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South Padre Island Fishing Report

Fishing Report 9-12-2014
Lower Laguna Madre
By Blast to Cast Captain Mike Knox
The fishing over the past week has been good, schools of redfish and black drum are on the move. Redfish are hitting lures and fresh bait all over the bay. Speckled trout are still hanging in the deeper water and are feeding on various live baits or soft plastic worms. The Intracoastal Waterway is still producing  nice catches of speckled trout and redfish.
To book your South Padre Island Bay Fishing Charter with Captain Mike Knox,
Please call
1-956-243-0039
Fishing Report 9-2-2014
Lower Laguna Madre
By Blast to Cast Captain Mike Knox
Redfish are being caught all over the Lower Laguna Madre on various plastics and fresh bait. Some schools of redfish have been located on both East and West side of the bay. Expect the redfish bite to only get better as soon as weather becomes more stable. The speckled trout are still being caught out of the deeper water pockets that are near and around South Padre Island. Both live bait and artificial soft plastics in various colors have been producing some nice boxes of fish!!

To book your South Padre Island Bay Fishing Charter with Captain Mike Knox,
Please call
1-956-243-0039
Fishing Report 8-26-2014
Lower Laguna Madre
By Blast to Cast Captain Mike Knox
The redfishing over the past week has been good. Schools of redfish are starting to show up on the calmer days out in deeper water. Artificial soft plastics rigged on either a circle hook or a jig head have been producing. The area North of Green Island has been active with both redfish and speckled trout. Speckled trout are also being caught out of the deeper water drop offs around South Padre Island on live or artificial baits.  
To book your South Padre Island Bay Fishing Charter with Captain Mike Knox,
Please call
1-956-243-0039

Fishing Report 8-19-2014
Lower Laguna Madre
By Blast to Cast Captain Mike Knox
 The recent windy conditions has turned the redfish bite on. Soft plastic artificial worms and fresh finger mullet rigged with a circle hook have been producing redfish strikes across the shallow grass flats up north. East of Three Islands and Bird Island is  a good area to sight fish for reds that are foraging along grass lines. Some nice speckled trout are being caught out of the deeper grass beds around South Padre Island. Live bait and plastic worms are both active. The redfishing should only get better through the next couple of months.
To book your South Padre Island Bay Fishing Charter with Captain Mike Knox,
Please call
1-956-243-0039

Fishing Report 8-12-2014
Lower Laguna Madre
By Blast to Cast Captain Mike Knox
The fishing around South Padre Island has been producing some nice stringers of speckled trout for both bait and artificial fishermen. The drop offs along the Intracoastal Waterway and the deeper water pockets around town are holding fish. Live bait is still producing some  nice healthy fish. When the  wind starts blowing the redfish bite is more active, especially for fishermen who are throwing cut bait rigged up above the grass.  The bay fishing should remain consistent through the next month.
To book your South Padre Island Bay Fishing Charter with Captain Mike Knox,
Please call
1-956-243-0039

 
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South Padre Island Fishing Reports, Fishing Guides and Links


Local Fishing Guides
- South Padre Island and Port Isabel area fishing guides for the Laguna Madre and offshore.

Texas Parks and Wildlife - Welcome to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Web site, your online connection to some of the finest outdoor recreation in the world, including hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, biking, birdwatching and much more. You will also find the latest on TPWD's efforts to conserve fish and wildlife species and habitat as well as cultural and historic sites across Texas, with many opportunities for you to get involved with this important work.

Hunting - Recreational hunting and fishing licenses and stamp endorsements are available at approximately 2,000 locations throughout the state in addition to TPWD offices and parks. These locations include sporting goods stores, gun shops, department stores, discount stores, bait and tackle shops, grocery stores, and many other types of stores. Some commercial hunting and fishing licenses are available ONLY at the Austin Headquarters and Law Enforcement Offices. For added convenience, licenses may be purchased by phone or through the Internet with approved Visa, Discover, or MasterCard. A $5 administrative fee will be charged for those sales. Many licenses may be purchased for immediate use except where tagging is required, i.e., deer and turkey. For general license questions, please call TPWD Headquarters in Austin at (800) 792-1112 or (512) 389-4800. Staff is available to help answer questions Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m, Central Standard Time.

Prime Times - Texas Fishing Prime times provides information and fishing reports, Texas saltwater fishing information, Texas bass fishing information, Texas saltwater fishing news, Saltwater and Bass Boat Dealers, Saltwater offshore fishing, Bass fishing guides, saltwater fishing guides, tides For Galveston, Aransas Pass, Corpus Christi, Padre Island, Fishing links, Fishing Calendars and Best Days to Fish.

TP&W Fishing Report - Texas Parks and Wildlife weekly fishing report for the entire Texas coastal bay system.

Texas International Fishing Tournament - For more than 70 years the Texas International Fishing Tournament has taken pride in creating an atmosphere of friendly fishing competition and wholesome family fun. The 70th annual five day event, scheduled for July 29 - August 2, 2009, offers fishing divisions that include bay, offshore and tarpon. TIFT is open to anglers of all ages and is the largest saltwater fishing tournament in Texas.

Osprey Daily Catch pictures - Check out daily pictures of bay and offshore fishing charters.

