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M AY 2009 Volume 19 No. 1



FEATURES 12 Industrial Strength Fishing Information

Mike McBride

16 The Clear Implications

Kevin Cochran

20 New Regulations, Choices and Updates

Billy Sandifer

24 Jump into summer fishing with both feet

Chuck Uzzle


26 Science and the Sea

Pam Johnson

Billy Sandifer


UT-Marine Science Institute Jay Watkins

34 Fly Fishing


Bobby Byrd/John Cochrane

38 Conservation



30 Let’s Ask The Pro 36 Offshore

Shirley Elliott

Office: 361-785-3420 Cell: 361-550-9918

DEPARTMENTS 21 Coastal Birding


Debbie Dugan

CCA Texas

40 TPWD Field Notes

Joshua Harper

42 Kayak Fishing

Scott Null

44 According to Scott

Scott Sommerlatte

46 Youth Fishing

Aaron Cisneros

48 Every Man’s Offshore

Ruben Villarreal




Dickie Colburn

60 Mickey on Galveston

Mickey Eastman

E-MAG (electronic version) is available for $12.00 per year.

62 Capt. Bill’s Fish Talk

Bill Pustejovsky

Order on-line: WWW.TSFMAG.COM

64 Mid-Coast Bays with the Grays

Shellie Gray

66 Hooked up with Rowsey

David Rowsey

68 Capt. Tricia’s Port Mansfield Report

Capt. Tricia

70 South Padre Fishing Scene

Ernest Cisneros

REGULARS Editorial

$25.00, Two Year $45.00

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 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.

PHONE: 361-785-3420 FAX: 361-785-2844

28 Tech Tip

MAILING ADDRESS: P.O. Box 429, Seadrift, Texas 77983 PHYSICAL ADDRESS: 58 Fisherman’s Lane,

56 New Tackle & Gear

Seadrift, TX 77983

72 Fishing Reports and Forecasts


74 Photo Gallery–Catch of the Month


76 Gulf Coast Kitchen 81 Index of Advertisers

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  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 Capt. Shellie Gray of Bay Rat Guide Service is this month’s cover

Periodical class permit (USPS# 024353) paid at Victoria, TX 77901

angler. Shellie and her husband, Capt. Gary Gray, reside at

and additional offices.

Seadrift TX and offer year-round bay fishing guide service in the

POSTMASTER: Send Fishing Magazine, TX 77983.

Port O’Connor/Seadrift region. Just Keep Five

Free. Offer valid until 06.30.09)


10 Letters to the Editor

Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine is published monthly. Subscription Rates: One Year (15 months for 12 months; Get Three

58 Dickie Colburn’s Sabine Scene



Debbie Dugan ADDREss CHANGED? Email

Texas Saltwater Fishing

address changes to Inc., P. O. Box

Texas 429,

Saltwater Seadrift,

May 2009


WE GET TONS OF MAIL AND MORE TELEPHONE CALLS. Readers enjoy being able to discuss their fishing topics with the editor. I give every writer and caller my undivided attention and best effort. I never claimed to have all the answers, but more likely than not, a member of our writing team or one of our many friends will. We enjoy excellent relations with the folks at TPWD, CCA Texas, UTMSI, TAMU and a host of other agencies and organizations. Running down the answers is a fun part of my job and I strive to give timely replies. Being involved in this breaks the monotony, not to mention the wealth of knowledge one can acquire. It is also a great tool for tailoring content in the magazine. Just last week I took a call, way past business hours. The guy wanted to know when his subscription expired. The conversation that ensued lasted nearly an hour. I took him all around San Antonio Bay and he taught me things about the Galveston Bays. The next day I received an email that contained some really cool photos of his grandkids the last time he took them fishing…along with an invitation to fish East Bay. Many of the photos in the magazine are sent from readers. A fair number of our cover images come from readers proud and anxious to share their fishing successes. The overwhelming stream of ideas, comments and suggestions help us in many ways. Not every package contains a bouquet, nor did I ever expect it would. Sometimes I get called on the carpet. Not everyone is pleased with everything that gets published. Good examples were my positions on flounder and trout regulations. At least I can honestly say those who agreed were in great majority. We view reader involvement as a blessing. So, I would like to offer encouragement. Send us your ideas, comments, suggestions, and especially your photos. If you have a great photo to share, send it in. You don’t have to be a guide or other fishing personality of great renown. You or the person taking the shot do not have to be professional photographers. Snapping a photo is a lot like fishing, sometimes we get lucky with bragging-quality results. This issue brings the debut of our newest member of the TSFMag writing team, Ruben Villarreal. If you frequent Fishing Tackle Unlimited’s Cut Rate Store on the Katy Freeway in Houston, you may have already met Ruben; he has been there thirteen years. Ruben grew up fishing party boats out of Galveston and Freeport and graduated to greater adventures. To his angling credit, Ruben won the CCA Texas STAR Kingfish Division from a party boat a few years back. Ruben is a bright young man with a passion for fishing; thirteen years as a tackle salesman have broadened his knowledge of tackle and related gear. The idea to offer increased offshore content is in answer to reader requests. Many readers enjoy slipping through the jetties when the conditions will allow. Ruben’s column will be devoted to the offshore fishing opportunities any angler with a seaworthy bay boat can access. Hopefully his insight into technique, tackle and rigging will improve their chances for success next time they get a shot at the snapper, king, ling and dolphin of our nearshore waters. Keep those letters, emails and phone calls coming folks, TSFMag is reader driven and we want to hear from you. Don’t forget, May 10 is Mother’s Day, take your mom fishing. Hopefully you can prepare her a dynamite fish supper to cap the day’s festivities. 8

May 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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comes It’s proven that our line be less visible under water. k a fish. If you don’t believe us, as lot of imitators original red fishing line, a ™ Since Cajun introduced the deal goes l makes Cajun Line the rea have sprung up. But what ome less bec to ts star r that our red colo way deeper than the fact our e Tak ter. wa of three feet visible to fish in as little as . mium co-polymer formula Cajun Advantage super pre as other • Stays strong twice as long ker mono thanks to our UV bloc eter ratio • Higher strength to diam tions for stealthy lure presenta ce stan resi sion abra ed eas • Incr ory mem ed eas incr out with our demo • See for yourself. Watch video at

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Dear Editor, I really enjoy your magazine. I started fishing at about the same age as my grandson in this photo when my grandpa (Marshall Triplett) began taking me and I have loved fishing ever since. I think my grandson, Koleson, is now hooked too. He gets mad at me every time I go fishing without him. He’s a member of the next generation of fishermen and boat captains. I appreciate your magazine’s encouraging your readers to pass along the love of fishing and the outdoors to future generations. They will determine the future of fishing and conservation. Always remember that they learn by example. Thanks again for a great magazine! - Ronnie Galbreath and “Captain” Koleson Gallegos Sinton, TX Dear Ronnie, You are one lucky granddad! I love that look on Koleson’s face and the way he grips the wheel. I’ll bet he is going to make a fine captain and a great fisherman. Passing our love of fishing and the natural wonders of Texas to our children and grandchildren is a joy and a blessing rolled into one. You are correct, they will be the stewards of tomorrow, and it looks as though you have Koleson headed in the right direction. My hat is off to you, keep up the good work. - Everett Johnson Dear Editor, Having just read McBride’s article entitled Plastic Philosophy in the March 09 issue of TSFMag magazine, I felt I had to send a pat on the back. Thank you Mike McBride for an interesting take on different approaches to fishing; it rings true with me. As one of your “idealists” (without your skills,) I probably waste too much time experimenting but it makes fishing more interesting and it’s certainly not just about numbers. Consequently, I depend on others for fish to eat a lot of times, but that’s OK. Thank goodness for the “utilitarians” as you call them. I turn to Mike’s article first when I get my magazine in the mail each month. I am probably one of many who do that, but I just wasn’t sure how much you hear from us. Keep up the good work and keep Mike thinking outside the box in his articles. - Bob McGahey, Round Rock Dear Bob, So you want our Mike McBride to, “keep thinking outside the box.” Oh dear! As Mike’s editor I need to clarify something…he has no box. That’s why we love him. Let’s just leave it at that. - Everett Johnson

SEND YOUR LETTERS TO: TSFMag, P.O. Box 429, Seadrift, TX 77983 10

May 2009

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AST MONTH WE CONSIDERED HOW VALUES evolved as society progressed from the sweaty Age of Industrialization to the modern-day Age of Information. Next we pondered how newer fishermen handled the trip. We suspected that many now spend more time trying to pull skill out of text instead of water, and cautioned that the overflowing pond of information is vast and cheap and the so-called experts many. So now we ask; what comes from true experts who pull knowledge and skill from water; and what from wonks who don’t fish interviewed by geeks who can’t write, supplying opinion for those who can’t think? Discretion says that like using a topwater, we need to wait for the meat before setting the hook.

Here’s the second installment of excerpts from the Industrial Strength Wade Fishing Handbook. Not sold in stores. Call now.


May 2009

TIP # 614: WADERS: Rubber is out, breathables are in. The newest styles even come in pink and the “man” colors have optional zippers. Boot foot waders go with wade fishing like high heels go with cattle guards. They make soft bottoms softer and are better suited for sitting in duck blinds. Stocking foot waders with streamlined booties can make any bottom seem harder, unless of course you are a man and buy them in pink, in which case your bottom is your business. Additional uses include year-round protection against water born illnesses. Other benefits are surprising; such as usually having

Texas Saltwater Fishing

to take them right back off to retrieve that Cracker Jack prize hidden in the bottom of the feet. Additional surprises can force them off again shortly after entering the water. Waders can perform as no laxative could ever possibly claim. TIP # 432: KNOTS: Many fishing knots exist, but we only need to master a few. Practicing with a dock line can help visualization, but when all else fails, simply follow the general rule of connective practicality. “When you can’t tie a knot, tie a lot.” TIP # 272: NETS: A landing net is to better insure the landing of a fish, so choose wisely. The smaller the net, the bigger the fish you will catch, and also lose. The bigger the net, the more chance you won’t catch as many fish because of spending too much time removing treble hooks from it or trying to fix the worst backlash ever after snagging that begging tool with a back cast. The more stuff you carry when wading, well, the more stuff you carry. Hand grabbing is a right of passage. TIP # 466: ZIPPERS AND SALTWATER: Whatever you buy for coastal fishing that has zippers on it was designed where a river runs through it. Using silicone spray can help unzip that problem, but pepper spray may work better for some of these manufacturers. TIP IP # 477: STRINGERS: A good stringer is hard to find. Most are too flaccid and require twenty minutes to untangle fish from it, while attempting to fold and

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cut bait. So get a big gulp of that, but please don’t complain about stingrays and hardheads. TIP # 112: FISHING ARTICLE TERMINOLOGY: The Age of Information at its finest; the word “transition” often means the author doesn’t have a clue where the fish went. The phrase “magic water temperature” often means the author doesn’t have a clue when the fish are going to show up. Often, somebody interviewed somebody else. TIP # 231: TOURNAMENT STRATEGY: Pre-fishing is critical, but a common mistake is fishing more than learning. See what you need and get out, or you will predictably catch the fish you need for the tournament before the tournament. Also, the hero or zero approach isn’t your best approach so, try to just catch good fish first, and then concentrate on upgrading with less stress. However, don’t take any of this too seriously. It’s hard these days to beat extreme funding with skill, and a ninety-mph boat with three weeks off beforehand is the new the apex predator. $1OO key reward. TIP # 16: RIGGING PLASTIC LURES: Inserting a jig head into a soft plastic lure requires rudimentary knowledge of geometry; namely, the basic properties of a straight line. However, rigging them crooked can work, especially if you are fishing for monkeys because the lure will look like a banana. Never mind it spinning and scaring fish while it twists your line. Actually, crooked may be more normal in today’s society for various reasons. TIP # 44O: PASSION CONTROL: Avoid temptations such as naming your dog after your favorite lure. Yelling “Fat Boy” at the top of your lungs in the middle of the night might invite strange visitors and they might arrive in pink Crocs. Again, gain, in short, real fishing knowledge comes from a stick not a click. So let’s be industrious and go fishing. Hey… It’s been awesome!

Texas Saltwater Fishing


store some newer versions is like trying to tame a Slinky. We simply need a stiff rope of appropriate gauge with a good spike, so we need to encourage manufacturers to fish first and sell later. TIP # 265: WATER RAGE: Inevitably we will be blessed with improper actions and the primordial instinct is to scream, maim and kill. However, old surfing Karma says if you let them have this wave, the second one will be bigger. On-the-water payback only encourages the cycle, so better to address the infraction landside. However, if that doesn’t work, civil unrest comes to mind, such as dropping five thousand keys at a biker rally with their address on it, marked “$5O reward for return”. TIP # 511: STING RAY PROTECTION: We need to decide which is worse: temporary pain and suffering from a stingray hit we may never get, or permanent disfigurement from trying to wear these things while wading in mud. We either need to convince manufacturers that Neil Armstrong moonraker boots don’t fit our application, or perhaps buy more keys. TIP # 443: PROPER WADE FISHING ATTIRE: Historically only three colors were acceptable, moss green, khaki, and brown so we wouldn’t spook fish and we’d look like outdoorsmen. New florescent colors such as Sushi Salmon, Urbanite Shrimp, and Goober Glow Green are now not only acceptable, but highly recommended, so idiots won’t run you over. However, among seasoned salts, pink is too liberal and pink Crocs should be illegal. TIP #436: STICKY RETURNS: Promotional stickers make public statements with cheap exposure. On boats they say, “I’m cool, follow me.” Higher thought suggests product stickers on the inside and another on the outside saying, “I might need a tow.” Truck windows with fishing stickers get exposure also, such as you fish a lot and therefore have disposable income and should spread the wealth. TIP # 438: SCENTED BAITS: Scented soft plastic lures work when others may fail, are a genuine fake imitation of the real thing, and serve other purposes too, such as helping baitoriented people pretend they are throwing lures. Quite simply they are designer pieces of


Mike McBride is a full time fishing guide based in Port Mansfield, Tx., specializing in wadefishing with artificial lures.

May 2009



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ver decades of studying spotted sea trout, I’ve encountered various and sometimes contradictory theories regarding their behavior and biology. One claim I heard years ago asserted that old trout will sport few of their namesake spots by the time they reach maximum age and size. I’ve directly challenged that idea in recent years, having caught numerous brilliantly colored, long specimens carrying hundreds of dots on their backs and sides. My own experience has led me to a different conclusion, one that is supported by related scientific efforts. I believe that the coloration of speckled trout (and other fish) is affected by the turbidity of the water in which they reside. Clear water with minimal turbidity will cause the skin of the local fish to be more heavily pigmented; conversely, high levels of turbidity will cause the fish to lose color and appear silvery or blanched. I came to this conclusion after years of fishing in waters with highly variable levels of clarity. The natural state of the waters in my home area is crystal clear, particularly in the Laguna Madre. When I’m fishing in those waters, I tend to catch colorful trout and redfish. Where I live and work, we also deal with frequent brown algae blooms, which is like turbidity, in that it reduces light penetration into the water. In waters stained by brown tide, almost all of the fish I catch appear faded, lacking the pigment of their neighbors in clear water. Many of the pictures I’ve taken prove that.

