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August 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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September 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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c ontents

Editor and Publisher Everett Johnson

september 2009 Volume 19 No. 5 General Manager


Pam Johnson


10 Droolings From the Dock    14  A Progression....                                    18  Heroes of Conservation       22  Bodie and the Netters 24  Do you Speak the Language?        

Mike McBride Kevin Cochran Billy Sandifer Martin Strarup Chuck Uzzle  




Billy Sandifer UT-Marine Science Institute Jay Watkins   Casey Smartt     Bobby Byrd/John Cochrane  CCA Texas Amy Larimer Scott Null Scott Sommerlatte Aaron Cisneros Ruben Villarreal Rick Underbrink/Russell Weir


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

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




6 46 48 64 66 68 72

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

about the Cover

Angler Peter Stiles displays his first fly-caught redfish. photo by Scott Sommerlatte photo Just Keep Five

advertising manager Pam Johnson

WHAT OUR GUIDES HAVE TO SAY… 50 52 54 56 58 60 62

Shirley Elliott

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


19 Coastal Birding 26 Science and the Sea   28 Let’s Ask The Pro 30 Fly Fishing 32 Offshore 34 Conservation 36 TPWD Field Notes 38 Kayak Fishing 40 According to Scott 42 Youth Fishing 44 Every Man’s Offshore 46 Sharkathon

Business / Accounting Manager

Texas Saltwater Fishing

National sales representative Bart Manganiello Circulation Debbie Dugan Design, Layout & Web Maintenance GRAPHICS BY DESIGN 361-785-4282 production@ Subscription – product sales Debbie Dugan ADDRESS CHANGED? Email Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine is published monthly. Subscription Rates: One Year (15 months for 12 months; Get Three Free. Offer valid until 09.30.09)

$25.00, Two Year $45.00

E-MAG (electronic version) is available for $12.00 per year. Order on-line: 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.

how to contact tsfmag: Phone: 361-785-3420 fax: 361-785-2844 Mailing Address: P.O. Box 429, Seadrift, Texas 77983 Physical Address: 58 Fisherman’s Lane, Seadrift, TX 77983 Web: www.TSFMAG.COM photo gallery: Printed in the USA. Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine (ISSN 1935-9586) is published monthly by Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine, Inc., 58 Fisherman’s Lane, Seadrift, Texas 77983 l P. O. Box 429, Seadrift, TX 77983 © Copyright 1990 All rights reserved. Positively nothing in this publication may be reprinted or reproduced. *Views expressed by Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine contributors do not necessarily express the views of Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine. Periodical class permit (USPS# 024353) paid at Victoria, TX 77901 and additional offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine, Inc., P. O. Box 429, Seadrift, TX 77983.

September 2009


Texas’ middleCoast Spotted Seatrout fishery S

even years ago TPWD-Coastal Fisheries created Spotted Seatrout Work Group, a panel of key stakeholders selected to assist the agency as they sought to enter an era of proactive fishery management. Hal Osburn, then division director, advised that spotted seatrout populations were showing signs of growing recreational harvest pressure. Reducing pressure before spawning biomass fell into greater decline could forestall need for sweeping regulatory changes in the wake of the next fish-killing freeze. Regulatory measures (bag limits) employed to that time had largely been agency reaction following freezes in 1983 and 1989. Hal cited explosive growth of rec angling and advances in angling efficiency. The combination, he said, created the greatest fishing pressure the resource had ever faced. The upshot of SSWG, it was hoped, would be popular support of more conservative regulations to insure swift recovery from natural events and enhanced future viability, all the while maximizing the socio-economic benefit that could be derived from the resource. Hal said we needed to reduce the daily bag limit from ten trout to seven and increase the minimum length from fifteen to sixteen inches. He called it a “best fit” for the whole coast at that time. Though the stakeholder panel eventually supported Hal’s plan during their final session, it gained little support in the outdoor press, with too few fishermen, and too few fishing guides. The backlash crushed the message. So it is now seven years later, sagging trout populations in the Lower Laguna brought a five fish daily bag in 2007, while the ten fish limit has remained for the rest of the coast. According to TPWD stats; sales of saltwater licenses grew 25% and angling effort increased 50% between 2001 and 2008 coastwide. Locally, population density surveys signal significant decline of the seatrout fishery in Aransas and San Antonio bays for the same period. Should we have listened better? Veteran mid-coast guides and anglers are reporting the worst trout fishing they can recall, including freeze years. Midcoast boat ramps are uncommonly quiet, except perhaps on major tournament weekends. Mid-coast guides striving to put clients on decent catches are flocking to the Upper Laguna and Baffin Bay. It concerns me that we have snagged all the easy pickings and are now drilling deeply into the mother lode, the backbone of the mid-coast trout fishery. We are twenty winters without a freeze and no red tide, our bays should be brimming. But where are the trout…hiding in secret holes not yet divined? Managers say they’re not sure; more data is needed to better understand the trend. My personal suspicion is that we may have tricked too many into accepting rides in Igloos. I just returned from Florida where spotted seatrout are managed via a combination of tight bag limits (by Texas standards), narrow slots, and closed seasons. A view of what has transpired there and what we now find on our mid-coast refreshes my memory of Hal and his plan for proactive fisheries management. I pray we never see a closed season for specks here in Texas. So while TPWD seeks to solve the mystery of the missing trout, maybe we should practice a bunch of C&R until they can. If you feel you need some to fry, just keep five.


September 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Just Keep Five


August 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Just Keep Five

Just Keep Five

Texas Saltwater Fishing

August 2009


Droolings from the Dock


I read in a good book somewhere that

“to everything there is a season.” Unfortunately, this has been my season to sit things out as far as fishing goes. I really can’t complain a whole lot, though. As mentioned in the July issue I’m actually quite fortunate to be alive much less have a foot left to stand on following a good stingray poke back in May. The hit itself wasn’t so bad, but an ensuing round of necrotizing fasciitis was. For the lesser read among us, the term describes an extremely aggressive flesh-eating condition, this one presumably from the increasingly infamous bacterium commonly called Vibrio. We really can’t prove which particular bacteria sparked the infection, but in any case, this entire situation has been quite an interesting study. Some of it has been positive, and some of it has been positively hilarious. Hopefully we can all be enlightened from some of it though, so let’s try. Although things are certainly improving, keeping your foot propped up for more than two months can do strange things to a person. By default, when rendered immobile, one tends to “think” more than “do” which is almost always a dangerous proposition. I’ve spent most of my time either sulking at the dock, wearing funny clothes and watching the grass burn up, or throwing rocks at all of 10

September 2009

This has been my season to sit things out.

the trucks and empty boat trailers parked behind our house every day. I’m almost out of rocks, so I really need to get back in the water soon before the projectiles start getting bigger and my aim gets better. In the meantime, please accept this little no-fishing update, plus a few various observations inspired by a left foot, which even after sixty days, still looks like a raw chunk of seasoned fajita meat. One positive aspect about this episode is that it seemed to increase awareness concerning the very real dangers of water borne infections. However, it also served to incite some undue panic among the masses, not to mention promoting some massive sales of protective gear…for those still wanting Texas Saltwater Fishing

to get in the water after they saw the dirty pictures. The phone and email responses have been overwhelming to say the least. Let’s categorize three different types of communication just for observation sake. Perhaps we can get to know our fellow readership a bit better, and in some cases, perhaps we should. In the first category are the cookie people; hundreds of well-intentioned folks offering support with everything from medical bill relief to homemade cookies to homegrown tomatoes. Of serious mention are the gracious people at, who through a benefit auction, unselfishly helped pass the McBride Stimulus Package which no doubt helped bolster the local medical economy. Trust me, your foot is worth twice what your house is, so I might suggest reviewing your coverage as soon as possible if you recreate aggressively. The reminder here is that people are inherently good, and fishermen, for the most part, are some of the best examples of people willing to give others a tow when needed. We Texas coastal fishermen are of a kindred fraternity, so let’s keep what is going around coming around. The second category of callers is of the more frantically concerned, to which this response will hopefully reach out to a greater extent. Just last night I received yet another panic call from a family, who

Just Keep Five

Just Keep Five

Carry a big stick… and walk softly!

Sixty days since the fateful daystill have a way yet to go.

the same ones who have clean garages because they borrow all of your tools instead of buying their own. It’s just amazing how adept some humans are at sniffing out opportunity. Perhaps we might use some of that skill to sniff out fish instead. Other quick news is actually about fishing and, again, extended think time can sometimes help put things in perspective. It has been said that every hour spent in reconnaissance is worth ten in battle, so I have been poring over maps and satellite images lately. If you really want to embarrass yourself, put a little dot everywhere you have fished in any given bay. Not a highlighter, just a little dot on exactly the area you have truly covered. If your results are like mine you will see habits emerge, the biggest one being the habit of passing up incredible Texas Saltwater Fishing

amounts of potential water for the same old patterns. I’ll be back in the water, none too soon, and the target is looking like late September. You can bet that after all of this I’ll be looking for some new water even if it will be just one step at a time. You folks who have remained healthy don’t have an excuse, so get out there and discover what you have been missing, carry a big stick, and remember to walk softly.

Mike Mcbride


with safety in mind, was considering canceling a longtime tradition of going to the island each summer. The June pictures had them convinced that it was simply not safe to go in saltwater ever again, and were recoiling towards red and white bobbers and hill country bream instead. I’ve also heard countless cases to where wives and girlfriends were right on the cusp of accompanying their male partners to the bay, but after seeing the July issue, all progress was lost to cries of “Forget it I am NOT getting in that water, and as a matter of fact…you need to sell that boat immediately!” I’d like to offer some panic relief here. We offered this “incident” to promote awareness not fear. When we look at the numbers this was an extremely rare case, and in all reality, the only change we need to make is giving higher respect to skin breaks while in the water. Making good decisions about exposure in the first place, plus timely decisions about getting medical attention when needed, and the risks become quite acceptable. Just don’t mess around with any flesh turning angry for any reason, especially after getting wet, and we should be OK. My experience should not stop any of us from doing what we love to do, we just need to do it with greater awareness. Between those genuine “get well” wishers and all of the folks truly freaked out over this, there is one more category of responders who we all might marvel over for numerous reasons. I’m not sure of whether to be proud of them for trying to make things happen, or to try and help eliminate them from the gene pool if of child bearing age. The calls/mails go something like this: “Hey man, way sorry you got bunged up like that, but you’re out for a while…right? Would you mind if we used your boat, your slip, your trailer, your rod & reels etc., and dude, if Capt. Tricia isn’t too busy would you mind…?” These guys may qualify for a new standard of potlicking, and are probably

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

September 2009



September 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Just Keep Five

Just Keep Five

Texas Saltwater Fishing

September 2009


A Progression, a Theory & a Lesson

This plug was once a “Clown” (gold/chrome/ redhead). The fish have eaten all the chrome so I refurbished with markers, adding a red gill and some dots.  I doubt the color mattered at all to this trout. 

n summer, I generally assume the fish will be in an aggressive feeding mood at

and generated some theories related to my

no doubt conclude that the reason for this

preference for small plugs this time of year.

has to do with the fact that I was throwing

Though I’m aware of the big lure/big fish

at only small fish on these occasions. But in

daybreak. Consequently, I almost always

theory (meaning in my world that a big

many of these cases, I’ve eventually caught

start off my day throwing a topwater lure,

trout is more likely to be attracted to a big

large trout among the swarming dinks.

usually a junior version. In recent years, I

plug) and I believe in it to some extent,

specifically throw a Super Spook Jr. more

I’ve been able to reliably prove to myself


often than not. If and when the blowups don’t come or quit coming, I’ll normally make a switch straight over to soft plastics, sometimes suspending them under corks. I’ve found that such a quick progression (by that I mean ignoring suspending or slow-sinking

Derek Debowski’s lifetime best trout struck a Spook Jr. just as the sun  crept onto the horizon.

What I often do when confronted with a white-hot bite on tiny trout is move around over short distances, trying to find areas less crowded with the colorful and aggressive juveniles. When I find a nearby area that’s holding fewer of the marauding dinks, I sometimes find bigger fish. My theory is that the schools of super small fish like to keep a cushion of distance between

twitchbaits) works best for me when the

them and any mature females in the area;

mercury is close to the top of the column.

it’s a matter of self-preservation, given the

Lately, in the crystal clear, frequently

cannibalistic habits of the species.

calm waters I’m often fishing in Baffin Bay

A number of times lately, I’ve watched big

and the Laguna Madre, this progression

trout attempting to eat smaller ones while I

has been regularly effective. The numbers

that small topwaters work better than

was preparing to handle them; in one case,

of small trout caught has been high, of

larger ones this time of year. On numerous

a fish I estimated at no more than twenty

course; that’s part of the deal in summer

occasions, frustrated by a ready gang of

three inches actually tried to take a bite

fishing with artificial lures. The percentage

dinks tackling my Jr. Spook, I’ve tied on a

out of a marginal keeper! Incidentally, this

of keepers has been decent on most days,

larger lure like a Skitterwalk, X Rap, Super

indicates something else to me--that trout

and we’re catching solid numbers of trout

Spook or She Dog and found that the fish

(I’d go so far as to say most, or even all, fish)

between twenty three and twenty nine

will entirely ignore it.

have no understanding of the concept of

inches too. In thinking about this daily plan of action

Upon switching back to the smaller

size. If that’s true, it undermines the big

plug, the blowups begin again, strongly

lure/big fish theory, which is based on the

and the results the plan has been garnering,

suggesting to me that the fish just weren’t

idea that large fish consciously seek out

I’ve come to some important conclusions

interested in the larger offering. Some will

large prey.


September 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Just Keep Five

I’ve read that raising trout in captivity

What I’ve come

can be tricky, partly because they like to

to realize is that

eat each other; specifically, fish of nearly

presentation style rivals

identical size will try to do so. They become

lure choice in importance

stuck to each other mouth-over-tail in

when it comes to making

a deadly daisy chain. If the fish could

fish strike. Many times in

understand size as we do, this wouldn’t

summer, for instance, a

happen. I know I would never attempt to

predictably variable wind

eat a 230 pound pizza!

blows throughout the

Obviously, even in summer, a big trout

day. On most days, dawn

will make a meal out of a large mullet or

arrives accompanied by a

keeper trout, and catching them on bulky

light to moderate west or

plugs is sometimes possible. More of the

southwest wind. Then, in

time, though, the bite on the larger lures is

mid-morning, dead calm

excruciatingly slow.

slowly casts a smooth

All of this leads me to the following

Gilbert Medrano had limited experience with topwaters, but he quickly picked up the technique with the Spook Jr.

blanket over the bay. Later, a moderate east

ways to catch the fish is with a small floating

conclusion and/or theory. Trout are easiest

or southeast breeze ushers in the heat of the

plug, especially if that plug is used skillfully.

to catch on lures which resemble the prey

day and roughs up the water‘s surface.

they‘ve been recently eating. In summer,

Those who fail to adjust their presentation

Some trophy seekers look at little topwaters and think they won’t attract the

when numerous small forage species like

with the changing winds might wrongly

attention of big trout. To them, I suggest

glass minnows, shad, piggy perch and finger

conclude that the fish don’t want topwaters

perusing the pictures documenting all the

mullet are swimming around with the trout,

and switch to other offerings. Consistently,

giant specks that have been caught over the

smaller plugs match the menu most closely.

in the gentle breezes associated with

last decade on Corkys, which are virtually

Conversely, in winter, when trout are

daybreak, a generic, steady dog-walking

identical in size to the junior versions of

surrounded mostly by mature mullet and

movement pattern will generate plenty of

most topwaters. As my old friend Jay Wright

other trout, bigger plugs better imitate

strikes, but when the wind calms, slowing

reminded me after he caught an eleven

what’s for dinner. Additionally, chilled

things to a crawl, barely nudging the head

pound trout on a fly in Florida, “Remember,

water slows down a cold-blooded creature’s

of the lure from side to side, often entices

even elephants eat peanuts!”

metabolism, so fish in winter eat less

more strikes. When the breeze kicks up

frequently. But when they are eating, they

again, a fast, raspy, erratic retrieve usually

tend to do so with a ravenous and reckless

keeps the fish interested enough to open

attitude. In winter, on full-sized topwaters,

their mouths and take a bite. Three distinctly different presentation

of other trout or horse mullet protruding

styles might therefore be needed within

from their gullets.

a span of a few short hours. It’s easy to

In summer, though, a non-stop snacking

misunderstand how effective topwaters

mode seems to be prevalent in the trout,

can be in summer when using large plugs

and they eat more frequently. On many

and making monotonously repetitive

days in the searing heat, I’m able to maintain

presentations. People who use full-sized

a steady bite throughout the fishing day.

plugs and work those plugs steadily

This happens in other seasons too, but not

without adjusting speed and rhythm aren’t

as commonly as in summer for me.

likely to catch as many trout this time of

Much of the time, this all-day bite is

year as those who use junior plugs more

experienced through the exclusive use of

creatively to keep their presentations in

my Jr. Spook. I know many experts claim

sync with the conditions.

that topwaters are more of a specialty

The bottom line for me is this--the best

offering than a staple when trout fishing. I

way to catch a big trout on a lure in the

tend to disagree, especially in hot weather,

summer is to maintain contact with the

though I admit that stubbornly refusing to

schools of dinks and work the fringes of the

take one off can be a sign of tunnel vision.

schools. One of the most fun and effective

Just Keep Five


I’ve caught lots of large trout with the tails

Kevin Cochran

Texas Saltwater Fishing

September 2009


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Just Keep Five

Texas Saltwater Fishing

September 2009


Heroes of

Conservation and more have been nominated for Field & Stream magazine’s prestigious Heroes of


Conservation award and further honored as one of six finalists. On July 23 a film crew joined me on PINS and the video should be running on their web site at www. by the time you read this article. They are flying me to Washington, D.C. on October 21 to participate in their Heroes of Conservation Gala. Many who know me well are probably getting a good chuckle as visiting large cities and travel in general have never been my thing. However, there are potential rewards in this, such as a new Toyota Tundra truck if chosen as Hero of the Year, which justifies going. Further justification is that hundreds of thousands John Valkenaar will be made aware of of Austin with a nice ongoing and worthwhile speckled conservation projects trout on and my greatest hope is PINS – CPR! to inspire others to start projects of their own. The primary message I have always hoped to convey is this; “One person can make a difference.” I do not do the things I do for awards, recognition, or personal gain. I never look around to make sure I have an audience. I do things because they need to be done and very often because no one else is willing to do them. Many times nobody, not even my wife, is aware of them. Issues arising from management policies and decisions at PINS have been rankling park visitors for some time. A professional mediating firm has been contracted by regional NPS managers to work with the visitor group and local PINS management. 18

September 2009

Capt. Billy with a 30-pound wahoo, nearshore panga trip.

