The Saltwater Magazine for Gulf Coast Fishing!


SPRING 2009 Preview


Cover: Port Isabel artist and fly fisherman Larry Haines with a surf caught tarpon that can be added to a slam April-October. Photo by Danno Wise.





Substitute a snook or tarpon for a flounder in this trio.
Up and down the Texas coastal curve, inshore anglers often set their sights on catching a "Texas Slam." For the majority of Lone Star State fishermen, this achievement is marked by catching each of the traditional "Big 3" - redfish, speckled trout, flounder - in a single session. However, along the extreme southern stretch of the Texas coast, a more tropical species lends a totally different personality to the slam. In the waters of the Lower Laguna Madre, fishermen substitutesnook for flounder to complete what is known as a "South Texas Slam."

The South Texas Slam is an attainable goal for anglers fishing the swath of coast from the Rio Grande River to just above the Port Mansfield Cut. However, serious slam candidates should focus their efforts in the waters surrounding Port Isabel and South Padre Island. Simply put, that is where the greatest concentration of snook can be found on a consistent basis. Thus, the odds of completing the trifecta greatly improve when fishing in this area....

WRECK RANGERS by David A. Brown
Keep moving for maximum productivity...

If the Gulf of Mexico's vast seabed were a desert, its shimmering oases would be the diverse smattering of hard bottom sites abounding with splendid assortments of marine life.
Now, those fishing anywhere west of Florida waters will surely sing the praises of drilling rigs. No doubt, these titans of oil and gas exploration harbor vibrant ecosystems rich with sportfishing potential. However, there's no hiding several stories of steel, so you're always subject to unwanted company.
Reefs and wrecks, especially those unpublished numbers, require more effort to locate, therefore theirs is a more clandestine opportunity. Rare is the day that one site delivers all you care to catch, but working your way through a handful of carefully selected structures may very well satisfy your angling appetite.
From as close as a mile or so off the sand, to as far as you care to go, the Gulf of Mexico offers numerous opportunities for savvy anglers to connect with their next big fish....

Victim of industrial abuse, Lavaca Bay fights back...
Lavaca Bay is rarely the topic of any fishing report, outdoors magazine, or online forum. Although it serves as a liquid border between the budding streets of Port Lavaca and Point Comfort, the bay is a ghost town when compared to other coastal bays.

Perhaps the bay's fishing potential is buried beneath layers of its rocky past. All too many are familiar with Lavaca Bay being "home to what is arguably the worst environmental disaster on the Texas Gulf Coast". Despite the fact that the bay's conditions have made a significant comeback, fishermen have not. And few are aware of such prime fishing potential that remains untapped and abandoned.

In the late 60's, Alcoa's aluminum manufacturing plant on Lavaca Bay expelled enough mercury-filled waste water into Lavaca Bay to contaminate 64 square miles. Estimations put the figure to be about 67 pounds of mercury per day (permitted by the State at the time), from its location on the north east side of the bay. In 1970, the practice was discontinued; and in 1988, retaining fish from specific waters ("closed area") was outlawed due to health risks. The meager amount of Lavaca Bay anglers quickly dispersed elsewhere.

Things changed in 1994...

Sight fishing snook from Florida hotel beachfronts...
I am a lifelong angler, living and working in the UK. I do all sorts of fishing at home, but come out to Florida to fish your lovely beaches whenever I get the chance which is usually around three times a year. This is not an attempt to write a comprehensive general article on snook fishing, but just to describe one method of my own and how I fine tuned it and improved it over several years.

My rationale is to have a family style vacation where my wife Lin can relax and sunbathe on the beach whilst I enjoy fantastic fishing just a few yards away at the waters edge. The snook cruise along in ones and twos very close in to the edge, taking short detours around the legs of bathers and paddlers who are generally completely unaware of their existence.

We stay at various resort hotels anywhere from Sarasota down to Marco Island and the fishing is as good all the way down. The only inconvenience is that I use live shrimp and have to keep any left over in the hotel, either on the balcony at night or in the room during the day. Lin gets a bit mad at me sometimes because of the noise from the bait pump so I usually wrap it up in a bath towel.

The tackle I use is very simple;...

Gulf Coast Closeup - by Mike Price
Business, like fishing, can get complicated. But good business people use the KISS rule: Keep it simple, stupid. Eddie Douglas applied this approach to fishing and like a well run business his bottom line increased; he caught bigger and more fish.
In 1957 Eddie moved from East Texas to Matagorda County, Texas, close to East and West Matagorda Bays. He knew how to catch bass but realized that if he was going to be a successful saltwater fisherman he had to learn from others. Eddie said, "I learned from some of the best fishermen that walked. One would be real good on working lures, another on reading water, another good on timing - knowing what to do and when to do it. I started filing all that together and I was fishing a lot." He was the county agent, but in 1960 he decided to go into the real estate business. Eddie told his wife, "I can't work for anybody, and they are going to fire me, because when the water is good I am going to fish."
Over the years Eddie has won many fishing tournaments including the prestigious Poco Bueno at Port O'Connor. He is one of the most respected fishermen on the middle Texas coast.
I fished with Eddie in August and as he caught fish he told me that the key to successful fishing is...

This issue in OUR DEPARTMENTS...
Paddling Out - Deep Water Reentry (How to get back in once the inevitable happens) - by Jeff Herman
Rod & Reel'n Offshore - Make a Sting-a-Ling Jig - by Patrick Lemire
Equipment Notebook - Vinyl Cushion Repair - by David Ayers
The Bay Naturalist - Fish in Season - by John Hook
The Fly Guy - Fun With the Ladies - by Pete Cooper, Jr.
Tackle Time - Modern Spinning Reels - by Colby Sorrells
Bait Hook - Spanish Lessons - by Jim Martin
From the Publisher...
Besides all these great articles and departments, Gulf Coast Fisherman is the only source for the Wells Daily Fishing Forecast. Each issue carries three months of the Wells Daily Fishing Forecast - with Monthly Fishing Calendars. Also, don't forget about the Advance Planning Calendars in each issue that takes you out three months past the current issue. This will provide what you need to intelligently plan your fishing trips - hours, weeks, and up to six months in advance!
Top saltwater guides and fishermen use the Wells Daily Fishing Forecast - shouldn't you be using it ,too?...
"The fisherman that knows what the currents are doing has the advantage - over fish and fishermen!"
And remember - "Fish feed everyday, somewhere " - Harold Wells
Gary Ralston