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Old 09-17-2019, 06:53 AM   #21
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I agree with the guide--can take you on your boat and show hazardous spots and fishing spots in your area and safe operation of the boat. Will be money well spent.


I too wold recommend some bay fishing before jetty trips.
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Old 09-17-2019, 07:53 AM   #22
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Great advice on here. Hiring a guide like Sgrem would be a wise choice before taking on anything bigger than Clear Lake. He's a good guy I can vouch for him on that.

Jumping out into the Bay or Jetties before you get your sea legs would be like tossing a 16 year old driver on a Houston freeway without drivers education. A lot can go wrong and to steal a line from the movie Captain Ron. "If its going to happen it's going to happen out there".

With that being said we all have to start somewhere and at some point you have to take that first step.

A few oversimplified points:

Go to a small boat ramp on a quite day and practice taking your boat on and off the trailer. It's not hard, but a few practice reps will reduce the stress when you have to do it for real on a real crowded boat ramp like the one at Clear Lake Park.

If you don't know how to tie a bowline learn how. It's the probably the quintessential knot.

Remember "Red on right returning".

Speed Kills. If you are not sure of where you are going and new to an area simply back off the throttle. You will thank me later on this.

Good Luck!
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Old 09-17-2019, 08:16 AM   #23
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I would suggest a Boater Safety Course. Preferably one that you attend in person, but at a minimum the online course.

https://tpwd.texas.gov/education/boater-education

There is a lot to learn. Take your time and take experienced people with you if you can. There is a reason that there are so many hours of on the water experience required to get a captain's license.
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Old 09-19-2019, 08:00 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by BFI-TX View Post
If there is a lake near you that may be a wiser option. A smaller less popular lake like Fayette County might be a good place to "practice" your boating skills. Getting a guide or experienced boater is stellar advice. Develop a routine that makes sure your prepared and safe getting to and from the water as well as being on the water. Until it all becomes second nature, develop a checklist for your boating trips. Example: The day before check....trailer lights, wheel bearings, leaf springs, tire pressure and condition on your trailer. Check your ratchet straps that secure the boat to the trailer. Also check to ensure you have all the state required safety equipment for your size of boat. Always have far more fuel than you plan on using. As you use your boat take note of fuel consumption. To be more clear; head back in BEFORE you reach 1/2 a tank in reserve. If you dont know....go slow or if the person launching before you is a local or experienced in the area simply tell them your a newbie. I'm sure they'd be more than happy to allow you to follow and then show you the open water, free from underwater obstructions etc.
ALWAYS have a stash of sunscreen, mosquito spray, a rain jacket, flashlight or spotlight, extra water and some non perishable food.....sardines, vienna sausage whatever. You never know when your motor might **** out at the worst possible time, so be prepared for the inconvience and have somebody in mind to call should you have a mechanical failure; leaving your boat dead in the water.. If it does poop out on you, pull off the cowling so people will know you need help or a tow. If you ever see someone else in distress ALWAYS stop to render aid or call for help. If it's out of your comfort level, stay with them until help arrives. Always, have a fully charged cell phone and until you get more experience letting someone know your float plan would be wise. Before you leave the house ALWAYS hook your motor up to the water hose and crank it up....this will save you a lot of headaches and wasted trips....not to mention not holding up others at the ramp. Always be fully prepared to launch when backing in your boat. Example: drain plugs in, straps loose, primer bulb squeezed till hard, pergo switch on, gear loaded and guests waiting on the dock and ready to roll. This will make for less confusion and mishaps like "oh ****, I forgot the drain plug" monents. Once launched clear the area in a timely manner those waiting in line can get out on the water. Let your outboard warm up a bit, once started to prevent stalls in awkward situations. Before your underway be certain that all children and non-swimmers are wearing a life jacket. Before getting on plane be sure everyone is seated and secure. Make sure everyone one board know where the safety equipment is. Teach someone else how to operate the boat in case you get injured or sick etc etc. Once underway, remember as the pilot of the boat you are responsible for your passengers safety as well as the wake you create. When driving be acutely aware of your surroundings. Constantly scan your path ahead, be aware of your perifial vision, and have a passenger assigned to watch behind. Be courteous on the water. Treat other boaters as you would expect to be treated. Example: if you feel your wake will be a problem to an anchored vessel then slow down far in advance before approaching the boat under anchor. If you see a boat catching fish, it's always best to go find your own fish "unless" they wave you on to join in. If you see wadefishermen, give them a wide, wide, wide berth. They've worked hard to quietly approach an area then ease out of the boat to catch there fish. Blowing right by them might possibly ruin there whole day. Research the body of water before you fish it. News papers, magazines, 2cool, videos, Google earth etc etc.
Once your ready to fish, scout the area your in. Look for signs of life. Look for: structure (points, guts, reefs, sandbars, pilings etc etc) baitfish, moving water, shorebirds, hovering terns, diving gulls or brown pelicans and so on. Once you've found a likely area determine if it would best be fished by wading, drifting, or anchoring up. Now fish. Keep things simple at first. Go with tried and true time tested methods. If you want your kids or guests to catch fish, go the easy route and by some live bait or cast net your own. Teach your kids or guests how to throw a cast net. They may like that better than actual fishing. Once you've acquired some bait, use different methods to determine what is going to work best. Example: Have 2 setups for each fisherman. One for bait and a popping cork, the other a Carolina rig for live or cut bait on bottom. Throw the Carolina bottom rigs out first and put them in rod holders. Pretty much dont mess with them until the rod bends and the drag screams (oh ya, check/set your drag on all your reels). Next cast out your popping cork rigs. Keep them popping frequently. This "popping sound" simulates an active fish hitting the surface while feeding, hence drawing in fish looking for a meal. Once you e gained some confidence, progress to artificials. Purchase a small variety of proven lures for the area you fish. Go to Fishing Tackle Unlimited, tell them your objectives and I promise they will set up up for success. But with that being said, you can never go wrong with a new penny gulp shrimp with ircwithout a popping cork depending on water depth and potential snags for newbie fishermen. Before catching fish make yourself aware of the legal size limits for the fish you intend to target.