Hopefully they’ll come up with solutions acceptable to all. Talk of boycotting future beach cleanups has been circulating and I’ve been asked if I intend to continue the Big Shell Beach Cleanup. I want to make this perfectly clear right now; there will be a Cleanup in March 2010. We do the Big Shell Cleanup for the beach not for the NPS. However, we greatly appreciated their participation this year and hope they will continue. We clean the beach as a show of respect and reverence for this wonderful place we cherish and nothing could ever change that. Folks who choose to boycott certainly have the right to do so but I think they are overlooking why we do it in the first place. The Sea Turtle Recovery Program recorded 196 Kemp’s Ridley nests this year, besting last year’s record 190 nests. David Newstead and I found the first green turtle nest in Texas on July 25 and it contained 137 eggs. Turtle patrols were concluded on July 15 which marks the end of the Kemp’s Ridley nesting season. Most of the green and loggerhead nests are found during late July through August. I featured the red knot in our monthly birding column a few issues ago. There will be a study of the area’s red knot shorebird population going on down island September 30 through October 6. The effort will include cannon netting and banding. Little is known about the Texas migrational population of this species which is in extremely steep decline on the east coast. Texas Saltwater Fishing

Just Keep Five

clean the beach as “ We a show of respect

other than the possibility of having to drive higher on the beach for a short distance to avoid spooking birds if they are preparing to fire a net. I will be taking part in these studies on days I’m not chartered. A teenage girl was nipped by a shark on South Padre in late July but as only seventeen stitches were required it must have been a small shark. Stingrays are another matter with reports of large numbers being seen everywhere and it seems every few days I hear of someone else being hit. Last time I visited with Mike McBride he told me his son, Brandon, had been hit the day before. It’s my time of year; the time when no other place produces like the surf. September through early December is the time of harvest, the time of the frenzies, when the surf boils with a wide variety of gamefish species pounding shoals of dusky and bay anchovies and finger mullet. Tens of thousands of diving terns, gulls and pelicans fill the skies. Some mornings, before the first cold fronts trigger the migrations to Central and South America; you can see a black mass far ahead on the shoreline that can be mistaken for smoke. This is high adrenalin fishing and the rulebook is thrown out the window concerning what species may be encountered. Any who have ever been blessed to be down island when all the pieces comes together will never forget the experience. Fishing in the middle of the frenzy requires the angler to remain keenly observant and use good judgment for many medium to very large sharks are right in Just Keep Five

there with everything else. I once waded a neck-deep gut to reach the outside bar to cast for tarpon and walked right up on a twelve foot tiger shark in the white water of the bar with his dorsal, part of his back, and his tail exposed. I’ve also turned to retreat from the offshore bar only to discover four adult bull sharks, between me and the beach, moving slowly and ready to attack. Don’t let it be you. Throwing large artificials at tarpon can be frustrating as the sharks will hit them as readily as they will bait and it’s the perfect opportunity to sightcast sharks. Large numbers of skipjack are often found in the frenzies and if you use anything less than 30 or 40 pound mono the skipjacks will become gilled in your line and cut you off or fray the line so badly it will part when a tarpon is hooked. Best thing to do is sightcast the tarpon and try to avoid areas writhing with skipjacks. Let’s see, they want me to wear a business suit in Washington. Straw hat, fishing shirt and shorts, wading belt with knife, pliers, Boga Grip and stingray boots are my regular business suit so I should do just fine. What a hoot! If we don’t leave any; there won’t be any. -Capt. Billy L. Sandifer

Capt. Billy Sandifer


Much can be gained from evaluating the population passing through our area. The majority of the east coast birds have been banded yet the ones we see on PINS are not. Only two of thousands seen here were banded so there’s lots to learn that may help keep this species from disappearing. These shorebirds tend to be found in greatest number between the 16-19 mile areas of PINS. Traffic probably won’t be effected

Billy Sandifer operates Padre Island Safaris offering surf fishing for sharks to specks and nature tours of the Padre Island National Seashore. Billy also offers bay and near-shore fishing adventures in his 25 foot Panga for many big game and gamefish species. Telephone 361-937-8446 Website

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Billy Sandifer’s

Coastal Birding

Piping Plover Length: 7.25 inches Wingspan: 19 inches Weight: 1.9 oz.

Very pale above; the color of dry sand. Orange legs and bill in breeding plumage with a black tip on the bill. Complete or incomplete dark ring around the neck and black on forehead in breeding plumage. In winter, legs and bill are dark and the ring around the neck and black on forehead disappear. Conspicuous white rump in flight. Present here August through November and again March through May. Breeds in northeast and north-central U.S. and Southern Canada. Frequents Gulf of Mexico beaches and bay mud flats. The piping plover is uncommon and declining. September 2009


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Artist renderings and plans for The Reserve 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 Reserve 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.

SCB_SWF042909.indd 1


September 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

5/1/09 10:06:14 AM

Just Keep Five

Just Keep Five

Texas Saltwater Fishing

September 2009



odie jerked the throttle back as soon as he

saw the partially submerged float but the


and ears for us while you’re out here on the bays,” the warden said. That night at Haddon’s Place, Bodie let

notice of the fact. Later over dinner and a cold beer, Bodie told Tommy to go home and pack a lunch

forward progress of his boat pushed him

it be known that he had found a gill net

and some clothes because the two of them

past and he felt his lower unit hang up.

near the entrance to Crab Bayou. Someone

were going to do a little late night exploring.

“Netters!” Bodie said out aloud to himself.

asked what he had done with it and Bodie

“I don’t feel much like doing any

He untangled the hated mesh and

said he had turned the net over to Warden

floundering tonight Bodie. My leg hurts, and

started pulling the net to see how far

Wigginton. Tommy Meyers chimed in that

besides, I’m pretty sure my lantern is busted

it stretched and what was in it. Drum, a

the game wardens always hold the nets for

and my gig is rusted so I guess that leaves

few flounder, a bunch of redfish and a

evidence and then burn them; and that was

me out,” Tommy squeaked while guessing

lot of trout, some horse mullet and a few

a good thing. There were a couple of dirty

what Bodie was planning.

hardheads hung dead-stiff in the deadly

looks cast their direction and Bodie took

“We’re not going floundering Tommy,

monofilament webbing. Bodie started walking the net to see where it terminated and some 200 yards later he came to the stake that held it in place. Unfolding his pocketknife he cut the rope and began dragging the net toward shore. He couldn’t do anything for the fish and, since they appeared to have been in the net for quite a while, they weren’t edible. The wasteful sight made him spit in anger. “Some outlaw set this net and never returned to run it,” Bodie hissed to himself. When he had all the net on the shore he went back to his boat and called the local game warden on his cell phone. He told the warden, who happened to be a friend, what he had found and where it was located. The warden asked him to stay there and wait for him. Warden Wigginton arrived at Bodie’s location about 45 minutes later and made some photographs before he and Bodie rolled it up and loaded it into the warden’s boat. “This is the third net that has been reported this month, Bodie. They’re getting braver and they must be making money. They don’t even seem to care if they lose their nets. We do what we can but we’re spread pretty thin, you know. We could sure use you local fishermen to be our eyes 22

September 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Just Keep Five

we’re going hunting. Meet me at the

Bodie switched the engine off and raised

boat lift around ten,” Bodie replied to his

the motor a little on the jack plate. In a few

squeamish friend.

seconds they felt the bow of the V-hull

“Hunting? What are we going to be hunting Bodie? It’s not deer or duck season and I know your crews at the Lazy C keep

nudge hard sand and Bodie set the StakeOut Stick. After thirty minutes of just sitting,

the coyote population in check. So what

looking and listening, Tommy commented

are we going to be hunting, huh Bodie?”

that he needed a snack and a drink and

Tommy stammered.

stood to open the cooler he was sitting on.

“Illegal netters,” Bodie replied.

Bodie turned to tell his friend to grab him

The night was dark with no moon and it

something as well when he caught a faint

was dead calm. It seemed the cables and pulleys made more noise than usual as they

“Tommy I think I just caught the flicker of a light off to the right there, have you seen

that still.

anything over that way?” Bodie asked. “Nope, nothing but a firefly now and

this noise, Bodie, and they’ll know we’re

then is all I’ve seen Bodie, no spotlights or

coming so maybe we should just stay home

nothing like that.” Tommy said.

tonight. What do you think, buddy?” Tommy whimpered.

Bodie stared down at his friend and said “Tommy, use your head boy. There ain’t any

“Unless you told someone what we’re

dadgum fireflies this time of year.”

doing Tommy then no one is going to know

Bodie scanned the area carefully with

what we’re about, we could be floundering

his binoculars when suddenly it appeared

or going for a night wade. Stop worrying

again. Just a faint glimmer of light is all, but

about it.” Bodie said.

what he saw left little doubt. Way too weak

Bodie idled into the channel while setting

figured what he was seeing was a cap light,

would be a good one to sit watch and listen.

the tiny ones fishermen use, probably to

Jumping the boat on plane he handed

give just enough light to work close and

Tommy the Q-Beam to light the way.

not enough to be seen from a distance. The

“If we use a Q-Beam they’ll see us and

person using it was moving far too much

know we’re out here Bodie, we can’t use a

to be in a boat and that meant they were

light and that means running lights too!”

probably in the water.

Tommy cried.

…Join us next issue for the conclusion

“Now look here Tommy Boy, if we’re

is out and about and probably snooping. As still as it is they’ll hear the outboard for miles. We might as well make like a couple of guys heading out to do some night fishing,” Bodie fired back with authority.

Martin Strarup


they’ll sure as heck know that somebody

Running just fast enough to hold the boat on plane, Bodie steered through several cuts and then across the open bay. Tommy laid the light dutifully on every crab trap float, piling and such, while Bodie steered carefully clear of each. After a twenty minute run, Bodie told Tommy to

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neutral. When the boat settled in the water,

kill the light and eased the throttle back to Just Keep Five

For more information on which locations carry Brown Lures go to

for a lantern or normal flashlight, Bodie

the GPS to take them to a spot he thought

running around out here with no lights

You can now find our products in

glimmer of light just off the starboard bow.

lowered Bodie’s boat into the water; it was “Every netter in the world will hear all

The Soft Plastic Specialists

Texas Saltwater Fishing

September 2009


Do you speak the

language or the past ten years my family and I have made at least one trip each year down

at conveying enthusiasm and the message is

in Playa Del Carmen for a wedding. While

not lost on one’s ability to speak a language.

in Playa I made arrangements to fish north

to the Yucatan, specifically to the island

by the name of Fierros and he is truly a

Packmore at The Traveling Angler. My

of Cozumel. We have some very close

fisherman. We met on one of my first trips to

son, Hunter, and I were met by our guide,

friends down there and I know it sounds

Cozumel and we immediately hit it off as a

Enrique Trinidad, in Cancun following a forty

goofy but we actually feel like locals. Our

discussion about fishing came up in the dive

minute taxi ride from Playa Del Carmen.

friends have a dive shop and hotel which is

shop. Through a little translation we wound

Enrique then took us to the small marina he

perfect because it’s small and intimate, very

up fishing every morning for the next five

calls home base.

different from the all-inclusive venues that

days. We had a blast even though we really


My best fishing buddy on the island goes

of Cancun at Isla Blanca, thanks to Andy

Seven panga skiffs were tied at the dock

Enrique Trinidad navigates thick mangroves in search of Isla Blanca tarpon.

process guests like herds of cattle. Over the years I have become really

Carefully releasing a bonefish to fight another day.

couldn’t do a whole lot of talking, we knew

with Enrique’s being the nicest by far. After a

what was happening and it was good. It was

short boat ride across some beautiful water

close to a few of the dive boat captains and

really cool to watch as Fierros fished with a

we settled on the back side of a small island

we fish together at least a few times each

hand line outfitted with what appeared to be

and were immediately greeted by snook

trip. My wife, Leslie, is constantly amazed,

an old decoy weight and 3 hooks on separate

crashing in mangroves. Like most folks, I

“What do you guys talk about, how do you

drops. I, on the other hand, was outfitted

wanted instantly to head up to the skinny

communicate?” Her reference being made

with a high-end travel rod, 12-pound test,

stuff and find the culprit but Enrique had

to the fact that I speak just enough Spanish

and top of the line baitcaster. We made quite

other ideas.

to get in trouble and the captains are the

a pair. This year Fierros was unable to fish

same with English. I always tell her we speak

with me so I got the next best thing, Fierros

from his perch on the poling platform

the language of fishing and its universal if

Jr.! That’s right, I got to fish with his son and

pointing out the approaching school.

you really love the sport. For example if you

it was just as good as we enjoyed two really

ask someone, “How was your day on the

nice days on the water taking a variety of fish.

my arm and make me chase permit” I said to

This year our trip was a little different in

Hunter as we both were fired up to get shots

water?” You can tell almost immediately just

“Permit at two o’clock,” Enrique advised

“Okay, if I can’t chase snook you can twist

by their eyes and their facial expressions how

that we went across to the mainland after

at these magnificent fish. Several schools

good it was. Fishermen are the worlds best

four days on Cozumel and spent four days

emerged along this particular flat and with


September 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Just Keep Five

only one hookup we decided to try the next location.

getting better as the day wore on. Now if it was up to me I would still be

The small panga glided to a stop as we

there chasing whatever fish was closest but

drifted into a small canal lined with lush

unfortunately we had to start working our way

mangroves. I stood on the front deck in awe

back to the dock. On the trip back we stopped

of the whole scene and just happy to be in a

on a huge flat that was dotted with little mud

place like this as we scanned the water for life.

boils that signified feeding bonefish and we

“Tarpon ahead” was the call from Enrique

decided we had enough time to investigate.

as we watched several fish come up, gulp

Sure enough we encountered several schools

air and give away their position. A quick cast

of hungry bonefish that really knew how to

with a small jig provided an instant hookup

stretch your line. No really big bonefish ever

and a juvenile tarpon went airborne in a

showed but there were certainly plenty. This

series of acrobatic jumps that eventually

last spot topped it off for Hunter and I as we

freed him from my lure. This drill continued

talked about how we had a legitimate chance

for a couple of hours as we jumped at least

during the day at a Grand Slam in one trip; that

a dozen more fish and saw countless others.

being tarpon, bonefish, snook, and permit. Isla

The path through the mangrove canals was

Blanca was an absolutely amazing experience

possibly one of the coolest things I have

and one that I will not soon forget.

done and greatly added to the adventure. We Hungry bonefish are plentiful along the Yucatan flats.