The idea of turbidity affecting coloration is also substantiated by various sources I found while doing research for this piece. In one such article entitled Strategy: Pigment Granules Assist Hiding: Ray-finned Fishes, Collis asserts that “many fish…change color in response to the overall reflectivity of their background. Light reaching their retina from above is compared in the brain to that reflected from the background below… Many flatfish, including flounder, go further than overall reflectivity and develop skin patterns according to the light and dark divisions of their background.” More light reaching the eyes of the fish results in a stronger reaction and therefore more color in the skin of fish residing in water easily penetrated by light. His work suggests that trout and redfish residing in clear water over bottoms largely covered in sea grass, which is relatively dark when compared with sand, clay or mud, will become darkly colored. It’s not as I’d expected; I’d thought of it in more human terms, as if the fish were “sun burned” from greater exposure to ultraviolet rays in clear water. No matter, the result is the same. From all of this, I reach one important conclusion with regard to how this variation in coloration affects angling efforts for speckled trout. When fishing in clear water, it pays to use lures that have natural color patterns, or those that are intensely colored and bright. Offerings fitting this description include baby trout, baby bass, pumpkinseed/chartreuse, black/white and pink. On the other hand, when working turbid water (including brown tide stained) a plain white lure makes sense, given that fish in such waters have low pigmentation levels. Taking these concepts one step further, it’s obvious to me that the color of a lure matters most in exceptionally clear water because the clarity gives fish better vision over greater

It may be a stretch, but the moderate coloration on this fat speck seems relevant. She came from an area that has widely variable clarity. 16

May 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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or at least that their predatory habits will be changed by the turbidity associated with the algae. My own anecdotal observations would support that. I have noticed that even where large concentrations of baitfish are found in a murky area, they are less likely to be seen jumping and actively fleeing predators than when they’re found in areas with better clarity. I also find that it’s easy to walk right up on trout and redfish in turbid water; it’s frustrating to see mud stirs made by big fish after nearly stepping on them, since they are then nearly impossible to catch. In clear waters, I rarely get so close to the fish, especially the bigger ones. A few times, after fishing a clear water area and deciding it held no fish, I drove over plenty of them in the boat when leaving. They seemed to have been moving constantly with us, staying just out of our reach. To me, these facts indicate a change in behavior of predatory fish in response to turbidity, especially long lasting turbidity. It seems that trout and redfish inhabiting murky waters become more sedentary, remaining almost stationary, waiting for a prime opportunity to ambush their prey, since foraging around without good visibility consumes too much energy to be an effective strategy. A sedentary attitude in the fish probably explains why bites are usually hard to get in brown tide, but when a fish does bite, it often attacks with a noticeable ferocity. The strike zone in front of a fish in turbid water is undoubtedly small, requiring an angler to place a lure perhaps inches from its nose. When a suitable offering does enter a fish’s ambush zone, it might elicit an impressive predatory response, given that the fish may have been waiting some time for just such an opportunity. In nasty water, it’s wise to slowly work noisy and/or smelly lures through areas with plenty of potential staging spots for fish lying in wait to ambush their prey. Success in stained water therefore requires intimate knowledge of the area to be fished, since the bottom and all its structures cannot be seen. Staying around known sweet spots and making every effort to keep lures in

This blanched trout came out of a frequently turbid area often tainted by brown tide.

close contact with their structures will pay off better than a faster, more far-ranging approach favored in water with better clarity. Ironically, turbidity affects the fish and its hunter similarly, creating in each the need for a patient and relatively sedentary strategy.


distances. In turbid water, the creation of noise or vibration and the presence of attractive scents are likely more important attributes than the hue of a lure. While searching for information on this topic, I came across what I now perceive to be some relevant and related data about the effects of turbidity on the predatory behavior of fish. In a recent article entitled Differential Effects of Turbidity on Prey Consumption of Piscivorous and Planktivorous Fish, Robertis and others state that “contrast degradation theory predicts that increased turbidity decreases the visibility of objects that are visible at longer distances more than that of objects that are visible at short distances. Consequently, turbidity should disproportionately decrease feeding rates by piscivorous fish, which feed on larger and more visible prey than particle-feeding planktivorous fish. [Their research shows] that turbid environments may be advantageous for planktivorous fish because they will be less vulnerable to predation by piscivores, but will not experience a substantial decrease in their ability to capture zooplankton prey.” The evidence in that piece has relevance to this one in a significant way. It suggests that speckled trout become less effective in their predatory efforts in waters strongly tainted by brown algae,


Scott Enderlin here holds a long, dark, “moss-backed” trout sporting numerous dots in crystal clear water.

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* Texas Saltwater Fishing

May 2009

19 BP402145

to others who might be within cell phone service coverage. Please neither

HERE ARE SOME NEW LAWS ON PINS that went into effect on April 1 but this is my first opportunity to let you know about them. Effective April 1-July 1, the speed limit on the entire PINS beach has been changed to 15 miles per hour. That makes for an 8-hour roundtrip to the Port Mansfield jetties. Also, any bay guides fishing within the boundaries of PINS in the Laguna Madre are now required to have permits from PINS and insurance listing PINS as a co-insured. Questions can be directed to Law Enforcement at PINS by calling 361-949-9239 ext. 33. PINS web site is Nesting season for the world’s most endangered sea turtle, the Kemp’s Ridley, occurs during this April 1-July 1 timeframe and all visitors are urged to be observant for nesting turtles and report them to 361-949-8173 ext. 226 or 228 or 1-866-887-8535. Beach travelers might also try CB Channel 1 to relay turtle information

note that the Park Service or turtle patrollers monitor CB communications but it still might be a way to pass information. Please don’t interfere in any way with the turtles. Mark the spot and if impossible to call out let the first turtle patroller you encounter know about the nest site and how you marked it. There will be patrollers constantly searching for these nesting turtles along the entire beachfront daily. The final stats for the Fourteenth Annual Big Shell Beach Cleanup have been compiled. A total of 800,000 pounds of trash was removed by 502 volunteers and 9.75 miles of beach was cleared of debris in the Big Shell and more down near the Port Mansfield jetties. NPS (National Park Service) personnel are continuing the task of removing the vast amounts of remaining debris and hope to have it done by October. Friends of Padre, Inc. will be making a donation of $20,500 to aid in these continuing efforts. Although I have been receiving quite a few inquiries for surf fishing charters, getting the weather to cooperate throughout March has been quite difficult. I have been spending quite a bit of time working as an Audubon Coastal Warden; protecting and enhancing rookery islands for colonial waterbirds in the local bay systems. You got it; I’m one of the guys who puts up signs around spoil islands warning boaters to stay clear during nesting season.

I am well aware that a lot of you probably aren’t real big on “stay clear” signs and I’ve never been either but, I want to give you some information that might make you think differently. There are only nine Audubon Coastal Wardens in Texas, yet we have tremendous numbers of birds nesting here. There are a limited number of spoil islands suitable for nesting waterbirds. Data from thirty-eight years shows almost eighty islands have been used as nesting sites by colonial waterbirds in the Upper Laguna Madre from Bird Island to Corpus Christi Bay. As of 2007, only forty-four were active and of those, only thirteen have not experienced considerable losses in overall numbers of individuals and species. Fourteen have eroded away completely. Twenty are completely abandoned due to mammal predators and human disturbance. Twenty-nine are now used exclusively by laughing gulls. The gulls are more tolerant of human encroachment; other species are easily spooked during nesting season. Some will not nest if disturbed or will nest only until continuing human disturbance drives them off their nests which they will abandon. Unfortunately the window for nesting is short and they will not go elsewhere and start over. They simply give up and won’t rear young that year; if they do, it will be a smaller number. As Audubon Coastal Wardens, we attempt to remove predators Author doing the footwork. from potential rookery islands and control fire ants. Audubon leases

Boater fishing far behind the "do not enter" sign on Shamrock Island. Jeff Wolda of Bulverde with sightcast Jack Crevalle on 16 March. 20

May 2009

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numerous spoil islands from the General Land Office and is literally paying rent to the GLO for the birds to have a place to nest. As available nesting sites decrease, bird species are sharply declining in number with most species occurring in 30% of the total number of colonies in use 10 years ago. Several species are classified as threatened due to their rapid decline. As the available nest sites and the overall populations of birds decrease, the tremendous increase in the human user group continues. As we patrol local bay systems monitoring nesting activity it is all too common to see boaters, kayakers, wade fishermen and jet skiers in extreme proximity to the rookeries and nesting birds. Sadly we know the potential for the birds to nest successfully decreases every time someone comes too close. A short few years ago there were twenty active rookery islands in Redfish Bay and last week there were two. Decline in species diversity on islands is especially apparent in the past ten to fifteen years; which coincides with the tremendous increase in numbers of the human user group in Coastal Texas. Lots of folks enjoy the birds. The laughter and joy on the face of a small child upon seeing a large bird reminds us that we often overlook how beautiful and special they are and how much a part of our world they are. They could be likened to living dinosaurs. But there’s more to it than that; they are considered “environmental indicators” of how healthy the overall coastal ecosystem is. There’s also a very real “other side” to this story. As their numbers continue to decrease these species currently listed as “state threatened” could all too soon become Federally Endangered and if that happens the government will take measures to protect them. And trust me, those measures will be far more restrictive and intrusive to human bay users than staying reasonably clear of a few island rookeries is today. I got tickled recently to see a great blue heron nesting on top of a well-hidden duck blind. Living proof that there is room for us all IF we just use good sense. The rookeries are only “off limits” from February through August. There is no given distance on the signs saying what is too close. There is no reason for there to be. Outdoorsmen can easily tell. If your presence makes the bird start calling continuously or show other nervous behavior you are too close and certainly if they fly off their nests you’re too close. Eggs left unattended for too long due to human presence will be ruined and never hatch. The brown pelican; although still listed as Federally Endangered is making a strong comeback and these other species can do likewise. They just need our help by leaving them the space necessary to reproduce. I do three types of fishing charters; beach, bay CAPT. BILLY SANDIFER and nearshore. Right now all three are subject to tougher new federal regulations enacted January 1, 2009. By staying clear of these active bird rookeries we are not only helping them and the balance of nature; we are also insuring we won’t have more restrictive state and federal laws put in place that will impact our activities in the bay systems in the future. Sure makes a lot of common sense to me. Erick, ”Oz” Ozolin TPR’d a beautiful 9’ 8” female Billy Sandifer operates Padre tiger shark on the PINS beach on March 17 and Island Safaris offering surf fishing for sharks to specks and nature that is extremely early. Spanish mackerel showed tours of the Padre Island National up in February, which is also extremely early, and Seashore. Billy also offers bay and we had a 25lb jack crevalle on February 20. That near-shore fishing adventures in his 25 foot Panga for many big is the only February surf jack crevalle I ever heard game and gamefish species. of . As of the end of March sargassum has not shown up in amount of the past five years and telephone 361-937-8446 this is good. Website If we don’t leave any; there won’t be any.

length: 10.5 inches Wingspan: 23 inches The red knot has a short bill and long wings; generally plump with a quail-like appearance. Has plain coloration except in breeding plumage when face, breast and belly turn salmon-colored. Feeds primarily on beaches and mudflats. Highly gregarious. Breeds in tundra region of the far North, winters in South America. Red Knots make migration stopovers on our coast and are present August through October and again during March through May. East Coast population has recently declined 83% due to commercial over-harvest of horseshoe crabs in Delaware Bay. Horseshoe crab eggs are a major food source for red knots on that coast.

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May 2009



NoEr 2W009 f


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May 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

May 2009


N ALL HONESTY THIS HAS TO BE ONE OF MY ABSOLUTE most favorite times of the year. I love the transition from spring into summer; the weather starts to cooperate and the fishing goes nuts. Late April and May generally signify the summer patterns are here or at least really close, and we can begin to look forward to out of this world conditions in which to fish. For me personally, I will be thankful that those unbelievable winds of March and early-April will be behind us for the most part and that makes more water fishable. More fishable water means the crowd can spread out and we’ll all be under less stress. Can I get an Amen?

I look forward to May and the emerging summer fishing pattern here on Sabine and Calcasieu. The folks who have been dying to go down to the jetties and duel with wired up and fired up trout will get their first taste of that program. The green water and light winds will make for some outstanding days along the rocks. Farther inland the folks who prefer to stay in the lake will be in for action the gulls for trout and roaming schools of redfish. The shad will also begin to gang up out in the open lake so keep an eye out for that to happen because the trout and reds won’t be far behind that floating buffet. Still farther inland the folks who like to congregate in the deeper water along the rivers and ICW will also have their own little piece of heaven as long as we don’t get too much rain. As long as that deeper water stays salty the fish will be there in force and waiting on a good tide change to chow down on a variety of baits including shad, shrimp and mullet. Anchoring up on good secondary points and breaks as well as the mouths of the marsh drains will prove very effective for those who enjoy fishing 24

May 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

at a slower and more leisurely pace. I will be probing the backwater marshes in search of redfish and hoping that all the damage from Ike hasn’t hurt either fishery too much. After Rita we saw tons of small redfish show up and grow into perfect slot reds over the next year or so, hopefully we will get the same benefit from Ike. Regardless of what these fish do there will be a significant learning curve for those who run this kind of water. For many folks, especially tournament anglers who love to get in there and chase those fish, there will be a whole new world to figure out. Many of the ditches and small bayous that gave access to these remote areas are now totally impassable from all the debris left over from the storm. Much to the dismay of many folks these areas will never be the same and some of the best water out there could be gone for who knows how long. In the meantime I will concentrate my efforts on the areas that are still fishable and continue to scout for new ways to access more water. The water temperatures at this time of the year will really promote some aggressive behavior from

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the redfish and the strikes will be some of the most we have agreed to split some time. The vicious you will see all year. I will continue to throw opportunity to let him push me around the the weightless soft plastics and topwaters because skinny water will be one that have looked they are just way too much fun to catch fish on. I forward to for a long time. Hunter is easily could probably do better on a few different baits my favorite person to fish with and to have but the results I have been getting while using the him “guide” dad will be a real treat to say the frogs, tubes, and topwaters has been just fine in my least. It’s been a whole lot of fun watching book. I do however plan on catching more of these him turn into a dang good fisherman and I am fish on fly this summer, fly fishing is addictive and I really proud of that fact, as if you couldn’t tell. am hooked if I do say so myself. A growing number Anyway folks this a great month to get out of clients have expressed interest in learning and enjoy one of many patterns that will be the long rod and I look forward to the increased readily available this month. May is fisherman challenge and adventure that will accompany friendly because the weather gets right and the these trips. The satisfaction you get when you do ugly scorching summer sun is not quite here land one of these beautiful fish on fly is a real rush, yet so take advantage of the fact. a great accomplishment in any angler’s book. Enjoy your time on the water and Perhaps one of the greatest joys of the month be sure to take a kid the next of May is the fact that the kids get out of school time you go fishing. and we’ll have more opportunity to include them in our fishing plans. One of the best methods I know for putting a great trip together with kids is to rig live shad under a popping CHUCK UZZLE cork, this is just money in the bank. A #3 non-weighted popping cork above a 1/2-ounce egg sinker and barrel swivel gets you started. Tie a 3-foot leader to the swivel and use a 3/0 or 4/0 Kahle hook. Hook the shad or finger mullet through the eye socket and drift behind the boat. Give the cork a good pop on a regular frequency. This method has produced countless fish for us during the summer months and it will be extremely user friendly for the kids. Everybody loves to see the cork go under I don’t care who you are or what you say, you know you like it. This summer will mean more time on the front of my skiff fishing instead of poling now that my son Hunter has grown enough to handle that chore and

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

May 2009



On all yamah

3113 Nichols Rd., Bay City, Texas 77414 979.245.3369 / Fax: 979.245.1599 E-mail:


May 2009

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

May 2009


Article by Everett Johnson


IN THIS DAY OF TOUGH ECONOMIC TIMES, MANY FISHERMEN are being forced to make fewer trips to their favorite bays. Some are teaming with friends, towing only one boat to reduce expenses when between them they might own several. Another recent problem boat owners have to contend with is found in ethanol/gasoline blends. Downtime and fuel quality are two of your engine’s worst enemies. Condensation and aging of fuels can team to stop you dead in the water, and possibly bring a high sea tow and repair bill to get everything back in working order. Given that your boat’s fuel system is vented directly to the atmosphere, condensation occurs in greater amount than an automobile and thus allows a greater quantity of water to accumulate in the system. Ethanol is naturally hygroscopic, meaning that it absorbs atmospheric moisture very readily. So if you use ethanol/gasoline blends you get a double whammy. Several top mechanics say they are seeing more fuel problems today than ever before and here is what they advise: Top off your tanks every time you store your boat. A full tank will allow less condensation to occur and therefore less moisture to enter the system.  Use a fuel conditioner such as Sea Foam. Sea Foam will greatly diminish the formation of sludge in motor fuel that is accelerated when moisture is present. One pint will treat up to 25-gallons of gasoline or diesel.  If your boat’s fuel system is not equipped with a fuel/water separator you really need to install one. The price of a simple installation runs arouond $100, parts and labor included. You can do it yourself for about half.  Purchase fuel from “busy” fuel depots, no use starting with old and possibly contaminated or deteriorating fuel if it can be avoided.  Lay in a supply of fuel/water separator filters. Carry a spare in your boat. Change the filter often. Good fishing, and don’t let the downtime gremlins creep into your boat’s fuel system. 


May 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

FISHES OF THE TEXAS LAGUNA MADRE; A Guide for Anglers and Naturalists, is written by David A. McKee and published by Texas A&M University Press. Dr. McKee is a professor of biology at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, where he is also coordinator of the mariculture graduate degree program and associate director of the Laguna Madre Field Station. In addition to his teaching marine ecology and ichthyology, he is also a member of the executive board of the Corpus Christi Chapter – CCA Texas. Dr. McKee is a lifelong fisher of the Texas Laguna Madre, a self-confessed “lagunatic” and has a great passion for the region. A fisherman in heart and soul, Dr. McKee looks at the Laguna Madre through the eyes of an angler as well as a scientist. Hence his style in presenting science that is as informative as it is easy to read. Fishes of the Laguna Madre is more than a guide to fish identification, way more. It begins with history of the magical region we call Baffin Bay and the Laguna Madre and describes the processes of how our coast was formed. Detailed accounts of natural events; killer freezes, red tides, and hypersalinity fish kills help the reader gain an appreciation for the delicate balance of its ecology. Discussion of the formation of Baffin’s famed “rocks” and what has occurred as man tramples with wading boots, boat hulls, lower units and propellers is both enlightening and alarming. As a guide to fish identification, Fishes of the Texas Laguna Madre deserves a place on every naturalist’s and angler’s book shelf. McKee describes species in terms a layman can grasp and provides insight into the role they play in the ecosystem. One of the greatest attributes of this book is the conservation theme. Conservation ethic seems to grow proportionate to our development as anglers. Dr. McKee is a true conservationist and has devoted much time and effort to CCA Texas. The encouragement of greater stewardship of Texas’ marine resources comes through very clearly in his book. Born and raised on the coast during an era when the ocean’s bounty was believed endless, Dr. McKee takes care to explain the anglers role in insuring that these treasures will survive and be available to future generations. Fishes of the Texas Laguna Madre makes a great addition to any angler’s library. If the allure, mystique and history of the Texas Laguna Madre capture your fancy as they do mine, and if you enjoy keeping an excellent fish identification guide handy, I call it a must have and a must read. Father’s Day is coming; this book would make any angling dad smile. Look for it in Barnes and Noble stores or do a search.

