Island and measured 28 inches. Thank you! Roel Trevino

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February 2010

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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Editor’s Note:

Email from Raymond Butler:

Freeze events on the Texas Coast can prove highly detrimental to gamefish stocks and spotted seatrout are notoriously vulnerable. It has long been understood that fish seek warmer environs during freeze periods and this usually means refuge from the chill in deep harbors and canals. During the freezes of 1983 and 1989, towboats operating in the Intracoastal Waterway were thought to worsen an already bad situation. Concerned anglers watched as coldstunned fish were churned in the prop washes, greatly reducing survival potential. A significant misconception has emerged that TPWD possesses the authority to order a halt to barge traffic; however, this is not true. The following email and article will explain this. TSFMag salutes Gulf Intracoastal Canal Association and its member companies who willingly place conservation of coastal fisheries ahead of profitably during these unusual events. Kudos! E. Johnson-Editor

Hello Mr. Johnson, As a subscriber and fan of your magazine, I thought your readers might be interested in the event that took place this past weekend. I am also the Executive Director of the Gulf Intracoastal Canal Association (GICA). Our association was formed back in 1905 in Victoria, for the purpose of building the Intracoastal Waterway across the Gulf region. I worked closely with Dr. David McKee of TAMU Corpus Christi and CCA-Texas Corpus Christi Chapter on this initiative several years back and we had an opportunity to try it out this past weekend. I also spoke with Robby Byers, of CCA, on Friday as we were implementing a “simulated drill” of the stoppage. The simulation wound up being the real thing on Saturday afternoon. We had one or two bumps in the road, but for the most part it worked, even starting on a Saturday afternoon. Sincerely, Raymond Butler - Gulf Intracoastal Canal Association

Voluntary Tow Stoppage in Laguna Madre The Texas Laguna Madre is a unique and fragile ecosystem. The average water depths of the Laguna are two to three feet, except for the Intracoastal Waterway that is maintained to depths of nine to ten feet. Prior to the construction of the Intracoastal Waterway, especially that portion known as the Land Cut, parts of the Laguna Madre had become hypersaline from lack of freshwater inflow and poor circulation of seawater from the Gulf of Mexico. Though created to stimulate commerce, the Intracoastal Waterway has proven highly beneficial to the ecology of the Laguna Madre and, today, the water in the Laguna is home to the clearest water and one of the most productive gamefish ecosystems anywhere. When strong northers blast into South Texas, we see rare occasions when the water temperature endangers gamefish and the future fish crops they bear. This temperature appears to be around 42º Farenheit. Biologists have learned that when water temperatures in the shallow expanse of the Laguna fall to these low levels, fish head for the safety of deep and warmer waters such as the Intracoastal Waterway. They also become very lethargic during these times and can not easy escape predators or the wash of our towboat wheels. As a result of our work several years ago to address certain threats to the GIWW in the Laguna Madre, GICA fostered a relationship with the Coastal Conservation Association, the Gulf Coast’s main sportfishing advocacy group. That partnership began as an adversarial relationship over dredging practices used to maintain the waterway. After many Just Keep Five

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discussions and meetings, we found common ground where both associations could help one another to keep the waterway functioning for both recreation and commerce. We found that during these rare times of extreme cold, the barge industry might assist in reducing gamefish mortality by voluntarily stopping transits of the Laguna Madre. GICA brokered this idea among our members and most all seemed to favor a brief stoppage of commerce in order to help. We had the opportunity to try this concept out for the first time ever during the weekend of January 9-10 2009, during an extremely cold period in South Texas. Support for the idea was strong among our members. American Commercial Lines, Blessey Marine Service, and Florida Marine Transporters actually stopped or held tows for the requested period from Saturday January 9 through Monday morning January 11. Additionally, AEP, Cenac/Teppco, Brownwater Marine, and Kirby Corporation all responded favorably, indicated they would support a voluntary stoppage of traffic if they had equipment in the area. We don’t foresee this event happening more than once or twice in a year, or for it lasting over 72 hours at most. We thank everyone who actually made economic sacrifices ($7000 per day, per tow) and those who agreed to help in the future. We hope this innovative partnering effort serves to build a stronger bond between our industry and the sportfishing community, with the common goal of keeping the GIWW maintained and productive for us all. ~ Raymond Butler

Texas Saltwater Fishing

February 2010

63


MID-COAST BAYS

With the Grays CAPT. GARY GRAY Captain Gary and Captain Shellie Gray fish year-round for trout and redfish in the Port O’Connor/Seadrift area. Gary started his Bay Rat Guide Service 20 years ago. The Grays specialize in wade and drift fishing with artificial lures. Gary and Shellie also team up to fish many tournaments. Telephone 361-785-6708 Email Gary@BayRat.com Website www.bayratguideservice.com

Well, old man winter

The water temperature during the last few days of fishing

finally caught up to us. We

has been fifty-one degrees in the open bay, and forty-six to

had snow and a few nights

forty eight degrees on the flats. Typically the back lakes would

with temperatures below

be warmer because of the muddy bottoms absorbing the

freezing during the last

sunlight; however, due to the overcast skies the lakes were

two months and as I write

not as warm as the open waters.

this article the weatherman

February fishing should be a lot like January was. I will

is telling me that we will

be spending the majority of my time in the back lakes of

have temps in the twenties

Matagorda Island. I like the back lakes for a number of

for the next three to four

reasons this time of year. The muddy bottoms of these lakes

nights. I fished the last two

warm faster due to the darker bottom when the sun does

days and the temps in the

decide to show itself. This warmer water attracts baitfish such

mornings have been in the

as mullet which is one of the major food sources for larger

thirties. There is something

trout. The back lakes of Matagorda Island also offer some

not right about slipping

protection from the hard winds associated with cold fronts

around on a layer of frost

this time of year. During extreme cold snaps you could drift

while loading my rods into the boat in the wee hours of the

or troll motor deep water areas such as the Victoria Barge

morning. It would seem a little more normal to be loading my

Canal and the Army Hole fishing the drop offs. Another plus

decoys and my shotgun.