The language barrier that exists between some people can easily be overcome with a bit of patience and willingness to learn. Knowing that places like Isla Blanca are out there to be enjoyed should be enough to encourage the adventurous fisherman to make the effort and see just what the experience is like. Despite the complete understanding of all the words, we have a lot more in common than anyone would know.

had to lay down on the deck several times and actually pull the boat through the trees using the overhanging limbs. The thick cover


Chuck Uzzle

would eventually open up to expose another series of canals or small lagoons and the chase would continue. One of the larger lagoons we entered was dotted with white sand potholes and deep grass; it was much different than anything I had fished on the Yucatan. The potholes would hold nice snook and several species of snapper that just couldn’t resist a Gulp shrimp. Every now and again we would venture away from the potholes and back to the mangroves for yet another shot at tarpon and it just kept Just Keep Five

Texas Saltwater Fishing

September 2009


Science and the Sea


Diving for their Dinners Imagine that you were hungry for a meal, and there were plenty of tasty morsels around you… but you had to dive into chilly waters to get them. That’s a feat cormorants perform every time they dine. Cormorants are sleek seabirds found in coastal habitats in most parts of the world. They hunt for fish and other small animals by propelling themselves underwater with their webbed feet and catching their prey using their long, flexible necks and hooked beaks. There are about 37 kinds of cormorants and they vary in how long and deep they can dive. One species can stay underwater for 5 minutes and reach depths of more than 200 feet. Cormorants are superbly designed for diving. They have a low proportion of body fat and their bones are denser than those of other birds, which helps them sink. Unlike most other diving birds, cormorants have “partially wettable” feathers, which means their feathers trap less insulating air. This means cormorants lose more body heat while diving, but it gives them the advantage of reduced buoyancy in the water. Cormorants are believed to hunt their prey by sight, but scientists observing great cormorants in western Greenland found that the birds hunted even in the dark polar nights. The researchers suspect the birds might use sound or touch to nab their prey in the dark, trolling the seabed with their beaks. If that’s true, it would be one more ability that makes the cormorant a consummate diver.

The University of Texas

Marine Science Institute © The University of Texas Marine Science Institute 26

September 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Just Keep Five

Just Keep Five

Texas Saltwater Fishing

September 2009


ask the pro I have found that life is made up of many small moments.

Ryan’s five pound brush pile bass.

Some are life-changers.

jay watk ins

Some for the good, some for the not-so-good. In fishing we need always be prepared for these moments as opportunity rarely knocks twice. I have always believed that we make our own luck. Back when I was graduating high school my father gave me this piece of advice, “Control everything you can and don’t worry about the rest.” Hopefully the contents of this article will help you be more prepared for your next moment. I found out soon enough that life would deal cards I didn’t like, but I’d still be stuck with the dealer. I took that attitude with me as I entered the fishing business and coined

Too often, anglers worry themselves over the wrong stuff. Here’s a short list of some things you can control:

By doing the same thing every time on every fish you stand a much better chance of landing that fish of a lifetime. By using a fish smart

the term “Fish Smart” as sort of my slogan. By

• Set the hook the same way and fight

approach to each and every trip, one is prepared

fishing smart we control every thing we can

every fish the same no matter the size. Not

for that one moment during the day when a fish

and deal with the rest as it comes.

many anglers can tell the difference between

of a lifetime comes knocking. A prime example

the bite of a 16-inch trout and that of a five

of this was a wonderful experience that occurred

the way to our first stop he asked, “If you could

pounder. Truth is; a five pound fish might not

not too many weeks ago. As many of you know

tell me one thing that would make me a better

take the bait as hard as a small one.

both of my boys are avid fishermen, darn good

I had a guy show up one day to fish and on

fisherman, right now before you have even seen me at work, what would it be?” I turned directly to his rod and spit out something along these lines. “Your line is too heavy and so is the jighead. No snap swivel,

• When your fish gets her head up, lower

ones too. Jay Ray makes his living fishing and

your rod to get her head back down. She goes

Ryan, the younger, is a senior at Stephen F.

down; you bring the rod up to gain control of

Austin University. Ryan is the bass fisherman

the fight.

in the family and has done exceptionally well

• When a big fish is left with little or no

ever. Downsize the hook, rig your plastic

pressure on her head she will rest, waiting for

straight and upside down. Your rod is too stiff

that one fateful moment during which she

considering his prior experience was limited to the small lake in our backyard. Ryan’s good fish-finding and catching

and too long. Always set your drag to at least

habits have played a major role in his ability

slow the fish before he spools you and, for

to quickly learn and understand seasonal

God’s sake, put more than thirty yards of line

patterns on the lakes of East Texas. “Structure

on your reel!” I think those nine or ten things

is structure; some is just a whole lot deeper

would have definitely made his day more

than what we are accustomed to fishing,” he

productive and we had not even evaluated

once told me.

the rest of his game.

On a recent weekend trip that my wife

The day progressed with many questions.

Renee set up for me, Ryan and I were witness

“Where we headed?”

to the importance of fishing smart and always

“I let the fish show me from day to day. I

reacting the same way to bites.

stop where the signs meet the conditions.” This went on and on and that is a good thing, he wanted to learn and was willing to be taught. Wade after wade I instructed on the importance of fishing smart and only worrying about the things we could control. 28

might be able to ruin your day.

September 2009

Jay with 9-1/2 pound brush pile chunk. Good habits pay big dividends. Texas Saltwater Fishing

It was 101 degrees when we finally moved to a deep brush pile Ryan found last year. We had encountered trolling motor difficulties and were in the process of easing within casting distance. The tackle was heavy worm rods with Texas-rigged Zoom worms,

Just Keep Five

Seaguar Invizx fluorocarbon. After only a few casts Ryan had a five pound fish in hand. Photos and hand slapping followed; dad is always proud to snap photos of the boys with nice fish.

rolling the rod tip downward as I turned her. Ryan looked on in excitement. ” I think she’s a 10 pounder, bring her to me when she’s ready.” With a youthful grab my bass of a lifetime was locked in my son’s hand. What a glorious

forged between us. At the Tyler airport Ryan stopped short of the security check. “I am horrible at goodbyes so I’ll stop here,” he said. I suck at them too, so I was good with it. I

Ryan’s next four casts brought four solid bass.

moment. My son, the one I taught, the one I led

hadn’t gone many steps down the corridor

Dad was having some trouble getting the distance

to his first big trout and redfish, the one whose

when I heard him call out. ”We sure had

and the feel down but it finally came together.

hero I was, had now become mine. I know it

ourselves a moment, didn’t we dad?”

As my next cast hit the water Ryan said,

sounds sappy but it’s a big moment for a dad

Life is made up of moments. By being

“That’s a fish if you let it go all the way to the

when he sees his passion being relived in a son

prepared we make the most of them, both on

bottom and then lift slightly. Don’t jig it, just lift

or daughter.

the water and in our personal lives.

and let it fall. A heavy line is a fish, load the rod and get after her.”

The fish weighed 9½ pounds on our digital

jay watk ins

Tungsten 1/8-oz bullet weights and 17lb

May Your Fishing Always Be Catching

returned the grand fish to the lake. After a few

Instinct said, crank down quickly to load the rod

moments and some vitamin water, I stood and

and stick the fish. In less than a second I felt the

cast back to the submerged brush pile. Once

headshake of a large fish. Ryan watched as the

again on the second or third lift I was rewarded

line rose toward the surface and we both went

with a large bass, this one weighed 7½ pounds,

nuts as a huge ball of whitewater erupted. The

a bit less but still a thrill. We released thirty-two

fish wanted her head up and wanted to shake;

fish in about two hours as a crowd of boats and

this is never good. I stuck the rod down in the

onlookers sat close by. Bass fishermen seem to

water and cranked her back down. Three or four

respect the findings of others and are content

times the fish tried to surface but each time I was

to watch. Maybe they too realized that it was a

able to keep her down. I never backed off the

special moment for us. At day’s end I think we

drag, I knew better. She pulled left; I pulled right,

both sensed something very special had been


scale. We made a quick photograph and

About two lifts into the cast the rod felt heavy.

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Just Keep Five

Texas Saltwater Fishing

September 2009


When I first started tying flies, I put very little

needle point). A typical 50-count box of

thought into the anatomy of

the press sideways, but I still tie most of

the hooks I used. I grabbed

my fly patterns on this hook and I like its

whatever I could find, and as long as the hook

simple no-frills design. The 34007 is easy

had a point and fit in my vise I was happy.

to re-sharpen and has a reliability I have

But I quickly learned how important the

come to trust. Although I have bent a few

right hook was on a saltwater fly. It had to

of them up on rocks and big fish over the

be resistant to corrosion, sharp, reliable, and of adequate shape and size to compliment

hooks that look like they went through

Gamakatsu SL45 Bonefish The Gamakatsu SL45 Bonefish hook is a

years, I have never had a 34007 rust, break, or otherwise let me down. The 34007 is

the materials and action of the fly. I also

strong, thin-wired hook with a standard-

available in sizes 8 to 2/0 and a 50-count

learned that regardless of their quality all

sized shank and gape, and an incredibly

pack costs around $10.00

hooks require sharpening sooner or later, and

sharp hook point oriented parallel to the

knowing how to correctly sharpen a hook is

shank. The SL45 has a slick black finish and

a fundamental angling skill. Over the years

unlike many other saltwater hooks the wire

I have used many different hooks but I keep

is actually plated high carbon steel rather

version of the 34007. Like the 34007, the

coming back to a few that have become my

than stainless. This means the SL45 is very

34011 is stainless, economically priced, and

favorites. Here are a few of those hooks and

stiff and strong in relation to its weight. The

yes… it requires sharpening. The 34011

why I like them.

SL45 was designed specifically for bonefish,

hook is a good choice for bendbacks, long

which demand a small and light but very

streamers, big shrimp patterns, Crease

strong hook. But it’s also a great hook for

Flies, pencil poppers, and Gurglers. Fly

fly patterns used on the Texas flats. The

tyers who stock up on the 34011 along

stainless steel hook with a short shank,

black SL45 blends nicely with dark-colored

with the 34007 are essentially outfitted to

large gap, and slightly upturned point.

wing materials and has become my hands-

tie nearly any inshore saltwater fly pattern.

One look at the 800S and you know

down favorite hook for black drum flies. The

The 34011 hook is available in sizes 6 to 3/0

it means business. The 800S is a high

SL45 hook is available in sizes 4 to 8 and a

and a 50-count pack costs around $14.00.

quality and heavy duty hook (needle

12-count pack costs around $3.50.

Tiemco 800S The Tiemco 800S is a heavy wire

sharp out of the box) with a large barb and the strength to subdue the strongest inshore fish you can find. It has a large

Mustad 34007 The Mustad 34007 is a standard-sized

Mustad 34011 The Mustad 34011 is the long-shank

Remember to put some thought into the hooks you choose for saltwater fly tying. Don’t skimp. Selecting the right hook is crucial to getting solid,

eye that will accommodate oversized

stainless steel hook. It is one of the most

consistent hook-ups and good hooks are

bite tippets with ease. The 800S is a

widely available and commonly selected

fundamental in achieving the right action,

good choice for large streamers, sinking

hooks for inshore saltwater flies. There

longevity, and overall success of any fly

patterns, sliders, or flies with designs that

are two reasons for this- performance and

pattern you tie.

require a “keel” effect from the hook.

price. Although the 34007 is relatively

When tying flies on the 800S, anglers

inexpensive, it does many things well. It is

should remember that although the heavy

an ideal hook for most redfish flies, short

wire and solid stature of this hook make it

poppers, and Clouser Minnows. And, the

seriously tough, they also make it heavy.

34007 can be safely bent and shaped with

The 800S lands with a moderate thud

pliers, turning it into a suitable hook for

and therefore is a poor choice for flies

spoonfly patterns. The only weak features

requiring delicate or soft presentations to

of the 34007 are its crude barb and fairly

spooky fish. The 800S is available in sizes

dull point which always requires an initial



34007 hooks usually contains 1 or 2 shag

2 to 8 and a 25-count pack costs

sharpening (except for the “Z Signature

around $12.00.

Series” version which has a small barb and


c ase y smar tt

The Right Hook

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.

Check out Casey’s Fly Fishing Video Library at

September 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Just Keep Five

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

September 2009


bluewater journal

Bo bby byr d & Cap t. j ph n coch r an e

Navigation Basics in a High Tech World How do you navigate when your GPS fails We hope everyone is enjoying the summer fishing season and catching lots of

your boat is a compass. Make sure it is a

yourself to learn. It’s also very interesting and

good one and take the time to check it for

you will have a lot better concept of just how

accuracy. Learn how to convert from a true

much information a GPS provides for you. It’s

fish! Besides fishing reports, we have

heading to a magnetic heading. The United

really quite amazing considering many of us

heard a few other stories this year that

States Power Squadron and local captain’s

can remember when it didn’t exist.

have prompted us to address the issue of

schools are a great place to learn basic

navigating without GPS or Loran when

navigational skills. If you don’t know how

and check it against your GPS information.

offshore. Most anglers rely heavily on their

to navigate without a GPS, you owe it to

Remember to write down the heading

GPS plotters to get them from point A to

You should always use your compass

Your compass is one of the most important pieces of equipment on your boat; notice its front and center location at the helm of this sportfisher.

point B when running offshore, but what do you do when you are well offshore and your electronics fail? Some of the older captains and fishermen who remember the days of Loran A or C and navigating with paper charts by dead reckoning will not be fazed by such an event, maybe just a little inconvenienced. However, because of these new user-friendly navigation units, many fishermen haven’t taken the time to learn basic navigational skills. They have become so dependant on their GPS plotters with moving maps, that they aren’t prepared for this scenario and haven’t prepared themselves to handle this situation. Loss of electronic navigation can be caused by several things. Equipment malfunction is a common problem; so many boats have a back-up GPS unit, which is an excellent idea. However, sometimes a failure can be caused by the loss of the vessel’s electrical system affecting all electronics on board. A direct or nearby lightning strike, salt and corrosion, rough seas and water damage can also cause loss of electronic equipment. A handheld back-up GPS is a great remedy, but what do you do when you find yourself in a situation without any electronics working? It’s important to remember one of the most important pieces of equipment on


September 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Just Keep Five

working radar, navigation without GPS gets

more knowledgeable boater and fisherman.

laminated chart for a back-up. At the very

even easier. Oil rigs detected by radar can

For more information on learning about

minimum, learn how to read a chart and use

be matched to rigs found on your chart. Sea

navigation, big game fishing or rigging

the compass rose. You should also know how

buoys and jetties marking the entrance to

your boat, call us or come by Tops-N-Towers

to find your position by latitude/longitude

major ports also show up well on radar.

in Seabrook, Texas. Our Fox Yacht Sales-

One other factor is navigating at night

Seabrook office has an extensive inventory

are at all times, so if you have a failure you

without GPS. It’s really not that difficult and

of brokerage boats and Fox is the exclusive

know about where you are and the general

in some ways easier. If you know major stars

Texas dealer for CABO Yachts.

direction of your home port. If you are not

and constellations they can help verify your

sure of your position, you can call a nearby

compass heading. Navigational lights, oil

boat or if you can see a rig, you can get

rigs and lighted buoys are marked on charts

the block number off of it and locate your

and can be seen many miles away. Also,

approximate position from a block chart. If

the glow on the horizon from the lights of

you know where you are, then you can keep

major communities can help you verify your

fishing and not be too concerned about the

position. Finally the age old lighthouse,

electronics loss. When you are ready to head

seldom used or even operational anymore

home, give yourself extra time to get in.

has always helped mariners find heir way

Use a paper chart to get the bearing off the

home when getting close to shore. The next

compass rose and start in. Make a note of the

time you head offshore and see the old

time you left and the speed you are going,

lighthouse standing there, remember the

so you can calculate your position. You can

thousands of mariners it guided safely home

double check your position by monitoring

and you will appreciate that little high tech

your depth on the sounder, if it is still working.

machine in front of you a whole lot more.

