Offshore Fishing
The Great Getaway!

 

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Although the rise of air and water temperature signals the arrival of summer, which is good news for your other beach going residence like tourist and more tourist. Armed with everything that can be stuffed in a convertible mustang that is usually crammed around a igloo full of cold ones, they invade the once desolate shorelines. With beach blankets and umbrellas, footballs and frisbees, every floating devise known to man, and enough sunscreen on those hard and sometimes not so hard bodies that creates mini oil slicks near the shoreline. They seemly can be found on almost every square inch of shoreline up and down the Texas coast. Which is great news for the thousands of businesses that look forward to these 4 to 5 months a year to make up for the rest years profits. Heck it doesn’t seem that long ago when I was in my VW van with a surfboard strap to the top listening to the Almond Brother eight track hoping for some decent waves somewhere on any given wave deprived stretch of beach.

But that was then and fishing is the business at hand these days. And for those anglers that are unfortunate enough not to own a boat then their choices prime places to fish are numbered. Most are crowded onto the few fishing peirs like cattle being delivered to the stockyards. The only thing missing is a eighteen wheeler and a tobacco chewing cowboy with a cattle prod and the end of the pier. The once pristine shorelines that are available to those with a four-wheel drive are now also available to ATV during the summer months. And those seeking some protected shoreline for some wade fishing only available by boat are being buzzed by their counterparts on the water the Jet Ski. In other words though we would like to consider we own a particular stretch of water since we buy our licenses and help support conservation in other monetary ways it just isn’t so. It doesn’t matter if you into the biggest school of wall hanging, feeding trout that make up any red-blooded fishermen’s wet dream, with five trophy trout on the stringer in the 20 inch range and your just getting through weeding out the little ones. When suddenly a ache faced teen decides this is the best place on the whole bay to do a few donuts before scooting off to the next group of waders to see if they are catching fish like you once were. Other than throwing a well placed lure in the side of his mouth to help teach him some fishing courtesies or some heated words that will only slide of his sun-screened body you are helpless.

Not only are the summers fishing conditions hard enough to read than those of the cooler months of the year. Where once the routine was simple, fish the shallows during the afternoons after the sun has had a chance to warm the waters. Saving the protected structure channels for those times when the wind is howling or the sun has disappeared for the rest of the day. Now the shallows are saved for those early and late morning’s runs, while the rest of the time is spent looking for some tell tale sign of feeding fish somewhere in the bays. For those trying to escape the invasion of the tourist he may opt for those places a little further off the coast for instance the jetties but here the news is no better. It seems every joe blow tourist that has a boat that is usually dry rotting in storage the other 11 months of the year picks this place to test his skills. They are easy to spot thankfully, more often than not they will have their engine compartments open trying to start their once a year engines. Or they will be constantly trying to get their undersized anchors to hold or loose from the rocks. Either way they will stick out like Bill Clinton at a Hookers convention, and be ten times as annoying.

So what is a Texas fisherman to do? Well the answer lies just a few short miles offshore. Although you still may see some misguided tourist out on the waters still trying to make repairs to their boats or in the worse case trying to get those puny anchors to hold. With all the space their silhouettes of them bailing water off in the distance is not hard to get away from. And if need be you may even call for some assistance from the coast guard. They are also well versed in this summer phenomenon and will routinely call for another pickup on oil rig 95 much like the intercoms at the local grocery store when you take your younuns shopping with you down the Bar-B-Que sauce aisle. Other than that you a free to roam to your hearts or gas tanks content. With a good GPS system, VHF radio and above average sense of direction and map throw in for good measure being the only critically fishing accessories mandatory onboard with you. Add some Ribbonfish, Saradines, and Squid for your quarry, with ice chest full of cold ones and some more sardines and cracker for the hunters and you’ll be set. Making sure to segregate the bait from the brewiski’s keeping the beer from contaminating the bait and visa versa. Squid flavored Budweiser has already been tried as a marketing ploy and failed miserably, and kings do not prefer their Ribbonfish flavored with the king of beers, though it sound like in theory it should be a natural.

Now find yourself a designated driver just as you would on dry land. Although it’s always nice when you find the jetty channel after a long day of fishing it doesn’t count unless your boat actually misses the jetties and not go over them. This tends to put a real damper on the whole idea of getting away for a stress relieving day of fishing when you are trying to push your boat off the rocks in the middle of the night. So unless you own a fairly large boat or you are lucky at drawing straws for the designated driver, I would suggest chartering a Captain. Split several ways between your beer-drinking buddies it is not that expensive. And since there is more to the offshore style of fishing than drowning a Ribbonfish behind the boat or jigging a squid off the bottom till he gets the bends several times over. Combine this with the fact if you are ever lucky enough to hang into a nice king or ling by some miracle, my experience is they can make short work out of even the most expensive trout rigs. So pay the extra money and sit back and enjoy the days events. Bumping from one weedline to the next. Trolling around those oilrigs you’ve only seen off in the horizon from the jetties you normally fish. Hopefully the king, ling, snapper, dolphin and sharks will keep you busy enough that the 5 cases of beer you brought along will not run out before you reach the docks again. Thus allowing you to come home with a ice chest full of fish and your fishing memory bank full of new deposits. Those really lucky anglers who are signed up in the CCA tournament and have a descent guide may just walk away with one of the boat being offered in the offshore division.

So this summer try a new technique at beating those annoying tourist. Join the growing number of before bay fishermen that are discovering there is more to the ocean that meets the shore. Get that special feeling only offshore enthusiast can get when they realize the land is no where in site and they have no earthly idea where the hell they are at. Experience that empty feeling only an offshore angler can get when a trophy size King is spooling his line off his reel at thumb-blistering speed and realize he has no chance of stopping him. Marvel at man’s technology of building enormous drilling platforms and be annoyed by that constant sound of horns blowing for no apparent reason. See the brilliant colors that are the telltale marking of a real dolphin, that never seem to be accurately replicated in man made mountings. Taste the melt-in-your-mouth flavor on a fresh snapper fillet that only taste that much better knowing you caught it just a few hours ago and the memory is still fresh in your mind. And finally experience that age old feeling that sailors have had the pleasure of feeling that only come from a journey out on the vast oceans of the world. Feel the spray of saltwater against your skin as you chum for your fishing partners off the side of the boat. See those once in a lifetime sunrises and sunsets that seem to stretch as far as the eye can see against an endless horizon canvas. Realize the feeling of just how insignificant you really are in the scheme of life as you float all alone along the endless stretch of water. Hoping against hope that the Captain you have chosen will be able to get you back to shore without mishap. Secretly wishing you had chosen some nicer looking friends of the female persuasion to spend your last hours on this Earth with. But these are just some of the countless thoughts that will be swimming through your head during an offshore excursion. Depending on your fishing luck and the amount of alcohol consumed your thoughts will vary considerably. Best bet is just to kick back and relax.

Like they say down under NO WORRIES MATE!!!

 


 

 

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