Dolphin FishMahi-mahi have been making their appearance in our waters lately. Although commonly called dolphin or chicken dolphin, these fish are not related to the Delphinidae family of mammals, such as Flipper.
These beautiful fish are mostly recognized by their incredibly bright colored bodies. Typically, the top of their bodies are a vivid blue or green while the bottom half can range from a yellow to a white. However, once these fish are taken out of the water their colors can change completely in a short period of time. Their color usually weakens to a yellow-grey upon death.
This fish has a compressed body and a long dorsal fin that practically extends the length of their bodies. Their anal fins are curved in at a sharp angle. Males have a more prominent forehead while the females have more of a rounded head. On average, the females are smaller. They spawn in warm waters all year long and because of this, they are one of the fastest growing fish species.
Mahi-mahi can usually be found in weedlines or in floating debris. Patches of seaweed often encompass an entire ecosystem from the tiniest of organisms to seahorses & baitfish. The Mahi like this and are known to eat anything in this ecosystem not limited to flying fish, crabs, shrimp, and even garbage at times. They can be caught while trolling, on drift lines, or you can even cast to them with lures. If you are trolling, 30-50 pound equipment should be more than enough. Spoons, topwater lures, and trout jigs are good for casting.
Mahi Mahi
Once on a line, get ready because these fish are fast and energetic; you could even see a jump or two. When you do hook one and get it to the boat, keep it in the water until somebody else hooks another one. The school will usually stay with the hooked fish, allowing you to catch multiple fish in the school.
fish-recipe

Captain Galen Pruett has been fishing off the Texas Gulf Coast for over 25 years. To book a fishing trip with him, call 409-457-2339 or visit his website at www.cowboybootsandbathingsuits.com for more information. 

Leave a Reply

Article and photos by Capt. Galen Pruett 

Cleaning or filleting your fish can be one of the most tedious parts of the fishing trip.  You want to start out by taking proper care of your fish after you catch it.  

The best ways to do this is by using a stringer, a fish basket, a livewell or just putting them directly on ice. Filetting is a popular way to prepare fish for meals. You are pretty much just cutting the flesh away from the bones and skin. Below is a step by step guide to help you make the most of your next catch.
? Hold the fish down on a cutting board or table with the back of the fish facing towards you. Cut behind the head all the way to the backbone (you only want to cut about 1?2 the thickness of the fish) and turn the knife towards the tail. 
? Run the knife along the backbone and dorsal fin. You will want to “feel” your way with the knife along the ribcage.
When the knife no longer contacts the ribcage, push the knife through the width of the fish. Continue cutting along the bones until the fillet is cut off at the tail.  Another way to do this, is to cut through the rib cage, but if you do this, you will also have to cut the ribs away from the meat. 
? Next, you will want to remove the skin from the fillet by inserting the knife at the tail and cutting the meat from the skin. Or, you could leave the skin on if you wanted to cook the fish on the half shell. 
? Repeat these three steps on the other side.
FilettingAfter you have filleted your catches, you can store the fish in the fridge for up to a few days. If you plan on keeping it any longer than a few days, I would recommend freezing the fillets.  The best method is to vacuum seal them. If you don’t have a machine for this, I suggest putting them in zip lock bags and submerging them in cold water. Either of these approaches will help prevent freezer burn.
 
Captain Galen Pruett has been fishing off the Texas Gulf Coast for over 25 years.  To book a fishing trip with him, call 409-457-2339 or visit his website at www.cowboybootsandbathingsuits.com for more information.

Leave a Reply

 By Captain Galen Pruett 

 

A good solid knot is an important key to reeling in a good fish. Usually if you break off a fish before you bring it up to the boat, it is due to a poor knot. While you don’t need to be an expert or know how to tie an extremely difficult knot, a few good knots will help you go a long way.
I recently entered into a knot tying contest in Sport Fishing magazine where I earned third place for the Bristol knot. The magazine judged each contestant on breaking strength. 
If you can learn to tie three to four knots it would help you out tremendously. There is no need to find the most complicated knots. Actually, the easier it is, the better. While you are out on a boat you don’t want to have to refer to a book or diagram. Find something that is easy to remember and practice tying it over and over again.  Below are directions and diagrams on how to tie the Bristol, along with the Bimini Twist and the Clinch Knot.  

bristolThe Bristol is used for connecting line to leader. This knot is easy to tie and it slides through the guides and above rollers without catching. Another benefit of the Bristol is that it is unlikely for it to pick up weeds and grass when coming through the water. 

1. Pass the tag end of the leader through the loop of doubled line.  

2. Keeping your index finger hooked around the leader, wrap the tag end 5-7 times around the doubled line.  

3. Pass the tag end back through the loop formed by your index finger, in the opposite direction from which it entered in step one. 