You can follow depth contours off of a chart

Taking the time to understand

to navigate certain areas. Also, if you have a

navigation basics will help you be a safer


and plot a course. Keep track of where you

o ffsh o r e

you ran out on. Always carry a paper or

Born in Galveston, Capt. John Cochrane has been a professional captain for over 25 years. He concentrates his fishing efforts in the Gulf of Mexico, promoting big game fishing and billfish research. A native Texan, Bobby Byrd has fished the Gulf of Mexico since he was eight. In 1995, Bobby combined his love of fishing and boating into a business when he opened Tops-N-Towers in Seabrook, Texas. Contact Fox Yacht Sales / Seabrook 281-291-0656 Tops-N-Towers 281-474-4000 Capt. John Cochrane 409-739-4817 Websites


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Texas Saltwater Fishing

TECHNOLOGY September 2009


conservation page

Texas Outdoor Writers Recognize CCA/Valero Youth Program CCA Program sponsored by Valero Energy Corp. seeks to bring marine conservation to kids The Texas Outdoor Writers Association (TOWA) selected the

that they can make a difference. With the

CCA/Valero Rising Tide youth program

plan, we are able to bring the message of

parts of this program. From the start,

as the winner of its Special Projects/

marine conservation and education to a

the goal has been to build on the fact

Conservation award at its 2009 annual

broad group of children everywhere, from

that kids are capable of doing amazing

convention. At a time when far more kids

inland locations to coastal communities.”

things right now and develop programs

are texting than casting, the recognition

CCA and Valero Energy Corp. partnered

creating solutions to solve them. “We have received great input on all

that tap into that potential,” said Murray.

by Texas outdoor writers emphasizes

in 2007 to promote conservation education

“Making students and others aware of

just how critical the need is to get

and ethics in young anglers through the

the conservation challenges that face our

students more involved in protecting

Rising Tide program. Valero’s generous

bays and oceans and helping them be

the marine environment. CCA and Valero

support allowed CCA to devote more

part of the solution lays the foundation

Energy Corp. combined efforts to create

resources to the youth program than ever

for a lifetime of conservation. We have

this multi-media youth outreach and

before, with particular attention given

to make sure that today’s youth embrace

education program.

to the development of a conservation

the value of our shared coastal marine

newsletter, youth webpage and marine

resources. Fortunately, we have a partner

this incredibly important program,” said

conservation lesson plan that has been

in Valero that is committed to this effort

Pat Murray, CCA executive vice president.

made available to junior high school

as well.”

“We are honored that TOWA recognized


newsletter, website and conservation lesson

“We must do everything we can to get the

teachers, summer camps and home school

For more information about the Rising

next generation ready to assume its role as

programs. Through the lesson plan, students

Tide program or a free copy of the Rising

stewards of our coastal marine resources.

are tasked with identifying conservation

Tide newsletter or lesson plan, educators

This program was created to help empower

problems in the marine environment,

are encouraged to contact Pat Murray at

young conservationists and show them

researching them and, most importantly,

September 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Just Keep Five

A Florida Style Boat Show Arrives In Houston! South Shore Harbour Marina, Bay Area Houston, September 24th - 27th, 2009

The South Shore Harbour Marina plays host to the largest in-water boat show ever to come to Houston, a big bustling “Florida Style” Boat Show in the Bay Area, with over 400 boats in the water and onshore, many ready to demo. Luxury autos, trucks and custom motorcycles, swimwear fashion shows, fishing and boating gear, live music from The Bahamas and plenty of fun for the family, all geared to four fabulous days of fun in the sun. So don’t miss out on the biggest and most exciting boat show ever to arrive in Houston’s Bay Area, the South West International Boat Show!

For exhibit and visitor details please contact: 561.842.8808 • E-mail or visit us on line at: GulF CoASt YACHt BrokerS ASSoCIAtIon



galveston tides & Solunar Table Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine SEPTEMBER 2009

The BEST Choice‌ Any Place, Anytime!

To find a location near you, please visit us at

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

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Just Keep Five

Texas Saltwater Fishing

September 2009


F i e l d

n o t e s

the Rocks of Baffin Bay By Amy Larimer, Upper Laguna Madre Ecosystem, Fish and Wildlife Technician, Corpus Christi, TX.

Field Notes Any angler familiar with the Baffin Bay area knows how dangerous and expensive encounters with the area’s rocks and reefs can be. No one wants to replace a prop or lower unit. The upper Laguna Madre lacks oyster reefs, but does have two types of naturally occurring hard bottom habitats, beach rocks and serpulid reefs. Both the rocks and reefs were formed from 300 years to 30,000 years ago. The beach rock is found mainly from Penascal Point south, on the eastern shoreline of the Laguna Madre.

Close-up of a piece of serpulid rock showing attached barnacles.

The beach rocks are 20,000 to 30,000 years old and are composed of coquina shell fragments, sand and clay bound together. Because these rocks were once

habitat, serpulid reef, was built by a colony

some living worms still found on these

the Gulf of Mexico shoreline, before the

or aggregate of tube-dwelling polychaete

reefs, the reefs are no longer building

formation of Padre Island, they are called

worms. These worms are called serpulids

or enlarging. Scientists believe that the

beach rocks. The serpulid reefs are much

(after the family of tube-building worms,

serpulid reefs stopped growing around

younger than the beach rocks, from 300

Serpulidae), and much like coral reef-

the same time the salinity increased in

to 3,000 years old, and are found in Baffin

building animals, make their tube homes

the Laguna Madre.

Bay and its tributary bays Laguna Salada,

out of calcium carbonate. Over time,

Serpulid reefs are unique and found

Cayo del Grullo and Alazan Bay.

these tubes build up into very large

nowhere else on the Texas coast. Living

rock-like reef structures. While there are

and growing serpulid reefs occur in

This second type of hard structure

only a few areas in the world. There Serpulid rock surrounded by seagrass.

are two types of relict serpulid reefs: patch reefs and reef fields. Patch reefs consist of small, isolated round rocks that are located mainly on the northern end of Baffin Bay. The patch reef height ranges from 1.5 to 6 feet above the bay bottom and are sometimes exposed at low tides. The reef fields are large, irregularly shaped areas of serpulid reef which protrude only slightly above the bay bottom. Because of the buildup of sediments over the centuries, these reefs are more massive than they appear and actually extend several feet or more into the bay bottom. Reef fields are found


September 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Just Keep Five

F i e l d around the mouth of Alazan Bay and in

serpulid rocks. Mark the location of the rocks on your

Laguna Salada.

marine chart or GPS to avoid hitting them with your boat.

Like oyster reefs in other bay systems, serpulid reefs and beach rock add a

n o t e s

It may make a difference between a pleasant fishing day and expensive trip to the repair shop.

structural component to the upper Laguna


Madre ecosystem. This habitat provides complexity and biodiversity, which in turn provides shelter, food and protection for many organisms. Some scientists believe that adding structure or hard substrate to an environment (as in the case of artificial reefs in the Gulf) can increase fish populations. Many anglers believe this and both the serpulid reefs and beach rocks have become favorite fishing spots in the Baffin Bay area. Even though there are many reports of large spotted

A view of serpulid rocks at Penascal Point at low tide.

seatrout being caught near these reef and rock structures, there is no scientific data that verifies this. The success and the quality of fishing that occurs in the upper Laguna Madre are often attributed to the complexity and the community structure that the serpulid reefs and rocks have added to the ecosystem through time. Even though these important fish habitats have been around for upwards of 30,000 years, they are threatened from a variety of sources, both natural and man-made. Oil and gas development can destroy the rocks through seismic activity. Dredging operations deposit the silt and cover the reefs rocks and associated

Serpulid rock with attached algae.

invertebrate communities. The serpulid reefs are decreasing in size and distribution and continue to face several other threats. Because of the way the reefs were made, they are fragile and easily damaged. The biggest threat is damage caused by anglers and boaters. Collisions by boats and trampling, while wade fishing, causes pieces to break off. Over time, the amount of large serpulid reefs in Baffin Bay is being damaged and many have been reduced to rubble. Losing these relict reefs and important habitats

Another view of serpulid rocks exposed by low tide at Penascal Point.

might mean reductions in quality fishing experiences in the Baffin Bay area. Avoid standing on these reefs, especially the fragile Just Keep Five

Texas Saltwater Fishing

September 2009


k aya k

f i s h i n g

New kayaks and accessories debut at Outdoor Retailer Show c ap t. scott null

It seems like just a couple months

are not allowed. The Torqeedo is unlike any

GPS that determines the battery level, current

motor I have seen. Most of their models were

speed and remaining range. The information

ago that I was writing about the latest and

designed similar to small outboards up to a 9.9

is displayed right there on the throttle unit.

greatest kayaks being introduced at the 2008

hp equivalent. But the one we’re interested

Another cool feature is a magnetic kill switch

Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City, yet

in is a new motor designed specifically for use

that stops the motor should you happen to fall

here I am getting ready to do it again. Where

on kayaks. They are working directly with

overboard. I’m working on getting a model

did the year go?

Confluence and Hobie to provide motors

for testing and will hopefully bring you a full

for some of their new boats, however the

report soon.

While walking the show visiting various booths, I realized this is already my fifth year

motors can be adapted to fit most any kayak

On the kayak side, there were several

of attendance. Every year I keep thinking it

with a simple ball-mount base. Torqeedo can

new models that should get the attention

has all been done and then the designers

be connected to the boat’s rudder system

of kayak fishermen. The Confluence booth

dream up something new, or at least put a

allowing you to steer with your foot pedals.

had a boat that caught the eye of everyone

new spin on an old design. This year the most intriguing thing I saw was not a kayak. Something I’ve heard continuously from my

In visiting with the co-founder of the company I discovered that this isn’t

their new hybrid kayak/canoe, the Wilderness

just another trolling motor. The

non-paddling friends, “I’d get a kayak if they’d

high-efficiency motor has a 1

put a motor on it.” Well, the kayak companies

hp motor power equivalency

must have been hearing the same thing;

powered by a 28.8 volt lithium

all the manufacturers seem to be getting

manganese battery. In testing,

on board with some sort of electric motor.

it powered a Hobie Outback

Legacy started it last year with their Volt

to just over 6 mph. The

system, which is basically a short-shaft trolling

range varies depending on

motor married to their Native Ultimate kayaks.

the speed selected, but at

This year there’s a new player acting

who walked by. It was a special edition of Systems Commander. I

moderate levels it can easily

independently of the kayak manufacturers.

carry you through an entire

Torqeedo is a German company that is

day of fishing. The remote

designing high-efficiency electric motors for

throttle has an on-board

boating on lakes where combustion engines

computer with integrated

The Torq electr ic k ueedo motor dreaya k interest a w at lot of t OR-2009.

Special Edition Wilderness Systems Commander…sweet! 38

September 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Just Keep Five

immediately fell in love with the slick, black

from the paddle-fishing crowd. The stern

Kevlar composite and teak trim. It was

consists of two separate sponsons. When

absolutely gorgeous and one of only fifty to

folded, the boat looks and performs like a

be built. Unfortunately, the five grand price

typical sit-on-top kayak, but the sponsons can

tag ended the brief love affair and sent me

be rotated out in a V to provide extra stability.

in search of the plastic alternative on display

The drawback to that design is that the kayak

nearby. The basic design is similar to the

becomes very inefficient and difficult to

Native Ultimate with a few tweaks including

paddle. It also tipped the scales at around

a seating area on top of the deck behind the

85 lbs. Their new 12’ model has answered

cockpit. It gives you the option of sliding the

these shortcomings and it looks like they now

phase three seat under the deck and perching

have a winner. The Freedom 12 has the same

yourself up top to gain a better view while

sponsons but instead of forming a V, they now

sightfishing. Another option would be to slide

deploy parallel to the hull making it much

the cockpit seat forward and let a child or small

easier to paddle. The weight of the new boat

adult sit on the deck. The hull design reminds

is a more manageable 65 lbs with sponsons

me of the ultra-stable Ride which should make

attached. You can also detach them for

this an excellent platform for those who prefer

loading and unloading making it even easier

to stand while fishing.

to handle.

Speaking of standing, Native has a new

I could go on for another page talking

stand-up fishing kayak. The Kevlar Osceola

about the various tweaks to existing models

Elite Paddleboard looks like a surfboard on

and a bunch of new accessories that you’ll

steroids. At 12’ long and 31” wide it is a super

soon see at your local paddlesport dealer

stable watercraft that allows you to pole or

but, unfortunately, I have run out of space.

paddle silently through skinny water searching

If you see a guy zipping along with some

for redfish. After talking with fishing guru,

funky looking motor hanging off the back of

Jimbo Meador, I’m really looking forward to

his kayak, wave me over and check out my

giving this thing a try. It isn’t something you’ll


Kayak fish ing

Torqueedo powered Wilderness Commander.

want to paddle across open water but, if you could be the ticket for sneaking up on spooky fish. Light weight and slim profile make it the perfect fishing platform for anyone looking to mother-ship to distant marshes. Freedom Hawk Kayaks is another company that offers kayaks for stand-up fishing. Their original model, the Freedom 14, came out a


have a shallow fishing hole near a launch, this

few years ago and garnered some interest Just Keep Five

Texas Saltwater Fishing

September 2009


South Florida Bridge Snook I am sure you have all heard me say it at least a couple of times- I really dig tarpon fishing. Some might

c ap t. scott somm e r l atte

even say it is an unwholesome addiction. Hence, my sister refers to my obsession with everything tarpon as “fish porn.” Now, it is on to what is next in line. Well, anything that pulls hard and tests my skills as an angler. And, nothing does that more than the big “bridge” snook of south Florida. Last summer I had the chance to hook up with my good friend and fellow guide, Mike Conner, for an evening of tossing flies against the bridge pilings and piers near Stuart, Florida for monster snook. It had been something that I wanted to do for a long time and I was quite excited that it was finally happening. Incidentally, it was by the good graces of the illustrious editor of this publication, that it even happened at all. He had asked

Nite Mullet flies and loaded the rods into the

bend of the rod relaxed and the line went

me to go, on his behalf, to the D.O.A.

boat and we pulled out of the driveway just

limp. After letting loose a few colorful

Outdoor Writers Festival and come back

as the sun was setting. Within a short time I

comments and taking a good ribbing

with a good story to tell and boy, did I ever

heard the click of the switch that ignited the

from Conner, I regained my composure ,

come back with a story. But what you all

running lights and the hum of the starter. We

rebuilt my leader and raided Conner’s fly

read (hopefully) in the issue last August

were underway and making way. I was jacked

box. But, before I could get up and cast

was only half the story. You see, there was

to say the least.

again, Conner was fighting a fish so I set my

no way that I was going over to Florida to

After a short run Conner brought the

rod down and landed his fish for him. As I

only throw plastic baits at fish- I needed to

skiff off plane and dropped the trolling

lifted the 36” snook from the water I knew

chunk some hair and feathers. So, I called

motor and began casting to the pilings. I

the evening was only going to get better.

up Conner and we compared schedules and

followed his lead and before long my fly

And, did it ever…In just over an hour we

luckily for me, it all worked out.

line stretched tight. Now I have to honestly

landed several 34”-36” snook, all of which I

The late afternoon before the event,

say, I was not prepared for what happened

considered good fish. Then, later that night,

I pulled up in Conner’s driveway to find

next. Sure, I had caught some pretty good

it happened!

him hard at work loading the boat for our

snook in my time but, they all came from

excursion. After a few pleasantries, I uncased

the shallow shorelines of the Everglades

strike and then rotated my body to drive

and assembled my fly rods. For this trip I

where the fish do not have the opportunity

the hook home. Then, after what can only

decided to travel with what I consider to be

to head for deeper water and into the

be described as chaos, I did everything I

one of my “lucky” rod and reel outfits- a G

unseen pilings below. And, my idea of what

could to gain control of myself and then the

Loomis Crosscurrent 10-weight with a Tibor

constitutes a good snook was about to

fish. I had no idea that a snook could pull

Riptide reel. I figured I only had one evening

change dramatically.

so danged hard. Let me tell you, there was

to catch my biggest snook ever, so I needed


Once hooked, my first fish immediately

I felt the take and made a decisive strip-

not a single molecule of graphite in that

all the help I could get. This particular rod

headed for the depths and towards the

Loomis rod that did not feel the strain of me

and reel combo had served me very well

bridge pilings. Needless to say I was

pulling against that fish. The rod was flexed

over the last few years on tarpon. I put on

not ready for the pull and I pretty much

from the tip all the way to the butt cap and

one of Conner’s hand-tied little-white Mid-

spazzed out. Seconds later the intense

I had the reel drag as tight as I dared. It was

September 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Just Keep Five

came up to the surface thrashing wildly. I still can remember the joy that I experienced when Conner lifted the 39” snook from the water- by far my largest. And, if that is not enough, I got the chance to land a 42” fish for my friend and we both hooked into a couple of brutes that we could not turn. It was truly an amazing night of fishing. After that remarkable experience, I would almost be willing to bet that whoever came up with the idea to scare little kids with the legend of a troll that lives under a bridge

acco r ding to scott

all I could do to stop it, but eventually, I won out and the fish

was a south Florida snook fisherman. Big, green and mean is the only way to describe them. I would recommend the


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



Heat Treat, 42 years combined

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Just Keep Five



Texas Saltwater Fishing

September 2009


texas saltwater Through youthful eyes

A Aro n cisn e ros

Another Great TIFT Experience August brought the 70th anniversary of the TIFT Fishing Tournament. TIFT is a family event and anglers of all ages from all over the country look forward to participating in both offshore and bay divisions. Last year Hurricane Dolly brought the tournament’s only cancellation in its history, so this year’s crowd was full of anticipation and ready to set the hook on anything that would bite. I had the opportunity to fish the bay division with the same group as in the past four years, including a new addition to the team, thirteen year old Nick Villarreal. Nick has a great passion for fishing; he reminds me of myself when I was that age. Leaving the dock before daylight made it even more exciting, and being that it was Nick’s first TIFT Tournament I knew exactly how he felt. As for me; my adrenaline was pumping. The thought of making the right cast at the right time went through my mind; questions without answers kept ringing in my ears. “Would I walk in the right direction?

though to remind myself that no matter

Could I set the hook at

what the outcome would be I would

the right time? Should

enjoy myself till the end.