Coastal Conservation Association Texas - CCA is Saltwater Conservation - Marine Fisheries Advocacy - Funding Research, Hatcheries, Coastal Enforcement, and Marine Fisheries Education - Fighting For Quality and Quantity of Freshwater Inflows for Coastal Bays and Estuaries - Providing Millions of Dollars in College Scholarships through the STAR Tournament

Sport Fishing Magazine - Welcome to Sport Fishing Magazine, your online resource for sportfishing boats and equipment reviews, techniques, fishing vacation info, and inspiration to empower the ultimate saltwater sportstman.

Coastal Marine Forecast - Coastal waters forecast from the National Weather Service Office Brownsville Texas for the lower Texas coastal waters from Baffin Bay to the mouth of the Rio Grande out to 20 nautical miles.

Ladies Kingfish Tournament - South Padre Island Chamber of Commerce annual fishing tournament. Anglers fishing in the Bay Division will vie for trophies in the categories of redfish, trout, flounder and snook, while anglers in the Offshore Division compete in the categories of kingfish, bonito, blackfin tuna and dolphin. In addition to trophies being awarded to the first three places in each category; grand champion bay and grand champion offshore winners will also receive trophies.

Local Weather - South Padre Island Texas Live Weather Web Cams, weather video and forecast page on Spadre.com.
Check current Island weather conditions, information and forecast, hurricane advisories and tropical weather, local radar, National Data
Buoy Center offshore buoys, marine weather, tides, NOAA and NWS links, wave models, water temperature and more.
Check the Live Beach, Bay and Surf Cams for current live weather conditions.

Shark Fishing - Welcome to TEXAS SHARK FISHING! We are one of the most active shark fishing sites in the world. Our site features videos, thousands of photos, weekly reports, shark fishing information, and much more. If you are interested in the sport or an experienced shark fisherman, this is a great place to call home.

Texas Clipper - The Texas Clipper is a multilevel dive, meaning experienced, open-water certified divers can explore the sun deck, navigation deck and the promenade at 65 to 70 feet. Penetration divers, experienced with overhead environments, can tackle interior spaces. Meanwhile, because much of the wreck is more than 70 feet above the bottom The Texas Clipper can be compared to a large museum, requiring scuba divers to make several trips to fully appreciate it because of the size. "The ship is so large you can dive a hundred times and still not see everything," Captain O’Leary of American Diving offers guided dive trips.

Saltwater Sportsman Magazine - SaltWaterSportsman.com is the online portal for one of the world's leading sport fishing magazines and features streaming video, photo galleries, how-to articles, species information and great gear reviews by top anglers from around the world

South Padre Island and Texas Gulf Coast Fishing Report by Texas Parks and Wildlife
Texas Parks and Wildlife





Captain Alan Stewart

THOSE THINGS OUT THERE IN THE WATER

You can go back to the 16th century and find aids to navigation to support the commerce of the old world.
Initially there were mainly light houses and light house structures. While lighthouses continue to be the most
recognizable aids, the development of safe systems of buoyage, and accompanying changes in the vessels responsible for tending them, deserve a more solid place in maritime history. Some of the first were simply crates with a big rock tied to a chain. These were around La Compasso de Navigare. Located in the Guadalquivir River, this buoy aided mariners approaching Sevilla, Spain. Back then, the mariners had to pay a fee to use them. It would be another 200 years until the government would take over the task. Back then, Kings were concerned about the “dangers of allowing foreigners to learn the secrets of the King’s streams”. Boston Light was the first North American light house built in 1716 on Little Brewster Island. On Aug. 7, 1789, the First Congress passed an act for the establishment and support of lighthouses, beacons, buoys, and public piers. Just another tidbit of info before I start the bilge pump, the United States didn’t have a standard system until 1848. Colors, shapes and sizes varied from port to port. This lack of regulation gave individual contractors free reign to
decide the types of buoys necessary for a given area or harbor. More about buoys on our next adventure of maritime rules.
Until next time, be safe and see you on the water.

There were many problems with the buoys and markers in the mid 1700th century due to their small size and lack of consistancy. In 1848, they finally came up with the Lateral system. This is the system we use today. Does “ RED-RIGHT-RETURN” ring a bell? Even more improvement came about in 1852 when the Lighthouse Board was created.
The attempt to standardize was started. Buoys were categorized in three sizes. The larger ones for main entrances to harbors, mid-sized ones for secondary approaches and smaller buoys where deeper draft ships couldn’t go. This was all o.k., but what about night time? The solution was not so simple. The first electrically-lit buoy tested by the board was a simple spar with a lantern housing and light on top. It was used in Gedney’s Channel, New York harbor in 1888. A series of these were lit by a cable running to a generator on Sandy Hook, N.J. It was removed in 1903. Light buoys use solar power today. Audible signal buoys were also developed. The first were simply bells with swing clangers as we have today. The Courtenay’s Buoy is based on the physics of air escaping under pressure from a tube through a whistle. When the buoy moves in the water, it causes water to be pushed into it which then pushes air out the other end where the whistle lies.

