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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Puffer Fish

I caught this bad boy on The Galveston Fishing Pier.  It is actually the second one I have caught there and was told this isn't particularly normal.  Either way, I was crunk about it.

Most of you know that a puffer fish is called a puffer because it inflates.  It does this by inhaling large amounts of water or air to increase its size as a defense mechanism.  The puffer fish has tremendous eye sight, but it isn't very quick.  

Not only do they puff out to help fight off predators, they also possess a toxin called tetrodotoxin.  Tetrodotoxin can be stronger than cyanide and is one of the most toxic components known to man.  One large puffer contains enough toxin to kill several men; however, sharks can eat puffer fish without consequence.
 But if you ever catch one, be careful when you get your pictures and try to use gloves (just to be safe) when you toss it back.  While we aren't too big on eating puffer here in Texas--- in Japan, highly trained chefs will serve Fugu (puffer) as a delicacy.  I have also read that dolphins are fans of a little puff here and there; they have been filmed off the coast of Africa passing puffer fish back and forth in order to get high.


Catching this guy landed me a spot in the Reel Report in The Galveston Daily News. Capt. Joe Kent explains the reason for the puffer (which is usually an offshore fish) being so close to the pier: "the warmer waters and higher salinity levels have contributed to a large variety of fish being reported in shallower waters this year."

This shout out goes to Capt. Joe Kent and his Reel Report in The Galveston Daily News--- Thanks for making me famous!
And a special shout out goes to Virginia Adair for being a loyal Daily News reader--- if it weren't for her, I wouldn't have even known that I made it in the Reel Report.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Galveston Fishing Pier

I don't know how I ended up there the first time I went, but Galveston Fishing Pier has been my home away from home since I fell in love with saltwater fishing.

Here is what my wife loves about the pier:
1) They have clean bathrooms (apparently that is important for girls since it made #1 on her list)
2) They serve mixed drinks upstairs and the bartender "don't play" (surprised that didn't make #1 on her list)
3) It's the longest fishing pier in Texas.

I'm not sure that I can narrow down the things I love about GFP to just 3; however, my list has a whole lot more to do with fish than my wife's list. 

So let's start with fish.  One of the things I can never quite wrap my brain around is how many different species of fish there are in the ocean---some of which have not even been discovered yet.  I thoroughly enjoy pulling them all up and over the rail of The Galveston Fishing Pier. Click on the link to peep the slideshow of some catches.....

Galveston Fishing Pier

These are just a few of the pictures I have from the pier.  Obviously, I love catching reds, but, on the pier, I have caught:

  • ribbon fish
  • cobia
  • sheepshead
  • black drum
  • gafftop
  • hard head (aka wastes of my time)
  • pompano
  • bonnet head shark
  • black tip shark
  • whiting
  • croaker
  • sand trout
  • golden croaker
  • angel fish
  • puffer fish
  • stingray
  • blue fish
  • piggy perch
  • blue crab 
  • spanish mackerel
Here are some of the fish I have seen caught there, but I have never happened to pull up myself:
  • flounder
  • speckled trout
  • spinner shark
  • bull shark
  • jack crevalle
  • sea turtles (yes, I know it's not a fish.  And, yes, proper authorities were called and the turtles were released)
So far, the GFP has been my biggest learning experience when it comes to saltwater fishing.  It was a great place to learn many different species just from reeling them in, but it was also a great place to meet anglers with all different levels of experience. Depending on the time of day, day of the week, or how many beers you have consumed,  you could end up losing a pole, getting your lines crossed with a complete stranger, or almost losing a thumb to a hard head barb.  I might just be speaking from experience- small prices to pay for the knowledge and lifetime memories I have gained.

All in all, my idea to create Coastie Culture would not have been born had it not been for my time at Galveston Fishing Pier.  It's a wonderful place to learn, to fish, to bring a friend, and to be treated like family (thanks Diz). 

This Coastie Culture shout out goes to the owners of GFP, Jimmy and Kelly.  Thanks for the fun.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

"Speed Fishing" - Molding a Coastie

The next step in my evolution to becoming a "Coastie" was fishing with my father-in-law, Mike.  Let me start by explaining that he is a retired Police Chief who, prior to working up the ranks, served as a MP in the Army during Vietnam.  Mike is admittedly a Type A person--- which makes going out on his boat with him extremely entertaining.