64

February 2010

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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P ORT O ʼCONNOR / SE ADRIF T

Matagorda Island back lakes should offer lots of opportunity in February.

for fishing the

reef concentrate on that area. The

Victoria Barge

trout are usually hanging where the

Canal is that you

shell meets the mud. Another important tant

will be protected

factor to remember, and I always mention ention it

from the north

when talking about reef fishing, is to make sure that you and

wind due to the

your buddies stop and plant your feet as soon as you get a

high manmade

strike or get a fish on. If everyone holds back you should be

embankments

able to stand in one spot and keep catching until the fish sense

located on the

something is wrong and move off. When this happens, start

northerly sides

fanning your casts and moving slowly down the reef until you

of the canal.

start catching again. I have been throwing anything from the 4” Bass Assassin

When the weather allows

Sea Shad (paddle tail) in pearl and roach, and the 5”

I like fishing the

Saltwater Shad (rat tail) in pearl and pumpkinseed, to

many reefs in

the MirrOlure Catch 2000 Jr. and the MirrOdine XL in the CFPR color. I have been rigging the

San Antonio Bay this time of year. Before

soft plastics on 1/16 oz. Assassin

beginning a wade on a February will be chilly. Dress warm!

reef you need to make sure that you have

jigheads. The slow fall of the light jig helps keep the bait suspended in the strike zone for a longer period.

bait in the area. During colder periods when

No matter what lure you decide

the water temp is in the

to throw make sure you work it

forties the bait will be

slowly this time of year. When I am

subsurface, when this

fishing the reefs this time of the

occurs look for swirls,

year I always tell my customers

ripples, flashes or any

that if you are not hanging up on

other kind of sign that

shell occasionally you are probably

there is bait present.

fishing too fast.

Birds such as pelicans in

Fish hard, fish smart!

the area or in the water nearby are another good indication that there is bait present. Once you have established you have bait in the area then you will need to wade the reef very slowly and fish the drop-offs of the reef or if there is a cut through the

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

February 2010

65


HOOKED UP WITH

Rowsey DAVID ROWSEY

If you are a deer hunter, you

February will establish some different patterns that were not

David Rowsey has 20 years experience in the Laguna/ Baffin region; trophy trout with artificial lures is his specialty. David has a great passion for conservation and encourages catch and release of trophy fish.

are familiar with the rut and

always available in December and January. Southeast winds

how normally wary bucks

warming chilled winter waters will be the beginning of it all. As

lose their minds for the

the water temperature rises, the larger trout will be more inclined

chance to procreate. Trophy

to get on the shorelines and away from the deeper waters that

trout fishermen are much

has made it necessary to fish out of the boat at times. As a

like big bucks during the rut

guide that spends 99% of his time wade fishing, this pattern is

when February rolls around.

much welcomed.

Telephone 361-960-0430 Website www.DavidRowsey.com

They disregard the buddies

February will also bring the opportunity to test our abilities in

they have been hanging

many other areas than those that hold us captive on north wind

out with over the past ten

conditions. Shallow flats, spoil islands, Baffin’s south shoreline,

months; they forget about

King Ranch and Padre Island shorelines will all now come into

eating and willingly face the brunt

play. Having more real estate to work in is a blessing for us as

of the elements, all for the chance of that trophy connection.

the bay becomes more pressured by the kickoff of tournament

Chattering teeth, cracked lips, bright red noses, and speech

season, the arrival of many non-local guides, and everyone else

starched with expletives as they explain the sometimes strong

that owns a boat and just loves to fish. As long as we are all

winds are standard fashion for February grinders on Baffin Bay.

courteous, there is plenty of room for all. Running boats 200300 yards off the shorelines and upwind of drifting or anchored

My charter books this winter look like a ride on a roller coaster through December and January. I have cancelled numerous

boats is a good place to start. February and on into March will be a pretty similar pattern.

days due to bad north wind and water temperature dropping

I will spend the vast majority of my time with 5” Bass Assassins

into the 40s. Yes, I will fully admit that fishing has been on the

in potholes, regardless of whether I’m in Baffin or the Laguna.

tough side so far this winter, but here comes February to the

Once we locate active fish, we will try them on an assortment

rescue. Of all the months that we cut through the water in our

of Corkys. Typically, we will pull the largest trout out on the

Simms waders, February has established itself as the month to

Corky but, so often, they want it down low in the grass, and

be on the water for landing a giant trout. For me, it was always

bounced along the bottom and, for this, the Bass Assassin on

late March to mid May, but Jim Wallace’s new state record in

a 1/16 oz. jig head reins supreme. The topwater bite will also

February of 1996 made this short month jump to the top of

play a major factor in locating fish in February. There is no lure

everyone’s list as the time to get it done down here.

more fun to fish, but it is not always the best choice for a giant trout during this month. My personal preference is for southerly

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

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Just Keep Five


UPPER L AGUNA/ BAFFIN

nd is practicing catch and release. The trend er crowd catching on, especially for the younger getting into the game. Giving the trout over 20” the chance to swim again and reproduce is not only a good feeling but it needs to be done for the health of the fishery. My number one goal when I first started guiding was to have a platform to encourage people to fish for sport and love of the game versus the thrill of the kill. Helping and teaching aspiring lure enthusiasts how to be successful with all types of hardware is very rewarding, but nothing tops when they put it all together, land a trophy-class fish and say, “Easily my personal best. Let’s get a quick picture, and let her go.”