During the early 20th century the authority that was responsible for buoyage was disbanded and the new agency, The Lighthouse Services, was commissioned. George Putnam was the man in charge and was very instrumental in the change of nav aids and maintenance than any other individual before. He encouraged new buoy designs and crusaded for his employees to do the same. The advent of radio beacons on buoys made it possible for mariners to not have to see them to navigate. This became one of the most technological changes ever made to buoys. Putnam retired in 1935. Congress moved the Lighthouse Service out of the Department of Commerce and incorporated it into the Coast Guard in 1939.
The Coast Guard did lots of experimentation during the 40’s and 50’s. Plastic buoys were one of the main things they were working on. In 1966, the Coast Guard began investigating the possibility of replacing lightships with Large Navigational Buoys or LNBs. They are called monster buoys having hulls up to 40 feet in diameter with a depth of 7 1/2 feet. While the tools and methods of maintaining minor aids in U.S. waters changed a lot in 206 years, they are still about the same. Most people even here on the island simply notice briefly a buoy rocking in the swells before turning their eyes to take a snapshot or bait their hooks and not realize the vast history behind them.
As always, be safe and see you on the water.


Written by Captain Alan Stewart of the Laguna Madre Maritime Training Center
For Information on the Laguna Madre Maritime Training Center please call 956-639-8697


To see archived articles by Captain Alan Stewart please click the link below:

More Boating Safety Articles by Captain Alan Stewart of the Laguna Madre Maritime Training Center

BIRDING BECOMING BIGGER

It is getting easier and easier to see what lies just beyond the visible eye can see. Due to awesome birding and observation parks like the one here on South Padre (which gets bigger in the spring 2009), we can see what we can’t see from the fence line on a small county road ¼ mile east of Road 234 just southeast of FM632…….well you know what I mean. My friends at the Texas Parks and Wildlife contacted me and informed me of a new, state-of-the-art facility that will have a grand opening on December 6th. The 1,200-acre park in Brownsville is the largest of the nine sites that comprise the World Birding Center that stretches some 120 miles along the wildlife-rich Rio Grande corridor from Roma to South Padre Island. Not a state park in the traditional sense, Resaca de la Palma caters to bird watchers, butterfly enthusiasts and other nature lovers who seek an up-close view of wildlife in a natural setting that includes a restored resaca (an ancient coil of a river bed once filled by Rio Grande floodwaters), marshes, dense thorn-scrub, and mature palm and ebony forests. The park includes five types of habitat: Tamaulipan thornscrub, ebony-anacua forest, sugar hackberry woodlands, revegetated grasslands and the resaca wetlands. Park visitors must park at the visitor center and walk, bicycle or take the park’s tram into the park. The tram ride is included in the required entrance fee and visitors can rent binoculars, bicycles and tricycles for an additional daily fee. Resaca de la Palma, 1000 New Carmen Blvd., will have bird walks on Saturday mornings, nature walks on Wednesday mornings and occasional bike tours. For more information, call (956) 350-2920. Just to recap, this grand opening will be held December 6th, 8a.m. to 5p.m. To reach the park from Brownville, visitors can take FM 1732 to New Carmen Boulevard. The entrance is on the east side of the boulevard. As always, be safe and see you on the water where there are lots of birds too and thanks, Bill Oliver for coming down and singing your nature songs for us.(mrhabitat.net)

THOSE THINGS OUT THERE IN THE WATER

You can go back to the 16th century and find aids to navigation to support the commerce of the old world. Initially there were mainly light houses and light house structures. While lighthouses continue to be the most recognizable aids, the development of safe systems of buoyage, and accompanying changes in the vessels responsible for tending them, deserve a more solid place in maritime history. Some of the first were simply crates with a big rock tied to a chain. These were around La Compasso de Navigare. Located in the Guadalquivir River, this buoy aided mariners approaching Sevilla, Spain. Back then, the mariners had to pay a fee to use them. It would be another 200 years until the government would take over the task. Back then, Kings were concerned about the “dangers of allowing foreigners to learn the secrets of the King’s streams”. Boston Light was the first North American light house built in 1716 on Little Brewster Island. On Aug. 7, 1789, the First Congress passed an act for the establishment and support of lighthouses, beacons, buoys, and public piers. Just another tidbit of info before I start the bilge pump, the United States didn’t have a standard system until 1848. Colors, shapes and sizes varied from port to port. This lack of regulation gave individual contractors free reign to decide the types of buoys necessary for a given area or harbor. More about buoys on our next adventure of maritime rules. Until next time, be safe and see you on the water. There were many problems with the buoys and markers in the mid 1700th century due to their small size and lack of consistancy. In 1848, they finally came up with the Lateral system. This is the system we use today. Does “ RED-RIGHT-RETURN” ring a bell? Even more improvement came about in 1852 when the Lighthouse Board was created. The attempt to standardize was started. Buoys were categorized in three sizes. The larger ones for main entrances to harbors, mid-sized ones for secondary approaches and smaller buoys where deeper draft ships couldn’t go. This was all o.k., but what about night time? The solution was not so simple. The first electrically-lit buoy tested by the board was a simple spar with a lantern housing and light on top. It was used in Gedney’s Channel, New York harbor in 1888. A series of these were lit by a cable running to a generator on Sandy Hook, N.J. It was removed in 1903. Light buoys use solar power today. Audible signal buoys were also developed. The first were simply bells with swing clangers as we have today. The Courtenay’s Buoy is based on the physics of air escaping under pressure from a tube through a whistle. When the buoy moves in the water, it causes water to be pushed into it which then pushes air out the other end where the whistle lies. During the early 20th century the authority that was responsible for buoyage was disbanded and the new agency, The Lighthouse Services, was commissioned. George Putnam was the man in charge and was very instrumental in the change of nav aids and maintenance than any other individual before. He encouraged new buoy designs and crusaded for his employees to do the same. The advent of radio beacons on buoys made it possible for mariners to not have to see them to navigate. This became one of the most technological changes ever made to buoys. Putnam retired in 1935. Congress moved the Lighthouse Service out of the Department of Commerce and incorporated it into the Coast Guard in 1939. The Coast Guard did lots of experimentation during the 40’s and 50’s. Plastic buoys were one of the main things they were working on. In 1966, the Coast Guard began investigating the possibility of replacing lightships with Large Navigational Buoys or LNBs. They are called monster buoys having hulls up to 40 feet in diameter with a depth of 7 1/2 feet. While the tools and methods of maintaining minor aids in U.S. waters changed a lot in 206 years, they are still about the same. Most people even here on the island simply notice briefly a buoy rocking in the swells before turning their eyes to take a snapshot or bait their hooks and not realize the vast history behind them. As always, be safe and see you on the water.