I use a topwater or a

We bailed out at our first spot. Nick

plastic worm?” All of

and my dad worked the edge of a

these thoughts added

spoil bank hoping for a big trout bite; I

to the knot I had in my

decided to wade a flat about 100 yards to

stomach. No longer

their right. Walking through grassy knee

was I competing in the

deep water I spotted a seagull flying

junior bay division.

low; and right below the bird was a pod

This was my first year

of tailing redfish. I quickly picked the

to compete with the

one to throw at hoping that it would be

adults, and I did not

the biggest in the group because of its

know what to expect.

rather large tail sticking out of the water. …Cont’d on page 45

I did make it a point 42

September 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Just Keep Five

The Rod that sells itself.


Just Keep Five

Texas Saltwater Fishing

September 2009


rube n vill ar r e al

e v e r y

m a n ’ s

o ff s h o r e

The Essential Seven When it comes to preparing for an offshore trip it doesn’t matter

used in conjunction with outrigger clips

tool with many applications. If you happen

to insure a soft release and eliminating

to be drifting around a rig you can slow

potential damage to outrigger poles.

the drift to gain fishing time and hopefully

if you are going out ten

swivel is a basic tool that gives the knot

String and Swivel: The string and

put more fish in the boat. Drift socks are extremely valuable when fishing over

miles or one hundred; whether you go by

bottom structure such as wrecks, sunken

bay boat, big center console, or sportfishing

rigs and wellheads. Here again, more time

yacht, preparation is preparation. The

to drift or drop baits over the structure

essential seven does not include the

versus having the wind or the current, or

obvious things such as fresh line on your

both, push you off the spot is often one of

reels or making sure your boat’s batteries

the keys to successful angling. Kosher Salt: Kosher salt is very effective

are fully charged. I’m talking about little everyday things that should be onboard to enhance your trip. Sometimes we get so

The string and swivel is a great aid when cinching knots.

for brining bait such as ballyhoo. Brining helps preserve and toughens the bait so

caught up concentrating on the obvious

tier a stable point to pull against versus

that when it is pulled through the water

that we fail to think outside the box.

just trying to hold the swivel or the hook

it doesn’t get soft and mushy and fall off

in your hand and running the risk of

the hook easily. Those five pound boxes

can be worth its weight in platinum

getting stuck with a hook and going to the

of cigar minnows and Spanish sardines

on a fishing trip. Its many uses include

emergency room to get it out. All you have

that many anglers pick up at there favorite

to do is find any secure spot on the boat

bait stand could also use a generous

and loop it on and you’re in business.

dusting of Kosher salt. How many times

Super Glue: A bottle of superglue

Superglue has many uses for offshore fishermen.

Sabiki Rigs: Being diversified in your

have you been out with your buddies

bait presentation is one of the keys to

and by the middle of the day you open a

being successful in your offshore trip. It

box of sardines only to be met with the

doesn’t matter if your state water snapper

disappointment of soggy minnows that

fishing or fishing for blue marlin; having

gamefish or less glamorous species can

Having a Sabiki rig handy is invaluable when filling the livewell with frisky baits.

easily pick off your hook? Kosher salt can help preserve those cigar minnows and sardines so long as you keep the melted ice water off them. Snorkel Mask: If you fish long enough offshore, a snorkel mask will one day become your best friend due to the obvious fact that you can’t see like a fish.

securing knots in super-braid line and a

One day you will be out on the water and

quick fix for re-attaching loose rod tips.

get a line or leader wrapped in your prop

Cuts on hands and fingers are everyday

or, even worse, spin a hub. When this

occurrences for offshore fishermen

happens, tilting your motor sometimes

and superglue can seal them like liquid

isn’t enough and you will have to get into

stitches after cleansing the wound.

the water to get a better handle on the

Rubber bands: Rubber bands are great

situation. Donning a PFD and mask will aid

for keeping things organized in groups live bait could make the difference in

wrapping around the handle of your reel

actually getting bit. Sabiki rigs are a good

offshore trip, review your check list and see

to hold the line coming off you’re your rod

insurance policy to having better hookups

if you have included the essential seven.

tip when trolling. Lowering the angle of the

at times and possibly stirring up more

Remember, it’s those little things found

line gives your lure a better presentation.


outside the box that can make an offshore

Rubber bands are also a good choice when 44

in identifying and correcting the problem.

such as hooks, but are really good for

September 2009

Drift Sock: The drift sock is a valuable Texas Saltwater Fishing

So the next time you prepare for an

trip even more memorable.

Just Keep Five


Made a perfect cast and bam I set the hook on a solid red. The big redfish stripped about ten yards of line, and then the unthinkable occurred. My line busted. I tied on as fast as I could, but by then I lost sight of the redfish. As I stood quietly scanning the water I could hear Nick and my dad laughing with excitement. I could hear my dad congratulating Nick on his big trout. Two of the guys in our group were on a big school of redfish, so we opted to join them. The school had about hundred to one hundred and fifty fish in it, and the cool thing about it they were in twelve inches of water. You could see the water turn a bronze color as they cruised in front of us. They were very difficult to catch, but Nick managed to land the one he was looking for. As Nick and I waded side by side, it brought back past TIFT moments. I was happy to see him do well.

A Aro n cisn e ros

…Cont’d from page 42

South Shore Harbour Hosts International Boat Show

One year after Ike led to it’s cancellation, the South

West International Boat Show returns to Bay Area Houston, to one of the best known venues in the Gulf Coast region, the South Shore Harbour Marina.

Unlike any other boat show in the Houston area, the

South West International Boat Show is an open invitation to manufacturers, dealers, brokers and charter companies to

It was barely eight-thirty in the morning and all he needed was a flounder to

participate in a truly international, in-water, boat show.

complete his stringer.

It was at the next stop that I realized it was not going to be my day. I hooked

The show will offer a variety of the latest boats from

around the world, 10’ Bass Boats, 40’ Power Boats, 70’

and fought a big trout that stripped line like a redfish. As I got her closer, she

Cruisers/Sport Fish, 85’ Motor Yachts and all priced to sell.

shook her head and slipped into the water. My heart sank with that lost fish, but

Along with end of season deals and 2010 model previews,

I continued plugging away. At the next stop something unusual occurred. I was

the opportunity to demo many of the boats on display at

catching lots of small trout when all of a sudden I got a hard thump; I set the hook

this in-water show adds a whole new dimension to boat

and could tell it was a decent trout. The trout headed for the shallow, thick grass,

show shopping.

and again the unthinkable occurred. The hook came out. I was in shock and more

so was the trout as it laid in the thick grass bed. I could still see it. I ran up to it

for the active boating lifestyle, the South West International

and scooped it up with my net. I stood there laughing to myself while the people

Boat Show will feature the latest in luxury autos from BMW,

in the boat close by watched in disbelief. I spent the rest of the day looking for an

Ferrari, Maserati and Mercedes, custom motorcycles from

upper slot redfish, but all I could manage was a five pounder.

Harley-Davidson and the opportunity to actually win a

The end of the first day came quickly as we stood at the weigh-in. Nick was feeling nervous, but I knew he was in good shape. Bright and early the next day we headed to the area where we found the big school of reds. Again they were hard to catch, but not for Nick. He was able to land what he needed. Since nobody on our team other than Nick had a chance to place after the first day, we made the decision to leave the reds and help locate a big trout for him. Nick and I waded side by side and twice I landed the trout he was looking for. I could see and sense his frustration and knew what was going through his mind. I encouraged him to keep casting. By the end of the second day Nick did not land the trout he was hoping for, but he did have a good first day and still had an outside chance to place.

As well as offering a full range of products and services

Harley, swimwear fashion shows, live music and plenty of fun for the family.

The event will be opened by League City Mayor, Toni

Randall, who will be joined by other Bay Area Mayors and leading dignitaries from the region to cut the ribbon at 10.30am on Thursday, 24th September. Please visit for information on sponsors, exhibitors and events taking place across the four days.

Show Hours:

Thursday, 24th September.............................. 11am - 6pm

On the third day the awards were held at the SPI Convention Center, and

Opening Ceremony..................................................10:30am

even though I did not go, I knew exactly what Nick was going through with

Friday, 25th September.................................... 11am - 7pm

sweaty palms, knot in his stomach, and “what if” thoughts. As they announced

Saturday, 26th September..............................10am - 7pm

the winners, Nick’s name was called out for third place in the junior bay

Sunday, 27th September................................. 11am - 6pm

division. When we got a phone call letting us know he had won third place, we were so happy for him. I knew how proud he must have felt. Even though I didn’t fair well in the tournament it was fun watching a younger person earn his placing. His first TIFT experience renewed a lot of fond memories. I don’t fish many tournaments but TIFT is one I always enjoy. If you have never been a part of TIFT, I highly suggest that you join in on the fun and excitement. With well over fifteen hundred anglers combined in the offshore and bay divisions the excitement can well up, and I know for sure of one angler that is already eagerly awaiting next year’s tournament. Congratulations Nick on a job well done. Just Keep Five

tsf maga zin e spotlig ht

Huff Marine Huff Marine is a second-generation family-owned business located at 5918 South Staples in Corpus Christi. Their specialty is shallow water fishing boats and outboard engines, sold and serviced the old-fashioned way. Mr. A.C. Huff, founder and original owner, opened an outboard engine repair shop in 1955 at the location that is still home to Huff Marine. A.C. turned the business over to sonin-law and daughter, Ronnie and Brenda (Huff) Nance in 1971. Mr. Huff, now ninety-five, remains involved, assisting at local boat shows and always enjoys hearing how each day goes at the shop. Brenda became active in the business from the beginning helping her dad with administrative work. Ronnie began working for Huff Marine while attending high school and continued off and on after graduating from what is now Texas A&M Kingsville. Brenda says, “The business sure has changed over the years. Back when we started Gale was a big player in outboards and I doubt many of our customers today would even recognize the name. Today we sell and service Suzuki, Johnson and Evinrude outboards and we became a dealer for Dargel Boats in the early 80s. Huff Marine is very proud to represent this excellent Texas boat builder.” Like Huff, Dargel is no newcomer to the south Texas fishing scene. Since 1937, Dargel has been designing and building flats boats of exceptional value, quality and performance. Their Skout series hulls offer fuel efficiency along with a smooth ride. The Hydrolift tunnel offers access to fishing spots others can only dream of reaching. Ronnie Nance and Roy Hicks are the backbone of Huff’s service team. Roy began his career with the company in 1978. Customers know and trust Roy as an honest, competent mechanic who prefers taking time to actually fix a problem rather than changing parts quickly and handing them an inflated repair bill. Ronnie and Roy have seventy years combined experience. On Huff’s operating policies, Brenda says, “We operate on friendly terms here. Customers deserve a no-pressure atmosphere; we never try to talk someone into a boat they don’t need. Taking each buyer to the water for training is part of selling. We want them to understand how to operate their boat safely and efficiently as much as we want them to enjoy their buying experience. Our success is based on repeat customers who refer friends looking for honest deals and reliable, friendly service.” Huff Marine has been honored to receive Suzuki’s, Cutting Edge Award, for excellence in service 2005-2008. Store hours 7:30-6:00 Mon-Fri and 8:00-12:00 Sat. Huff Marine: 361-991-0369 or online: Visit Huff Marine at Rockport Sea Fair; October 9-11, 2009.


September 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Just Keep Five

Beach anglers meet for Sharkathon registration.

Sharkathon: A Revolutionary Concept By Rick Underbrink and Russell Weir A shark fisherman once said, “Let’s cut out the jaws so I can hang them on my wall.” Looking back at a dried set of shark jaws on the top shelf of the closet for ten years has led to the realization that the memorabilia could have been replaced with a photo. A photo would allow that shark to survive and continue the sport of shark fishing for future generations. The idea of catch, photo, and release laid the foundation for a competition that would renovate the future of shark fishing. Educating anglers old and new with a model to conserve a depleted resource led to the creation of a tournament called Sharkathon. One evening around a Padre Island campfire, a group of concerned shark fishermen discussed the dismal results of kill tournaments. These gentlemen collectively agreed that fishing tournaments held on Padre Island National Seashore had a negative impact on the ecology of the Island they deeply cherished. Yet, the gentlemen pondered the idea of a new style of contest. By eliminating the negative effects of kill tournaments they jointly conceived the idea of a catch, photo and release shark fishing tournament. This begs the question how Sharkathon works. How can anglers compete in a shark fishing tournament when the weight or length can’t be verified? This was the challenge that defines Sharkathon for its ingenuity and resourcefulness. The digital age had finally allowed a catch and release tournament to exist. Sharkathon founders designed a format that utilized digital photography and a reference object recognized as the Sharkathon ruler. The ruler measures four feet in length and is given to the contestant on the day of the tournament. The ruler is stretched across the centerline of a captured shark. Multiple photos are taken and the shark is measured and released. Tournament organizers retrieve the photos and analyze them digitally to verify the length of the shark based upon the Sharkathon ruler in the photo. This proven format has transformed the shark fishing community. Men, women and children Just Keep Five

are enjoying catch and release shark fishing and the novel idea has spread like wildfire. In just five years, participation has grown from 50 to an astonishing 400 anglers who assemble each year to support the ideology. Competitors are joining the revolution against kill tournaments and feel significance in using the resource responsibly. This is a unique medium, and one that is well-suited to the grassroots approach of raising awareness. It is only through a collective voice that we can make changes in behavior. That is what makes Sharkathon. A megaphone designed to direct the voices of many into a cohesive message of conservation. Sharkathon has come a long way since that starry night on the beach. After five successful tournaments, Sharkathon has begun looking at Jess Underbrink poses for length verification photo prior to release.

the long-range goals for the organization. The future involves collaboration with scientists and researchers to learn more about shark populations and migratory patterns in the Gulf of Mexico. Sharkathon has worked closely with the National Park Service to create an event that reflects the ideology of the park and helps to conserve the wildlife within the park, while providing educational opportunities for participants and spectators alike. This includes increased participation in the Billy Sandifer Big Shell Beach Cleanup. Sharkathon has earned a reputation for rewarding its participants generously and much credit is due the sponsors and participants of the event. Sharkathon 2008 handed out $24,000 dollars in cash, five kayaks, five custom rod and reel outfits and over $10,000 in door prizes. Each year the payouts Texas Saltwater Fishing

and prizes grow to astonishing amounts. To increase sponsorship interest and allow further growth, Sharkathon was incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The organizers do not receive one dollar for putting on this event, a simple sacrifice to spread the word of conservation. This year’s event is scheduled for September 25-27 at Padre Island National Seashore. The award ceremony will be held September 27 at the Briscoe Pavilion in Padre Balli Park near Corpus Christi. This year will likely be the largest Sharkathon ever and, with so many participants, it is more important than ever to have every participant pick up and pack out more trash than they brought in. With an event this large, it is imperative that all participants follow the rules of the park and cooperate with each other to minimize impact on the environment. Trash bags will be distributed to each participant to encourage dispose of all trash in the dumpsters provided by the National Park Service. Padre Island National Seashore is an enchanting place that deserves to be respected by all visitors. Registration for the tournament is only online and has historically filled fast. The organizers limit the number of participants to minimize impact on the National Park. Anglers can compete in the following divisions: Shark, Trout, Redfish, Tarpon, Women’s and Kids. All fish must be released to qualify. It takes little time to teach a person why it is important to release sharks, but once the seed has been planted, many anglers see the value and participate willingly. Sharkathon encourages like-minded anglers to join in spreading the word of conservation and recruiting new members into the world of catch and release. Join the revolution where the only thing taken from the sea is a memory and a photograph. A set of shark jaws never showed a smile anyways. Catch, Smile, Photo, Release! For more information about Sharkathon, please visit our website at September 2009


n ew tack le an d g e ar

D.O.A. • The Unfair Advantage Fishing Lures

Following the popularity of the first B.F.L. (Big Fish Lure), D.O.A. is proud to announce the availability of its little brother, the B.F.L. 5.5. The B.F.L.5.5 offers the same great swimming action, the versatility of removeable and replaceable front bills. Replacement bodies are available for the B.F.L. 5.5 which makes it a value conscious product that fish can’t resist. Through wire design and mechanically sharpened, super strong hooks are features that make the B.F.L.5.5 a first choice lure for anglers everywhere. Retail $ 10.99 D.O.A. Fishing Lures •1253 SE Dixie Cutoff Rd • Stuart, FL 34994 • 772 287 5001

Fisherman Eyewear The Katalina features modern frames of large, square-lens design with metal temple accent. Built-in hinges add stability and strength. Our lightweight polycarbonate lens offers extreme comfort in this large frame. This frame style is offered in shiny black with our deepwater gray lens and also our new tiger stripe tortoise color frame with our freestone brown lens.