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Evinrude kicked off the season with a full field as harsh north wind greeted 266 anglers. Taking home the brand new Texas Redfish Series edition Majek skiff powered by an Evinrude ETEC was the team of Aaron Loomis and Gary Harvey weighing in 16.52 pounds. Grabbing second was John Hubbard and Shannon Payne, and with 0.01 of a pound less, Doug Colvin and Jeremy Turner placed third. The series will visit five Texas communities: Port Aransas, Rockport, Matagorda, Port Lavaca and Corpus Christi. Designed for anglers of all backgrounds and skill levels, the Cabela’s Texas Redfish Series brings enthusiasts together for exciting one-day events where 125 two-angler teams have a chance at winning over $50,000 in cash and prizes. The format includes live weigh-in, artificial lures only, wade fishing is allowed. The entry fee per team is $400.00 per tournament, and one-in-five teams will earn prize money. The following Sunday, 95 kayakers gathered for the Cabela’s Texas Kayak Series. The winds did not

The Record Setters ®

Look Out for BIG BROTHER!


affect the fishing as eight of the top ten teams brought in redfish over seven pounds. Beating out 94 contestants was Tom Stubblefield who brought in a giant that tipped the scales at 8.62 lbs. Tom was fishing in a shallow lake throwing TTF spoons at reds with their backs out of the water. Tom took home a $950.00 kayak courtesy of Kokomo Kayaks in San Antonio. Second place went to Paul Martinez, Joe Peddy took third. Over 100 kayakers are expected in Rockport on April 26 for the second of four stops in the 2009 Cabela’s Texas Kayak Series. During the two events, 162 redfish came to the scales. Every fish came in alive and all survived to be released by marine biologist Barrett Fines. “This is amazing,” said tournament director Scot Simmons. “We usually have over 90% survive, but having every fish come in alive is truly a testament to our anglers.” The Cabela’s Texas Redfish Series is part of the Texas Saltwater Series tournament trail, the largest saltwater tournament trail in Texas. Coverage of the tournaments will be broadcast to 9.5 million subscribers on the Texas Saltwater Series Fishing Show on FSN Southwest (Fox Sports Southwest). Viewers can tune in every Wednesday at 6:00 AM to catch the action. The series is produced by Simrod Outdoors who also produces the Cabela’s Texas Trout Series, Cabela’s Texas Kayak Series and Cabela’s Texas Kid’s Series. For more information about the tournaments and the program, visit


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Texas Saltwater Fishing

May 2009



AT 105 YEARS OF AGE MY GRANDMOTHER, BERTHA PROTHRO, closed her eyes one night last week and awoke in heaven with all those in her family that preceded her in death. What a glorious homecoming it must have been on Heaven’s shore.

I was not a very good grandson in her last years and I want to be honest about that. I hated the place she was at and the state she was in. My article this month is a tribute to her and all the things that she and my grandfather taught me while taking me fishing. She wore a straw hat with a ribbon that tied under the chin and always took her seat in the middle of the 14-foot john boat powered by a 12-hp Johnson Seahorse outboard in the middle of Lake O’ the Pines. To this day I can still see her as she watched the quill cork at the end of the long cane pole my grandfather had rigged for her. “Bertha, just lift the pole when the cork goes under,” he would say. She would look at me with a raised brow. We both knew who almost always caught the most fish. 30

May 2009

If you have never held a cane pole and I very seldom saw the woman resting except watched as that small quill cork rights itself and during a bout with the daily headaches she had disappears, you have never experienced fishing nearly all of her adult life. It must have been in one of its most simple and satisfying forms. miserable in that heat when a bad one came I received my introduction with my mother’s along. Donning a damp washcloth, she would mom and dad, first in Taylor’s Bayou near Port lay down for an hour at the most, then it was Arthur. Soon after, my grandparents retired back to the kitchen or other household chores. and moved to Ore City on Lake O’ the Pines. The house had no air conditioning, just My reason for this article is simple; fishing fans and a water cooler system. I remember inspired me to do mostly right in my younger watching the black and white television while years. My dad used it while I was growing up in we snapped beans. I also remember sleeping Rockport. Because of fishing, I have memories with the windows open and being able to that are truly priceless. My grandparents and smell the pine trees and the freshly oiled red parents used the sport to get me to do dirt roads. At night I could hear the sounds whatever it was that they desired, be it good of the insects around the garden. Chasing grades, cleaning my room or mowing the lawn. lightning bugs was big fun. We would hold In the summer months I would spend a few them in our cupped hands watching the green weeks at my grandparent’s house in East Texas. lights around their eyes light up and listen to Fishing was the whole reason for going but, them click. I would fall asleep watching them there were always a few chores that went along out the window of the bedroom where I stayed with it. No free rides around the Prothro during my visits. house. If not some sort of yard work, there was always work to be done in the garden. If as a youngster you never had a roto-tiller try to pull you through the fence as you dug both heels into the red sandy soil, you missed a major rush. They had the best garden; potatoes, sweet corn, peas of all kinds, squash, cucumbers and egg plants. Of course there were tons of tomatoes and okra and even a pear tree. Cantaloupe and watermelons were also there to be picked. While stringers are not usually seen in TSFMag, I asked permission to include one. The Stockdale family I can still see her bent over has been fishing with me for many years during the picking tomatoes, squash and Thanksgiving holidays and it has been a joy to be part okra. She put them in her apron of it. I remember the kids, little more than toddlers, learning to fish with their dad... priceless! as she picked. Texas Saltwater Fishing

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

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May 2009

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First of all I have learned there is nothing more important than family.

Great fishing memories; Cliff and CR Webb, Jay Ray and Jay Watkins when the boys won the Speedy Stop Rockport Bash. Cliff and I were beaming with pride.


So the question this month is: “What have you learned while fishing”? First of all I have learned there is nothing more important than family. Renee’ woke me up to this without even knowing it. Renee’ supports what I do because she loves me and for no other reason. I support my sons, Jay Ray and Ryan, in their fishing ventures because I love them and want them to be happy. Fishing has been a wonderful tool for those in my family, a tool that has allowed grand parents, parents and children to spend time together and to actually communicate. You see, the learning and loving all started due to wanting to go fishing. In my opening paragraph I related memories of my grandparents. Without the allure of fishing, I seriously doubt that I would have been willing to spend so much time with them. I would not have received so many valuable lessons or so much love. The memories of my grandmother go way beyond the time we spent fishing, and what greater gift could have been given? I can’t remember the exact number of bluegills, goggle-eyes and crappie but, I do remember her and everything about her. I trust that my own family will not only remember the fishing trips we have enjoyed but also the lessons learned while fishing and during the preparation for those days on the water. So the next time you have the chance to take your family fishing remember the memories are not only going to be of the fish but of all the other things that go with it. A wonderful memory is the best gift of all, it never stops giving. May your fishing always be catching.


May 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

May 2009


IN THE WORLD OF SALTWATER FLY FISHING, much attention is focused on the importance of the fly rod. A fly rod is the most expensive tackle investment a fly fisherman will make, so countless hours are spent mulling over which brand, weight, action, and finish is best. But a good fly rod is only one part of the equation. Another important component of a saltwater fly fishing outfit is the fly line. A good fly line compliments the rod and makes it possible for anglers to connect with strike zones under a wide variety of conditions. But with so many different lines available, which is the right choice? I have narrowed my arsenal down to three lines I consider essential: 1) the weight forward floating, 2) the intermediate sinking, and 3) the fast sinking. I use these lines frequently along the Texas Coast (and elsewhere) and each has its place when targeting fish at different depths and at different times of the year. Let’s take a closer look at each line.

WT. FORWARD FLOATING LINES Nearly every saltwater angler begins his/her career outfitted with a weight forward floating line. These lines are ideal for targeting shallow water redfish or canvassing shallow open stretches of water with blind casts. My favorite lines in this category include the Scientific Anglers Mastery Series Saltwater and Mastery Series Redfish lines. The SA Saltwater line has a long head and slender belly. It loads the rod gradually and makes accurate long casts in the wind. The SA Redfish line has a short head


which loads the rod quickly for rapid punchy casts at close targets. Both lines have relatively firm textures, are highly durable, and perform well in warm weather. Another line I like is the Cortland 444 Tropic Plus Lazer line. I have used this line for many years. The 444 Tropic Plus Lazer Line is an extremely stiff fly line designed specifically for hot weather. It shoots well and resists tangles even in oppressive temperatures. It is a workhorse line that is strictly designed for warm weather fishing. The next category of lines I use are sinking lines. Unfortunately, many anglers have never tried a sinking line. It’s a shame because the ability of these lines to go deep opens up countless opportunities for saltwater fishermen. There are many different types of sinking lines available. I generally prefer the level or “steady sink” lines (as opposed to sinking tip lines) in both intermediate and fast sinking versions.

INTERMEDIATE SINKING LINES Intermediate line sink slowly… about 1-2 inches per second (IPS). They are a perfect choice for the surf because they slip below the churning waves and allow anglers to maintain straight-line contact with their flies. They are also a great choice for fishing secondary channels and guts or working shallow reefs and structure where a steady, level presentation is desired. My favorite intermediate sinking line is the Scientific Anglers Clear Intermediate Bonefish line. I love this line! It casts well, has a pebbled finish that feels good on your fingers, and it is very durable.

FAST SINKING LINES The second group of sinking lines I use are the fast sinking lines. Fast sinking lines don’t mess around. They get a fly down quickly - between 5-7 IPS. These lines are perfect for working channels and jetty edges, where strong current is present, or for sending flies to deep open water structure. My favorite fast sinking lines are the Cortland 444 SL Type 6 Steady Sink line, or the Scientific Anglers Striped Bass Type 4 fast sinking line. Either of these lines does a great job of getting flies deep. At first, you will find sinking lines cumbersome. They tangle easily and require a full retrieve between casts. Also, a stripping basket or bucket is required to effectively control and shoot these lines. But after you get used to them they’re actually easier to cast than floating lines. The big benefit though, is that they enable you to touch deep strike zones floating lines can’t reach. Remember — a good fly line compliments the rod, accommodates the fly, and allows an angler to adapt to his targets whether they are near or far, shallow or deep. And although it is not reflected in the dollar signs, the right fly line often plays a bigger role in successful fishing than the rod.

Check out Casey’s Fly Fishing Video Library at May 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing




Casey smartt has been fly fishing and tying flies for 30 years. When he cannot make it to the coast he is happy chasing fish on texas inland lakes and rivers.

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

May 2009


productive. Before the introduction of offshore oil platforms, these fish were mainly caught around deep rocks, current lines and dropoffs along the continental shelf. Now with deepwater oil production platforms scattered across the Gulf of Mexico, tuna concentrate on the bait that is attracted by these structures. For the bluewater fisherman it is a fantastic opportunity to catch big tuna consistently, despite the fact they are located quite a distance from shore. Many species of tuna are found in the Gulf, but the yellowfin and blackfin tuna are the most prolific. Bluefin and bigeye tuna are very rare, so the yellowfin is the largest tuna caught consistently and happens to be one of the best eating fish in the ocean. Fishing techniques for yellowfin vary from drifting dead and live

A very nice yellowfin tuna (187-lb) caught at the Cerveza Rig on the "Billy B" - summer 2008. 36

May 2009

bait to jigging iron, casting surface poppers, kite fishing and normal trolling. Some of the best tuna fishing is at night, yellowfin tuna love ambushing flying fish that come into the lights around the boat. During this time they feed closer to the surface and can be easier to catch. Daytime fishing can be very good also, especially when the tunas are on the surface. A surface strike is awesome to witness and is well worth the trip offshore! During the summer, there are many big game tournaments along our coast concentrating on billfish. In fact there is one just about every weekend! These tournaments have tuna and other pelagic fish pools, but the main focus is on billfish. Well, we decided it was time for a different kind of tournament — one that focused on the great tuna fishing off our coast. Texas Tuna Mania is what we named it and it’s going to be held out of the new Surfside Marina in Surfside, Texas on August 20-22, 2009. Located at the Freeport jetties, Surfside has quick access to the Gulf of Mexico and is the closest Texas port to the deepwater oil platforms. The tournament will also include fishing for other pelagics, including billfish, but the main emphasis is going to be on yellowfin tuna. There are three divisions in the tournament – Yellowfin Tuna Division, Pelagics Division and a Billfish Release Division. To enter the tournament you must pay the entry fee and you must enter the mandatory $500 yellowfin tuna pool. After that, you can enter any pools in any divisions you desire. In the Yellowfin Tuna Division, each pool will be determined by aggregate weight. The boat with the most pounds of yellowfin tuna wins, only the largest three yellowfin per boat will be weighed. In the Pelagics Division we have created Texas Saltwater Fishing

the Pelagic Slam. The winner of this pool is determined by the combined weight of three fish including the largest yellowfin, wahoo and dorado per boat. Other pools in this division are for largest fish only. The Billfish Release Division is similar to many other billfish tournaments and is video release only. This tournament is also suppose to be fun so there are not a lot of angling rules to follow. We call it Jungle Rules! You must use a rod & reel and boat the fish by hand or gaff, other than that, anyone can handle or touch the rod. The main idea is to go out, catch some fish and have a great time. For more detailed tournament information go to Registration headquarters is at Tops-NTowers, come by and find out more about the tournament and big game fishing or rigging your boat. Looking to buy or sell a boat? Check out the Fox Yacht Sales website at www. or you can contact John Cochrane at


B O B B Y B Y R D & C A P T. J O H N C O C H R A N E


Born in Galveston, Capt. John Cochrane has been a professional captain for over 25 years and is now a full time yacht broker for Fox Yacht Sales. 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 281-291-0656 Tops-N-Towers 281-474-4000 Capt. John Cochrane 409-739-4817 Websites

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

May 2009



WHEN WALTER W. FONDREN III assumed the chairmanship of the fledgling Gulf Coast Conservation Association in 1977, it was a single-chapter organization concerned with a single issue – the “Save the Redfish” campaign near and dear to the hearts of Texas anglers. When he stepped down as chairman at the CCA Board of Directors meeting in March 2009, he left an organization that has grown to 17 state chapters on all three coasts with more than 100,000 members involved in issues at the local, state, national and even international levels of marine conservation. During his remarkable tenure, Fondren oversaw efforts that produced significant conservation achievements, including net bans in several states, game fish status for certain species, landmark bycatch-reduction regulations, commercial fishing license buyback programs and Presidential executive orders that elevated the role of recreational angling to unprecedented heights. “Walter is a unique individual who not only saw the problems facing marine resources and recreational anglers; he had the ability to create the solution,” said David Cummins, president of CCA. “No one was even paying much attention to the oceans in 1977. It is safe to say that what Walter created at CCA during his chairmanship essentially changed the entire playing field with regard to marine resource conservation.” Succeeding Fondren as CCA chairman is Venable Proctor, a native of Victoria, Texas, and a member of the original board of directors for the Gulf Coast Conservation Association. He has been involved with CCA ever since and has held a number of key leadership positions, including chairman of the CCA Texas Government Relations Committee and as a member of the Management Committee. He is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law and is in-house counsel for the Estate of Thomas O’Connor. “Walter has been one of the constants of CCA since its inception and his guidance has been instrumental in making the organization what it is today – the leading marine resource conservation group in the country,” said Proctor. “However, you don’t accomplish what CCA has been able to achieve over the past 30 years by working alone. Walter fostered the growth of an organization where the creativity, commitment and participation of the volunteers are what drive CCA. I am very excited by the challenge of building on CCA’s tradition in conservation.” With membership at an all-time high, the Board also moved to better address the challenges accompanying that growth and announced a series of organizational adjustments at its recent meeting in Houston. “Growth is a wonderful problem to have, but it does create challenges for our system,” said Proctor. “We are constantly evaluating anything we can do to make sure the day-to-day operations of CCA are handled as efficiently and effectively as possible.” 38

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

In an effort to better position the organization to handle the demands of the future, the Board announced that Proctor will also assume the responsibilities of Chief Executive Officer of the organization. CCA President David Cummins was named Chief Operating Officer and Patrick D. Murray was named Executive Vice President. Robert Taylor assumed the duties of Director of State Development, allowing Judy Shaw to move into the newly created position of Director of Operational Services.