International vs. Inland

There has always been a problem in my class room with inland and international rules. There is little difference until you encounter a need to comply or make a maneuver. The international and inland rules must be interpreted with common sense. A collision between a large steel ship and a small fiberglass boat seldom results in injury on the big ship. Now I know that there aren’t very many large vessels in the bay, but there is a bunch in the Brownsville ship channel along with a fleet of shrimp boats. Since the large vessel is restricted in maneuverability, it has the right of way not to mention common sense to get out of the way. The speed of a larger vessel seen at a distance can be deceptive. Always be prepared to give-way to it. Another thing that happens mainly in the Brownsville ship channel is the current they produce around them. A vessel proceeding along a narrow channel or fairway must stay as close as safely possibly to the starboard side and outer limit if the channel. Have you ever seen the water being sucked away from the bank as a large ship approaches in the Brownsville ship channel? The water level decreases by as much as 5 ft. The rule goes on to say that a small vessel may not impede the passage of a vessel that can only navigate within the channel. If this is all confusing, then just stay way clear of all ships 40ft. or larger. As always be safe a see you on the water.

The Boaters version of A.A.A.

Here is a system that I found very interesting. It is a program started by Genmar called First Mate which gives boaters access to live information and assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a weeks, 365 days a year. The program includes SeaTow marine assistance service, which can send help in a hurry if you run out of fuel, have a dead battery, are lost or stuck in shallow water. They even have roadside assistance if your trailer needs something. They will even chart a course for you in their FirstMate + program which includes GPS monitoring and Telematics Security. It looks like this type of system will be a mainstay in the boating world in the future. I was at a Texas Parks a Wildlife seminar on Tuesday at the Visitors Center. This program covered new rules & regulations that will affect all of us that partake in the sport of fishing. All of the new rules will be published in the annual T.P.W. rules and regulations handbook in August or around that time. Until next time, see you on the water and be safe.

TAKE A BOATING COURSE

There are several ways to safer boating I have found out. Upon looking through the United States Boating Institute information, I came across several organizations that offer safety boating classes. The first is The United States Power Squadron. Take this public boating course to learn the basics of safer and more enjoyable boating, whether you own a boat , are thinking of buying one, or enjoying boating with friends. It is free. What a deal. Another one is the United States Coast Guard Auxilary. It was created in 1939 by an act of congress and is staffed by volunteer civilians. They just gave one recently , but plan them often throughout the year. They can be contacted by calling 1-800-368-5647. I met some of the local guys at Parrot eyes water sports recently and I could feel the enjoyment of the water and boating inside them. They do these things for the public simply for the love of doing it. The Red Cross even got into the act. Not only do they do the regular C.P.R. and first aid, they have boating safety for canoes, kayaking and sailing. The American Red Cross was started also by congressional Charter. The next one is more of a club than anything else. The United States Yacht Racing Union is a national governing body for sailing. It has over 25,00 active members that sail or sailing groups. Some of their programs include sailing safety and services to sailing groups. You can become a member by calling 401-849-5200. Well, there is no excuse for not knowing what a red sign or a green sign means or coming about or going to port or starboard means. Take a course and enjoy boating. Until next time, see you on the water and be safe.

DIFFERENT TIDES

Have you ever wondered why at times you can see land along the causeway on the island side for a couple of hundred yards. These are very low tides but they don’t happen all the time. There is a formula of the sun and moon in a certain phase to cause these which is too complicated to explain here, but basically when the moon is the closest to the earth (at perigee) the tides will be at it’s greatest ranges. This is when it gets very low. Conversely, when the moon is farthest from the earth (at apogee) the tide range is at the least. On the other hand, when the moon earth and sun are all lined up, it is called a spring tide and tides will higher than normal and lower than normal. On these very low tides, be very careful in shallow shoals and edges of channels. A lower end can be very costly. Checking the tides before going out in the bay, especially south bay, is strongly recommended. A yearly tidal chart can be copied from the Internet, which I carry on my boat all the time. Go to N.O.A.A. and look through their site for it. As always, be safe and see ya on the water.