The Marysol (which means ocean and sun) will feature a sporty yet chic frame, offering spring hinge temples for a soft and comfortable fit. This frame style will be offered in shiny black with our deepwater gray lens and our new tiger stripe tortoise color frame with our freestone brown lens. The tiger tortoise frames are designed specifically to block glare and UV from any direction.

Lure Safety Wrap

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Check them out at order by email


September 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Just Keep Five

Just in time for dove, quail and duck season is the new Pro Shell Boxes and Bird/Equipment bag from Fish-N-Hunt. These accessories were designed to fit perfectly on the Walk-NWade belt or any belt. The Shell Boxes are manufactured in tightly stitched nylon/polyester with Velcro tabs to keep them closed and to stay open for quick access. The Bird/Equipment bag was made for both left and right handed hunters to reach back and store birds and equipment. These products come in both black and exclusive FNH Camo for your hunting enjoyment. Shell box and equipment bag are available at $19.99 each. High quality and

n ew tack le an d g e ar


competitive prices----That’s Fish-N-Hunt! Available online at and at most Academy Sports and Outdoors locations.

Okuma Built upon a rigid die cast aluminum (ALC) frame, Serrano low-profile reels are made to handle a broad range of freshwater and saltwater species. The aluminum right sideplate keeps all of the heavy duty, machine cut Dura brass gearing in perfect alignment, while the graphite left sideplate reduces weight and is easily removed for access to the adjustable 8-position Velocity Control System. The Serrano reel’s smoothness comes from 10 ball bearings incorporated throughout the reel. Despite the Serrano’s compact size, these reels still dish out 11 lbs. of drag, all while providing a 6.2:1 gear ratio for increased line pick up. Serrano still weighs in at only 7.2 oz., and is backed by Okuma’s 3-year warranty program.


Introduces Two New Spooks With Sound! New for 2010 from Heddon are the Rattlin’ Spook and the One Knocker Spook, each with its own unique sound to draw strikes from big fish. The Rattlin’ Spook features a rattle chamber containing eight tungsten BBs for panicked baitfish sounds. The One Knocker Spook has one big BB for a resounding “thunk” on each twitch. The chambers amplify and intensify the sounds for a loud, fishcalling rattle while making it easier to produce smooth walk-the-dog retrieves. Fourteen color patterns and Mustad Triple Grip hooks seal the deal. Size on both of these baits is the same as the classic “Sweet Size” Spook that has duped fish for decades. MSRP $6.99.

Just Keep Five

Texas Saltwater Fishing

September 2009


Dickie colburn’s Dickie Colburn Dickie Colburn is a full time guide out of Orange, Texas. Dickie has 37 years experience guiding on Sabine and Calcasieu Lakes. Telephone 409-883-0723 Website

sabine scene

Like anglers up and down the coast, we

buffet in the open lake, the birds will patrol feeding schools of fish from

have yielded a few pounds to the

their thing, a single slick can keep you in fish with no one else around.

oppressive heat and little or no

Blue Buck to East Pass all day long. When the feathered scouts aren’t doing There will be those days when you will catch better fish working an

cloud cover this summer, but the

Assassin or MirrOlure soft mullet on a heavier jighead below the smaller

catching has not slowed down on

more aggressive trout. My first choices for duping the largest fish in the

Sabine since the wind decided to

school, however, are a bone-chrome sided or pearl-chartreuse She Dog, a

give it a rest in late May. Due to the

green or black back MirrOdine XL, or one of the afore-mentioned plastics

minimal rainfall thus far, clearer

fished beneath a Kwik Cork on a 24-inch leader.

water and elevated salinity levels have jump started the bite in both

the Neches and Sabine Rivers as well.

We undoubtedly catch better numbers on the shorter paddle tail grubs like the Sea Shad or Soft Shad fished under the cork on a jighead, but I do much better on the heavier fish substituting the longer plastics rigged

The coveted conditions can be laid to waste overnight as we approach

weightless on a Mustad 3/0 wide gap hook. When fishing over grass, I skin

the heart of hurricane season, but should we escape a year of wind-blown

hook it to keep it weedless, but in open water, I simply thread it on the

misery, the fishing will only continue to improve throughout the fall

hook with the barb exposed. The larger trout and reds are attracted to the

months. Not to say that it hasn’t already been good enough, but it is the

slurp of the cork and the slow sinking tail seals the deal.

trout bite that will show the greatest improvement.

The redfish have stolen the show on Sabine this summer and that will not

As more shrimp begin to filter out of the marshes and join the shad

change no matter how good the trout bite gets. We are covered up with

Home of the StakeOut Stik

888-376-4055 For more information go to


September 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Just Keep Five

sabin e slot fish and they are not lure shy. To target

Brian Bommer releases a nice slot red to fight again.

them is to simply go fishing right now. The Louisiana shoreline kicks out limits every day to the spinnerbait, Gulp or

every fisherman longs to hear. I looked up US

4-inch tails rigged on a jighead, and small

Reel’s phone number on

crankbaits. If eye-popping strikes are your

the internet and much to

thing, stick with the She Dog or crawl a

my surprise found myself talking to a real

plastic frog across the surface. The north

person rather than a recording.

revetment wall and flats on the north

That person was Maureen Dunn, Customer

end of the lake are no less productive for

Support/ Office Administrator, and she not

anglers relying not only on topwaters and

only patiently fielded my question, but took

plastics, but Traps and Hoginars as well.

the time to connect me with a service tech.

I have been smitten with US Reel’s

He was equally cordial and immediately

spinning reels since the day I bought my

pinpointed the problem as well as the easy fix.

first 230 SX and filled it with 20-pound

“Check your line roller assembly,” he

braid and that love affair was recently

suggested, “and keep it clean!”

reinforced. I had a reel with at least 400

The minor problem was not in the gears,

trips on it suddenly become difficult to retrieve line with under any

but unseen corrosion causing the line roller and bushing to seize up on

resistance. A client said that he had experienced the same thing and that

the bail. I removed one screw, cleaned the shaft, roller, and bushing,

really concerned me as a large percentage of repeat clients bought their

added a drop of oil and it was as good as new again.

own reels after using mine.

These are great reels obviously backed by folks that are proud of

After cleaning my reel down to the bare metal and re-packing it twice, I could not cure the problem. Now comes the part that

Just Keep Five

their product and are willing to talk with fishermen. I bought another 240XL yesterday just to celebrate the positive experience!

Texas Saltwater Fishing

September 2009



On Galveston

Talk about a roller coaster, we’ve been on a

recap where we’ve been and make a prediction for the coming month.

pretty wild ride so far in 2009. The

weeks. Fishermen who throw live croaker are doing much better, just

highs have brought awesome

whacking the trout and taking limits every day. While this usually happens

action and the lows have been so

to some degree every year during the summer doldrums, this is about as

disappointing. Just about the time

bad as I’ve ever seen.

you think everything is about to fall

In general, fishing has taken a serious dive for pluggers over the past

I hate to keep harping on the weather but, truly, the relentless heat and

in place that old gal we call Mother

near non-stop wind have been the chief culprits. Fighting rough, muddy

Nature shows us who is really in

water in the open bay in 100-degree just isn’t much fun when you only get

charge and lately it hasn’t been

a few bites. A while back we caught a nice lay down that lasted for a week

me. If I have angered her with my

or so and the fishing shaped up almost immediately. We were able to work

guessing; I apologize.

deep reefs and scattered shell almost at will, concentrating on bait and

Trying to figure out where we’re headed next becomes more than a

slicks like we always do to find our fish. Sadly, that was short-lived. Strong south and southwest wind has been the norm here and we need a change.

$64,000 question. Lately, my forecasts have been missing the mark and this

Anything from an easterly direction would be great, southeast is always best

makes me think I might have made a better TV weatherman all these years

but I’d even take a due east wind instead of what we’ve been getting. We have been scratching along the ship channel and the spoils to find fish on lures. These areas have held the cleanest water with the best

rather than a fishing guide. The weatherman is the only guy that can be wrong most of the time and still maintain solid ratings. Be that as it may, it’s time to


September 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Just Keep Five

gaLvesto n protection on the southwest wind. Hardware fishermen are picking up two to three per angler and if you get 15 to 20 you’ve really done something while the croaker guys are getting 40-50 which means the fish are there, we just aren’t getting them. I have heard of a couple of big trout being caught, a couple over 10 pounds, but they were caught on live croakers. Nothing like that for us pluggers and I have had to cancel half of the trips because 2025mph steady just gets too rough out there. But it will get better and hopefully we can get some rain. It is just dry, hot and windy and it just makes for tough conditions. Let’s talk about what we’re going to do when conditions improve. Remember the water temps are way up there and that will cause the fish to school in deep water where there is plenty of bait. Hopefully we’ll get a shot of some of the deep structure stack-ups before the fish scatter to the shallower waters.

There are a lot of the fish in the north end of Trinity Bay and all down the west side. The east shoreline, God only knows how many fish are over there because we have not been able to fish it because the wind direction won’t get right. But when it does I would like to be there. The main concentrations of fish right now are along the deep spoil banks and the ship channel and up in the north end of Trinity. The wells are holding lots of fish too. Once it gets calm the wells will be red hot. I expect the main reefs in East Bay will be on fire as well. Hopefully we’ll be back on track soon and enjoying the type of action we had back in June. I wish I had a better report folks, but it is what it is. Hang on, fall is another season, we have lots of fish, we just need better conditions to be able to get on them.

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

September 2009


Capt. Bill

Fish Talk

September, in my words, is a transitional

as we head into the fall

month that carries us from

we experienced

summer to fall. I know it may

some extremely low

not seem like fall arrives in

tides the latter part

September because of the

of July and well into

continued hot weather but,

August combined

my reasoning is based on the

with persistent south-

kickoff of dove season in the

southwest winds that

north and south zones and

hampered our catching.

also the opening of archery

Nonetheless, a good

season for deer which comes on

supply of baitfish could

September 26 this year. Many

be found for those who

outdoorsmen can be found at a

endured and these are always one of the primary keys for

months. Unfortunately,

Trav is Fleetwood with a 28 1/2” trout.

hunting lease round about now and I hope I’m not far behind them.

good catching. It’s just harder to catch fish in muddy water and that is

September can be a good month for anglers seeking trout and reds.

exactly what we had. I’d rather tell a client upfront what the obstacles

Over the past few months we have been finding unusually abundant

will be and rebook for a better day than to struggle the entire day to

bait in both East and West Matagorda Bays and this will be a good thing

catch only a few mediocre fish.


September 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Just Keep Five

matago r da Bull tides are not uncommon during September and if we get them

September and wade fishing is a totally

they can give our bays a much-needed flush after a long, hot summer.

different animal compared to working

In addition, we could get something tropical that would bring us some

the birds. This time of the year my normal

much-needed rain. So far, since December 2008, we’ve only received

routine may be to wade from daylight until

a mere 13 inches of rain here in Matagorda. A drop in the bucket compared to what is required to maintain a healthy bay system. Our bays are

around 10:00 AM or so and then Mike Grigar with a 26” trout.

head out to the middle of the bay to start drifting the deep, scattered shell while keeping

somewhat salty, especially East Matagorda Bay,

an eye open for bird activity in the area.

and I’m praying we will be receiving some in the

Top picks for baits this go round will be my

very near future.

tried and trusted Bass Assassins’ 10W40, Roach,

My records indicate we may experience a few

Pumpkinseed, Strawberry & White, and Chicken-

cool fronts moving through sometime around

on-a-Chain with the 5” Roach coming in at first

the middle to the latter part of September

place for the best plastic bait producer this year. As

which will trigger shrimp migrations and bird

for topwaters, it’s been the pearl, trout, and pink

activity in both bay systems. As a rule of thumb, when the teal begin

Skitterwalks along with the redfish and trout pattern Super Spooks. These

arriving to the coastal marshes, good fishing will follow. Every year can

have been best picks and I like to throw in a sprinkling of the floating

be different and the pattern may vary, but I hang my hat on the teal as

Corky lures as well.

a good indicator. Sometimes the entire month of September provides

Both East and West bay systems are in good shape as far as the supply

great fishing or perhaps the middle or latter portion may pan out better.

of baitfish and I believe our gamefish are out there too. It’s just some bad

Whenever fishing does take off it will normally hold right on through to

winds and low tides have hit us this year and it’s not just us- it’s the same

mid-December. I’m mainly talking here about working the birds in East

for most bay systems. Positive thinking will always get you over the hump

Matagorda Bay.

and we’ll get over this one and those to come. Let’s look for some great

Wade fishing should improve steadily as we work our way further into

Just Keep Five

fall fishing with awesome catching. Take care and God Bless…Capt. Bill

Texas Saltwater Fishing

September 2009


po r t o ’co n n o r / se adr ift

mid-coast bays

wit h t he Grays CAPT. Shellie Gray

The fishing in our area for the last month or so has been

Tarah Ruddick proud to show off her best catch of the day.

unpredictable to say the least. With unusually high winds and low tides the fish have been hard to keep located. Even when we would locate solid biting fish in an area, the bite never seemed to last very long. I am hoping September brings our more seasonal calmer winds. Fishing for trout in the surf or on the reefs in the middle of San Antonio Bay has been off limits for the most part due to the higher winds. Lucky for us we are blessed with many back lakes and protected shorelines that offer us some relief from the winds and decent redfish action with a few trout mixed in. Under these conditions I prefer to start the mornings off with someone on the boat throwing a small topwater such as the Super Spook Jr. or a MirrOlure Top Pup. It is always exciting to watch a fish blow up on a

Texas rig without soft plastic lure.

topwater whether it results in a hookup or not. While I wouldn’t say topwaters are the best bait for catching numbers of fish, they are however, a great fish-finder. Using something I like to call the buddy system will help increase your odds of catching more fish. While one angler throws

water temperatures still being very warm. Patience is a big factor when it

a topwater the other angler throws soft plastic. If the topwater provokes

comes to catching fish during a slow period. Many anglers give up on an

some kind of reaction from fish but no hookup, then the other angler

area too easily and decide to move after catching only a few fish. During

throws the soft plastic just past the blowup. Most of the time if the fish are

these low tide high wind conditions I have better results if I stick with a

only somewhat interested in the topwater, offering a soft plastic usually

little catching instead of a lot of boat riding. If I have caught 4 or more

completes the deal.

keepers on a wade typically I will then circle back and wade the same

Our back lakes have an abundant amount of grass that makes it difficult

area over again before deciding to move to another spot. Same goes for

to use any soft plastic unless it is rigged weedless, some call it a Texas rig.

drifting as well. If you catch a few keepers on one drift make sure to go

I prefer to make mine by attaching a #10 or smaller barrel swivel to 6-8

back and drift the same area again. If you have invested in a Power Pole

inches of 20lb leader line then sliding a 1/16 to 1/8 ounce bullet weight

it is a good idea to stop your boat within casting distance of a windward

on before tying on a 4/0 worm hook. A 5-inch Salt Water Assassin in the

shoreline and saturate it with many casts before moving on. Bait tends to

Texas Roach color is one of my go-to colors. If the fish aren’t cooperative I

congregate on windward shorelines on windy days; therefore, trout and

will switch to a 5-inch Gulp Jerk Shad in the smelt color. I have found that

redfish will be there too looking for an easy meal.

even the most hesitant fish have a hard time passing up the scented Gulp

It also pays to concentrate your cast towards sand or mud pockets

baits. On some occasions I will also attach a mauler or Cajun Thunder

that are void of grass. Even old prop scars make for good possibilities

to my weedless setup to create a little more noise and slow down my

when looking for a hungry fish. Fish use the grass next to these areas as

presentation. Don’t be surprised to see trout and reds attacking the cork

camouflage hiding themselves while waiting for their prey to come into

before finding the soft plastic underneath.

these open unprotected pockets. Fishing this pattern and remaining

I look for the fishing to be much of the same in September with the 56

September 2009

patient will usually yield you better results by the end of the day.

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Just Keep Five

Just Keep Five

Texas Saltwater Fishing

September 2009


hooked up with

Stubbornness and a mid-day topwater pays off for plugging legend, Maurice Estlinbaum. Baffin – 31 inches - released!