4. Tighten the knot by moistening the lines with saliva and pulling on both the standing part of the leader and the double line. Trim the tag end, which should protrude at a 90-degree angle.

The Bimini Twist is used for doubling line so it can be used with other knots, like the Bristol. This knot is a good one for trolling.  

 

1. Begin by making a loop and twist the line at least 20 times. Depending on the length you wish to make the double, two people may be required. 

2. Alternately, you may attach the double to something (use a cleat or a rod in a holder and place the line over the rod butt) if another pair of hands is not available. In this case stand inside the loop facing away from the rod, and towards the knot. Be careful of line damage at the end of the double if you do use this method.
This example shows a short double being made. The double end can be placed around the knee or your foot for a double a bit longer. Apply steady tension so the twists come together. Ensure that tension is maintained at all times. 

3. Keeping tension on the standing end (line to the reel), relax slightly the tag end and let it run down over the original twist. This process can be assisted by placing a finger in the ‘v’ at the bottom of the twist. 

4. When the twists are completely wrapped, make a half-hitch around the right leg of the loop and pull tight. This will prevent the knot unraveling temporarily and allow you to proceed to the next step.
    
5. Complete the knot with a four turn locking hitch around both strands of the loop. Moisten the line with saliva and pull the tag end slowly. Use you thumb and forefinger to draw back the turns as you tighten them. Trim the tag end but leave enough line so the knot doesn’t unravel, which may (unlikely if tied correctly) happen if it is constantly moving in and out of rod guides. The unraveling can be prevented by applying super glue to the knot. A rubber type glue such as Aquaseal or Pliobond is also very useful. 

  The Improved Clinch is for connecting tackle; i.e. hooks to line. 
Improved Clinch
1. Pass the line through the eye of hook, swivel or lure. Double back and make 5 turns around the standing line. Hold the coils in place; thread end of line through the first loop above the eye, then through the big loop as shown. 

2. Hold the tag end and standing line while coils are pulled up. Take care that coils are in spiral, not lapping over each other.  Slide tight against the eye. Clip tag end. 

Captain Galen Pruett has been fishing off the Texas Gulf Coast for over 25 years. To book a fishing trip with him, call 409-457-2339 or visit his website at www.cowboybootsandbathingsuits.com for more information. 

Thanks and good fishing out there ! 

Leave a Reply

Story & Photos By Captain Galen Pruett

Even though fishing is still good this time of year, most people prefer not to do it because of the cold weather. If you fall into the latter category, this is the perfect time to get your gear cleaned up and ready for the warmer weather.

Unfortunately, living on the coast is rougher on our gear than freshwater is. I shouldn’t even need to mention this, but you should be rinsing off your rod and reel with fresh water after each use.

Reels

You should clean and lube your reels properly at least once a year. However, depending on usage, you may need to do it more often than that. The best way to do this is to remove the reel from the rod and spray your reel with WD-40. You will also want to make sure you get some light machine oil and dab some inside of the internal moving parts. And you must be careful not to get this on the line because the odor can deter fish from your line.

You could even go as far as changing out your line at this point. If you are not quite sure how to do this, your manual should give you instructions on cleaning your reel.

If you still don’t get it, you can always get help from a professional at a tackle shop.

Rods

Before you put the reel back on your rod, make sure you also clean and lubricate the reel seat. If needed, you can use steel wool to knock off corrosion from the reel seat or metal ferrules. If your rod is made out of fiberglass or graphite and you have noticed a few scuffs on it, you can rub some car wax on it to help buff them out. Other than that, just rinsing and wiping it with a cloth after each use should keep the rod in decent shape.

Tackle

Next, we will move on to your tackle and storage. I would suggest dumping out your tackle box and wiping it down inside and out. Let it air out for about an hour before you restock it.

Before tackling your tackle, keep in mind that fish have a keen sense of smell. Too much human contact can deter them from your lures, etc. You can always rub an artificial fish scent on your hands before you start handling your tackle.

While your tackle box is airing out, this is a good time to go through your actual tackle and take an inventory of what needs to be replaced. If you notice that some of your hooks aren’t sharp enough, use a hook file to sharpen them. After your tackle box has aired out, you can replace everything and reorganize, if necessary.

Just like anything else, properly maintaining your fishing equipment will help extend its life. Now all we need is the warmer weather so we can get out and catch some fish.

Captain Galen Pruett has been fishing off the Texas Gulf Coast for over 25 years. To book a fishing trip with him, call 409-457-2339 or visit his website at www.cowboybootsandbathingsuits.com for more information.

Leave a Reply

(with gifts that is!)