THE CHART

In my class room, the new students ask me about all the maps on the walls. Well, I politely ask them where? There they say, on the walls. I reply by telling them that those are charts, not maps. There is a lot of difference. Before I went to maritime school, I was the same way. A chart was used just for telling people where I caught the big fish by pointing to the spot. If I ever go beyond the jetties on an over night trip in the Gulf, a chart will be with me. It has a treasure of information on it that can save your life. The local charts tells you which buoy has a bell or a gong or a whistle on it so you can find your way back in the fog. Another sweet item it has is which one of the buoys has a light on it and how it is flashing as to distinguish between others that are flashing. Another bit of information on the chart is that it is adjusted to be on a flat surface. That kind of map is called a Mercator Map. It is kind of stretched out and warped a bit to lay flat and to be worked with. The only difference is, now you need to use a true reading. You cannot simply use your compass and set your course across the Gulf. You will be way off. There is a formula to convert your compass to a true and that makes it good so all you sailors out there, use the formula. Chapmans Seamanship Book has all of these and other formulas you may need to plot your next course. As always be safe and see you on the water.

TWIC OFFICE NOW OPEN

This information will most definitely upset most Captains around here. There is a new i.d. that every merchant mariner will have to acquire before September 28th 2008 and this will be enforced. Basically it is a card that will allow you to enter the port area or any port for that matter and work there. Here are some excerpts from the Coast Guard I received. TWIC is a common identification credential for all personnel requiring unescorted access to secure areas of MTSA-regulated facilities and vessels, and all mariners holding Coast Guard-issued credentials. TSA (Transportation Security Administration) will issue workers a tamper-resistant “Smart Card” containing the worker’s biometric (fingerprint template) to allow for a positive link between the card itself and the individual. The TWIC will cost $132.50 and is payable by Credit Card, Money Order or Certified Check. Those who hold a valid MMD issued after February 3, 2003, MML issued after January 13, 2006, HME issued after May 31, 2005, or a FAST card, may pay a reduced fee of $105.25. Those applicants choosing to pay the reduced fee must present an MML, MMD, HME, or FAST card at the time of enrollment. If the reduced fee is paid, the TWIC expiration date will be 5 years from the issuance date of the supporting MML, MMD, HME, or FAST card. Captains, this means you can bring your captains license and get the reduced price. TWIC enrollment at the Port of Brownsville starts on December 5, 2007 -Location: 1000 Foust Road Brownsville, TX 78521-1000 -Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM To schedule an appointment and save time during enrollment, you can still pre-enroll online at www.tsa.gov/twic or call 1-866-347-8942 (TWIC). By the way T.W.I.C. means Transportation Worker Identification Credential. As always, be safe and see you on the water.

BANANA BOATS BEWARE

This is an advisory regarding the use of a jet ski pulling a banana boat. It has come to my attention that the local MSD (marine safety department) has in an effort to ensure the safety of passengers participating in water-based activities, will enforce this in an elevated level. The letter came out August 10th and was hand delivered to my office for dissemination to as many people as I could contact. I was aware of this rule for many years, but they will clamp down on this rule and will close your business down until they decide to re-open it. They will need to show proof of first-aid and currently enrolled in a drug and alcohol testing program. They also said in the letter which is available at my office that you have until January 1st 2008 to obtain the appropriate Coast Guard credential. This is not a sales pitch, however a warning to all the companies that run banana boats along the surf and bay. Come by the office and get a copy. To get a complete guide call the MSD at 956-546-2786. Captains, get ready to dish out another $150 to get a Port Entry I.D. This will be an I.D. that you must carry if you go into the port. It is not optional. As always, see you on the water.

SINKING FAST

Word is out that there will be a new scuba and fishing hole soon in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s a bit sketchy right now, but some say that it will happen but the question is when. Several different entities are preparing to sink a ship off the coast of South Padre Island hopefully this summer. The ship, I’ve been told is about 450’ long and will be sunk approximately 17 miles off shore. The depth at that point is about 150’ according to my sources and the mast will be just under 30’ from the top of the water. Doors and hatches will be removed so as to attract smaller fish which will then attract larger fish and so forth and so on. This is great news for the diving companies along with the fishing Charter Captains. Heck, on a calm day, you bay guys can even tunnel your drives out there and catch some tuna. There is lead based paint on it which will be removed easy enough. I can’t wait for when they take it out there and blow a couple of holes in it and sink it. I’ve heard that this is a trip in itself. It will take a summer to get any growth on it, but when it does, it will be an incredible playground for all forms of sealife. I will be putting down my bird watching binoculars and put on my Scuba Pro mask for a while anyways. As always, be safe and see you on the water. Written by Captain Alan Stewart of the Laguna Madre Maritime Training Center For Information on the Laguna Madre Maritime Training Center please call 956-639-8697 Click here for the latest data on the ship USTS "Texas Clipper" to be sunk, along with GPS coordinates. (Info courtesy Sam Wells)