I have a sign hanging in my

david rowsey

garage that says, “I love to

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


watch the seasons change... from hunting to fishing.” A simple quote, but one that I know rings true with most Texas outdoorsmen come September. It has been a long, hot, dry summer down here on the Laguna Madre and amidst


the jagged rocks of Baffin

Bay. To say that I am looking forward to a dove hunt would

be a bit of an understatement. Plugging for trout will always be my first love in the outdoors, but the first crack of the 20 gauge, and

six. The fishing itself was better than a six, but considering the

watching a dove fly off safely (in my case) signifies that cooler days

drought, heat, and boat pressure, the overall rating suffered a

are just around the corner.

bit. The big positives for the summer were great water clarity,

On a scale of one to ten, I would rate Summer 2009 at about a

quality trout, and awesome clients that had the fortitude to

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September 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Just Keep Five

uppe r laguna / baffin grind them out on a daily basis.

Saying that, never discount the large

This summer seemed to have brought record numbers of boats

rogue trout that hangs in mere inches all

to the bay system. Many were tournament based; some were

day. They are always harder to catch, but a

guides from up north. Since the silting in of Cedar Bayou, the

serious adrenaline rush when you find them. In the

fishing in the Rockport area is approaching all-time lows for that

past month, I have made two videos of big trout with

once productive fishery, according to

their backs and tails out of the water.

Capt. Jay Watkins. The lack of quality

After repeated casts by myself and a

fishing up north has forced many

client at one of the monsters, the fish

Rockport-based guides to spend

would not consider any offering, so we

their days further south, i.e., Laguna

videoed it to save the moment. Getting

Madre and Baffin. Finding productive

to watch a 30-plus trout mill around

areas to make a long wade with some

in shallow grass and do her thing is

solitude proved to be a bit challenging

something I hope all trophy trout

even during mid-week stretches. I’m

enthusiasts get to see someday. I have

not knocking the guides for being

been fortunate to walk up on many, and

down here; they are taking whatever

to this day I still get buck fever.

measures they can to put their clients

As previously mentioned, deep water

on a memorable day. However, the

access adjacent to shallow flats has

trickle down of Cedar Bayou being

been the ticket. With our super-low

closed puts more pressure on the

tides, bait is hanging just off the fringes

Laguna Madre and Baffin. Considering

of the flats, and moving deeper as the

the millions of dollars the coastal

sun comes up. We are still starting out

fishing industry produces for the state,

in shallow water most every day, and

one can not help but wonder why this

progressing deeper as the sun gets

historic pass has not been reopened.

high. Considering that we are generally

Our days start very early around

in knee high water on average to start,

here. Regardless of the moon and tide, heat is our biggest factor

I can not stress enough the importance of being quiet as you step,

when catching trout right now. The bite is early, and does not last

moving slowly, and making long casts. It is much easier to spook fish

too long. For best results, we are getting out early, and hoping

in this depth of water than any other. Be smart, fish smart, and do

to have caught some big trout by 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. After that, it

not give them the advantage of knowing you are there.

becomes somewhat of a grind for quality trout. I typically give my

As the end of summer winds down, so does the charter business

clients the option to switch gears to redfish at this point of the day

for the next couple of months. This does not mean we will be doing

as they will usually play longer than the trout. Most will go for the

less fishing, but does mean that I’ll actually get to keep an occasional

action over the grind, but there are many diehards that will just plug

redfish for the grill, and spend some time planning and plotting for

all day for a chance at glory. My hat is off to all of you!

the arrival of fall.

Deepwater access has been a key player in our best catches. I’m not saying that it has to drop off to 14 feet, but if you can be in area

“Remember, a dead fish can float downstream, but it takes a live one to swim upstream.” ~ W. C. Fields

that consists of a shallow flat tapering to 4-5’ depth, you will tip the odds dramatically in your favor.

Just Keep Five

Set ‘em Loose! - Capt. David Rowsey

Texas Saltwater Fishing

September 2009


TRICIA’s Capt. Tricia’s Skinny Water Adventures operates out of Port Mansfield, specializing in wadefishing with artificial lures.

Mansfield Report

Despite recordsetting heat, fishing

has remained clear and the levels are still low. The only significant

remains excellent here at Port

before noon most days. Mornings have predictably been best. You need

Mansfield. Incredibly, trout

to hit it early and you want to be right on the edges of color as the wind

and redfish are still smacking

stirs the water. The shallow flats stay relatively clear but after the coolness

topwaters as though it was

of morning passes most of the better fish have retreated to waist-deep

springtime. We have received

potholes and grass beds. Topwaters for as long as conditions allow and

only 1.87” of rain since January

then tails for the remainder of the day has been the plan. Although the

1 and we have just entered a

system is full of juvenile trout, we are still getting lots of nice fish with

Stage-4 drought with the hottest

the occasional five to seven pounder to round things out. We are still

summer on record for many

seeing larger trout prowling the flats so we know they are there, however

parts of the Rio Grande Valley.

catching a true beast this time of year on lures is a challenge.

Regardless, fishing has been as hot as we could ask for, and the only little

difference has been the persistence of stifling, broiler-like wind that hits us

Redfish have been in good supply around waist-deep sand pockets

cloud has been that the entire fishing world seems to be taking advantage

dotting heavy grass. That’s not to say that some shallow tailing activity

of it. Good for them, we just hope it’s good for the fish. Again, for those

hasn’t been going on, but most of those fish have been smaller and

of you who worried that a reduced trout limit would discourage fishing

haven’t held very long, especially on high traffic days. Most consistent

interest, the businesses here might happily disagree.

action remains deeper.

Overall fishing patterns have varied little since last month. The water




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September 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Just Keep Five

po r t mansfie ld uproots a new supply each day. Single-hooked topwaters have saved

jigs is my favorite. Pausing the lure under

many an outing allowing us to work areas where it can sometimes be

the fish’s nose will often trigger an explosive

tough to get soft plastics through the stuff. The 3/0 Gamakatsu “Live Bait”

strike. Remember - never throw directly at

hook on the front and a 2/0 on the rear fits most

the fish, your offering needs Shallow sand is always a great place for sightcasting.

mid-sized plugs. Remember to use two split rings if the hooks don’t already have one pre-attached. Just the thought of September makes the

to arrive as a meal, not a threat. Landing the lure slightly in front and beyond, then working it close, will bring more strikes.

dog days more tolerable. My hopes are already

This is especially true with topwaters and I find

soaring as water level here is projected to be

that smaller plugs are often the best choice.

a full foot higher by the end of the month

Fish are easiest to spot over shallow sand

according to Texas Coastal Ocean Observation

and of course we need good light. However,

Network (TCOON). A push of Gulf water will spur

the edges of spoil banks can also offer excellent

a lot of activity. I am also hoping that with school

sightcasting opportunity. Seeing the fish is

in session and dove hunters heading to the field

great but learning to key on other signs can

we will see reduced traffic on the water. Last year

be just as effective. Wakes, swirls, mud puffs

we started seeing numbers of impressive trout

and fleeing bait are also sure indicators. Don’t

using the sand flats in mid-September right alongside the reds.

overlook the importance of quality glasses with amber or vermillion lens

Higher water level will bring more sightcasting opportunity. Soft

to increase contrast. A fishing cap with a dark underside on the bill helps

plastics in natural colors are usually the best bet but topwaters can

reduce glare.

certainly work when the fish are schooled and feeding competitively.

The prospects of higher water levels, cooler days, reduced crowds, and

Single fish will always be the most difficult as they tend to spook easily. Yes

an incredible fishery all have me excited. Here’s wishing you a great month

we can take potshots while drifting, but stealthy wading with tails on light

of fishing on the Mother Lagoon.

Just Keep Five

Texas Saltwater Fishing

September 2009


south padre As I write, the wind continues to howl.

Fishing Scene Carl Raines’ first Texas snook- 34 1/2 inches.

How wrong I was in predicting the wind for July and early August. For the last two years, July wind has been the strongest I can recall and thus far August has been no different. How have we been dealing with this? Well, the wind hasn’t stopped us from going but, we did have to make adjustments. Single-hooked topwaters catch far less floating grass and Gamakatsu’s Weighted Spring Lock worm hooks rigged in weedless fashion with soft plastics have been saving our days. I have been fortunate many days this summer to fish where grass was not a big issue, but for large areas around South Cullen bay, from Gas Wells north all the way to Port Mansfield to name a few, the grass has been

pothole, getting blow ups or hooking fish on every cast. The other

a big issue when throwing artificial lures.

two were about thirty yards to their right and casting to no avail. I

I have been fortunate to fish alongside some of the best fishermen

was forty yards furthest right with the same results. The two guys

on the Texas coast this summer and their advanced skills have given

in the middle started inching toward the pair that were catching. As

me opportunity to learn much. Just the other day, I had four guys

they drew near, they too began hooking up. Soon the words “Make

fishing a grassline when two of them made their way to a large

it happen” popped to my mind. By this time the group was having

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September 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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Just Keep Five

ar royo co lo r ado to po r t isabe l a blast, giggling like little kids and betting who would get the next

that our salinity levels are very high

fish. That’s when this story came to mind; if it’s not happening where

due to lack of rain, a wet month would

you are fishing, it doesn’t hurt to try to make it happen. Learn to use

certainly more than welcome. The tides in

your eyes. Scan the water for signs of life below the surface. Look for

September will be much higher; therefore, we will be

bait activity, nervous water, swirls, and do not forget the birds. There

spending time in the shallow back bays. If we are lucky,

is an area I fish frequently that is home to an osprey. There have been

we should see some tailing action from schooling reds. The sand on

countless times when that osprey has showed me where that bait is

the east side should start to hold larger concentrations of fish as the

located. Once near the bait we start catching fish.

general tide level rises and we should start to see an increase in trout

Equally important are your listening skills. Stop fishing for a few minutes, especially on calm mornings, and listen to the surface activity.

Doc’s first Texas snook weighed ten pounds.

Splashes and wakes can show you where the bait is concentrated or perhaps where fish are feeding. All the signs are there; you just have to be observant and willing to pay attention. When you are patient and observant, you will learn every time. The key is to learn something new every time the opportunity arises. Currently, the grass situation is bad and will be like this for a while. You have to choose your spots or change the way you fish. There is plenty of bait in our bay system right now, lots of little trout with a few big ones mixed in. As for redfish action; we have been lucky to find schools from just south of Port Mansfield all the way down to Port Isabel. Our best redfish bites have been occurring between mid-morning and late afternoon. Around this time of the year the water heats rapidly so we have been concentrating in deeper water on the flats. Guts and channels have

catches. Hopefully, we will be lucky and no hurricanes will head our

been producing well for us. Deep potholes have been attracting lots

way. I know there’s nothing we can do to prevent a hurricane, all we

of fish as well. As far as baits, darker colors like purple and chartreuse,

can do is prepare for it. There is something you can do about our

black and chartreuse, and amber have brought us good results and I

catching, and that’s to try to make it happen. Remember to always

expect this will continue well into September.

take advantage of opportunities to learn, fish hard, and fish as much

History shows that September is usually a wet month. Being

as you can.





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866-790- RODS Just Keep Five

Texas Saltwater Fishing

September 2009


fishing Reports and Forecasts from Big Lake to Boca Chica Broug ht to you by. . .

Lake Calcasieu - Louisiana Jeff and Mary Poe • Big Lake Guide Service • 337-598-3268 September is a month of transition. With the arrival of the first few cold fronts, fish begin to slip into their fall patterns. Trout will begin their trek back north and leave their steamy summertime homes in the southern part of the ship channel, along the beach, and around the close rigs. Because of this movement, they should become more plentiful in the lake. Look for them under birds and over all the named reefs. Monster bull reds will be schooling in the surf and at the jetties. These fish are super strong and willing to eat just about anything in the box. Try your favorite topwater on the beach for some serious action on these giants. Smaller, edible reds will be available in the lake around all the cuts coming out of the marshes. This is your last shot at tripletail. With the onset of cooler weather, they will migrate back to warmer waters, and we won’t see them again until next summer. Best bait is a live shrimp under a popping cork. If shrimp aren’t available, try a glow H&H Beetle on the lightest jighead you have.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay James Plaag - - 409 935 7242 “Trout fishing has been generally good,” James says. “Of course, it’s best when the wind isn’t cranking out of the south and southwest. We are fishing all deep stuff, eight to fourteen feet of water. Most of the bite has been on Bass Assassin Sea Shads in dark colors like red shad and morning glory. When the currents are running strong, we’re using three eighths ounce heads, quarter ounce when the tide is not as strong. There is a good combination of trout and oversized reds out in the middle right now. Most of the action is along the ship channel, on the humps and well pads close to deep water. I look for the inshore action to stay pretty much the same in September. We may get some birds working more often, especially later in the month. I did make a circle out in the gulf today. Wind finally laid down a little bit. Water seems to be clearing and I saw some signs that make me think the tarpon will show up sometime soon. We’ll need some lighter winds to get a really good shot at the silver kings.”

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service - 409 996 3054 As is often the case, the wind and weather are the most important factors affecting the bite in Galveston lately, reports Jim. “We are whackin’ ’em pretty good every time the wind lays, but when it’s windy, it’s tough. We are fishing out in the middle and need the light winds to let the water clear up enough to function. Hannah’s and Deep Reefs are holding solid fish, both trout and reds. The birds will lead you to the trout, but slicks and mud stirs are a better bet to indicate the schools of reds. Some of the schools of reds seem to have hundreds, maybe thousands of fish in them. The herds in the back of the bay, where it’s four and five feet deep, seem to have a higher percentage of keepers. Those nearer the ship channel, in eight to ten feet of water, are mostly oversized fish. You can catch ’em on whatever you want to throw. Topwaters are the most fun way, according to most people, of course. In fact, every time it gets calm, drifting and throwing She Dogs over scattered shell is producing decent numbers of trout, up to six pounds.” 64

September 2009

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas Chocolate Bays Randall Groves Groves Guide Service - 979 849 7019 - 979 864 9323 Randall reports that fishing is pretty good around the San Luis Pass area on recent trips, especially for redfish. “Redfish have been saving us for the most part. The persistent low tide makes it easier to locate the fish. On most days, we’re able to find pods tailing and that allows us to take easy limits. We’ve been catching them on both topwaters and soft plastics. Pearl Skitterwalks have been the best tops to throw and the roach colored Norton Bull Minnow has been the most productive soft plastic. I think this pattern of fishing shallow areas for the reds will only get better as we roll into September. The trout fishing is okay, particularly when the winds are lighter and we can get at the fish in open water. I will be looking for the fish to move over to the scattered shell either late in September or early October. Then the trout fishing should pick up nicely. Overall, the fishing is good, despite some water clarity issues caused by higher than normal south winds. Usually, September tides come up a little and that could help the clarity.”

Matagorda Charlie Paradoski - Bay Guide Service - 713 725 2401 Charlie mentions several good options for September in the Matagorda area, starting with the surf. “We still want to be in the surf this month if we can get at it. The improved currents and tide levels seem to keep the water pretty most of the time, even in moderate winds. You can fish out there quite a few days if you can stand the waves, and the fish are bigger on average. Best lures along the beach are topwaters usually. Of course, I’ll also be looking to get at the midbay reefs in East Bay if the winds are light enough. The other thing that works well over there in the lighter winds is drifting around the reefs over scattered shell with topwaters. Much of the time, we throw Bass Assassins for at least part of the day too. Sweet pea has been a good color for me lately, since we have a lot of bright sunlight and high salinity levels. The other option is to work the schools of reds this time of year. By September, they are often schooled up by the hundreds, and they can be stalked and caught with a variety of methods, including on fly. That’s a real blast.”

Palacios Capt. Aaron Wollam - 979 240 8204 Fishing over scattered shell and around deep structures has worked well for finding fish during this hot, dry spell. Solid keeper speckled trout ranging from sixteen to eighteen inches have been found around the wells out in West Matagorda Bay. Free-lining live shrimp and working DOA shrimp and Gulp shrimp have accounted for the best bites. Redfish on the smaller end of the slot (up to twenty two inches) seem to be all over the place along with many others just under the twenty inch mark. Small topwaters such as Super Spook Jrs in bone and chrome/black have been producing good hook-ups. The tripletail bite has

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Just Keep Five

slowed from last month. We have hung a few around twelve pounds, just not the numbers we had last month. Flounder gigging is starting to heat up, with half-limits of fish from fifteen to eighteen inches showing up on area shorelines. I look for the surf and bird action to start heating up next month. If you catch a calm day with light southeast winds, don’t hesitate to hit the surf for some great fall fishing.

Port O’Connor Lynn Smith - Back Bay Guide Service - 361 983 4434 “In September, we’ll be trying to get into the surf as much as we can. Haven’t been able to do it much this summer with all the wind, but haven’t given up hope on it yet. If the winds do calm some, it could be outstanding, because the schools of fish haven’t been picked on much. If we are forced to fish in the bays more of the time, we’ll target bright sand pockets on grassy flats with good, deep moving water early in the mornings. Super Spook Jrs will be the favored lures for that drill. I’ve been having my best luck lately on the white/chartreuse head. Later, as the sun gets higher and hotter, we’ll target mostly deep shell reefs. For that, we’ll switch over to soft plastics. Bass Assassins in plum/chartreuse and chicken on a chain have been working well lately. I almost always rig them on eighth ounce heads. Only time I use a heavier head much is when I’m in the surf. Then, I’ll switch to heavier heads like quarter and three eighth ounce, mostly because they are easier to cast into the wind.”