If you have done it with me, any other guide, or

on your own, you have my admiration and most sincere thanks. Fishing is a discipline in the equality of men. For all men are equal before fish. - Herbert Hoover Set ‘em Loose Capt David Rowsey Bill Sengelmann’s smug smile says he likes big trout!

Boats’ Boats’

wind directions or calm conditions on the backside of a warming trend. Trust your instincts and surroundings to determine your best lure choice, and be willing to give all of the aforementioned lures a chance at glory during this time of year. Bait activity will be the major player in determining whether your lure choice

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should be subsurface or on top of the water. In closing, I would like to say thanks to all of you who are

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

February 2010

67


TRICIAʼS

Mansfield Report I think we can all agree;

not only with this 3O-incher but a big 29 and several trout

Capt. Tricia’s Skinny Water

so much for that mild El

between 25 and 27 along with a good showing of thick-

Adventures operates out of

Niño winter the weather

shouldered reds. His success was typical for the period,

Port Mansfield, specializing in

folks had predicted. If

working concentrations of baitfish during norther recoveries

wadefishing with artificial lures.

global warming is truly in

with Corky Fat Boys and tails. More than anything, however,

effect you wouldn’t know

Dirk’s goals were met by keeping his line in the water and

it around here as we have

being confident that good things will eventually happen for

been stuffing lots of extra

those who want it bad enough.

Telephone 956-642-7298 Email shell@granderiver.net Website www.SkinnyWaterAdventures.com

layers into our waders.

For whatever reason, we just haven’t seen a good

With weeks of mid-50 water

topwater bite in quite some time. The best areas for trout

temperatures plus steady

recently have been near waist deep shoreline drops and a

bone-cutting north wind and plenty rain, little of the past

few showing shallower along this

month qualified as ideal for fishing much less catching. Dedicated grinders managed to eek out a few notable catches, though. With any luck February will bring more of what we

effort anchors Dirk Teng’s dedicated exclusive the in hip ers mb his me ity. ern frat er” “Thirty and Ov

all want and expect this time of year. Even with the miserable weather excuse, fishing pretty much sucked for several weeks. Traditional patterns either didn’t work or were marginal at best. Who knows why, could have been the unusually high tides or maybe the unfortunate red tide event. Fortunately for us though, most things in nature go through their normal cycles and what a relief it was to see everything suddenly be “on” again just as soon as the tides dropped and the water cleared. After weeks of dismal results large schools of redfish seemingly appeared out of nowhere and some excellent trout were right there behind them. It was just another of life’s little lessons; no matter how good or bad things are they will certainly change. Pictured here is Dirk Teng with his own brand of luck changing. He came down for nine days of fishing with one

type of structure. Scattered redfish

lofty goal in mind - to finally join the “Thirty & Over” trout

have been in there with them, but during any extended

fraternity. Dirk was realistic enough to know that the best

warming period they have been schooling up both on the

results come from effort spent and his adventure paid off

shallow grass flats and also in classic muddier back-water

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February 2010

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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Just Keep Five


P ORT MANSFIELD

If the bait is not visible

as much as contrast. Either brights or darks when the water is

on the surface we trust

en “off” and more natural offerings when ne. The the water is clear seems to work fine.

our bird friends to show

main thing is to get on them in the first place, then figure out the speed and depth. Even more important is fishing

us the way.

whatever you choose to throw with confidence. Ask Dirk. Hopefully topwaters will back into play soon. Fishing with

areas. Where did they come from? This past week we even

plastics is always practical, but it’s hard pass the experience

found large concentrations of reds milling up high in the

of raw power unleashed at the surface.

sand, which normally would be spring or summertime stuff.

We look forward to visiting with friends and clients during

Strange indeed but, then again, nature goes through her

the Houston Fishing Show March 3-7 at the George R.

cycles and we just have to be there when it all happens.

Brown Convention Center. It’s the show to attend, so please

As usual for this time of year concentrations of baitfish

plan to stop by the Fishing Tackle Unlimited booth for all

show us where to start. If the bait is not visible on the

of your gear needs and perhaps trade a few stories. In the

surface we trust our bird friends to show us the way.

meantime, layer up with Simms wader wick liners, fleece

Fishing-1O1 says to always rely on nature more than store

pants, and windproof jackets. It’s hard to be confident

bought maps.

when you’re cold, so if you are as serious as Dirk is, gear

Mullet will be big on February’s menu so larger profile

up like you mean it. There’s a 3O-incher waiting for you.

baits will make sense, especially in off-colored water. I like

Never mind the reds. They’re just there to pull your arms off

to use larger paddle tails when the bite is slow as they offer

between big trout and February is one of the best months

a lot of action at slower speed. Color doesn’t seem to matter

for that to happen.