RED SNAPPERS IN THE NEWS AGAIN

The results aren’t completely in yet, but it won’t be long. It seems that every one is attacking the Red Snapper again. I usually sit on the sidelines on this issue but it affects all of our livelihoods that live here on this sand dune and will get worse if people like the Recreational Fishing Alliance among other organizations and individuals don’t do something about it. It seems that there isn’t a gray area between what people think about Red Snapper. Either there is abundance or there isn’t even enough to fill a stringer. Adjustments were made with the long liners years ago where they moved to the 50 fathom line and that seemed to solve the problem. They rebounded rather strongly. Why are we at the table again discussing bag limits? Five as a bag limit is already so small, it’s right on the border of whether or not to even go fishing for those sweet tasting pescas. One thing everyone is looking at is simply keeping the first five Red Snapper you catch. This would save about 27 million pounds of Red Fish to spawn. For those who aren’t familiar with fishing for red snapper along the West coast of Texas, they are deep. So deep they have a tendency to kind of explode while being pulled up. The thoughtful deckhands who very professionally reverse the process save most. To make a long story short, everyone is looking for a solution, which they call the “Common Sense Plan”. In the long run they feel the tremendous reduction in Regulatory Discards would be large enough to open the Western Gulf of Mexico up to year round fishing once again. Until next time, be safe and see you on the water.

NEW CHANGES

As of January 13th, 2006, the Coast Guard is amending the maritime personnel licensing rules to include new security requirements when mariners apply for original, renewal and raise of grade license and certificates of registry. This interim rule will require all applicants for licenses and certificates of registry to have their identity checked and their fingerprints taken for a criminal record review by the Coast Guard. Bottom line, what this means is every one that I mentioned above rather it be a new license or a renewal will have to go to Houston to the Regional Exam Center to have this process done. Boo, Hiss. This will definitely be an inconvenience for all who want a new Charter license. There is a bright side to this whole story that kept me busy all day talking to people from Virginia to Alaska about this to recruit to lobby against it or at least to offer a solution to the problem. When you take your completed package to Houston and get your prints done, it is done electronically and this in turn speeds up the turn around time to less than 30 days and sometimes 2 weeks. This is great news for the ones who decide to go to school for their certification in the middle of May. They will have their license by June. Our school will offer carpooling during the school or afterwards to make it more convenient. The R.E.C. is a couple of blocks away from Hobby so it will be easy to hop on the plane and do a quick round trip in less than 4 hours. I have already checked the prices. You can catch specials for $39 one way. A cab will be approx $18 round trip to the office. The visit is about 30 minutes. Until next time, be safe and see you on the water.

SAILABRATION

So you’re cruising along having a great time with the family and friends in your new powered boat and you see a sailboat that may cross your bow. What do you do? Well the answer does rely on you and it is your move to alter course because you have a powered vessel that can maneuver much easier than a sailboat. This rule doesn’t always apply though. Most sailboats have a small motor to enable them to maneuver around the docks and harbors, but some skippers use them all the time to avoid messing with the sails.(sounds good to me). They can turn as easily as you can in most cases. When this happens they become a power driven vessel and the rules of right-of- way apply again. There is another variable in this situation. When a sailboat has his sails out and he is using his engine, he must display a day shape triangle apex down in the riggings. At night, he must display a white light mid-mast somewhere. Keep in mind that you are probably going 20 to 30 knots and they are going roughly 4-8 knots, so still be a courteous skipper. Until next time, be safe and see ya on the water

LANDMARK CLOSING

You know, there have already been two stories written about Parroteyes closing at the end of the month, but I just have to get my feelings about this place known. I don’t know how many people know Ron Guillot, but if I was a betting man, I would win by saying at least half of this island knows or have met him. Ron is what most people call a stoneface pussycat. He can stare you down in a heartbeat and be giving you his shirt off his back the next. He is just that kind of guy and to see his baby for many years disappear must be heart wrenching. I know it is for me and my wife Janice. I met her about 7 years ago and the first place I took her after she got into town was to Parroteyes. This is my home away from home, my office, my playground, my meeting place, my restaurant, my music venue. I have seen many things take place here at our corner of the world. It was where The Beach Bums really had the time of their lives. Matt Theiss and I matured to a one of a kind band there. We recorded both of our c.d.’s at Parroteyes. Yep, I’m crying….and it’s not the first time. It has been a daily ritual for Janice and myself this week just to go there every night at sundown and cry and reminisce with our good friends. Ron is a business man and most people know he will be opening up a new Parroteyes where you will be able to hear the Beach Bums play, go fishing, snorkeling, parasailing, and most of the things he offers now……but you know……. It just won’t be the same. There are names and dates written with marks-a-lot pens all over the place and THAT is what makes it what it is. So, Ron Guillot, thanks for the memories and “ GOOD JOB”. As always, be safe and see you on the water.

A NEW REEF

I love to snorkeling and swim in the bay with my clients all summer long. Someday soon, I am going to get certified to scuba dive by my friend Bill Lawrence and for good cause. Sometime in the first of the year a new reef will appear below the surface approx. 17 miles due east of the Santiago pass Jetties. Well not just that simple. This was something that I had written about a couple of years ago and it never materialized, but now it has. The Texas Parks and Wildlife has completed some meetings with folks about sinking a vessel out just east of us. Remember the hype when they were gonna do this a while back? Well, it is really gonna happen this time. The Texas Clipper was a 473-foot former WWII troop transport ship, and was also used recently as a cruise liner and a trainer for the Texas A&M University Maritime Academy and it will be our new artificial reef. It will leave to go to ESCO Marine’s facility in Brownsville where they will clean all non desirable elements from it before taking it out and blowing a hole in it. It will become a really cool artificial reef for diving and fishing. Another cool thing is that, as they usually do, announce it’s sinking and people can go out and watch it go down. You can probably call Murphy’s Law and get a ride with them to see this one of a kind spectacle. This is part of the Ships-To-Reefs program who have sunk several ships with the efforts of the Texas Coastal and Marine Council. As always, be safe and see you on the water.