HOUSTON, TX – At its March 26 meeting, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission voted unanimously to enact a one-month, November closure to commercial and recreational gigging of southern flounder along the Texas coast and implement a November reduction in the hook-and-line bag limit to two fish. Additionally, the Commission enacted a year-round reduction in the recreational bag limit to five fish and the commercial bag limit to 30 fish in possession, with a minimum length of 14-inches for both. “Chairman Holt and the Commission showed real leadership and vision in their conservation efforts,” said Mark Ray, CCA Texas chairman. “These regulations will provide an important step in the recovery of this vital Texas fishery.” Late last year, Coastal Conservation Association Texas (CCA Texas) initiated a grassroots campaign calling for additional conservation measures to save declining southern flounder stocks. Thousands of CCA Texas members petitioned the TPW Commission to enact stronger regulatory measures to restore flounder stocks. CCA Texas called for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission to close the flounder fishery to all gigging during the months of October, November and December and implement year-round reductions in the recreational and commercial bag limits. Additionally, CCA Texas fought successfully to allow continued hook-and-line fishing for flounder. “The Commission did a great thing for marine conservation,” said Robby Byers CCA Texas executive director. “We called for additional months of closure to gigging because we feel that is where the real problem lies. Additionally, it is important to note that recreational anglers greatly reduced their bag limit. I am pleased that the Commission took this important first step of closing November to

Cont’d on pg 49…

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May 2009


field Notes

EVERYBODY KNOWS THE FEELING. YOU SPEND all week looking forward to the big weekend fishing trip. Before the teenagers are home from Friday’s date, you’re already launching your boat for Saturday morning. Just as the eastern sky is beginning to lighten, you ease the boat into your super-secret sure-bet honey-hole and… there’s already somebody there! How could this be? You’ve been fishing there since Grandpa first brought you in nineteen hundred and (insert appropriate year) and there’s never been anyone else fishing there! Where did all these folks come from? As you disgustedly put your boat back on the trailer after a lackluster day of fishing, a guy wearing a khaki shirt and carrying a clipboard comes up and asks you a bunch of pesky questions--the same questions that he asked you last weekend and last month and last decade and for the last thirty years. What business is it of his what county you live in? Well, you want to know where all those folks invading your fishing spot came from and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is getting the answer for you. TPWD Coastal Fisheries’ Harvest Monitoring Program is designed to answer lots of questions. One of our objectives is determining fishing pressure. Who applies more fishing pressure; one fisherman who fishes for 6 hours or 5 fishermen who fish for 2 hours? To account for these type differences, we count the people on a boat who were fishing and multiply this by how many hours they were fishing. This gives us a unit called man hours. This tells us the five fishermen who only fished 40

May 2009

for 2 hours (10 man hours) apply more fishing pressure then the one fisherman who fished 6 hours (6 man hours). Combine man hours with

of Houston. San Antonio Bay is also heavily fished by Houstonians with additional heavy pressure from nearby Victoria. Aransas Bay

the fisherman’s county of residence and we are able to answer questions about where the fishing pressure is coming from. With TPWD’s three decades of data collection, we can also track how fishing pressure has changed with time. Some of the answers are of interest to biologists, others to economists, and others to legislators. But you may find some of the answers are interesting to you as a fisherman. So where did all these folks come from? Creel survey data from the last five years (20032007) was analyzed to address this question. Chances are, if you are fishing on the coast, they are from one of 10 counties which account for over 50% of the fishing pressure. These counties correspond to heavily populated areas that are easy driving distances from the Texas

gets most of its pressure from local Aransas County and visiting fishermen from the San Antonio area (Bexar County). San Antonio, along with Corpus Christi (Nueces County), also contributes the greatest fishing pressure on Corpus Christi Bay and the upper Laguna Madre. The lower Laguna Madre receives most of its fishing pressure from the Lower Rio Grande Valley counties of Cameron, Hidalgo, and Willacy Counties. Now that you know where the people at your fishing hole came from, where are the fellow residents of your county doing their saltwater fishing? Counties in close proximity to the coast will generally frequent the closest major bay system. Fishermen from those counties further inland often follow a major

coast. They are Houston (Harris, Fort Bend, and Brazoria counties), San Antonio (Bexar County), Corpus Christi (Nueces and Aransas counties), the Rio Grande Valley (Cameron and Hidalgo counties), Austin (Travis County), and Victoria (Victoria County). From the freshwater dependent bay systems of the upper Texas coast to the saltier lagunas of the lower coast, there is a geographical shift in where the fishing pressure originates. Sabine Lake’s fishing pressure is more localized than many of the other bays with the most man hours coming from residents of Jefferson County. Working south, Galveston and Matagorda bays receive local fishing pressure as well, but are also heavily used by fishermen from the nearby metropolis

highway that serves as a conduit to a particular bay system. Fewer West Texas and Panhandle fishermen visit the coast which makes county preferences rather haphazard. As the Texas population and the popularity of saltwater fishing both continue to grow, the days of “secret fishing holes” are dying. No longer will you be able to spend a summer weekend wade fishing the south shoreline of Matagorda Bay without seeing another soul. TPWD will continue to manage fisheries to ensure there are fish enough for everyone. However, it will be up to you as fishermen to behave courteously and ethically if fishing is to remain an enjoyable recreational activity.

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May 2009


C A P T. S C O T T N U L L



A FEW MONTHS BACK I WROTE AN ARTICLE about the new and updated kayaks being introduced by various manufacturers at the Outdoor Retailer Show. One of the offerings from Hobie was mentioned. I was asked not to go into too much detail as the model on display was a prototype and likely not an accurate depiction of what the final offering would look like. In looking it over at the show it was obvious Hobie was going in a direction not previously explored. This watercraft is part kayak and part small boat. It is difficult to categorize, it’s that different. I went by the Hobie booth while attending the recent BASS Master Classic in Shreveport, La and got a good look at the finished product, the new Hobie Pro Angler. Most every fishing kayak that has come out over the past few years is a variation of the same thing. Yes, there are different lengths, widths, hull designs and cockpit areas; but they are basically based on the same general platform. Hobie has broken all the rules with the Pro Angler and come up with a boat many anglers will find appealing. I finally got my hands on one a couple weeks ago and took her out for a morning of fishing. I figured if I was going to test it out and report to you guys, I’d better put it through the paces of actual fishing use. That, and I just wanted

to go fishing. The he amount of storage and the clever ways in which the storage has been integrated into the design is pretty cool. If you’re a tackle junkie who likes to bring it all with you, you’ll love this rig. The front hatch is

holders behind the seat. Nothing new about that, but the horizontal rod storage along the gunnels is something no other kayak company has done. It is the same idea used

huge and comes with a plastic liner. I chose to use it as a cooler. I dumped a twenty pound bag of ice in there, half a dozen drinks along with lunch and still could’ve easily put a limit of reds in there as well. The liner is removable and with it taken out you could store enough gear for a camping trip. The bow hatch is hinged at the front and allows easy access to this storage area as well as the ability to load bulky item. On the floor of the cockpit is tackle storage area that holds three Plano boxes in addition to a partitioned space for pliers and other tools. The hatch cover has a small cutting board mounted to it for those guys who want to rig bait. The plastic liner inside this hatch is also removable allowing access to the inner hull. On either side of the seat is a molded area set up to hold larger tackle boxes. And then there’s a larger than normal tankwell behind the seat listed as having more than five square feet of storage. I didn’t try it, but I think you could put a 48 quart cooler back there with room to spare. Want to bring spare rods? Hobie has you covered there too. There are two standard flush mount rod

in small poling skiffs. There is room for three rods on either side of the cockpit with the tips of the rods protected by rod tubes that go through the front wall of the cockpit and into the bow storage area. The rods fit snugly against the gunnels with the reels sitting on a raised platform beside the seat. It was pretty cool to be able to put my fully rigged 9’ fly rod in there to keep it out of the way while casting my conventional gear. They’ve also provided accessory mounting boards along the top of both gunnels just forward of the seat for additional rod holders, a GPS or a fish finder. And don’t worry too much about overloading this boat as it is rated for 600 lbs of capacity. Like I said, this boat is a tackle junkie’s dream. Performance wise you aren’t going to win any races, but this boat wasn’t designed for speed. The Pro Angler comes with Hobie’s pedal Mirage Drive that propels the boat at a decent pace. I pedaled into and across a stiff breeze with a pretty good chop on the water and found it to be a very dry ride. I was satisfied that this rig could handle much rougher conditions with ease. The rudder system is another point where Hobie went outside the box. Instead of mounting the rudder

Cont’d on pg 49… 42

May 2009

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and, they have such a profound effect on us, that they shape our lives and the lives of those that we hold dear. Whether you are talking about the first steps of a child, the first words that come not too long thereafter, the first day of school, or even a first date, the list can go on and on. Of course the effect these “firsts” have may only be minute or, they might be significant, but regardless, things are never the same. For example, I can remember a “first” that occurred many, many moons ago that, to this day, I still cannot believe where it took me. Anyway, way back when I was a teenager, I received a call from the chapter president of our local GCCA chapter, Larry Stanley, asking me if I would like to join him and his friend S.T. Fergusson to fish in a little inter-chapter tournament. I accepted graciously and one morning not too long thereafter we were launching in the Colorado River in the dark. We raced down the bay in total darkness to our first spot and, as we watch the sun come up, it was very apparent that it was not going to be a long day. Storms were building in the Gulf and the sun was struggling to peek between

the thunderheads. Larry and S.T. bailed out of the boat and headed for some working bait in a nearby gut and I headed up to the shoreline to cast the grass-line for redfish. After walking and casting for quite some time with no results I decided to return to where Larry and S.T. were, by the looks of things, wearing the trout out. Once I was close to them I slowed my pace as to not spook the fish that they were on. And, that is when it happened! Out of the corner of my eye, up on the edge of an exposed patch of oysters, I saw something that I had never seen before. I of course had to do a double take but, my eyes had not deceived me. There was a big redfish with its back completely out of the water up against the shore. At this point, I turned in to a complete and total wreck. Buck fever had set in and it was not going away anytime soon. Needless to say, it took several casts to get the little Hogie to that danged ol’ fish, but it did happen. And,

I knew exactly where its mouth was and I put the bait in front of it. I was proud of myself but not near as proud as Larry and S.T. were. The ride back to the dock was surreal and I do not even remember hardly caring that I was getting blasted by the driving rain or salt spray. The point of it all is, I have not been the same since and sight-casting to redfish has not only become a passion, it has become my career. Now, let us fast forward to this past weekend when I had the opportunity to guide Larry’s grandson, Hayden Holley, to his very first sightcasted redfish. Enthusiastic to say the least — this young man was fired up! I am telling you, fish need to fear this kiddo. Anyway, about twenty minutes into the trip Hayden was learning how to see redfish as they cruised under the glare of the water. He had trouble at first but it was not long before he got the hang of it. Then it all came together.

when the fish saw it, it was like I had just rolled a bottle of whiskey into a jailhouse full of winos. The fish slammed the bait with reckless and abandon and I set the hook. Moments later, my prize had come to hand. I had done it — I had sight-casted my first redfish and I am not talking about throwing at a wake or busting bait. I had seen the fish,

“Okay Hayden, there is a redfish swimming along the bank at ten o’clock,” I instructed. “I see him! I see him!” was his reply and the rest is history. Now, what really makes this a special moment for me is that he is one of the youngest members of a family that I have been friends with for over 25 years. In fact I can proudly say I have had the privilege of not only taking him out to sight-cast to his first redfish, but also have guided Larry, his son Theron and Hayden’s father, John Holley all to their first redfish on fly. And, to think, it all started with one danged ol’ redfish. It is funny how things come full circle. My Best to you all!





May 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Capt. Scott Sommerlatte is a full time fly fishing and light tackle guide, freelance writer and photographer. telephone 979-415-4379 Email Website

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HERE’S A LITTLE TIP FOR OUR READERS. E-Z Drainer Anti-Clog Cooler Drain is one of those products you wonder how you lived without after you use it once. Dead simple and effective is how I would term it. Everybody has forgotten to pull the drain plug on their ice chest and ended with lunches and snack foods becoming a soggy mess when the ice melts. Or, they left the cooler drain open as a preventive measure and an ice sack or food wrapper stopped it up. So much for wading back to the boat and munching down a Poor Boy to silence the tiger in your tank. Likely, most everybody has enjoyed searching for that one item that invariably finds its way to the bottom of the box. Well actually, it isn’t much fun fumbling through soft drinks, bottled water, a few beers and other goodies submerged in icy water. I had my fill of numb fingers growing up in the North Country and I enjoy them even less here in Texas. So let me tell you how easy E-Z Drainer is to assemble and install, it takes less than ten seconds. First you snap the perforated dome onto the backing plate and then insert the flow tube into the backing plate. Next, you simply shove the flow tube into the drain hole of the cooler and rotate until the housing contacts the bottom of the cooler. This helps stabilize the assembly so that it does not become accidentally dislodged. If you decide to perform a more permanent installation there are instructions on the package for that too. I prefer the temporary mount so I can move the E-Z Drainer to whichever cooler I will be using for the day. Want to put E-Z Drainer to the test? Fill your ice chest with water and remove the plug so that it starts to drain. Now throw in a plastic sack or a piece of plastic wrap, just like the one that clogged it up and ruined your lunch last weekend. Guess what…E-Z Drainer allows the water to continue flowing. Like I said, “It works.” Look for E-Z Drainer at your neighborhood Academy Sports and Outdoors or shop online:

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

May 2009



IT’S BEEN A LONG TIME since I’ve gone fishing with my mom. I remember the last time, I was much younger, but that trip was an experience I’ll never forget. Ten years have gone by since that trip my dad, mom, and I took. My mom had been feeling ill but she came for the boat ride anyway. A few hours into the trip I remember my mom complaining that she needed to go to the bathroom really bad when all of a sudden my dad hooks up with an oversize redfish. He hands me the fishing pole while reassuring my mom that it won’t take long. The battle seemed to last forever and my mom was getting more irritated and fidgety. My dad assured her, “It’s almost over, it’s almost over, I promise.” Leaving out unkind words that were exchanged between my mom who was in dire need and my dad who has an obsession, I eventually landed the fish and mom had an accident. You should have seen the roundness of my dad’s eyes when he saw the mishap on the deck of his boat. All I could hear was my

Author’s mom with a helping hand. Not a very good one but that’s the best one they took.


May 2009

mom pleading, “I told you guys I had to go.” Needless to say, after that incident I don’t think my dad took my mother fishing quite as often. And now to the present day, being that the month of May brings my mom’s birthday and not to forget Mother’s Day, I decided to invite her for a special day of fishing. You would have to personally know my mom to know that fishing is not high on her list, but surprisingly she said yes to the invite. I set the alarm clock right around eight-thirty in the morning, a lot later than usual. As I loaded the equipment and got the boat ready, my mom also got ready. The drive to the boat ramp was certainly different. Here I was so used to being driven, but now I was in charge of making sure everything was in place. I was so used to having an early morning conversation with my dad about the day’s game plan. In turn my mom was rather quiet and more sleepy than awake. Arriving at the ramp I observed the incredible number of boats that were out. I backed the boat into the water and then had to park a long way off. Getting back to the dock I quickly realized the boat was sinking with my mother on it. I was in such a hurry that I forgot to put the plugs in. I then had to run back to get the truck, pull the boat on the trailer and drain the water out for fifteen minutes. Lucky for me my dad was not around, or I would have never heard the end of it. After getting everything right, plugs and all, we took off and headed to our first spot of the day. Not knowing what fishing skills my mom had retained, I choose a spot that could produce enough action and at the same time contain a friendly bottom for her unpracticed retrieve. After watching her cast a few times, I interrupted and gave her a few tips and techniques on the proper way of casting. She got everything down right but still lacked distance on her cast. I knew she would get the hang of it with some practice. The first spot was not very productive so we moved to another. At this stop I hooked Texas Saltwater Fishing

a small trout and proceeded to remove the hook from its mouth when I got scolded by my mom for hurting the fish. I told her that I was being careful, and the fish would be okay once released. My mom’s casting abilities were still not yet fine-tuned. The only bites she was experiencing were from the pesky skip jacks, but for my mom that was all fun. I had a chance to share some knowledge with my mom; I showed her the difference in the color of the water, pointed out the grass beds and shared how important they were for marine life. I taught my mom what potholes look like and informed her why fish like to hold there. I also explained to her how the spoil islands were created. At this point the fishing was pretty tough so I made the decision to try our luck at sight casting for redfish. As we drifted, I pointed out a few darting sheepshead. Then came the moment we had been looking for. I noticed two big wakes and spotted two huge redfish swimming away from the boat. I made a well placed cast right in front of the largest one, and bam he took the worm. I set the hook, and the fish quickly peeled line causing the drag to scream out. While fighting the big fish my mom got super excited; she was cheering me on. After bringing the fish to the side of the boat, my mom helped me net it. It was so heavy that she had a hard time lifting it out of the water. My mom congratulated me on my catch and kept telling me how big it was. We took a few photos with the fish and called it a day. Even though my mom’s catch was all skipjacks, she commented how much of a great time she really had. I truly enjoyed taking the time to take her out and spending quality time together. I especially enjoyed teaching her what I knew about our vast backyard, the Laguna Madre. Mom; Happy Birthday and Happy Mother’s Day to you and all the mothers out there.