E E R F S H T N O G ET 3 M AG! M E E E R F S U PL

lar price of tion for the regu ip cr bs su th on e same rate! receive a 15-m d/or friends at th an rs be Order today and em m ily d sign up fam $25.00. Hurry an

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

February 2010

69


SOUTH PADRE

Fishing Scene At present, the Lower

A Brownsville-area native, Capt. Ernest Cisneros fishes the Lower Laguna Madre from Port Mansfield to Port Isabel. Ernest specializes in wading and poled skiff adventures for snook, trout, and redfish. Cell 956-266-6454 Website www.tightlinescharters.com

nasty, cold weather, what most fair weather fishermen would

Laguna is producing lots

call harsh conditions. In doing so, I have learned many

of smiles for anglers who

lessons on cold weather fish behavior. On one recent outing

dare to brave the elements.

I was scouting for an upcoming trip. The day was cold and

Since the beginning

drizzly; not another soul was out. The first two hours had me

of December we have

wishing I had stayed home. Not a sign of life could be seen

experienced outstanding

on the surface or beneath, not even the pesky, trout eating

catches of big trout. The

dolphin were around. I continued my efforts tracking through

numbers of trout caught

the cold water in deep mud hoping for that one big bite.

between three and seven

Suddenly it crossed my mind, “Think like a predator.” That

pounds and a few bigger

thought provoked my mind and I actually started to visualize

have been right on track as

the bottom structure of the area, keeping in mind the tidal

recorded the last few years.

flow, water temperature, and water level. I can positively

Our trout population looks really healthy but the redfish

say that this led me to discover where fish might be holding

have been hiding from us. However, our efforts have been

and, lo and behold, it turned out to be a pretty good day. My

geared more towards the trout. We are truly enjoying the

point here is that in order to experience success we have to

reduced boat traffic and the abundance of open water nearly

think out of the box at times. It’s not always going to be as

everywhere we go.

easy as starting up the boat and go fishing. The signs are

I try to make it a point if the opportunity arises to fish

70

February 2010

Texas Saltwater Fishing

there if you have been paying attention to not only what’s

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ARROYO COLOR AD O TO P ORT ISABEL EL

on the surface but also what is not. Sometimes all it takes is

producers, especially when the tide is moving. The fish

one swirl, one six inch drop, or a mud bottom versus a hard

will usually be holding near bottom in about three to four

sandy bottom. Be vigilant like a predator would; that’s if you

feet and the bite will often be a soft tap. Other areas worth

want to go to the next level. In all honesty I have learned

looking at will be muddy flats near deeper water. This time

more about fish behavior on tough days when the fishing

of the year fish will leave the warmth of deeper water to

was slow versus the days where the fish were just jumping

feed on the flats between cold spells. A muddy flat that

on our hooks.

has a channel nearby makes the odds even better because

The tides will continue to run low through February,

a channel means there will be more tidal flow. Our best

so look for deeper pockets with mud bottom to be good

producers of big fish have been areas such as the one I just mentioned. The bigger fish we are catching have been stationed in muddy, and I mean muddy, potholes. Working a Corky Devil through the bottom of these potholes has produced some nice, thick-shouldered trout. Adding a split shot near the split ring allows the lure to sink faster and remain low on the retrieve. Despite the general shallowness of the Laguna there is structure that can make a difference in finding fish, even on cloudy days in the middle of winter. I personally carry sunglasses for cloudy and sunny days. I highly recommend the Costa 580 lenses in the copper and grey coloration. Costa lenses are made of glass and very durable, and the protection they offer is unbeatable. I like my glasses to completely wrap around my eyes and the sides of my face for maximum protection from sunlight and the Eliminators are my top choice. Costa Del Mar does offer many styles and lenses for every individual so be sure to checkout their web site and get every advantage on those fish. In closing, this is the month where the trout will really put on weight. As previously mentioned our trout population is in really good shape for now and hopefully for the future as well. If your dream is to catch a trophy-size fish, you will have a good chance of making it a reality in February. Don’t let the weather keep you off the water, get out when

We’ll be looking for more of these in February.

Just Keep Five

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

you can and make it happen.

February 2010

71


Fishing Reports and Forecasts From Big Lake to Boca Chica BROUG HT TO YOU BY...

while without a bite, then about thirty minutes before dark, everything changed and we caught several solid fish right around dusk.”

Lake Calcasieu - Louisiana Jeff and Mary Poe - Big Lake Guide Service • 337-598-3268 February is a great month to catch big trout. Catching them can be difficult, but with patience and persistence, it is possible. If salinities in the lake are high, look for trout to be farther north in the estuary. If salinities are lower, look for them to be closer to the Gulf, in places like Joe’s Cove, Washout, Nine-Mile Cut, and West Cove. Good baits to try are Corkys, Catch 2000’s, MirroOdines, Catch 5’s, and Jointed Thundersticks. On warm, sunny days try your favorite topwater. Work all of these baits very slowly. Look for pretty water and bait and the fish should be around. Our flounder run usually kicks off around Valentines Day. With salinities and water temperatures the way they are this time of year, trout are sometimes hard to come by. Flounder and redfish, on the other hand, are usually biting. For flounder, try fishing the same cuts you would for redfish, just fish them on an incoming tide to catch flounder. Try Norton Sand Eels and H&H Grubs. If the bite’s a little tough, tie on a Gulp and that should get you a few more hits.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay James Plaag - silverkingadventures.com - 409 935 7242 Despite the cold weather, fishing has been good for James in various locations lately. “The fish are biting in the upper reaches of the bay, Burnet and Tabbs Bays. Over there, the key is to catch the bite right at dusk. We’ve also had some decent wadefishing in East Bay. Caught about a dozen nice trout over that way the other day, most on white/ gold and pink/gold MirrOlures. The best bay lately has been West Bay, though. There are tons of small trout out in the middle. The mud streaks are holding fish, but you can also find schools in the clear water too, if you find clumps of shell or schools of bait. You’ll cull through lots of dinks for the keepers, but the bite is steady. Out there, of course, the soft plastics work best, also the MirrOlures. Wading West Bay has also been good when the tide is right. We’re catching some better quality trout, up to about six pounds, mostly on Corkys, a few on MirrOlures. If this cold snap is as extreme as they predict, look for the upper part of West Bay to stay good through the end of winter.”