Mike does a lot of what my wife and I call "Speed Fishing". By that I mean that we never spend more than 10 minutes at each fishing spot.  I might be exaggerating a little but not much.  I could be pulling in 5 fish at a time, but when Mike is ready to move on--- he is ready to move on. From this, I learned about 100 different fishing spots in about 3 fishing trips.  

Mike also always has top of the line gear.  It's like he just stepped out of some kind of bait and tackle magazine photo shoot.  Because he has all sorts of fancy gear, he makes sure he uses every bit of it on every trip.  Every single bit of it.  This means that at each 10 minute stop-- 5 minutes of that time is used to switch out lures, weights, or bait; hell, he might even be working one pole on the top water and one pole dragging the bottom.  From this, I learned which gear is good in which spots and which name-brands to splurge on.
My brother in law, Trey and
my father in law, Mike, heading to the
next spot.

Mike, driving the boat and rocking the
stache. Terri--- photo bombing.

Organization is key on Mike's boat.  There is a place for everything and everything has its place.  There are compartments labeled with a P-touch, there are velcro straps for the gear; hell, sometimes there are even assigned seats and an itinerary posted so you know when and where the next stop will be.  When we get done, the itinerary (in a waterproof bag), tells us what chores we are all assigned to in order to stow the boat properly. From this, I learned that your gear lasts longer when you take good care of it, it's easier (and quicker) to change your gear out if you are organized, and the cleaning part goes faster when you work together.
Mike's baby
Doing my chores

He let me sit behind the
wheel once. For a minute.
 Before he
got in the boat.

I also never need a baby sitter when I go out on the boat with Mike because he is the WORLD'S GREATEST PAPA.  The kids know where their assigned seats are and they know what their chores are when we get home.  From this I learned, kids are always welcome when it comes to fishing because somebody has to raise a future generation of Coasties.
Assigned Seat Fun

Quit playing and do your
chores! I don't care if you
are 2 yrs old.
Jez- pulling in his
own catch.
Jez and Rae with their haul

Look, it's a sheepshead.
Now--get back to your
assigned seat.
Jez-  taking a break from his
assigned seat.
Papa and Jez

If I'm lucky, my mother-in-law (Terri), will go out on the boat with us.  She always packs sandwiches and sun screen, and she is always excited about being on the open water. Let's just be honest, there would be no boat to go out on if Terri didn't let Mike buy one. From this I learned: sandwiches and sunscreen make everything better, it's always exciting to go fishing, and (last but not least) bad ass wives let their husbands buy bad ass boats.

Excited Terri.
Photo bomb by the sandwich cooler.
This post's shout out obviously goes to my in-laws. Thanks, Mike and Terri. Not everyone is lucky enough to marry into a family full of Coasties.


A Culture Created

Fresh Water catch in East Texas on Hochheim Lake

It's hard to say exactly when my passion for the water first began.  However, I know exactly when my addiction to the Texas Coast started.

At the end of 2010, I married my beautiful wife, Crystal, who is an AP Literature teacher a few miles down the road from Galveston.  It wasn't long after the move down here (from Denton, Texas... represent) that I was invited to go on a fishing trip in the bay with some friends.

Me, Crystal, Nash, Lee, Rick
on Galveston Party Boats
Slim, Rick, Ruben, Lee, Crystal, Me
on Galveston Party Boats

My wife, me, and one of my first Coastie catches!
Ha!  That's my buddy Lee photo bombing in the back.
No matter the size of  that first catch, it was at that moment that I vowed to learn all there is to know about salt water fishing.  It was then I realized that the Coast is a Culture all its own.  

This blog will be a record of my evolution into a "Coastie" and those who helped me out along the way.

*I'm a firm believer in shout outs.  We have had some good times on the Galveston Party Boats.  You can find them at .  
Avery's catch. Photo bomb by Jason.

Jason, Me, Crystal, and Avery
Avery's b-day trip on Galveston Party Boats