HIGH TECH HABITATS

It has come to my attention that there is a new electrifying way to create a coral reef and a habitat for many living species under water. There is a new wire configuration with the use of low-voltage electrical current to stimulate re growth in badly damaged reefs. According to Associated press, Tom Goreau of the United states and German Architecture professor Wolf Hilbertz, this electrified project began about four years ago in North Bali with remarkable results. You can really see the difference in a very short time. The wires are seeded with live fragments of coral and a long cord is stretched to shore and plugged in.(now that’s a lot of extension cords) It is proven that coral grows faster ten fold than from the regular growth. In less than a month, the wire is not visible and nearly a half of inch of vibrant colorful coral is growing. They also say that the fish come back to rest and hide from larger species. Now that is what I’m talking about. This specific application may not work here in our back yard but it does prove a point that habitat draws in lots of fish. This is why I believe in habitat in the Laguna. Fence or mark off an area and place habitat so as everyone can just see what does lie beneath. As always, be safe and see you on the water.

BOAT VS. SHIP

People sometimes ask me what the difference between a ship and a boat is. Well my answer to that, may it not be scientific, is very simple. You can always put a boat on a ship but you can’t put a ship on a boat. Simple. Because small craft entails so many sizes of boats, it's up to you to know what conditions are dangerous to your specific boat. The authorities are just giving a general warning to let operators know that conditions may be dangerous to some boats when they give small craft warnings. If you have a small outboard, then obviously all small craft warnings apply to you. No official agency could possibly gather all the possible differing factors and put them into something more specific. The criteria to use is wind speed and sea state. Twenty knot winds make for nasty, if not big, seas. Your obligation is to be sufficiently educated in order to understand when conditions become a threat. No one can tell you that because they do not know you, your boat, or your skills. Since different boats behave differently under differing circumstances, it is up to the operator to learn how to become a good seaman, learning about his boat's strengths and weaknesses. In maritime law there is an axiom that no boat is seaworthy without a skilled captain. No one is going to learn much without making the effort to learn. You can try to learn from others, but nothing is going to take the place of actually being out there under the kinds of conditions you want to learn about. That means that you have to challenge yourself and your boat a bit and test the waters. Around the docks is another very important reason why you should practice. There is nothing more embarrassing, not to mention the damage you could encounter, than to come into a slip and totally mess-up your approach. Practicing on a couple of posts in the bay or an empty dock space would be the best solution to this problem. To become a certified Captain or just to get some info on the subject, give me a call. It is 639-8697. As always, be safe and see you on the water.

LIGHT LISTS

They are all over the place. At night, you can see them flashing all over in the water. During the day, you can see the shapes, colors and different sizes of these things. If you were on the highway, they would be your stop signs, your red lights, your speed limit signs. They are called your navigational markers. These things range from square pieces of plywood on retired telephone poles to concrete pilings all together with a big square chunk of concrete around it called a Dolphin which are all around the high part of the bridge on either side. The reason why this article is called LIGHT LISTS is because there is a publication that explains just what each and every one of those represent and to every detail. The Light List is put out by The U.S. DEPT. OF HOMELAND SECURITY. This publication contains a list of lights, sounds signals, day beacons, and other aids to navigation along with your latitude and longitude. The U.S. COAST GUARD keeps it accurate and is updated as needed. Changes are based on the LOCAL NOTICE TO MARINERS as when appropriate. Every captain should have a light list onboard their vessel especially when they are navigating at night. It will tell them exactly where they are, By looking at a light and observing the color, the flash sequence or the sound, he will know which beacon that is by looking in a light list. It is a great tool and works well with a GPS. Captain classes start up soon, so if you are planning on a career on the water, contact me and we can start you off on an exciting life changing adventure. It’s easy and quick. As always, be safe and see you on the water.

BOAT HANDLING AND TRIM

Many outboards and most inboard/outboards (I/Os) come equipped with power trim, which raises or lowers the drive unit. In this case the term "trim" refers to the running position of the engine drive unit. Although most people know that the trimming movement raises and lowers the bow, many are unaware that it also can effect steering and performance. When you trim your drive unit either "in" or "out" you may feel a pull on the steering wheel either to the right or left. If the steering pull grows beyond a slight pull, an inadvertent release of the wheel can cause the boat to go into a sharp turn and passengers could be thrown around, or even out of, the boat. Be sure to keep a firm grip on the steering wheel. The three positions are trim down which means it lowers the bow resulting in quicker planning and improved rides in choppy water. The next position is called the neutral position where as the propeller shaft is parallel to the surface of the water. The third position is trimming out. This lifts the bow and increases top speed. It is also great for shallow water. In excess of this will cause the boat to bounce. If it does, bring the trim down just a bit. Trim tabs work exactly the same way as the control surfaces on an airplane. As you know, there are three axes affecting the motion of your boat as you travel through the water: Yaw, Pitch and Roll. Using trim tabs is much like riding a bicycle. You learn to do it by feel. Your knot meter will tell you when you have trimmed for best speed at any throttle setting and your common sense will help you adjust trim to sea conditions and weight distribution. I am positive that in gaining experience you will soon amaze your friends with your skills in boat handling and trim. On my next story, I will get into yaw, pitch and roll. These are the three different ways a boat can move. Until next time, be safe and see you on the water.