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service - 409 996 3054 Jim predicts excellent fishing in February in his area. “We’re seeing the fish really fall into a true winter pattern with all this cold weather. When it’s like this, I like to fish the deep holes and drains when the tide is low. You’ll catch a combination of trout and redfish when fishing that way. It’s important to fish real slow and keep your lure in contact with the bottom, since the fish will often be just sitting on the bottom when it’s like this. On the other hand, when it warms up, and the tide comes in, and the breeze is blowing a little from the south or southeast, wading for trout is a good option. Seems like the fish will get up and prowl around during these conditions. I like to throw MirrOlures and topwaters when wading for the trout, especially if there’s a decent amount of mullet jumping around. Fishing late into the afternoon is often much better when wading this time of year. Just the other day, we fished for a good

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas Chocolate Bays Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service - 979 849 7019 - 979 864 9323 Fishing has been decent on recent outings, Randall says, and the action should get better as we get into February. “Lately, we’ve been catching our fish by working our lures really slow and sometimes keeping them ticking along the bottom. On the better days, you can catch them on slow sinking plugs, working them at a snail’s pace, but on the other days, you have to actually drag the worm along the bottom to get the bites. Best color in either type of lure has been something with pink on it. We’ve caught some on pink Corkys and also on the hot Baffin magic Norton Sand Eels. As we get into February, it typically warms up some and we start looking for our fish in the middle over mud and scattered shell. The trick out there is to locate the bait. We often do that by keying on the water turkeys and pelicans. They’ll often show you where the schools of bait are and that will also be where the trout are hanging out. We’ll likely catch some of our biggest trout of the year this month in the mud streaks while working this pattern.”

Matagorda Tommy Countzi - Bay Guide Service - 979 863 7553 cell 281 450 4037 Fishing is bound to be productive in the Matagorda area in February, given the options available, Tommy says. “Of course, one of the primary goals around here in February is to catch some big trout in East Bay. We’ll focus on mostly the south shoreline and throw slow sinking lures like Corkys, sometimes the floating versions of those. Keying on areas with lots of bait and a little color in the water is critical, as is patience. This is a game for people who are willing to grind all day for a few bites. If the water is nice in the river, that’s a great option too. There, we like to dredge or troll if it’s windy, just letting the lure out behind the boat and waiting for a bite. Using braided line and a three eighths ounce head tipped with something that wiggles will bring more bites. It it’s calmer, we troll around and throw at the edges and dropoffs with the same lures. A third option presents itself this time of year too. When the tides are at their lowest, West Bay can be on fire for the redfish. Look for them to stack up in the drains on the south shoreline.”

Palacios Capt. Aaron Wollam palaciosguideservice.com - 979 240 8204 Fishing has been absolutely on fire here in the Palacios area. Trout have been in their normal wintertime places, and when you find them, you find bunches. We found a gut out in front of a bayou on the south shoreline of West Matagorda bay yesterday that was loaded with sixteen to twenty inch trout. We caught fish for over three hours without ever moving a step. We caught them on pumpkinseed/chartreuse Bull Minnows and Bass Assassins in plum/green and chicken on chain. www.TSFMAG.com

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Some big trout, up to twenty seven inches, have been caught in the back of some bayous on Corkys in pearl/black and on ED specials. These fish were caught over mud bottoms in water depths of three to five feet with the lures worked very slowly. Redfish have not been as plentiful as the trout, but are still around in some locales and quarter ounce gold spoons have seemed to be the best lures for them. With what looks to be a continued cold winter, the focus should be on finding the bait. Find bait and you should find the fish.

Port O’Connor Lynn Smith - Back Bay Guide Service - 361 983 4434 February is big trout time for Lynn. “This is the time of year to focus your efforts on catching the big trout,” he says. “I like to use a strategy that gives me the best chance to do just that. We’ll leave the dock later, say around ten o’clock, most days and fish late into the afternoon. Finding bait is the most important key this time of year when on a hunt for sow trout. The bait is much easier to find when it’s active, which usually means during the middle of the day into the afternoon. I’ll key on areas with muddy flats which lie adjacent to drop offs into deep water. What deep means will depend on where I’m fishing. Sometimes, deep might mean four or five feet; at other times, it might mean fifteen feet. Looking at the big picture and selecting spots within an area that are close to some of the deepest water around is the key. Then focus on the shallow, muddy flats close by, especially those that are protected from strong north winds. We’ll be throwing mostly slow-sinking twitchbaits like Corkys and Catch 2000s and working them slow.”