Rockport Blake Muirhead Gator Trout Guide Service - 361 790 5203 - 361 441 3894 September normally brings a little higher tides and opens up some new patterns in Rockport area bays, Blake says. “I like to fish sandy shorelines in Aransas and San Antonio bays this time of year, especially if the tides are at their normal mediumhigh to high levels. That will put plenty of water on the grass beds which are pretty tight to the shorelines. We’ll catch more reds on that pattern in Aransas Bay, but in San Antonio the potential for trout is better, with a few big ones usually showing up too. I like to throw topwaters some when fishing that pattern, but usually that bite is better when it cools of in October. Soft plastics and live bait will still be better on most days.” He mentions that dove season may be in jeopardy with the prolonged drought, but that a higher than normal number of teal may show up in the marshes since there’s not much water inland. “It could be a banner teal season. We do need some rain badly though. It will help if we can get a little fresh water in the marshes before the birds arrive.”

Padre Island National Seashore Billy Sandifer - Padre Island Safaris - 361 937 8446 September offers the greatest potential for the largest numbers of the most species of gamefish on the Texas beachfront and nearshore waters of PINS. It is also the peak of hurricane season and susceptible to red tide blooms. Either of these can ruin fishing. The tarpon migration is at its peak during September. Target diving birds and shoals of anchovies for tarpon and other big game species. The finger mullet will migrate out of local bay systems into the surf in September, usually following the first frontal passage, and the redfish will follow them in high numbers. Large schools of large jack crevalle, thousands of skipjack (ladyfish), Spanish and king mackerel, Atlantic bluefish and several shark species both large and small will all be present whenever large shoals of anchovies or menhaden are present. A variety of artificials or live finger mullet will entice all of the above. Whiting will be abundant along with lesser numbers of palometa and Florida pompano on fresh-peeled, dead shrimp and “Fishbites.” Speed limit will return to 25 mph.

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut Robert Zapata – rz1528@ - 563 1160 Not much has changed from last month, and the fishing has still involved a lot of catching. The water is in great shape in the Upper Laguna Madre and Baffin Just Keep Five

Bay. The wind has been behaving quite nicely early in the mornings, which has allowed me to spot the schools of redfish along shorelines and spoil islands while the water is still calm. Many of the fish in the schools are oversized, but nobody is complaining about having to fight those brutes. The lures that have been working the best for me are the half ounce gold weedless spoons and light colored Bass Assassins on eighth ounce Spring Lock jigheads. The speckled trout have also been cooperating quite nicely as well. We have been catching many trout between twenty and twenty five inches, with good numbers between twenty five and twenty nine inches. Not many of the trout are reaching the thirty inch mark, but I know that they are out there. Look for them in shallow potholes and along grass lines.

Joe Mendez – - 361 937 5961

Joe has been fishing in the upper reaches of the ULM lately, and finds the trout fishing to be good to outstanding. “I’m targeting deep grass beds and channel edges and catching limits pretty easily most of the time. The water’s really pretty and it’s possible to see the targets, even the deepest ones. I’m using soft plastics when I throw lures, and sometimes live bait too. On the plastics, I normally rig with a quarter ounce jighead. I feel it gives me better control and a more consistent ability to detect the strikes. The September drill should be much the same. I’ll stay within a short run of Bluff’s Landing Marina most of the time.” On that note, he mentions that he’s been launching there almost exclusively and loves it. “They keep the place really clean; there’s plenty of room, there’s always someone around to clean the fish and the bait is consistently available and of good quality. Just today, I was last in line to get bait, but I still got good quality. That’s kind of unusual and a good thing.”

Port Mansfield Terry Neal – – (956) 944 2559 Dog days of summer! It seems that with each passing day South Texas has been setting a new temperature records and along with the heat came high winds. The weather has not stopped the serious fishermen, though. All summer we have seen record numbers of sportsmen showing up, especially on the weekends. The deep grass beds are holding lots of fish and continue to produce limits of nice trout. Tides continue to be very low, pushing the redfish into deeper holes. Tarpon and kingfish continue to tear up tackle just outside the Port Mansfield jetties. Any calm day will result in some of the greatest fishing you could ever hope to experience. Huge schools of baitfish are cruising the nearshore waters within easy reach of most boats. Live bait is a sure bet to get you hooked up to some good fish. Fishing in 100-degree heat is serious business and there have been several reports of heat strokes. Remember to drink lots of WATER! Enjoy the day and please remember to release the fish you do not plan to eat.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel Janie and Fred Petty – (956) 943 2747 A strip of water along the west shoreline, from the shrimp farm at Holly Beach north to Cullen’s, is socked in with brown tide held in place by heavy southeast winds. The longer this condition persists, the more natural habitat will be lost, mainly the grass beds, which makes fishing difficult in these muddy areas, especially with very low summer tides. Hopefully, the state of Texas will not allow shrimp farm dumping to ruin the beauty and function of our bay. As is normal this time of year, trout and redfish want to feed at night when the temperatures are more moderate and predators will move to deeper holes during the day. We’re limiting or coming close on reds about once a week and settling for one or two per boat other days. Trout, however, are plentiful and limits are easy to come by. Freddy says, “Keep throwing the Gulps under Cajun Thunder cigar corks. Retrieving quickly motivates fish to follow; allowing the bait to drop will get fish to bite.” Precision Tackle gold, weedless spoons are working early before the wind stirs up floating grass.

Texas Saltwater Fishing

September 2009


catch of the Doug Waddell Lake Calcasieu - 6 # trout

Enrique & Jose Guillen 8’ 11” bull shark SPI Suzanne Anthony Corpus Christi - trout

Rita Adcock West Galveston Bay - 29” trout

Sergio Saenz Port Mansfield - 32” red C&R

Colby Collins East Galveston Bay 20” trout first keeper

Carl Hooker Baffin Bay - 10# red 66

September 2009

Paul Heughan Port O’Connor - 27 1/4” red

Jeff Brooks and son Josh Baffin Bay - 1st trout

Aubrey Chumchal Sea Center - 28” red C&R

Payson Arnold Laguna Madre - 32” red

McKenzie Martinez red SPI 1st red

Mel Hall Lake Calcasieu - 6.5# trout

Paula Armstrong Corpus Christi - 27” trout C&R

Cayce Causey Shoalwater - 24” trout

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Hayden Mathews Port Mansfield - 27.5” red C&R

Just Keep Five

Broug ht to you by. . .

month! Mark Hoffman San Antonio Bay 27 1/4” trout C&R

Brett Cleveland Baffin Bay - 27” trout

Ross Kennell Rockport - 33” red C&R

Haley Jane Klar Rockport - 26” black drum

Sterling McIntosh Clear Lake - 8# red

Lisa Cheney Rockport - 24” red

Corbin Vines San Antonio Bay 26” red first keeper

Jeremy Bernal Port Aransas 39” red tagged

Steven Devecchio and daughter Jaelyn San Bernard River 38” red C&R

Travis Fowler Sabine Lake - trout

Jack McGinty Port Mansfield - 24 1/2” trout Matthew Peterson Baffin Bay - trout

Please do not write on the back of photos.

Email photos with a description of your Catch of the Month to: Emily Lenna Packery Channel - shark C&R Just Keep Five

Joe Gonzales Surfside - Spanish macherel

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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

September 2009


gulf coast pam johnson Got ideas, hints or recipes you’d like to share? Email them to or send by fax: 361-785-2844


Short Order Seafood-Chicken Gumbo From the kitchen of Tracey Johnson Everybody loves a steaming pot of seafood gumbo but; who has time to prepare it the old-fashioned way? Here’s a quick and easy alternative we think you’ll find very pleasing. Prep time is about one hour. Yields plenty for five or six hungry adults when served over rice.

Ingredients 1-lb shrimp, 41-60 count, peeled and deveined 10-oz lean smoked turkey sausage 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of all fat, diced 3 Tbs flour 1 large onion finely chopped 2 bell peppers seeded and coarsely chopped 28 oz can petite diced tomatoes 14.5 oz can chicken broth 1-½ Tbs Tony Chacere’s Creole Seasoning 16 oz bag frozen cut okra 16 oz bag frozen corn 1 cup water 1/4 tsp fresh thyme leaves, removed from stems and chopped

Method Spray stock pot liberally with olive oil cooking spray. Add the sausage and onion; cook until onions are opaque. Add chopped bell pepper. Stir occasionally and cook until peppers are just starting to get soft. Sprinkle with flour and stir to coat evenly. Cook until the flour begins to brown. Add diced tomatoes and chicken broth. Bring to boil and add chicken and Tony Chacere seasoning. Return to boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients and return to boil. Simmer until shrimp turn evenly pink, about 5-8 minutes. Serve with rice and enjoy! *You may want to use extra Tony’s, Louisiana Hot Sauce, Tabasco, or a pinch of cayenne pepper as a topping to kick it up a notch. Another favored topping for gumbo is file powder, add only to each serving, adding while cooking can create an undesirable texture.


September 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Just Keep Five

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Port O’Connor, TX 713.371.7479 Specks, reds, Flounder & drum don’t be Skeered, Come Catch you some! Boat Towing Avilable / Coast Guard Licensed

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Bluewater Offshore Fishing King / Ling / Snapper / Amberjack / Dolphin

Freeport / Surfside Capt. Don Miller 713.899.7598

Capt. Joe Gilleland 713.852.7317 Federal Permits & Licensed

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USCG Licensed Captain Stan Sloan Just Keep Five

832.693.4292 Texas Saltwater Fishing

September 2009


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rocK po r t to po r t mansfie ld Rockport RedRunner Captain Chad Verburgt

Specializing in shallow water flats fishing for redfish, trout & flounder.

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* Full day/Half Day * Baffin Trips * Cedar Bayou Trips * Kayaks Shuttle Drop off / pick up * Kayak Rentals

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Snook l Tarpon l Trout l Redfish We fish for all species! Capt. Jim Conley & Capt. Ward Michaels 407-496-2701

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September 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Just Keep Five

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plus free e-mag! TSFMag Speckled Trout Catch & Release Photo Contest Order today and receive a 15-month subscription for the regular price of $25.00. Hurry and sign up family members and friends at the same rate! / 361.785.3420 Offer expires 09.30.09 Just Keep Five

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 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.

Texas Saltwater Fishing

September 2009


in dex o f adve r tise r s For more information about these advertisers visit: Academy Sports + Outdoors................. Back Cover 281-646-5000

Flatstalker Boat..........................................................52 361-813-8040

Saltwater Fishing Clinic...........................................59 361-563-1160 No Website

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Floating Cabin Rentals.............................................69 361-937-0868

Seaguar......................................................................... 31 414-276-1080

American Rodsmiths.................................................. 2 713-466-7849

ForEverlast Hunting & Fishing Products.............26 361-798-1530

Shallow Sport Boats....................................... Cover, 1 956-233-9489

Anchor Marine of Texas................................ Cover, 1 210-599-1415

Graphics By Design Ad.............................................55 361-785-4282

Shoalwater Boats....................................................... 12 361-983-4134

Aventura - Jewelry....................................................16 713-932-0002

Gulf Coast Boats . ........................................................ 3 713-477-7119

South Padre Island Music Festival........................47 201-417-6061

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Gulf Coast Marine.......................................Cover, 1, 6 361-937-7800

South Texas Trolling Motors...................................56 361-939-8970

Bernie’s Boats.............................................................16 361-573-7809

Gulf Coast Trolling Motor........................................51 281-481-6838

Specialty Aluminum Works....................................16 361-575-1477

Blackhawk Specialty Fabrication.......................... 31 512-392-1767

Hillman’s Seafood......................................................68 281-339-2897

Speedy Stop Solunar......................................Solunar 361-582-5100

Boat Lift Distributors................................................63 800-657-9998

House of Fiberglass...................................................51 361-853-2541

Stick It Anchor Pins................................................... 41 941-815-6875

Brown Lures-JB Outdoors.......................................23 281-961-4399

Huff Marine.................................................................27 361-991-0369

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Kroll’s Marine..............................................................55 281-342-4461

Tackle Box ...................................................................62 361-575-8700 No Website

Busha Boat Works...................................................... 17 979-245-3369

Laguna Graphite Rods.............................................53 979-921-9910

Texas International Boat Show....................Solunar 561-842-8808

Century 21 Paramount.............................................53 713-857-2715

LanKat Outdoor Products ...................................... 41 512-299-5903

Texas Marine ..............................................................54 409-832-2027

Coastal Backwater Marine......................................53 409-927-1462

LB Outfitters- Stake Out Stick................................50 409-718-7694

Texas Tackle Factory.................................................21 361-575-4751

Coastline Marine............................................. Cover, 1 713-614-2057

Livingston Lures.........................................................25 210-316-1792

The Inn At Clarks........................................................71 361-983-2300

Crab Master - Pearl Products..................................68 850-994-4168

Luresafety Wrap.........................................................56 713-203-2829

The Oaks at Bentwater............................................. 12 361-790-0001

D & P Coastal Marine Contruction........................58 979-332-0090

Majek Boats................................................................... 4 361-991-3102

The Reserve at St. Charles Bay............................... 13 512-804-1455

D.O.A.............................................................................52 877-362-5873

Marine Taxidermy......................................................50 281-736-4982

The Sportsman................................................ Cover, 1 561-842-8808

Dargel Boat Works..................................................... 61 800-749-2628

Mt. Houston Marine..................................................43 281-447-7689

Third Stone Software................................................29 888-361-2221

Eagle Claw................................................................... 41 303-321-1481

Mud Hole Tackle Supply Company......................63 407-447-7637

TideWater Properties LLC........................................62 512-659-4754

El Pescador Boats.......................................................67 361-983-4832

Okuma Fishing:Okuma............................................20 909-923-2828

Tops-N-Towers................................................. Cover, 1 281-474-4000

Espandre Marine Products.....................................35 281-723-7211

PDS Corporate Sales ..............27 713-869-6767

Trident Funding Corporation.................................58 800-514-6946

EZ Drainer....................................................................53 281-224-9766

Rockport Marine, Inc.................................................. 8 361-729-7820

TSFMag Store Page...................................................60 361-785-3420

Falcon Point Ranch . ................................................. 31 361-785-2191

Rods by Pepper..........................................................59 409-737-1136 No Website

TSFMag Subscription Form....................................60 361-785-3420

Fibertex & Supply......................................................54 361-991-5956

Ron Hoover RV & Marine Centers...............Solunar 409-935-7101

Wade Aid Enterprises...............................................62 888-923-3243

Fish Slick LLC...............................................................62 281-481-2929

Roy’s Bait & Tackle....................................................... 3 361-992-2960

Waterloo Rods............................................................43 361-573-0300

Fisherman Eyewear ..................................................35 510-848-4700

Russelures...................................................................... 9 281-723-0721

Woodee Rods..............................................................35 281-723-4154

Fishing Tackle Unlimited........................ Back Cover 281-481-6838

S.W.A.T., Inc..................................................................33 281-296-2929

Yeti Coolers................................................................. 13 512-394-9384

Fishing Tackle Unlimited Rods................................. 4 281-481-6838

Safe Floor Company..................................................51 281-435-5904

Yo-Zuri America, Inc..................................................20 772-336-2280

Fish-N-Hunt................................................................... 7 713-856-8003

Sail & Ski Center.........................................................21 512-219-2705

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Texas Saltwater Fishing


September 2009

Just Keep Five



Stringer 580 Blue Mirror Lens

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A Florida Style Boat Show Arrives In Houston! South Shore Harbour Marina, Bay Area Houston, September 24th - 27th, 2009

The South Shore Harbour Marina plays host to the largest in-water boat show ever to come to Houston, a big bustling “Florida Style” Boat Show in the Bay Area, with over 400 boats in the water and onshore, many ready to demo. Luxury autos, trucks and custom motorcycles, swimwear fashion shows, fishing and boating gear, live music from The Bahamas and plenty of fun for the family, all geared to four fabulous days of fun in the sun. So don’t miss out on the biggest and most exciting boat show ever to arrive in Houston’s Bay Area, the South West International Boat Show!

For exhibit and visitor details please contact: 561.842.8808 • E-mail or visit us on line at: GulF CoASt YACHt BrokerS ASSoCIAtIon



galveston tides & Solunar Table Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine SEPTEMBER 2009

The BEST Choice‌ Any Place, Anytime!

To find a location near you, please visit us at

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

September 2009  

Only $3.95 September 2009 August 2009 Texas Saltwater Fishing Just Keep Five 2 New 220 Bay-Kat Introducing a Revolution in Ta...

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