RULES TO FOLLOW OFF THE WATER

If you own a trailer boat, chances are you’ll be preparing for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend or summertime vacation. There are a few thing to keep in mind before heading down the road. Some simple rules and guidelines should be followed before this trip between the garage and the water. I call it a pre-boating checklist. • check cold tire pressure on the tow vehicle • make sure you are towing the trailer at a level altitude • make sure the lug nuts on the tow vehicle and trailer are tight. Lugs nuts should be tightened to a specific torque setting with a torque wrench. Don’t use an impact wrench. If you have a flat, they will be hard to get off by hand. • all safety equipment should be stowed in the boat. • check the trailer jack. in salt water they break down very easily. keep it greased • test all your wiring and fix any lighting problems •Secure all items in the boat. Don’t leave a trail of life preservers and cooler tops on the bridge. These are just some simple things that if followed, can make for a more pleasant boating experience. Oh yea, one more thing before you put your trailer and boat into the water, walk to the back of the boat and put the plugs in. This will eliminate that sinking feeling. Until next time, be safe and see you on the water.

STAYING IN TOUCH

For most boaters, the best communications device to have on board is a cell phone. That is as long as you have a signal or close enough to a tower. You get off shore about 5 miles and boom, it’s gone. Most true off shore fisherman and guides know about Globalstar satellite. Only until recently, you had to use the IMARST system and that was very expensive. Globalstar satellite telephone service is delivered through special multi-mode phones, which work like traditional cellular phones when you are in an area with cellular coverage. Globalstar phones look and act like mobile or fixed phones with which you’re familiar. When you need to communicate from outside the area covered by ground-based systems, such as offshore, the phones switch to Globalstar satellite mode. It uses 48 Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) satellites and transmits your calls to a cellular based station. After looking at a map of availability, the whole Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean is covered. If this info has excited you, check this out. I got some prices and the Globalstar phone systems range from $199.00 to $799.00 depending on what you want. The monthly plans start at $29.00. This is definately not a commercial or am I endorsed in any manner, but this is a system that can save lives when other communication systems can fail. Next week, I am going to talk about another system that is required on all inspected vessels and is endorsed by the Coast Guard and uses satellite signals also.

SECURING THE BORDER

Lots of changes are appearing up and down the border of Mexico and the United States. One that really hits home in this area is The Border Patrol. They have been gobbled up by The Homeland Security. Not only did they take them over, they took over the United States Coast Guard as well. If you think about it, they are doing kind of the same jobs, but just on different elements. Jimmy Lawson, owner of Baymaster Boats is an important contractor for the Border Patrol. He has been making custom boats for them for some time and trains them on how to maneuver and make best of what they got with these boats. Learning techniques on jumping waves, reversing and steering while throtteling can be difficult especially when you are under fire. I have seen some of these boats that are brought in for repairs. One that I inspected was riddled with holes from a high powered rifle. This is a very serious business on the border and you need the best equipment you can get. One of the problems they encounter is barbed wire about neck level stretched across the river. When the boats go by they used to get torn up or even worse, have injuries to the upper body from these deadly deterrents. Jimmy came up with a solution by running a stronger guy wire from the bow on both the stern and port sides up to the t-top where there is a very sharp cutting device where it severs these wires. Clever. This is the war that is going on just a few miles from our house and The Border Patrol is doing an excellent job to keep us safe and free. Next time you see one of these guys, give them thanks for what they are doing and buy them lunch or something. As always, be safe and see you on the water.

CHANGES

s of January 13th, 2006, the Coast Guard is amending the maritime personnel licensing rules to include new security requirements when mariners apply for original, renewal and raise of grade license and certificates of registry. This interim rule will require all applicants for licenses and certificates of registry to have their identity checked and their fingerprints taken for a criminal record review by the Coast Guard. Bottom line, what this means is every one that I mentioned above rather it be a new license or a renewal will have to go to Houston to the Regional Exam Center to have this process done. Boo, Hiss. This will definitely be an inconvenience for all who want a new Charter license. There is a bright side to this whole story that kept me busy all day talking to people from Virginia to Alaska about this to recruit to lobby against it or at least to offer a solution to the problem. When you take your completed package to Houston and get your prints done, it is done electronically and this in turn speeds up the turn around time to less than 30 days and sometimes 2 weeks. This is great news for the ones who decide to go to school for their certification in the middle of May. They will have their license by June. Our school will offer carpooling during the school or afterwards to make it more convenient. The R.E.C. is a couple of blocks away from Hobby so it will be easy to hop on the plane and do a quick round trip in less than 4 hours. I have already checked the prices. You can catch specials for $39 one way. A cab will be approx $18 round trip to the office. The visit is about 30 minutes. Until next time, be safe and see you on the water.


All Articles Written by Captain Alan Stewart of the Laguna Madre Maritime Training Center
For Information on the Laguna Madre Maritime Training Center please call 956-639-8697


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