Rockport Blake Muirhead Gator Trout Guide Service - 361 790 5203 - 361 441 3894 With duck season ending, Blake will begin to place most of his focus on catching trout in February. “Usually, this is a great month to catch some trout and some big ones at that. I like to fish around mud and shell throwing lots of slow sinking lures like Corkys. Of course, I’d rather catch my fish on topwaters than any other way, and I’ll give them a good try as long as there’s lots of bait around, but Corkys and other plugs like that are more consistent. On the toughest days, it pays to pull out the old Sand Eels too. I’ll be looking for schools of big trout in bays like St. Charles and Mesquite, also Corpus Christi Bay. Usually, when it gets really cold in the winter, the bays with lots of mud and shell are best come February. The outlook for trout fishing is improving around here. I’ve had some reliable reports of some really good catches lately. As we move toward the end of winter, the patterns will be established and the potential for catching some of the biggest trout of the year will definitely be there.”

Padre Island National Seashore Billy Sandifer - Padre Island Safaris - 361 937 8446 Typically, February has lower tide levels than earlier months making for easier traveling along the beachfront but beware of strong NE or E wind as they often push water level to the dunes. Slot and oversized redfish, black drum, lots of whiting and pompano are the main target species using bottom fishing techniques throughout the month. Fishbites and fresh, dead, peeled shrimp combo proves deadly on all of these species all year long. There are more sheepshead in the surf in February and March than other months as well. The past few years, speckled trout fishing is better in February than other winter months although I do not expect high numbers. 51M and 52 M Mirrolures are my bait of choice and will out-catch live bait at this time of year. Sandbar, blacktipped and occasional bull sharks are caught in February and there is always a chance at a winter mako. Occasionally little tunny (bonita) will come within casting distance of the shore. Use jigs and small silver spoons or Mann lures for these fish.

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut Robert Zapata - rz1528@grandecom.net - 563 1160 Well, we have been having a real winter this year! The water Just Keep Five

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temperatures have dropped to the lower fifties and even the upper forties at times. This means that we need to work our lures very slowly along the bottom, because the fish being cold blooded are going to most likely be sitting on the bottom and moving very slowly themselves. Muddy bottoms will warm faster than hard bottoms and this is the type of area that the fish will be staying in, especially when the weather is at its coldest. Because the fish are not very aggressive in cold water temperatures, the best way for us to fish this time of the year is to wade. If we stay on our boats, we will wind up working too fast through the water where the sluggish fish are sitting. If we do get several days of warm sunlight, the fish will move into shallow water (two to three feet) and on these days we can fish while drifting on our boats. The water in much of the Laguna Madre is clear, so use natural colored lures and rig them on either eighth or quarter ounce jigheads.

Joe Mendez – www.sightcast1.com - 361 937 5961 Joe says the style of fishing in the Corpus Christi area will likely depend on the weather in February. “With all this cold weather, fishing the channels is productive. The fish pull off the flats and fill up the channels. Fishing out of the boat using the trolling motor and/or drift anchor to stay in position to keep the lures in contact with the edges of the channels is the key. I like to use heavier than normal jigheads for this drill, up to three eighths ounce or even heavier at times. Often, the fish will hug tight to the main dropoffs, and the heavier heads allow you to keep the lure in the strike zone and feel the bite better, especially if it’s windy and the current is strong. On the other hand, if the weather warms up like it has the last few winters, there will be a lot of fish to be caught on shallow flats. As of right now, the water in lots of places is clear, so sight casting opportunities will be there if that happens. Using paddle tails and lighter jigheads will be more effective if targeting fish on skinny flats. Swimming the lures slowly in front of them is critical.”

Port Mansfield Terry Neal – terrynealcharters.com – (956) 944 2559 Winter fishing can be tough at its best and trying to predict what is going to happen is almost impossible. We have had some colder weather this year than what we’ve experienced in several years. So, is that a good or bad thing in terms of the fishing prospects? It is really good in several ways. For the fish, it acclimatizes them, so they are more ready for really cold water temperatures, should it get even colder. Don’t get me wrong; it doesn’t make them bullet proof, but it gets their system ready to slow down. Some folks think our fish can migrate to deeper waters. Doing the math makes me wonder; the Land Cut to the Gulf is 20 miles, Arroyo to Gulf is even farther. All they have time to do is find the deepest hole they can within reach and go into survival mode. Lately, when the weather breaks, there are trout being caught and a few redfish. Remember to move your bait as slow as possible. Offshore boats have been catching red snapper, but there are no size to them. Remember to keep only what you can eat and release the rest.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel Janie and Fred Petty fishingwithpettys.com – (956) 943 2747 It seems…the worse the weather, the better the fishing. That certainly is the case this year so far. When we’ve had wind and tide movement, we’re catching some awesome trout, averaging two over 26 inches every trip and even the 20 to 25 inchers are fat and healthy. The reds are fighting like devils and we’re seeing plenty of oversized ones mixed with slot fish in the shallow potholes. Both of our target species are hitting the Berkley Gulp shrimp under Cajun Thunder cigar corks. Usually the glow or pearl white work best, but occasionally we’ll get results, especially on trout, with nuclear chicken. Freddy says, “With the grass beaten down and the silt left from dredging and the brown tide, it’s easy to see where reds have taken off from, by the puff of mud they leave behind in the murky, shallow water. Fish a little slower and use the larger, round Cajun Thunder corks when the temperature drops and fish are cold or move out to deeper water. Give them a little more time and don’t set the hook as hard as usual.”