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

May 2009


RU BE N V I L L A R R E A L 48

Editor’s lead-in note: TSFMag readers have been asking for increased offshore content. Specifically, they want topics and tips to assist bay anglers when they venture into the Gulf of Mexico on perfect weather days. So here it is folks, the first installment of Ruben Villarreal’s new column, Every Man’s Offshore. We invite reader participation; send ideas, comments, questions:

BEFORE I EXPLAIN WHAT I FEEL IS THE PERFECT lure for offshore fishing I want to say “Howdy” and also say that I am greatly honored to be able to write for such a prestigious magazine. Appearing in print alongside such greats in the offshore arena as Capt. John Cochrane and Bobby Byrd is a rare opportunity. In my articles I will cover many different species of gamefish and techniques and tips that will be applicable to the type of fishing nearly everyone with a seaworthy bay boat or under-30 center console can enjoy here in Texas’ nearshore and offshore gulf waters. Hopefully what is presented will make your time on the water even more enjoyable and successful. So…What would you consider the perfect lure? Your first thought would probably be the one that will actually catch fish. That is exactly why I consider the Illander blue and white flasher series the perfect lure. No matter how far out you venture, whether you’re in a 22-foot bay boat on a flat day, a 31-foot center console, or even a sportfishing yacht; I wouldn’t leave home without it. The Illander color pattern on its own resembles one our most popular forage fish found in close and also very far offshore, the flying fish. The material the lure is made of can withstand the abuse toothy predators like wahoo, kingfish and barracuda can dish out. The Illander lure rigged in conjunction with ballyhoo can be deadly on almost any kind of May 2009

pelagic fish swimming in the Gulf of Mexico. The lure’s head is hollow and the bill of the ballyhoo fits perfectly. Now you’re curious as to the types and size of fish you might catch on this so called perfect lure but, the battle can’t take place until you’re rigged up and ready to go. The first thing you need to decide is whether you are going to use monofilament leader material or braided wire. There are pros and cons for both methods. If you use monofilament leader you run a chance of getting cut off, if you use braided wire you could limit the action of the lure. Personally, I like to use mono because I want the lure to have the maximum potential of drawing a strike from a fish. I prefer to tie instead of crimping the mono leader material for a stealthy approach. I like 250-pound leader just in case I get lucky and hook a sailfish. It goes without saying that 250-pound will stand a better chance of holding up to the scuffing a billfish can give it; using 100 or 150-pound material is asking for a break-off. If you don’t know how to tie or lack confidence tying 250# mono leader then by all means crimp it using the appropriate size crimps. I like to use double crimps for mono. If you are in a bigger boat, something like a 31-ft center console, and therefore capable of fishing further offshore, I would suggest using hooks of a size appropriate for marlin anytime you Texas Saltwater Fishing

are fishing where one might take a lure. Note the difference in wire cross-section in the accompanying photo. Marlin are incredible fighters and, depending drag settings, can straighten hooks that are entirely adequate for other species. One of the really cool things about the Illander lure is the head shape which makes it effective for all species and deadly for the afternoon due to its ability to be used on a downrigger! Finally you have purchased your lure and have it rigged and ready to go, so where would you go to get some action? There are many choices but here are a few that I would suggest listed from nearshore to far offshore: V.A. Fogg and Liberty Ship areas, Heald Bank, Buccaneer Field, buoys in 60 foot depths and greater, 42019 weather buoy, the weather buoy close to Sunrise rig, Tall Rock area, German Charlie’s area, 30 Fathom Rocks area, Tequila rigs East and West, Cerveza rigs, Little Sister rig, Nansen

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…Cont’d from pg 38

Flounder Conservation At Hand


and Boomvang spars. These are just some of the places where you can use an Illander lure effectively but, I would also try any kind of floating debris such as any pieces of wood or plastic and, last but not the least, never pass a good weed line! Well I hope I have got you pointed in the right direction on using the Illander lure and hope you have some opportunities to catch some quality fish. Some of the tips I would re-emphasize; using heavier leader material, heavier hooks if you venture anywhere close to marlin waters, using a downrigger during the heat of day so you can zone in on fish that are hangin’ deep.

gigging without locking out all hook-and-line angling.” According to Texas Park and Wildlife Department’s (TPWD) analysis, southern flounder population numbers have shown a steady and dramatic decline for a quarter of a century. TPWD’s seasonal coast-wide gill net catch rate has declined by more than 50 percent since 1982. Also, according to TPWD, most flounder gigged during the months of October through December are females. CCA Texas believes by allowing more flounder to escape and complete their spawning cycles, the better chance the species has to recover. “A number of good conservation measures have been put in place in the past, but that has not been nearly enough to recover this stock,” said Byers. “TPWD’s analysis paints a grim picture of the current flounder stock and gigging clearly has the largest impact. This November closure will set the path for a real recovery.”

Ruben Villarreal grew up fishing Galveston and Freeport party boats and moved on to working in the fishing tackle industry at Fishing Tackle Unlimited for the past 13 years. Ruben has worked as a deckhand on sportfishing yachts such as the famed AKELA.

For more information on TPWD’s southern flounder status report, go to CCA Texas is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of Texas’ marine resources. With more than 55,000 members in 55 local chapters, CCA Texas is the largest conservation group of its kind in the state.




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WAT E R F R O N T H O M E S I T E S F R O M T H E 3 0 0 ’ S R O C K P O R T, T E X A S




Artist renderings and plans for The Boardwalk at St. Charles Bay are under development. Hal Jones Development reserves the right to make changes without notice. No guarantee is made that the proposed features will be constructed, or that if constructed, will be of the number and type described. These materials shall not constitute an offer in any state where prior registration is required. Void where prohibited by law. For unimproved lots at The Boardwalk at St. Charles Bay, obtain the property report required by federal law and read it before signing anything. No federal agency has judged the merits or value, if any, of these properties. WARNING: THE CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF REAL ESTATE HAS NOT INSPECTED, EXAMINED, OR QUALIFIED THIS OFFERING.

*WAC. Visit for details.

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

May 2009


Bastrop Bayou Trash Bash CAPT. RANDALL GROVES IS NOT YOUR AVERAGE KIND of guy or fishing guide. Randall takes his job of fishing guide to greater heights than some in his profession. A few issues back we ran a “Memory Maker” piece that told the story of Randall’s effort to assist a cancer victim get his life back together following surgery and treatment for a brain tumor and we saluted him. Well Randall’s still out there doing good deeds. Don West is not your average guy either. Don recently organized the Bastrop Bayou Trash Bash to remove hurricane debris from the bayou. Don ran a notice in the local newspaper, Brazosport Facts, asking volunteers to join the effort and Randall responded. Molly McCormick deserves recognition as well. Molly is a teacher at Lake Jackson Intermediate School and is involved with the school’s Environmental Team who call themselves Mission Possible. Molly was instrumental in bringing the Mission Possible kids to the Trash Bash. So to Capt. Groves, Don West, Molly McCormick and the Mission Possible kids; TSFMag offers a hearty salute! We thank you for your contribution to removing unsightly debris and hazards to navigation from Bastrop Bayou. To the Mission Possible kids, you are the stewards of tomorrow. The wonderful resources of the Texas coast will be in your hands soon and it is encouraging to see you off to such a grand start. May God bless you all richly.


May 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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C A P T. S C O T T N U L L

off the stern they chose to move it forward underneath the tankwell area. It didn’t seem like much, but resulted in a much tighter turning radius than other ruddered kayaks I’ve paddled. And, they set it up in such a way that the rudder folds neatly into a pocket within the hull where it is out of the way when entering shallow water. I was also able to paddle the boat effectively when the water was too shallow for the Mirage Drive. Due to the extreme width of the hull, I’d suggest getting a longer than normal paddle or possibly a single blade canoe paddle if you intend to do more paddling than pedaling. The he hull shape and width lends itself to exceptional stability and it would take a serious incident to flip this boat. Once I got over to the marsh I figured I’d test that stability by standing and poling through the shallows. I’ve stood for sight-fishing in a lot of different kayaks and never felt more stable than I did in the Pro Angler. Poling through the marsh was a breeze with absolutely no worry of tipping. The large floorboard made it easy to move around and cast in different directions. I wish the fish would’ve cooperated, but overall it was good day to be on the water and the new boat was a pleasure to use. As I’ve said many times before when choosing a kayak, every boat is a compromise. In the case of the Pro Angler all of that storage, stability and weight capacity results in a rather large boat when compared to the kayaks we’re used to fishing from. The overall length is listed at 13’8” and 38” wide. The base hull weighs in at 88 lbs and jumps to 138 lbs fully rigged. Yes it’s wide and heavy, but the multitude of unique fishingspecific features outweigh the inconvenience of unloading and launching. If you’re looking for a rig with higher weight capacity that handles rough water and is super stable, you’ll want to give this boat some serious consideration.

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

May 2009


Dear Mr. Johnson, I recently organized the East Bay Restoration Project that was held March 21-22, 2009. Hurricane Ike dumped a lot of debris in East Bay and reports of boat damage were circulating. Our purpose was to remove and/or mark as much debris and as


May 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

many hazards to navigation as we could find. I began soliciting volunteers and donations by posting a message on the forums. It took six weeks to coordinate volunteers as well as donations needed to make the effort the success that it became. Capt. Mickey Eastman made quite a few comments on his 610 AM radio show that also helped. As a matter of fact, the morning of March 22, as Capt. Mickey opened the show, he dedicated the National Anthem to all the volunteers of the East Bay Restoration Project. Needless to say, I was deeply moved that morning on the Bolivar ferry. We had about 15 boats and 40-something volunteers show up Saturday, Sunday’s turnout was lighter but that was to be expected. During the two days the volunteers put out 2,500 feet of donated PVC pipe to mark navigational hazards from Hanna Reef to Rollover and Siever’s Cut. There was quite a bit of floating debris picked up as well. I am just an average fisherman who has enjoyed many years of what the Galveston Bay Complex has been giving us and I just want to help get her back to her pristine state. In closing I want to thank Jim Vratis of Stingaree Marina for letting us use his facility. Kyle Cunningham

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Dear Editor TSFMag, We have noticed your “Be Kind to Shorelines” campaign and would like to advise you of one of our ongoing projects. The Seadrift Sail and Yacht club has performed four beach cleanups in the past twelve months along the bayfront of Seadrift, TX. At each cleanup we have between 8-12 members and their families participating, and on average we collect about 1-1/2 pickup truck loads of trash. We are out there on Saturday

mornings to collect the trash and when the task is completed there is still time for the members to go sailing, kayaking, fishing or whatever other activity they choose. Club members have also participated in the Crab Trap Cleanup at Charlie’s Bait Camp here in Seadrift and also the Big Shell Beach cleanup at PINS the past couple of years. In cooperation with Rhonda Cummins of the Sea Grant program we have installed mono-filament fishing line recycling tubes at our club area and other locations in Seadrift. Flyers about the recycle program are available for anyone interested in learning more about it. For more information about Seadrift Sail and Yacht Club and our community service projects, contact Jack LaBarge at 361-772-8002. We care about our community and hope our efforts to clean up will inspire others to follow our lead. Join us for our annual “Sail-by at Shrimpfest” on Saturday June 13 2009. Check out our website: Yours Truly, Jack LaBarge

2009 Calhoun County Saltwater Round-up

Sponsored by Calhoun County Law Enforcement Association

Saturday, May 23, 3009 6am – 4pm Lighthouse Beach Pavilion @ TX Hwy 35 & TW Hwy 238, Port Lavaca, TX

Prizes awarded for Top Three in each category: Master Angler - 3 trout/2redfish Heaviest Redfish Stringer Heaviest Trout Stringer

Entry fee: $100.00 per 2 man team / Registration deadline: May 11, 2009 Late registration: $25.00 fee after May 2, 2009. (Meal provided for all entrants.) For more info or registration forms: call George Aleman 361.652.0152 (cell) or Rusty Henderson 361.676.3531 (cell), 361.553.4668 (fax).

Proceeds from this event go toward Scholarships for graduating Calhoun High School students. Four scholarships will be awarded this year. We are asking for everyone’s help in hosting this Fund Raising event. Please send donations (checks made payable) and registrations to: Calhoun County Law Enforcement Association or CCLEA, 211 S. Ann, Port Lavaca, TX 77979.

Just Keep Five

Texas Saltwater Fishing

May 2009



Small Plus and Small


May 2009

Medium and Large

performance. They act as a planing surface to get your boat on top faster. They give you better bow response when trimming your motor. They keep water down at your prop and intake improving water pressure. They help prevent against “blow out” when taking off shallow. Plates with wings can help boats track better when running. Different boats will see varying improvements depending on the type of boat. Tunnel hull boats usually see the most dramatic performance increase from cavitation plates. There are so many different types of cavitation plates on the market. How do you know which one is the best? When we talk about cavitation plates, we do not mean hydrofoils or stingray fins. These types will help with planing and bow response, but they will not do anything for cavitation. True cavitation plates run from before the lower unit to past the prop. Not all cavitation plates are created equal. Some plates claim to be universal, or “one size fits all”. Lower units range in size and shape depending on horsepower rating and manufacturer. “One size fits all” plates can become loose and eventually damage a lower unit. Other plates require holes in the lower unit. When stainless is bolted through aluminum and introduced to saltwater, you get electrolysis, which speeds up the corrosion of aluminum. This also applies to aluminum cavitation plates. Some plates have a narrow edge Texas Saltwater Fishing

sitting on top of the lower unit plate. These plates groove the cast aluminum of the lower unit, eventually sawing off the edges! Most plates collect enough floating grass to make a salad. It becomes wedged so tightly that it is almost impossible to remove. Some plates are “finished” on the topside and rough glass on the underside. Water travels underneath the plate, not over the top. The underside should be smooth. Now let me tell you about the cavitation plate with the least amount of drawbacks. The Stiff y ShawWing™ cavitation plate is a clamshell design that clamps over your motors’ existing cavitation plate. The bolts do not go through the lower unit. Each plate is notched to fit the motor it will be installed on. We have over 60 different notches for all major manufacturers. When we install the plate, we liberally apply marine grade silicone to all areas being sandwiched together. We also caulk a clean bead around every seam of the plate to prevent grass from becoming wedged. When installed correctly, our plates will not become loose, and will not damage the lower unit. The wings on our plates deflect water back at the prop and help with tracking. When your prop keeps more water, RPM’s stay down. When your intake keeps more water, pressure stays high, and your motor runs cooler. A ShawWing™ can help prolong the life of your motor. We have 4 different sizes of plates. Small, Small Plus, Medium, and Large. Several factors come into play when deciding which size plate is best for your boat, please call or e-mail with your specs and we can tell you what is best. Generally speaking, the Small plates work best on 25 – 70 hp motors. The Small Plus plate is longer than the regular small, and will work on some 90 hp motors. The Medium plate is for 90 hp motors and up. Boats with inset or “key slot” transoms will most likely need a medium to keep the plate from coming in contact with the sponsons while turning. The Large plate is typically installed on 115 HP motors and up. It has the largest planing surface of all the plates and is usually installed on boats with a flat transom. Plates are notched to order, mounting hardware and Sikaflex marine silicone can also be included. Detailed mounting instructions come with every plate we send out.

Just Keep Five

Several boat manufacturers install our plates on their boats at the factory. Other manufacturers recommend our plate on their boats. ShawWing™ Cavitation plates are made with biaxial glass with extra laminates on the front end. This allows us to make a plate with higher strength to weight characteristics than a plate made entirely from mat fiberglass. By now you’re saying, “You pointed out the

drawbacks of all the other plates. What about yours?” Sounds fair to me. Our plates are not notched for the trim tab anode above your prop. Which means the plate has to be removed in order to replace this part. Which can be tough since the plate is glued on. However, we can notch out the area if we install the plate ourselves. Or, if you order a plate, you can cut out the area for the anode before installing the plate. If your trim tab anode is looking a little rough, replace it before you put the plate on. They are relatively cheap and usually last many years depending on how well you maintain your boat. Yes, our plates may be a little more expensive than others. By now you should realize why that is the case. If you want a better boat, it is going to cost more. You Installed want a smoother reel and a Plate lighter fishing rod, they are


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going to cost more. You get what you pay for. If you want to save yourself a few dollars and buy the cheaper plate, it could cost you more in the long run. You don’t have to take our word for it, next time you see someone with a ShawWing™, ask them what they think. Next article we will cover the topic of push poles. We will answer the common questions and clarify all the misconceptions. Who knows more about push poles than your boys here at Stiff y?! Stiff y Brand Push Poles are the leading push pole brand in the world. Go Fishin’ Ya’ll

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

May 2009


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May 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Just Keep Five

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Just Keep Five

Texas Saltwater Fishing

May 2009



rainfall, but it has not hurt us like it would have in the colder months. The wind also Dickie Colburn is a full continues to blow a little harder than we time guide out of Orange, Texas. Dickie has 37 years would like on a daily basis, but no one is experience guiding on Sabine complaining as long as the fish continue and Calcasieu Lakes. to bite. Seemingly every month has offered up telephone 409-883-0723 something new ever since Ike rearranged Website the entire ecosystem and the past month has been no different. When the trophy trout bite slowed, we focused on the flounder in lieu of chasing smaller trout under the birds and we have done well on fish up to five pounds. The improved flounder bite was a change in itself, but the more significant change has been the fact that they relocated to a new neighborhood. Even during the bull tides when they traditionally ambush

their next meal in the roots of the cane bordering the shoreline, they now prefer to hunt in the submerged grass 20 to 30 feet off the bank. The flounder up in the bayous and drains on the Louisiana side of the lake are also holding in debris washed out of the marsh. We are fishing our way through it with BLURP Sea Shads, quarter ounce Red Daddy spinnerbaits, and GULP shrimp. They are sharing their new hideout with lots of slot redfish that will jump all over the same offerings. I look for that bite to only improve this month if we can avoid too much runoff. We have also finally accepted the fact that both the trout and redfish are comfortable in the islands of grass standing in 3 to 5 feet of water. Regardless of whatever Plan A is, at some point most days we find ourselves returning to fish that grass. I usually start with a black or bone-chrome She Dog, depending on water clarity. It is a tug-of-war from the moment they slam-dunk the lure and retreat into the vegetation, but we win our share of the battles thanks to 30-lb. Power Pro. We have also done well Texas rigging a 5-inch Assassin Texas Shad on a 3/0 Mustad wide-gap hook and fishing it under a Kwik Cork.