Story & Photos By Captain Galen Pruett

With Christmas around the corner, it is always hard finding that perfect gift. If you have a fisherman or woman in your life, I decided to help you out this month with a gift guide. And maybe those in my inner circle might even get a few hints.






$25 and Under

Snapper Slapper are a great lure to use when fishing for Snapper. They run from $8-$11 and you can find them at Cabela’s or www.snapperslapperlures.com.

A great filet knife is always a necessity for any fisherman. Mister Twister is a good brand and will run you about $20 at Academy. Personally, I don’t like electric knives, so don’t feel like you have to splurge on that.

H2O Xpress makes a good set of pliers & gripper combo. This will run for $25 and can also be found at Academy.

Guy Harvey makes a variety of cool fishing t-shirts. They start at about $16 and can be found at Galveston Outfitters, West Marine or Academy.

$50 and Under

A rod rack is a perfect way to store your rods when they are not in use. You can find a decent one for about $30 at Academy.

I prefer using a tackle bag instead of a box because it is lighter and easier to store. You can find a few different styles at West Marine or Academy starting at $30.

Magellan and Columbia manufactures fishing shirts that have Ultraviolet Protection Factor. These shirts can have anywhere from 15-50+ UPF. They start at about $35 and you can find them at West Marine or Academy.

A marine ice chest has a lip type seal that does not allow water seepage to get into the cooler allowing you to have a dry storage area. Its also a bonus because you don’t have to worry about your drink cooler having that fishy smell in case it doesn’t get cleaned out well enough! Either way a marine ice chest makes a great gift.

You can find a 36 quart cooler for about $35 at either Academy or West Marine.

$100 and Under

Cast nets are good for fishermen or women who like to catch their own bait. You can find a 4’ one starting at about $80 at West Marine or Academy.

A pair of waders is good to help keep you dry while fishing the surf or fishing the shallows of the bay. A decent pair will start at about $70 at Academy or West Marine.

If you are looking for a casting reel, a Shimano Citica is a good one, starting at $100. And Penn makes some good spinning reels for $130. Academy, West Marine carry these reels and many many more.

Costa Del Mar has revolutionized the sunglass with the way they have manufactured their lenses. Their different color lenses help you see fish in the water. They start at $140 and can be found at West Marine, Academy, Sunglass Hut or you can build your very own pair at www.costadelmar.com. If you are shopping for an avid offshore fisherman or woman, I would recommend going the extra mile with the 580 lenses.

$500 and Under

A Kayak is perfect for fishing the surf or bay. I would recommend the Ocean Kayak Frenzy which is $380 at Academy. And remember that paddles are sold separately.

Custom rods are handmade with quality guides and tips that can be created for different types of fishing. Savage Rods are an excellent brand and start at about $250. You can buy yours at www.high-perormance-rods.com

Fowl Weather Gear makes a really nice all weather jacket. Not only is it comfortable but it is also water proof. These jackets are about $280 at West Marine.

Charter a Fishing Trip

And I can’t leave out a charted fishing trip! Even if the fisherman or woman in your life already has their own boat, it is always nice to go out and let someone else do all the work. Call me to get your gift certificate. And if you mention this article, I will knock off 10%. I hope that you and yours enjoy your Christmas.

Captain Galen Pruett has been fishing off the Texas Gulf Coast for over 25 years. To book a fishing trip with him, call 409-457-2339 or visit his website at www.cowboybootsandbathingsuits.com for more information.

Leave a Reply

Story & Photos By Captain Galen Pruett

As the weather has started to cool down, so has our water temperature, which means the flounder have started moving out of our bays. Flounders are bottom-dwelling fish that migrate into our shallow waters between September and November.

These fish undergo quite a remarkable metamorphosis from birth to adulthood. They are born looking like most normal fish that we see every day. However, once they reach adulthood, they morph into a more round shaped flat fish. At birth, they are just like any other fish with one eye located at either side of its head, but over time, one eye moves to the other side of the body. It can move either to the left or right side of the body; whichever side faces upward is where it ends up. As the flounder reaches this stage of adulthood, it will relocate to the bottom of its habitat. At this point, it will also undergo a change in color to camouflage itself into its surroundings.

Since they are bottom dwellers, their diets usually consist of fish spawn, crustaceans, certain types of worms and other small fish. You can usually find these fish on sandy bottoms, near pilings, docks or any other type of reef structures. Flounder can grow anywhere from five to over 30 inches and they are usually about half as wide as they are long.

You can catch flounder a variety of ways. If you are using a rod and reel, I would recommend a casting rod with a small bait casting reel. You will want to use line that is small enough to be concealed, but large enough in case a bigger fish catches on to your bait. For bait, you will want to use three- to four- inch finger mullet; anything larger might be too big for the flounder. And for your tackle, you will want to use a weight or a jighead that is heavy enough to stay on the bottom.