Texas Saltwater Fishing

February 2010

73


Catch of the Month! All upcoming Photo Galleries are now online! Check out when your photo will appear in the magazine.

Hunter Welch Galveston Bay - 39” redfish

Ian Hook Laguna Madre - black drum

Dana Weidemann San Bernard River - 30” redfish

Todd Moore Port O’Connor - 28” 7lb trout

Paul Nicolosi Port Mansfield - 26” 6lb trout

Coltin Mercer Port O’Connor - 39” 29.5 lb redfish 74

February 2010

BK Newsom Baffin Bay - 28 1/2” 8lb trout

Ryan Malone Pure Oil Channel - 21” trout

Gary Cloud 27” speckled trout

Nisha White Bastrop Bayou - 31 1/2” redfish

Trevor Durrett Shoalwater - first redfish!

Jaime Guerrero Laguna Madre - 32” redfish

Todd McIntosh Clear Creek - 8lb redfish

Pam Jordan Aransas Bay - first redfish!

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Esther Garcia Port O’Connor - 28” black drum

Kristi Jureka 27 1/2” speckled trout

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BROUG H T TO YOU B Y. . .

Braeden Clark 18” first redfish!

Sara Boenig Copano Bay - 30 1/2” redfish

Clarissa Leal South Padre - 24” first trout!

Paul Carson Rockport - ling

Kelly Bull Port Lavaca - 28” redfish

Kammie Clark First Fishing Trip - 23” redfish

Bobbie Bartlett St. Charles Bay - 28” trout

Norman Burns Port O’Connor - Texas slam Armondo Casarez Jr Port O’Connor - 38 1/2” bull red

Ryan Luna Bird Island - 23” speckled trout

Josie & Neely Burrier South Pass Lake - first redfish!

Colleen Blockhus Galveston Bay - 37” redfish C&R

Please do not write on the back of photos.

Wesley Boedeker, Easton Power, Steven McIlwain Powderhorn Lake - redfish Just Keep Five

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Email photos with a description of your Catch of the Month to: Photos@tsfmag.com

Amy Wallace Corpus Christi - 29” redfish Texas Saltwater Fishing

Mail photos to: TSFMag P.O. Box 429, Seadrift, TX 77983

February 2010

75


GULF COAST

Kitchen

PAM JOHNSON Got ideas, hints or recipes you’d like to share? Email them to pam@tsfmag.com or send by fax: 361-785-2844

Shrimp Tortilla Soup From the kitchen of Barbara Ann Skala

k

This hear ty and delicious version of tortilla soup makes a great appetizer or entrée and leftovers are even better! Spices and amount of chopped jalapenos can be adjusted to deliver as much zip as your taste requires.

1½ pounds medium shrimp 2½ cups chopped onion 1½ tablespoons paprika 1 cup chopped cilantro 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper 2 or 3 finely chopped jalapenos 1¼ teaspoons white pepper (depending personal taste) 1½ teaspoons ground oregano 6 cups chopped tomatoes 1 tablespoon salt (or to taste) 3 cups tomato juice 2 tablespoons garlic powder 1 pound Monterey jack 1¼ teaspoons sugar cheese shredded 12 corn tortillas 3 medium avocados, diced 2 cups peanut oil 1 large bunch green onions or scallions, finely chopped Peel and devein shrimp and set aside . In small bowl, combine paprika, cayenne and white pepper, oregano, salt, garlic powder and sugar and set aside. Cut tortillas into 1/2 inch strips . In 4-quart Dutch oven or other heavy pot, heat oil to just below boilin g. Fry strips until golden brown; drain well. Allow oil to cool, remove all but 3/4 cup. Return pot to heat; add scallions, onion, cilantro and jalap eno and sauté until the onion is just transparent. Stir in tomatoes and reserved spice mix and simmer about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomato juice and three cups of water and simmer another 10 minutes. Add shrimp and cook five more minutes or until shrimp are pink and done . To serve, place a layer of tortilla strips in bottoms of soup bowls. Ladle in soup, top with shredded cheese and avocado.

76

February 2010

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Cajun Redfish with Red Pepper Relish The inspiration for this recipe came from Chef Denise at HEB -Plus in Victoria, TX. HEB -Plus Stores carry a full line of Adams and Roberts Reserve prod ucts. Preparation Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 15 minutes Serves: 4 Fresh redfish fillets (1 ½ -2 pounds) 2 Tablespoons Adams Reserve Caju n Rub 1/4 Cup Roberts Reserve Roasted Red Pepper & Onion Dip Relish* 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil Season Fillets with Adams rub on both sides; let stand 5 minutes. Heat large skillet over medium-high heat for two minutes. Add oil and continue heating until it just begins to smoke. Cook fillets in skillet 2 ½ to 3 ½ minutes per side in separate batch es, not crowding, until lightly browned on each side. Right before serving, top each fillet with 2 tablespoons Roberts Reserve relish. Serve immediately. *Variation: substitute Roberts Reserve Roasted Pineapple & Habanera Dip or Pineapple Coconut Mango Tequila Sauce.