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May 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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Just Keep Five

S A B I N E The Barths kept three reds for the grill on a calm day on Sabine!

When the trout and reds are holding on the outside of the grass, I have done better swimming the 5-inch Texas Shad or one of MirrOlure’s new 5-inch soft mullet just off the bottom. Opening night and Texas Roach have been very good colors for us. Both the MirrOdine XL and Catch 2000 are also hard to beat when fishing this pattern.

The never ending bite under the gulls occasionally slows down, but more often than not, is still going on somewhere on the lake. The school trout have been solid fish, but even when you can only find small fish chasing the shrimp, there are enough reds mixed in to check out your drag on a frequent basis. When all else fails, do not overlook the revetment walls this month. At times they should be the first choice as they always hold at least a few trout and redfish. Chrome Traps, 2000’s, and tails rigged on a quarter ounce head all work on both trout and reds chasing mullet in the rocks. I finally got my hands on the new U.S. REEL Super Caster 1000 and have been using it for about a month. I initially filled it with braid and struggled a little, but I can darn near throw all of the line off the spool with 12lb. mono. The drag is silky smooth, the tension controls are user-friendly, and the revolutionary levelwind is mesmerizing. I feel certain the braid problem lies with the Indian rather than the arrow, but at least to this point, the overall performance has been even better than anticipated. “We all deserve a second chance and that includes fish!”

29th Annual


ready for Summer fun! Chamber of Commerce

Join everyone at Seadrift Bayfront on Beautiful San Antonio Bay

friday June 12th 4:00pm - 12:00am Kid’s Games, Beer Garden Shrimpfest Beauty Pageant Dance - Los IV Del Barrio Saturday June 13th 6:30am - 1:00am Kid’s Fishing Tournament Co-ed Softball Tournament Volleyball Tournament Kid’s Shrimpfest Pageant Ms. Bayrat Contest

Hypnotist AJ LaHaye Horseshoes/Washers Shrimp Eating Contest Tin Boat Race Sand Castle Contest Dance - Jokers Wild Sunday June 14th 11:00am - 5:00pm The fun continues! fireworks each night. food and Craft Booths. new Games & t-shirt design!

To register for events or for more info, call 361.785.3424 or visit Seadrift City Hall, Main Street in Seadrift.

Just Keep Five

Texas Saltwater Fishing

May 2009


Mickey on Galveston THE KEY TO CATCHING FISH RIGHT now is playing the weather between the fronts. Wind is always a factor during springtime and everybody has their protected coves and shorelines they run to on the windiest days. The weather pattern of late has also included many days of high atmospheric pressure between the fronts and this can put a crimp in feed patterns. If you know you are in a good area that is holding fish you just have to grind it out sometimes, they’ll bite sooner or later. Not to worry though, May always brings better weather. Trinity and East bay are still stealing the show here in the Galveston area. We have just tons of trout and redfish in both bays right now. Wade fisherman are catching them, drift fisherman are


May 2009

catching them, bank fisherman are catching them. The word is out on Trinity Bay and it is getting a lot of pressure. Trinity is holding its own, though, and lots of anglers are enjoying really good trout action. Fishing pressure in East Bay is not as heavy and I would like to suggest for anybody making their first run of the year to East Bay, navigate with caution. The water is full of obstructions and debris from Hurricane Ike. Some of this has been marked, but not all, so “safety first” is the byword. I would like to encourage that East Bay boaters carry a few pieces of PVC and mark anything they find that has not already been marked. I had some good catches this past week; lots of nice trout in the four to seven pound range. We haven’t busted an eight in quite a while but we are catching good solid fish from twenty-three to twenty-seven inches, it is really good. Plastics are the still the best bait choice. We are getting a sprinkling of topwater action, but nothing consistent yet. It seems we just can’t get them on top and interested for very long. Our water temperatures are yo-yoing. It will get up to 72 then drop back to low-60s. Still, that mud/ shell mix under three-six feet of water seems to be the most reliable pattern and is paying off most consistently.

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Just Keep Five

G A L V E S T O N Trophy trout are the biggest game going right now; catching that elusive spring trophy is foremost on many anglers’ wish list. East Bay’s pattern has been about the same. Their fishing is maybe a little bit better along the shorelines and around bayou mouths. Focusing on primary points during tide changes is a good plan for catching fish over there. Soft plastics are also the deadliest bait going in East Bay as of this writing. Corkys are hanging in there when a good concentration of trout is located and, it goes without saying, wading with this bait is easier than drifting. Overall, water conditions across the Galveston region remain very good. We do have a little bit of fresh water coming out of the back of Trinity Bay when we get real low tides following northers. This is pulling a little bit of water from the upper system watersheds and it is definitely concentrating the shrimp and some shad. Baitfish schools are prevalent all across the open bays right now and naturally there are plenty of trout and redfish in there with them. Windy days have been sending us to the shorelines and wade fishing has

been the game. Big trout have been our focus but I have to say we have so many redfish in the bay that you can stumble onto a school just about anywhere you go. Spoons have been working very well on these reds and when you get into them it would definitely pay to tie one on. Spinner baits have brought us a few but the spoons have been the best pick. Trophy trout are the biggest game going right now; catching that elusive spring trophy is foremost on many anglers’ wish list. I have been noticing that the eggs in most of the trout I have been cleaning are well along in development. The size of the eggs and bright coloration of the blood veins are an indication that spawning should begin soon. The full moon period in May should bring an awesome spawn for the Galveston Bay complex. When this occurs the shorelines will be the place to find your lifetime fish. There has been drum activity at the jetties that is worth reporting. A lot of people like to fish the jetties this time of year specifically for the drum run. But the big bonus out there in my book right now is a lot of big redfish and some real nice trout. Both heavy reds and solid trout are being caught in the Freeport and Galveston jetties. Overall grade for the entire Galveston Bays Complex would have to be an “A” and I would have to give an “E” for effort to all the anglers that have been playing the wind and weather throughout this period of frequent northers coming through. Grinding it out can be tough sometimes but when you hit it right you can have a field day. It has just been that good!

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Just Keep Five

Texas Saltwater Fishing

May 2009


WELL, MAY ROLLED IN AND BOTH Matagorda bays are wide open. Seems like just yesterday I was thinking about getting ready for spring fishing. Now that I brought it up…the first part of April started out windy as all get out. Cold fronts and low tides kept fishermen off the water, me included. We shouldn’t get too bent out of shape though; this is pretty much the norm for April. West Matagorda was out of the picture with the closing of the ICW locks until April 14, which in turn threw everyone into East Bay. There were some good numbers caught in East Bay with quite a few 28-plus trout falling to Bass Assassins and floating Corkies. The shrimp crop helped April get off to a good start. We need rain in a bad way as our salinity levels are very high. Redfish are way back in the lakes with trout holding mainly on grass beds and shell reefs. Our fishery is basically in good

Capt. Bill; C&R 28" trout wading East Matagorda with clients.

shape with lots of mullet, shad, and glass minnows. Birds have been working intermittently in East Matagorda. These are tale-tell signs that good fishing is on the horizon.







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May 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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M A T A G O R D A EAST MATAGORDA BAY May will bring warmer water and hopefully less wind. You’ll find me wading some places on the north shoreline on incoming tide and drifting scattered mud and shell of mid-bay reefs. The south shoreline is also very good in May. Wading there, I start at knee-deep and work slowly into the bay on hard bottom, rarely getting over waist-deep. Trout should be shallow at daybreak and retreat to about 4-6 ft of water as the sun comes up. While wading shell, try to be light-footed. Stomping on the reef creates noise that will chase fish from casting distance in a matter of seconds. Ease out slowly and stand in one spot to cover the area thoroughly before moving again. Remember, every reef has a sweet spot. When you find it, stay put, crunching the shell will run them off in a hurry. When drifting later in the day, I vary my lures quite a bit to find the bite. Topwaters, Bass Assassins under popping corks, and sometimes heavier jigs without corks to get down to feeding fish are my tools. Some days we use them all.

WEST MATAGORDA BAY During May I prefer wading the south shoreline. I usually start out throwing top waters and then switch to Bass Assassins as the day progresses. Fishing the sandbars, guts in between, and grass beds will be the ticket. Look for glass minnows and mullet while fishing an incoming tide if you can. There’s a lot of shoreline in West Matagorda Bay so if you can find plenty of bait you should be able to catch a few fish or even hit the mother lode and catch’em every cast. A lot of fishermen hit this shoreline so an early start is a must. Oyster Lake can be an excellent place to find redfish in May.

An incoming tide helps here also. I was asked the other day, “Why do you prefer Bass Assassins?” This is what I said, “Bass Assassins are made of very soft plastic and they tear easier than other plastic baits but, they catch fish. Big fish love the action that softer plastic delivers.” I outfit my clients with Assassins and use them in my tournament fishing and have won quite a few. This includes Trout-Masters, CCA Guide’s Cups, and every tournament in between. I had the pleasure of fishing with Jim Franklin back in March. Jim is a gentleman and a great fisherman, he was pre-fishing the Port O’Connor Bash. Jim knows East Matagorda like the back of his hand and he and I thought it would be fun to fish together so we headed into the cold and miserable morning. We went for a long ride around the bay, stopped on a spot, got out, and started wading. Jim was using a Corky and I was throwing a 10W40 Assassin. I released a big redfish, caught another, and then hooked what looked like a 26-27” trout but lost her. Jim looked over and asked, “What are you using?” I hollered back, “10W40 Assassin.” Jim switched and a few casts later hooked and released a 28” trout. We didn’t want to disturb them further and left for the house. It was a fun trip and I got to fish with an old friend and great fisherman. Bass Assassins cut the mustard on big fish, no doubt about it, and that’s why I use them. May God Bless.


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Just Keep Five

Texas Saltwater Fishing

May 2009


AS I WRITE THIS ARTICLE I CAN FEEL my face and eyes burning from being exposed to 25-plus mph winds. Yep, it is that time again when Mother Nature reminds us of who really is in charge when it comes to our springtime conditions. Wind is just one of the factors that we are used to planning around when it comes to fishing with clients. Our fishing locales will change depending on what directions and strength we face each day. If you are like most anglers you go fishing when you can instead of when you should. I am going to mention a few strategies to help you on your next trip when it looks as though high winds are going to be an issue. The Port O’Connor/Seadrift area is fortunate to have a great number of back lakes. Matagorda Island alone has so many it is sometimes hard to decide on where to start. I first ask myself if I will be wading or drifting with customers. If wading is more your style then I personally would choose a smaller body of water like Corey Cove, Post or Fifth Lake. There tends to be less boat traffic buzzing around enabling you to cover an area more thoroughly with your lures. But keep in mind that most of our back lakes do have bottoms that are muddy and some are worse than others. This element alone tends to keep many anglers in their boats instead of wading. If drift fishing is more to your liking I would choose a larger body of water. Pringle Lake, Long Lake and Shoalwater Bay give you more room to

Lisa Ladewig, Ron Ladewig and Laura Mauro showing off some of their back lake catch.

WWW.tsfmag.COm 64

May 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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No matter how good the fishing is, if you motor through them repeatedly the fish will move and/or shut down. drift and longer drifts works to your advantage. You are spending more time fishing and making fewer runs back to the opposite shoreline spooking fish with your outboard motor. No matter how good the fishing is, if you motor through them repeatedly the fish will move and/or shut down. Now that our waters have gotten warmer you will find me throwing topwaters more often. If it is extremely windy and there are whitecaps on the water I will opt for a loud lure such as the MirrOlure She Dog. When the wind lies a bit I tend to throw plugs that make less noise such as the Rapala Skitter Walk or Heddon Super Spook Jr. When you find that you are getting lots of blow-ups but no hook-ups; switching to a soft plastic rigged under a Mansfield Mauler seems to do the trick.

It is no big secret that I will be in San Antonio Bay on the calmer days. San Antonio Bay has so many reefs that many anglers get discouraged when fishing it. I have had many customers tell me they have had no luck when fishing the reefs but it is usually because they pick one reef, catch little, and then give up. It sometimes takes 4 to 6 stops before I find a good solid bite so; I can’t sit here and tell you it is easy because it often requires more than a little determination. Also, don’t just fish the named reefs. San Antonio Bay has many less-famous reefs that produce better than the wellknown ones but you must have a good GPS in order to get an idea of where some of them are. Since Mother’s Day is right around the corner, I want to wish my mother a very happy Mother’s Day. Your arms were always open when I needed a hug. Your heart understood when I needed a friend. Your strength and love has guided me and gave me wings to fly. Thank you for everything. If you’re lucky enough to have a lady angler in your life and you are wondering what to get them as a token of your appreciation you might consider one of my Signature Series rods made by American Rodsmiths. These rods where specifically designed for today’s lady anglers. They are extremely light in weight and can handle anything from the biggest trout to the toughest redfish.

The new Cast Net Bait Bucket from LanKat Outdoor Products solves the problem of what to do with the catch after a successful cast net throw. Designed for effortless, hands-free operation and optimal bait longevity, the Cast Net Bait Buckets features… n Easy screw on lid n Excellent water circulation n Snag-free design n 3.5 gallon capacity n 10' poly rope lead n Shallow draft – floats in 7" n Durable and UV resistant Ethafoam floatation ring

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Just Keep Five

Texas Saltwater Fishing

May 2009


WE ARE STILL HAVING SOME ABOVE AVERAGE winds down here, but there is hope on the horizon. It’s pretty funny to me and DAVID ROWsEY some other salts in the area that we have conditioned ourselves and our styles to David Rowsey has 20 years play into the wind. When it stops blowing, experience in the Laguna/ Baffin region; trophy trout with we are left scratching our heads for our artificial lures is his specialty. next move. David has a great passion for Like the fish, we have become so conservation and encourages acclimated to it that we just make it catch and release of trophy fish. work for us. Many days found us just being blown out a few hours into the morning. Those days are tough, and we 361-960-0340 are forever grateful when we get the big bites early. For all of the trout guys that snub redfish on a daily basis, try fishing in forty plus mph winds for trophy trout, and not appreciate the tug from the ever agreeable red mud ape. This spring has taught me to have a greater appreciation for the fat redhead.




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There has been some green water moving into the Laguna Madre and Rocky Slough from both directions, i.e., Packery Channel and Port Mansfield. I am not saying this is perfect but, new signs of life are apparent. Numerous sightings of shad have been spotted on each end of these bay systems. For me, this is a tell tale sign that new water is on its way, and new life will be with it. We do not clean many fish on the charters I run, but those few that we do, the trout have been egg-laden and stuffed with shrimp and shad. Although a slower than desired spring was dealt to us this year, there have been numerous reports of some heavyweight trout coming to the Boga Grip. Personally, I do not put much weight into reports that I am not present to witness. However, there are a few buddies and associates that I trust completely; their word on the fish they caught and released is as good as being there. Some have surpassed the ten pound mark, while numerous reports of big nine plus pounders have greeted my ears. None of this surprises me, as this is prime time to do it, and the fish only get heavier throughout the month of May. I have relied heavily on the 5” Bass Assassin Sea Shad in our high winds. The subtle vibration that this lure puts out while bounced along the bottom has been a real key in our success. I have never been much of a paddle tail guy unless fishing for redfish, but this particular lure has just been deadly

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May 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Just Keep Five

UPPER L AGUNA/BA FFIN on the trout in off-colored water. The most successful color has been the Red Shad, while the Space Guppy has made a strong follow up. These types of trout lures are relatively new to my arsenal, and some trial and error has gone along with learning to be successful with them. The biggest tip, I think, that goes along with fishing this lure is utilizing a heavier jig head than we normally do in the Laguna Madre. The extra weight of an eighth Gary Kovacs, president of the Los Cazadoes Club @ East Matagorda with or quarter ounce head versus a personal best of 28.5� on a Super a sixteenth ounce allows you Corky Devil. Fish was released. to lift the lure hard off of the bottom to pronounce the vibration, but also allows for the lure to fall back into the strike zone promptly. This has been a key in getting the right bites when the fish are playing hard to get.

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The topwater enthusiasts will be glad to know that bite is turning on, finally. It has been slow to come, but the warm waters have made them more susceptible to biting on top lately versus the past few months. I swear, I was starting to believe that the fish were becoming immune to the swish-swash, walk-the-dog movement of a topwater. Maybe some have, but the 4-5 pounders have been pretty open-minded to it. We have been fishing all over the place in the past month, but the spoil islands have really been showing some serious signs of life lately. We have not landed any monster trout, but the quality has been there (up to 6.5lbs.). Redfish are on every island from the JFK Causeway to the Landcut, and have been very agreeable to hit any plastic tossed their way. As May closes in on us, I’ll look for the spoils to light-off even more with bait and predators. In closing I would like to say thanks to the clients that take the extra effort in handling large trout gently, and practicing catch and release. I had a recent charter with four guys on the boat, and three of them landed personal best trout, all of which were released. It truly makes me proud to be associated with sportsmen that understand the importance of releasing these genetically superior fish to produce another spawn and fight another day. My hat is off to you all.