Another way to catch flounder is by gigging. This can be done either by a boat made for shallow waters, a kayak or by wading. No bait or tackle is needed for this method, just a gig and a lantern. You will want to move slowly in the shallow water using your lantern to help you find the outline of the flounder in the sand. Once you find one, take your gig and stick it right between the eyes. Push down on the gig once more to make sure it has gone all the way through and you haven’t lost your fish. Then you can sweep him up into your cooler. It is best to go gigging on dark nights as opposed to moonlit nights. You will also want to avoid windy weather and go when there is an incoming tide.

When cooked, flounder are a white, flaky sweet fish. They are delicious baked, broiled, fried or sautéed. Here is one recipe to get you started.

Ingredients

• 1 1/2 lbs. flounder fillets
• 3/4 lb. blue lump crab meat
• 1 medium onion, finely chopped
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
• 3/4 cup breadcrumbs (unseasoned)
• 6 tbsp. butter
• 3 tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped
• salt and black pepper – to taste

Wine Sauce

• 1 1/2 cups milk
• 1/2 cup dry white wine
• 4 tbsp. butter
• 4 tbsp. flour
• Salt to taste

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Melt butter in fry pan/skillet
3. Sauté onion and garlic
4. Add crab meat, breadcrumbs and parsley
5. Salt and pepper to taste
6. Fold well to mix thoroughly, then remove from heat
7. Spoon stuffing mixture over flounder fillets, then roll fillets up, securing with a toothpick
8. Place seam-side down in a buttered, glass baking dish
9. Melt butter in a medium saucepan and stir in flour and salt
10. Add milk and wine and cook over medium-high heat, stirring until thick
11. Pour wine sauce over fillets and bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees F (20-30 minutes), or until fish flakes readily when tested with a fork
12. Sprinkle with grated cheese and continue baking a couple more minutes, or until cheese has melted

Captain Galen Pruett has been fishing off the Texas Gulf Coast for over 25 years. To book a fishing trip with him, call 409-457-2339 or visit his website at www.cowboybootsandbathingsuits.com for more information.

Leave a Reply

Story & Photos By Captain Galen Pruett


Redfish, often called Reds, Bull Reds or Red Drum, are making their way into our coast. These fish are found inshore until they reach about three years of age. Once they have reached this stage, they drift near shore to join the rest of their population.

The fall season for these fish starts in August and lasts through November, which is when they move towards the beaches for spawning. Sexual maturity for these fish typically happens between the third and fourth year of its life.
The males attract the females by pulsating a muscle in their swim bladder creating a drum like noise, hence the name Red Drum. The stormy fall weather is normally when the adult males move in towards the beaches to begin their spawning. This time is known as the Bull Redfish Run.
On the other hand, despite its name, these fish aren’t the bright red you would perceive. They actually range from a reddish bronze to a coppery or nearly silver color and will have a distinctive black spot near its tail base.

Sometimes you will find more than one spot on these fish, but rarely will you find one without any spots. This spot is actually thought to be a deception ploy where predators go for the tail instead of the fish’s head allowing the red fish to escape.
These bottom feeders typically eat small crabs, shrimp and worms at a young age. As they mature, their diet switches to larger crabs, shrimp and smaller fish. Because of this, you will usually find red fish around their prey in shallow waters near structures and grassy cover.

The tides also affect how and when these fish eat. Incoming tides can bring in bait fish, shrimp and crabs which attract the Redfish to these areas.
The outgoing tide forces the fish to wait and feed on whatever is carried back out. Channels, jetties and deeper areas are good spots to find Redfish during an outgoing tide.
While there are several man-made lures, such as spoons or jigs, that you can use to catch these big Redfish, the best way to hook them is with natural bait. Shad, mullet, shrimp, whiting, sandtrout and crabs are amongst some of the best baits to use for these fish. You will want to use a heavy enough sinker to keep the bait at the bottom. A simple ‘fish-finder’ rig or Carolina style rig works great.
If you are fishing off the surf or from a pier or jetty, you will want to use a rod that is able to handle heavy enough tackle to cast your baits.
Your reel should have a good drag system and have several hundred yards of line capacity. Lighter tackle is suitable for smaller rat reds and ‘slot’ reds. If fishing from a boat, target the jetties and passes where there is good tidal movement.

Captain Galen Pruett has been fishing off the Texas Gulf Coast for over 25 years. To book a fishing trip with him, call (409) 457-2339 or visit his Website at www.cowboybootsandbathingsuits.com for more information.

Leave a Reply