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

February 2010

79


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February 2010

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Back Cover FISHING PRODUCTS (RODS, REELS, TACKLE, ETC.) Fishing Tackle Unlimited 281-481-6838 www.FishingTackleUnlimited.com American Rodsmiths 1 25 Fish-N-Hunt 7 713-466-7849 www.americanrodsmiths.com 713-856-8003 www.fishandhunt.com Brown Lures-JB Outdoors 45 Roy’s Bait & Tackle 8 281-961-4399 www.brownlures.com 361-992-2960 www.roysbait-tackle.com D.O.A. 60 Speedy Stop Solunar Solunar 877-362-5873 www.doalures.com 361-582-5100 www.speedystop.com EZ Drainer 54 Tackle Box 65 281-224-9766 www.EZdrainer.com 361-575-8700 No Website Fishing Tackle Unlimited Rods 4 281-481-6838 www.FishingTackleUnlimited.com MISCELLANEOUS ForEverlast Hunting & Fishing Products 28 Cove Harbor Marina and Drystack 30 361-798-1530 www.ForEverlast.com 361-790-5438 www.coveharbormarina.com Kevin Cochran Video 58 TSFMag Subscription Form 69 361-688-3714 www.fishbaffinbay.com 361-785-3420 www.tsfmag.com MirrorLure 37 727-584-7691 www.mirrolure.com PLACES TO STAY Livingston Lures 27 Baffin on the Rocks 79 210-316-1792 www.livingstonlures.com 361-592-3474 www.baffinontherocks.com Luresafety Wrap 64 Classified:Bentley’s Intercoastal House Rental 79 713-203-2829 www.luresafetywrap.com 361-983-4660 (none) Marine Taxidermy 54 Floating Cabin Rentals 78 281-736-4982 www.marinetaxidermy.net 361-937-0868 www.captaincarl.com Mud Hole Tackle 64 Serena Residences 29 407-447-7637 www.mudhole.com 866-241-4022 www.serenaresidences.com Pier 30 47 The Inn At Clarks 79 979.233.3130 www.pier30fish.com 361-983-2300 www.theinnatclarks.com Reaction Strike 57 317-938-5414 www.reactionstrike.com REAL ESTATE / RENTAL REC Components 47 The Oaks at Bentwater 20 860-749-3476 www.REC.com 361-790-0001 www.oaksatbentwater.com Rods by Pepper 67 Bill Richter 67 409-737-1136 (None) 210-787-6918 www.pbase/billrich/condo Russelures Solunar 281-723-0721 russelure@yahoo.com TOURNAMENT / EVENTS Salt Water Soul 58 Bash Tournament 35 409-771-7565 www.saltwatersoul.net 361-582-5100 www.speedystop.com Simms Fishing Products 3 Bluff’s Landing Marina Bait and Tackle 49 406-922-1233 www.simmsfishing.com 361-937-7100 www.bluffslanding.com Strike Pro America 21 Houston Fishing Show 56 409-938-7400 www.strikeproamerica.com 713-899-1361 www.houstonfishingshow.com Texas Tackle Factory 20 Port Mansfield Chamber of Commerce 57 361-575-4751 www.texastacklefactory.com 956-642-7357 www.portmansfield.us Third Stone Software 49 Saltwater Sportsman Seminars 77 888-361-2221 www.thirdstonesoft.com www.nationalseminarseries.com (none) Wade Aid Enterprises 65 Texas International Boat Show 48 888-923-3243 www.wadeaid.com 561-842-8808 www.TexasInternationalBoatShow.com Waterloo Rods 12 361-573-0300 www.WaterlooRods.com Wiley X Eyewear 24 800-776-7842 www.wileyx.com

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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GALVESTON TIDES & SOLUNAR TABLE Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine FEBRUARY 2010


The BEST Choice… Any Place, Anytime!

To find a location near you, please visit us at www.speedystop.com

TIDAL CORRECTIONS Location Calcasieu Pass, La. Sabine Bank Lighthouse Sabine Pass (jetty) Sabine Pass Mesquite Point Galveston Bay (S. jetty) Port Bolivar Texas City, Turning Basin Eagle Point Clear Lake Morgans Point Round Point, Trinity Bay Point Barrow, Trinity Bay Gilchrist, East Bay Jamaica Beach, Trinity Bay Christmas Point Galveston Pleasure Pier San Luis Pass Freeport Harbor

High -2:14 -1:46 -1:26 -1:00 -0:04 -0:39 +0:14 +0:33 +3:54 +6:05 +10:21 +10:39 +5:48 +3:16 +2:38 +2:39 +2:32 -0:09 -0:44

Low -1:24 -1:31 -1:31 -1:15 -0:25 -1:05 -0:06 +0:41 +4:15 +6:40 +5:19 +5:15 +4:43 +4:18 +3:31 +2:38 +2:33 +2:31 -0:09

For other locations, i.e. Port O’Connor, Port Aransas, Corpus Christi and Port Isabel please refer to the charts displayed below.

Please note that the tides listed in this table are for the Galveston Channel. The Tidal Corrections can be applied to the areas affected by the Galveston tide.

Minor Feeding Periods are in green, coinciding with the moon on the horizon, and the last from 1.0 to 1.5 hrs after the moon rise or before moon set. Major Feeding Periods are in orange, about 1.0 to 1.5 hrs either side of the moon directly overhead or underfoot. Many variables encourage active feeding current flow (whether wind or tidal driven), changes in water temp & weather, moon phases, etc. Combine as many as possible for a better chance at an exceptional day. Find concentrations of bait set up during a good time frame, and enjoy the results.


Te x a s S a l t w a t e r F i s h i n g M a g a z i n e l

w w w. t e x a s s a l t w a t e r f i s h i n g m a g a z i n e . c o m


February 2010