Texas Saltwater Fishing

May 2009


SPRING BROUGHT NOT ONLY HIGHER WINDS and water levels, but much higher demands for parking spaces near ramps as well, (despite a five trout limit.) It seems that regardless of other news, fishing continues to be a popular sport and rightfully so. We continue to be “blessed with the best” down here in the Lower Laguna, so with a little luck and a lot of care, the best may only get better. Seemingly overnight tides rose more than a foot and virtually changed everything as the entire system seemed to explode with new creatures. Skipjacks started destroying lures and fraying leaders almost everywhere you went, and our stingray friends came out in force making wade fishing much more interesting. While there

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have still been a few areas of dirty-green water to contend with, clarity has been excellent overall. Trout taping longer than twenty-nine inches have been evading our efforts but, the numbers of fish over five pounds have been impressive. The average size seems up as well, and while we are still full of juvenile fish, the “Check It” stick has become less important. Most of our fish are still coming from shallow grass as they have been all winter except for the coldest of days. It seems that it never stayed cold long enough to run them onto the really bad mud. While topwaters and suspending lures have had their days the best lures on my boat have been tails. I remain convinced that as far as lures go; “where and how” means more than “what.” Despite the pleasure we derive from grinding it out with the hardcores, one recent trip might help summarize not only how fishing has been, but also remind us all of lessons so easily forgotten. Robert Duncan brought his six boys ranging from seven years to a freshman in college. It would have been easy to discount this “kid” crew as not being ready or willing to fish the only way I know how, which is getting in the water and getting

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May 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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PORT M A NSFIELD Personally speaking — We are reminded how wonderful this fishery is and to never discount the willingness of kids to work for the rewards of doing things for themselves. Mike Duncan (age seven)… “We don’t need no stinkin’ bait!”

dirty. However, they looked game enough and accepted the challenge. We handed them Fishing Tackle Unlimited rods with U.S. Reel spinners, Sufix braid and plastics on light jigs. We chose an area of off-colored water full of bait and shallow enough for the youngest. The results of wading for two days were impressive. As they thrashed around with limits of heavy reds and a twenty-nine inch trout, we learned several things. Technically speaking — Soft plastics are consistent producers; braided line helps, and when most of the surrounding water is clear, off-colored areas holding baitfish will usually hold other fish too. Also, bigger trout can often be found with the reds. Personally speaking — We are reminded how wonderful this fishery is and to never discount the

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James Duncan [age thirteen] with 29.5-incher to top off two five-pounders the day before .

willingness of kids to work for the rewards of doing things for themselves. If only adults might have the same drive, and if only other fathers might retire those Snoopy poles at an earlier age. Outlook for May includes wind and more wind. However, as often mentioned, that is normal here and our seagrasses keep things relatively clear in anything but a full gale. Topwaters will become more consistent; smaller numbers during calm periods and full-sized clunkers when it’s blowing. Spoil banks and shorelines will provide excellent trout action and the flats should be full of redfish roaming in packs. Start shallow early and follow the fish as they move down with the sun and heat. Throw a tail and throw it well if you want consistent results but, if you’ll only be happy to catch them your way, catching a few on topwaters is as fun as anything. There are many bottom changes associated with last year’s hurricane and we find more each trip. Without getting out of the boat and mapping these areas with your feet some new prime country may go undetected. The new dredge project in Port Mansfield’s East Cut seems to be helping with water quality, so it will be interesting to see if additional flow helps the fishery even more. It should, and we even have earlier shark sightings this year. Of course, slow days will always exist in any bay, but at least when they happen here, we can assume it’s our fault and not the fishery’s… for now at least. Pray for a little luck, but demand a lot of continuing care.

Texas Saltwater Fishing

May 2009


LAST MONTH I MENTIONED HOW LITTLE boat traffic we’ve been seeing. What a difference a few weeks spring weather makes! The past few weeks at South Padre Island and Arroyo City boat ramps have been pretty busy with what looks to be a prelude to a busy summer season. With the exception of a couple of cool blasts in late spring, everything looks to be on target. Higher tides have arrived allowing the playing field to expand a bit giving the fish more places to feed and hide. Last month I wrote that shorelines would be good places to start your day; that pattern continues to apply for May. The good news is that the strong south-southeast wind will diminish during late-May and I’m sure anglers will welcome the change. When it comes, look for shallow back bays to produce plenty of tailing redfish action. April fishing has been consistently good when the wind has not been blowing over thirty miles-per-hour. Action for “keeper” trout has been consistent in 2.5-3.5 foot depths while the bigger ones have been holding


May 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

best in knee deep areas. Our success has doubled in areas riddled with potholes. As for redfish, the bigger concentrations have been found in two to three foot depths and the bite has been a timing thing. Some schools have been very hesitant no matter what we threw and a good plan is to leave them until they are ready to feed. We have enjoyed our best catches when the tide is moving. On a recent late afternoon trip we were lucky to find a pretty good concentration of redfish but, the problem was, they wouldn’t eat. Needless to say we spent a good amount of time walking amid redfish mud boils. We knew they were there but managed only one taker. Being that I had the same group the next morning I told them not to worry, tomorrow would bring another chance. We got an early start and pulled into the same spot. The tide had fallen about a foot and a half which made me think our reds might have pulled off toward deeper water. As I anchored the boat and got things situated, I instructed my fishermen to head out a little deeper and start reading the water. Specifically, I told them to look for any signs of a bait concentration. I said, “If you find the bait, you’ll find the reds.” It took the sun to rise for the baitfish to rise up and show themselves. Being good listeners, my crew positioned themselves right on the edge of the bait schools. It didn’t take long for them to experience an excellent

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ARROYO COLORADO TO PORT ISABEL trout and redfish bite on topwaters. The father and his two young sons were having a grand time with double hook-ups coming quite often. The kids even managed to catch and release two trout over six pounds. This is some of the stuff that is sure to take place commonly as the water temperatures continue to climb. Don’t rule out a fishy looking place if at first it doesn’t produce, it might be well worth coming back a few hours later. If the boat traffic in the last few weeks is any indication of what is to come, you better get an early start and keep boat traffic in mind. Fishing pressure and boat traffic will change the way fish stage and feed in any given area. It might be a good thing to checkout areas that normally experience lighter traffic. Who knows; you might come across a new honey hole. Think shallow and topwaters for some great redfish action, and don’t pass up the bait-filled potholes. They are prime territory for excellent trout action. As you gear up for summer; be sure to check that your equipment is in proper working order. You certainly don’t want to be dealing with equipment failures while you’re on the water. Selecting the right fishing line is important if you like landing the fish you hook. I highly recommend Sufix Elite Monofilament and Sufix Performance Braid. It was a little over a year ago that I was able to land (90-minute battle) a 140-class Costa Rica tarpon on 12lb Sufix Elite. I was already a believer in Suffix, but that tarpon reinforced it. I spool my larger capacity reels with 12lb Elite and my smaller reels get 10lb test. B Be safe and courteous to others on the water, it looks as though we’re in for a busy summer season.

Jorge Cruz caught and released this nice spring trout.

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

May 2009


May is a great time of year to catch huge speckled trout. It is April now and we are consistently catching six to eight pound trout every week. Our biggest so far has been right at nine pounds. Most of these huge fish have been coming out of the shallows around Turner’s Bay and West Cove. With all the rain we’ve had, look for the fish to move further south with the higher salinity. Concentrate on the Washout, West Cove, and the Old Jetties. With water temperatures rising, deeper reefs around the south end and drop offs in the Ship Channel would be productive spots for big trout. Depending on water clarity and depth our favorite lures are Corkys and FatBoys. All the colors catch fish, but my favorite is the copper top in clear water and something with a black back in dirtier water. Other proven big trout lures are Super Spooks, Skitterwalks, and SheDogs. Try these in bone/chrome, and bone/black.

For Randall, the fishing has been steady, particularly on the milder days between the frequently passing fronts. “We’ve been having quite a bit of luck on topwaters when the conditions are good. The best one lately has been the Skitterwalk in the white with red head. As long as the wind is onshore and not too strong, it’s been working great, mostly for the redfish, but also on some quality trout. The other lure that’s been a big producer is the Norton Bull Minnow in the hot Baffin magic color. Our key indicator of fish lately has been schools of the button shad. They are maybe three quarters of an inch to an inch long. The fish gorge on them heavily. Diving pelicans and terns usually help locate them. Haven’t had much luck finding the glass minnows lately. We hope to get our first shot at the surf in May. We’ll be looking to verify the arrival of the shrimp and the ribbonfish. Then we’ll hit the beach whenever we can.”

“My prediction that Galveston would have the best fishing on the Texas coast this year seems to be holding pretty much true!” James says. “We have still been catching them up pretty good in quite a few different places. Of course, the upper parts of Trinity have been steady. Lots of birds working over there. The wading has been good at times too, and the fish are a little bigger on the shorelines usually. East Bay still has hot fishing at times, and the crowds there are light. West Bay coves and shoreline flats continue to hold quality trout too. As we get into May, the fishing should keep right on sizzling. Topwater action should become more steady, especially on early morning wades. But there will also be an increase in the number of fish we catch out in the middle. Lots of years, the deep reefs in East Bay give up some nice catches of trout in May. I’ll be checking on all of it if I can. It shapes up to be awesome.”

“Fishing was steady in the Colorado River until just recently. Lately, it’s been a little slow most days, though there are some really big trout coming out of East Bay.” The pattern producing the big trout is mostly shallow areas with soft, muddy bottoms. “It’s not easy fishing, but the payoff can be a few monster trout. We’ve been catching quite a few redfish too. In fact, the other day, that’s all we caught. They were solid fish in the upper half of the slot and they were just full of tiny glass minnows. Seems like when they are really focused on smaller forage species like that, the soft plastics work best. We are catching best on Exude RT slugs in color patterns with some sparkle that resemble the minnows. Fishing is West Bay should be productive in May. We’ll start off early close to the bank throwing topwaters around the shell for redfish, then move out deeper and switch to soft plastics over grass later for the trout.”

“Fishing depends mostly on the weather lately,” Jim reports. “We are having real good luck in Trinity and East Bay when the winds allow us to fish. Birds have been working in Trinity and the fishing’s phenomenal over there most of the time. The trout in East Bay have been a little bigger on average, but you don’t catch as many on most days. In May, we should start to see more consistent action. As the water warms up, the fish seem to show up in more places and it’s easier to catch them on the windy days. All of the south shoreline of East Bay has good potential in May. And the reefs in the middle should start to be more productive. Birds and slicks should indicate fish out there. The surf will have more fish too.” He says that a massive clean up effort is underway in East Bay. “They’ve got barges and backhoes out there picking up trash off the bottom. People still need to be careful, but it’s getting better.” 72

May 2009

The arrival of spring has brought back some great fishing. Shrimp, mullet, and shad are all over our bays and the fishing has been outstanding. Redfish have been roaming area shorelines in pods chasing grass shrimp and shad. Quarter and half ounce Johnson gold spoons and DOA shrimp in chicken and morning glory have been the best producers. Trout fishing has picked up also, as the fish finally moved off mud and shell to sand and grass. Pearl Skitterwalks, red/white Spook jrs and chartreuse TopDogs have been the best topwaters, while DOA Terror Eyz in white/pink and clear have been best for sub-surface duty. Flounder have moved back into the bays, and we have been sticking some solid fish in the eighteen to twenty inch range on calm nights. I look for May to be an awesome month with tripletail coming into the bays later in the month and surf fishing taking off when the water temperatures rise above 75 degrees.

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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Lynn says the fishing has been good over mud and shell in three to four foot depths for the trout in Port O’Connor on recent trips. “As long as the wind’s not too bad, we’re having good luck catching solid limits of trout. When the tide is low, the fish get concentrated in the guts adjacent to the major reefs and the catching can be pretty easy, mostly on soft plastics. With higher tides, it pays to focus more on sandy, grassy shorelines or the shallower parts of reefs. Topwaters tend to work a little better in those conditions. In May, I’ll focus more and more on the sand and grass pattern, looking for areas with distinctive sets of potholes. We’ll throw topwaters a bunch, especially in the chrome/blue colors. I like the SheDogs, Super Spooks and Skitterwalks in those colors. There’s some chance we’ll get into the surf later this month. Let’s put it this way, if it gets calm enough, we’ll try it, looking for birds and bait to find fish.”

Blake says that the fishing for trout and reds in the Rockport area has been decent over the last month or so, and he expects some new things to open up in May. “I’ll be doing my regular drill, wading a lot and throwing topwaters in chrome patterns and Norton Sand Eels in dark colors like pumpkinseed and purple with chartreuse tails. All of the area bays have good potential in May. I especially like flats around the passes. Seems there are some good trout near the deep water going out into the Gulf in May. That used to be a really solid deal in Mesquite, but now with Cedar Bayou closed, it’s not so much anymore.” On a related note he does mention trips into the Bayou for surf fishing excursions. “If winds allow, I like to make some runs into Cedar Bayou and walk across the beach into the surf this month. Some of the biggest trout I’ve caught along the beach in my career have been caught early in the season.”

The surf of PINS turned on early this year. Usually sargassum will be present in some areas. May is typically a wonderful month for fishing the beach with Spanish mackerel, speckled trout, Atlantic bluefish, whiting and many shark species being in good supply. Large jack crevalle, redfish and pompano will also be caught and usually the ladyfish will arrive in numbers. Tarpon are possible. Water is typically clear and winds and driving conditions are more user friendly than earlier months. Tides tend to be moderate. Topwaters, Rattletraps and spoons will work well on the mackerel, specks, bluefish, jack crevalle, tarpon and redfish as will live and cut bait. Peeled fresh dead shrimp and Fishbites will be the best producers of whiting and pompano. Target areas with concentrations of baitfish and work all areas where diving birds are present. Turtle nesting season is in full swing and the new speed limit is 15 mph. Do not interfere with nesting turtles. Mark the nest site and notify the first turtle patroller you encounter. CB users should use Channel 1.

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The fishing has been good and the catching has been outstanding! Very strong winds have made it tough to get out and go fishing on some mornings. But, when the winds slow down overnight and early in the morning enough to allow the water to clear up, the catching has been great! The trick has been to get to your fishing destination before the winds pick up. I’ve been finding both speckled trout and redfish in water depths of a foot to a foot and a half. Whether the bottom is soft (muddy) or firm has not been a factor. Many of the trout have been between 18 and 24 inches; plenty of redfish have been slot sized. I will continue to fish shallow water, rigging Assassin Kwik Corks with a six to eight inch drop leader and an eighth ounce Spring Lock jighead. On the jigheads, I will use Assassin Blurp shrimp or four inch Gulp shrimp. I’ll also be using MirrOlure SheDogs and my ForEverLast Ray Guards when wading. Joe says he plans on spending a lot of his time down south in May, especially if water conditions improve or remain as they have been. “The water in Nine Mile Hole, the Land Cut and Yarbrough is not too badly affected by the brown tide. You can see the grass and potholes on most days when you are fishing less than two and a half feet deep or so. The plan for May will likely be to fish grassy areas with potholes in three foot depths or less, targeting trout and redfish in places like The Graveyard, Summer House Flats, the drop off in the Land Cut and in Yarbrough. We have a lot of bright, sunny days typically in the spring, so I favor bright soft plastics like limetreuse and bright white. Especially in the lightly stained water we have now, those colors show up well. I have seen in years past where a push of clear water from the south comes into these areas with the spring winds. This year, we may see that happen.”

Fishing has remained hot for trout in the twenty five to twenty eight inch class around Port Mansfield this spring, Bruce says. “We are still catching lots of solid trout. It’s been awesome. In May, we should see the patterns change some. The fish will begin using their summer patterns, meaning the trout will mostly be found on the outside edges of the grass beds in three to five feet of water. May is topwater heaven here. We’ll target our trout with light colored topwaters in the mornings and stick with those on the bright days. On the cloudy days, we’ll use darker colored ones. Also, this is the month when we start our night wading trips. Another thing we’ll start up this month is targeting tarpon offshore. We should see our first silver kings appear this month. We hope to catch some with the same topwaters we use inshore for the trout and reds and also on the bigger swim baits. The tarpon love those too.”

The first of April saw redfish action drop off a little from the outstanding winter bite. By the end of the month, high spring tides should create a whole new bay full of shrimp, perch and crabs to tempt the schools back onto the flats. Freddy says, “The reds will feed at night if that’s when your tide is outgoing. Everything they prefer to eat comes out at night…so it can get tough to catch them during the day without the right tide.” We’re still seeing trout numbers and sizes that exceed anything we’ve experienced in many years. Depending on tide and wind direction, you can find trout in three to five foot deep potholes from the Convention Center north to south of Gas Well Flats pretty much all month. We’re throwing lightcolored Gulps under Cajun Thunder cigar corks in shallow water, switching to the CT oval cork when wind picks up, or Precision Tackle half ounce copper and gold weedless spoons when sightfishing is happening.

Texas Saltwater Fishing

May 2009


Shirley Stadler knew how to handle this 25.5”, 9lb redfish, caught in St. Charles Bay

Kelcey Nagel grins proudly as her photo is taken with a 22” redfish at Lavaca Bay.

Snorkeling 30 miles offshore out of POC, C.J. Fikes and his friend Garrett Kusak speared this barracuda.

This 27.5” red was no match for Lorrie Reyes. 74

May 2009

Samanda Holleman can’t hide her delight holding a healthy Port Mansfield redfish.

Becky Brune, First ever redfish! A 29” red caught at South Bay.

Ricky Robards with a nice West Matagorda redfish.

Striking seconds of each other, Jimmy Garza (left) landed this 30” red while Mike Ginther (right) landed this 35” red.

Cheryl Korbell can’t hide her excitement with her Baffin Bay keeper trout! Chelsy DiMaggio sight casting for reds in the Lower Laguna Madre.

Trinity Gonzales, with her first keeper trout caught with her new Zebco rod, fishing with Dad in Port Mansfield.

Brian Korbell after a successful trip to Port Mansfield with a 24.5” trout. Texas Saltwater Fishing

Connor Kory, hooked on fishing, shows his first keeper redfish measuring 22”.

Charles Korbell’s personal best fishing Baffin Bay – a 24” trout. Congrats!

Nick Kohleffel beamed as they snapped his photo with his trout caught in Port Aransas.

Allison Schwartz (right) with friend Kalyn Watson (left) managed to catch these 3lb trout in West Galveston Bay.

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Family fishing is fun for these sisters, Britani and Chloe Walther, as they teamed up to catch these two trout in Rockport.

Chris & Austin Murray’s 29” red & Cameron Arnold’s 27” trout was quite an adrenaline rush for all three!

“Cabo” Sailfish the Diablos Baseball Seamus Gildea celebrated his coaching staff hooked up in beautiful 11th birthday with this 27.5” red Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. caught in Matagorda West Bay.

POC tarpon, one of 2 caught/ released, est in the 170lb class. Right to left: Scott Hartl, Paul Reitz, and Jeff Vinklarek. Not pictured is Steven Tschatschula.

Will Steubing proudly smiling after catching this hardhead in Rockport. This 32.5” red was super fun to reel in, Jami Vickery is ready to catch another one!

Young angler, Laura Martin with her first red fish was really excited that day!

Benny Burns & Albert Martin, knew to fish the sand pockets at Traylor Island. They caught these reds were 27.5” 7lb. & 28” 7.5lb.

This nice 34” red couldn’t resist the Gulp Shrimp Nino Gonzalez cast to him near Pita Island.

Elenor Reyes, first time fishing hooked her 1st first trout in Rockport.

Please do not write on the back of photos.

What a super catch, a big 40” drum, for Yamil Cruz in Sabine Pass.

Thirteen yr old, Damon of Spring Branch, TX caught & released this 30” red.

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Cooper Cogdell caught & released this 32” tailing red in the Lower Laguna! Texas Saltwater Fishing

email photos with a description of your catch of the Month to: Mail photos to: TSFMag p.o. Box 429, Seadrift, TX 77983 May 2009


4 lbs Roma tomatoes cut into quarters 4 garlic cloves 2 tsp salt 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

1 large onion chopped 1 tsp. sugar 1 tsp crushed red pepper 1/2 cup red wine

1/2 cup olive oil 1/2 cup chicken broth

Place tomato quarters, chopped onion, garlic cloves in 9x13 baking dish; sprinkle evenly with sugar, salt and olive oil. Place in 450-degree oven and roast 50 minutes; turn veggies with spatula at 10-minute intervals. Remove from oven when roasting is complete and cool. Place cooled, roasted veggies and chopped basil in food processor. Set processor for chop speed, use pulse button or one second cycle - 15 times. Pour all into large sauce pan. Add wine and chicken broth. Bring to medium boil and hold for 12 minutes, stir often. While sauce is cooking you can prepare shrimp. 1 lb of shrimp - 25 count (headed, peeled, de-veined) 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 cloves garlic, minced Warm frying pan to sauté temperature, add olive oil and minced garlic, cook until garlic begins to brown. Add shrimp and continue sauté for four minutes, tossing frequently. Cook Fettuccini per package instructions, drain and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Ass soon as roasted tomato sauce is cooked, combine with shrimp and serve over fettuccini pasta.

And for the tomato lovers — here’s one you’ll really enjoy. Prepare roasted tomatoes and veggies same as above. At food processor step, include 1/2 cup heavy cream, an additional 1/2 cup chicken broth, 1/2 cup white wine instead of red. Process at puree setting for 1 minute. Pour


May 2009

into sauce pan and simmer on stovetop 15 minutes, stirring often. Serve in bowls with sautéed shrimp and/or crab cakes for garnish. Makes an outstanding first course and also does well with salad and breadsticks when you want lighter fare with a robust flair.

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

May 2009



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May 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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“Be Kind to Shorelines” is about leaving a piece of shoreline better than you found it. When you happen upon an unsightly mess on your favorite shoreline; clean it up. Have a fishing buddy snap a photo of your clean-up effort and another of the trash being disposed of properly. Submit photos via email to Everett@TSFMag. com or by mail to TSF Magazine – PO Box 429 – Seadrift, TX 77983. Categories for this contest will be Greatest Haul, Most Unusual, and Most Helpers. The contest will run from October 2008 through Memorial Day 2009. Texas Saltwater Fishing

May 2009


TSFMag Speckled Trout Catch & Release Photo Contest

All you have to do is catch a really good speck and release

it alive‌ and send us some photos! Photos will be judged on photographic quality, artistic merit, demonstration of conservation ethic and, of course, you must include a shot of the release. The winner will be featured on the cover of TSFMag and receive a high-quality rod and reel combo. Four runner-up prizes will also be awarded. Fish must be caught in Texas waters and TPWD regs apply. Make sure your camera is set to capture high-quality images. Photos 80

May 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

become property of TSFMag, employees and writers are not eligible. Submit entries via electronic mail to: For more info please email Everett or call 361.550.3637.

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Boats, Kayaks, Outboards

For more information about these advertisers visit:

Boats, Kayaks, Outboards

Fishing Products (rods, reels, tackle, etc.)

Anchor Marine of Texas............................... Cover, 1 210.599.1415 Bernie’s Boats..........................................................16 361.573.7809 Busha Boat Works...................................................39 979.245.3369 Busha Boat Works Yamaha Sale............................ 24 979.245.3369 Coastline Marine........................................... Cover, 1 713.614.2057 Dargel Boat Works..................................................65 800.749.2628 El Pescador Boats...................................................... 56 361.983.4832 Flatstalker................................................................58 361.813.8040 Gulf Coast Boats........................................................3 713.477.7119 Gulf Coast Marine..................................... Cover, 1, 6 361.438.7947 Huff Marine............................................................. 25 361.991.0369 Kirby Marina............................................................80 713.560.4453 Kroll’s Marine.......................................................... 61 281.342.4461 Majek Boats...............................................................4 361.991.3102 Mt. Houston Marine................................................37 281.447.7689 Rockport Marine.......................................................7 361.729.7820 Sail & Ski Center...................................................... 21 512.219.2705 Shallow Sport Boats...................................... Cover, 1 956.233.9489 Shoalwater Boats.....................................................12 361.983.4134 Texas Marine........................................................... 60 409.832.2027 The Sportsman.............................................. Cover, 1 956.399.5123 Boat Accessories

Boat Lift Distributors.............................................. 69 800.657.9998 Fibertex & Supply....................................................60 361.991.5956 Gulf Coast Trolling Motors..................................... 57 281.481.6838 House Of Fiberglass............................................... 59 361.853.2541 Safe Floor Company............................................... 57 281.435.5904 Salt-A-Way.............................................................. 24 714.550.0987 South Texas Trolling Motors.................................. 62 361.939.8970 Specialty Aluminum Works.....................................16 361.575.1477 Stakeout Stik............................................................63 409.718.7694 Stick It Anchor Pins................................................. 35 941.815.6875 Tops-N-Towers................................................Cover, 1 281.474.4000

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American Rodsmiths................................................. 2 713.466.7849 Boone Bait Co.......................................................... 33 407.975.8775 Brown Lures................................................................. 8 281.961.4399 Cajun Line..................................................................... 7 918.831.6808 Cast Net Bait Bucket..................................................63 512.299.5903 Costa Del Mar............................................................ 29 512.225.2000 D.O.A. Lures.............................................................. 58 877.362.5873 Eagle Claw.................................................................29 720.941.8741 Ego Net - Adventure Products................................29 478.788.2404 Esca Global US, Inc...................................................49 631.928.4433 EZ Drainer................................................................. 62 281.224.9766 Fish Slick...................................................................68 281.481.2929 Fishing Tackle Unlimited Fishing Rods.....................4 281.481.6838 Fish-N-Hunt............................................................. 45 832.496.1110 Forevelast Hunting & Fishing Products.............. 31 361.798.1530 Guideline Polarized Eyegear Elite............................ 31 510.848.4700 L&S Bait Company................................................... 27 727.584.7691 Laguna Graphite Rods............................................ 59 979.921.9910 Livingston Lures.................................................. 30, 70 210.316.1792 Luresafety Wrap....................................................... 63 713.203.2829 Mud Hole Tackle Supply Company.........................69 407.447.7637 Okuma Fishing........................................................20 909.923.2828 PDS Coroporate Sales..............................................25 713.869.6767 Pradco..........................................................................43 479.782.8971 Rapala.......................................................... Back Cover 800.874.4451 Rods by Pepper........................................................69 409.737.1136

Sebile USA.................................................................35 325.660.4575 St. Croix Rods.............................................................13 608.767.3210 Stinky Pants Fishing.....................................................63 210.286.6317 Strike Pro America................................................... 39 409.770.0150 Texas Tackle Factory................................................ 21 361.575.4751 US Reel............................................................ Solunar 314.962.9500 Wade Aid Enterprises.............................................. 68 888.923.3243 Texas Saltwater Fishing

Waterloo Rods................................................... 37, 73 361.573.0300 Woodee Rods USA/Espandre................................33 281.723.4154 Yeti Coolers................................................................13 512.394.9384 Yo-Zuri America, Inc.............................................. 20 772.336.2280 Z-man.......................................................................... 9 Fishing retail locations

Academy Sports + Outdoors............................... 75 281.646.5000 Bass Pro Shop.........................................................17 417.873.5031 Fishing Tackle Unlimited.......................... Back Cover 281.481.6838 Fishing Tackle Unlimited Salesman Sample...........41 281.481.6838 Roy’s Bait & Tackle.................................................... 3 361.992.2960 Seaworthy Marine...................................................45 361.727.9100 Speedy Stop................................................... Solunar 361.582.5100 Tackle Box............................................................... 68 361.575.8700

Real Estate

Full Stringer Realty...................................................78 361.972.3200 www.FullStringer The Oaks at Bentwater............................................ 12 361.790.0001

The Reserve at St. Charles Bay................................47 512.804.1455 TideWater Properties LLC................................ 68, 78 512.659.4754 Tracy Cliburn RE/MAX Realtor................................67 361.550.1965 tracycliburn.remax- events / Tournaments

Calhoun County Saltwater Round-up................... 51 361.652.0152

Port Mansfield Chamber of Commerce.................16 956.642.7357 Seadrift Chamber Shrimpfest................................ 57 361.785.3424 Texas Redfish Series............................................... 27 210.385.3333 Third Coast Fishing Tournament.................. Solunar 361.992.5152 Miscellaneous

Coastal Conservation Association...........................35 281.953.6603

Crab Master - Pearl Products....................................74 850.994.4168

Graphics By Design................................................. 66 361.785.4282

Hillman’s Seafood....................................................74 281.339.2897

Trident Funding Corporation....................................61 800.514.6946

TSFMag Subscription Form............................66, 53, 64 361.785.3420

May 2009



May 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Just Keep Five

EVERY DAY PRICE $639 Skitter Walk 11

EVERY DAY PRICE $899 New for 2009


Imitating a swimming mullet or fleeing baitfish, the Saltwater Skitter Walk is ready to rumble. SSW11’s are equipped with VMC® Perma Steel hooks with saltwater hardware.


Clackin’ Rap The uniquely designed sound chamber features a single steel ball and external metal discs that transmit a distinctive clackin’ sound with maximum vibration. VMC® SureSet® Belly Hook.

No. SSW11 Assorted Colors

No. CNR08, Assorted Colors

EVERY DAY PRICE $749 New for 2009 Saltwater X-Rap 08

EVERY DAY PRICE $749 New for 2009


Trolling fast and deep, casting inshore flats for tarpon or looking for your next fifty incher, there’s an X-Rap just for you.

X-Rap® Shad Shallow 06 The legendary Shad body shape from Rapala with X-Rap attitude. Brings the irresistable action to the top 3 feet of the water column. No. XRSH06 Assorted Colors

VMC® Perma Steel Hooks. No. SXR08 Assorted Colors

EVERY DAY PRICE $1299 New for 2009 EZ Glide Fillet 7’’



New for 2009 Two Stage Knife Sharpener Ceramic wheels quickly restore a coarse edge, while fixed ceramic sticks put a fine razor sharp edge to the knife. No. RMKS

Effortlessly fillet with scalloped blade and non-stick PTFE treated blade. Scallops introduce air between blade and fish to prevent sticking and tearing. No. REZ7

Pro Curl Tail

Cash Back Rebate Buy any 2 spools of Deep Crankin’ Line visit for rebate form

EVERY DAY PRICE $999- $1099 New for 2009 Pro Paddle Tail

Sufix Deep Crankin’ line is fine-tuned to master deep cranking techniques. • Sinks faster, keeps lures in the strike zone longer • Manageable for greater control • Casts farther to cover more water • Minimum stretch for near instant hooksets No. Clear • Assorted Diameters

EVERY DAY PRICE $449 New for 2009 Storm® WildEye® Pro Series • Balanced swimming bait with interchangeable jig heads • Unique top slot in the bait allows the body to be changed without re-tying • The translucent finishes mimic most popular baitfish No. WPPT35, WPPT45, WPCT35 & WPCT45, Assorted Colors

FREE FISHING EQUIPMENT BY MAIL. With purchase of participating Rapala products. January 1- August 31, 2009 • Go to: for rebate form and redemption information.

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

Find the nearest location at • Prices shown are effective May 1-31, 2009

May 2009


DAIWA DAYS MAY 8TH & 9TH 9 am - 6 pm

Great Prizes Great Incentives Great Deals

Don’t miss out on the Daiwa Days Promotion at our store. Inshore to offshore, Daiwa makes some of the finest saltwater gear available. And we carry a broad selection that’s perfect for the area.

So Stop in and check it out. We’ll show you the latest in Daiwa saltwater technology. And give you pointers on how to find them, rig for them and catch more of them.

Daiwa Days Don’t miss out. Fishing Tackle Unlimited is an Authorized Warranty Center and Parts Distributor.


12800 Gulf Freeway @ Fuqua Houston, Texas 77034 May 2009281-481-6838

12800 Gulf Freeway Location Click on the Events tab on our website for more details.

Shop with us online at

WWW.FISHINGTACKLEUNLIMITED.COM Texas Saltwater Fishing Lay-A-Way and Gift Certificates Available

8933 Katy Freeway Houston, Texas 77024 www.TSFMAG.com713-827-7762 Just Keep Five

250 Pro U.S. Reel’s exclusive lightweight WIDE-spool reels assure long casts and minimal line twist. And, set your drag higher with our exclusive Steady Drag System— it starts with less effort than other reels and stays steady until you land the fish.

THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS DESIGNED IN THE MIDWEST AND MANUFACTURED IN THE FAR EAST, U.S. Reel brings you the most truly innovative reels to come along in over 50 years.

Innovation inspired by fishermen looking at every aspect of how reels work, and how they don’t. Our signature WIDE-spool spinning reels have already won accolades (and casting competitions) across the fishing world. Now we’re challenging conventional wisdom again with the SuperCaster™ casting reels. The revolutionary Angled Bar Levelwind (ABLe™) and Reverse Rotation Spool create much greater lure speed and control, with A LOT less effort. Cast farther under an overhang, to a distant school of fish, or just leisurely cast a lot farther with less effort and backlash. Find out more at SuperCaster 1000 Pro

The traditional

energy-robbing levelwind eyelet is gone! This means much greater lure speed and distance with a lot less effort.

When Performance

© 2008 U.S. REEL

Means Everything

A M E R I C A N I N N O VAT I O N • A M E R I C A N D E S I G N • W W W. U S R E E L . C O M

galveston tides & Solunar Table l

Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine l

may 2009

Saturday May 23

To find a location near you, please visit us at

The BEST Choice… Any Place, Anytime!

for registration and details or call 361.992.5152

only $65 to enter

in cash prizes

$10,000 000

Third Coast Fishing ™ Tournament

fish the

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

May 2009  

Texas Saltwater Fishing May 2009 1 Tide Predictions & Solunar Feed Times Inside!TidePredictions&SolunarFeedTimesInside!TidePredictio...

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