Thank you!!
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Old 09-19-2019, 08:53 AM   #25
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Learn proper boat ramp etiquette. Everyone covered other things well.

TH
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Old 09-19-2019, 09:12 AM   #26
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For future reference, once you work your way up to fishing the jetties:

1. Definitely don't try anchoring near the ends of any jetty. Currents are more pronounced and shifts in direction can happen faster than you would suspect. The only times I've been in a boat anchored near the rocks at the ends of the jetties, it belonged to a seasoned jetty veteran guide who'd anchored out there hundreds of times. With my buddies, even though we are all pretty salty, we stay away from the ends unless we anchor way off of the rocks.

2. Never, ever shut down your motor until you are 100% sure your anchor is set, especially if you are anchoring upwind from the jetty. It is safer to just not fish the upwind side until you have more experience. Even then, be sure you detach your kill switch leash from your person before you walk away from the helm - better yet, detach it as you approach the jetty and are setting your anchor. Nothing more dangerous than needing to get it started in a hurry and have to re-insert that dang thing.

3. Have a good sharp knife on board and at the ready. If the tide switch is pushing you towards the rocks and your anchor is hung up, first start the motor and then release the rope from the cleat if you can (to get some slack), but if you cannot, cut it. Your can buy a new anchor and chain.

4. If you have a trolling motor, there's no harm in keeping it deployed (pointed away from the jetties) at it's deepest setting, while you fish. Should anything described above happen and you can't get your motor started, it is a good back-up

These are the most critical I can think of, but can be life savers.
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Old 09-19-2019, 06:54 PM   #27
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Since you're familiar with Clear Lake start there.

1. Mild forecast. No lightning storms. Winds less than 12-15 preferred.
2. You have already launched there.
3. See suggested plan below.
4. Rope length should be 7 times the water depth you plan on fishing. Start with 100'. Chain should be 1/4" or 5/16". I prefer the thicker. Get about 4 feet. Anchor should be a danforth. Buy the next size up for your boat rating.
5. Consider buying a hand held VHF radio and a personal locator beacon that floats.

Start by practicing your open water proficiency by motoring out the Kemah Channel. Go straight out the channel markers to the intersection of the Houston Ship Channel. On the other side is a big rectangular island spoil bank. Practice navigating in that open area. Also go to the windward side of the island and practice setting the anchor and tying it down correctly. You may want to practice deep water anchoring at the drop off of the channel as well, but BE CAREFUL SETTING AN ANCHOR WHERE SHIPPING TRAFFIC EXISTS. Or you may find yourself cutting a new anchor line. Google the proper way to tie a rope to a cleat. Get familiar with these simple little things - knots, where to tie, etc. - so they are second nature and are eliminated from the confusion when seconds count.

Once you are familiar with the open water, pack a lunch and make your next trip a trip to Redfish Island. This trip will allow you to practice your navigational skills in open, unmarked water. Exit Kemah by heading out past the second set of channel markers then make due east (90 degrees). Redfish will be about 5 miles. Once there set the anchor on the leeward side, which is typically the Kemah side, and have a picnic. When navigating Galveston Bay be careful. The route from Kemah to Redfish is open, but when you deviate from that line there can be pvc poles marking oyster leases. If you find a marker like that try striking out from it on a compass course of your choosing. Run a half mile, or at least further than line of sight from the starting point, add 180 degrees to your heading, and come back to your starting point, taking wind and drift into consideration. Now is an excellent time to be playing with the GPS, including the man overboard feature. Bring a rod and soak a shrimp while picnicking behind Redfish. Or stay the night. Many do. And remember while in the water to be careful. Always have life jackets and throw devices where the law states they should be - "immediately available".

Once you feel comfortable launch at the dike. Head straight out from the dike the short quarter mile-ish hop to the ship channel, turn to starboard, and follow it on out to the jetties. Know that the inside of the jetties can be a hard place to set an anchor in wind and current, but the fall yields big redfish there so it's a place you sometimes have to be. Be on your toes! Take a ton of line, pay it all out, get the anchor good and set, then take up the line to a length of your liking.

And most importantly - have fun!

Capt. Bill Ferguson

Last edited by Cap'n Crunch; 09-19-2019 at 07:01 PM.
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Old 09-19-2019, 06:59 PM   #28
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One other thing if not already mentioned. Wear your kill switch when under way

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Old 09-19-2019, 10:21 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sjones145 View Post
Hi
My husband and I recently bought a BW 190 Montauk. We’ve taken it out only a couple of times in Clear Lake & Taylor lake as practice. Last weekend , we fished with our 12y old son for a bit. Our next step is to venture out to the Galveston jetties but I want to make sure I plan correctly to ensue a fun and safe outing. Hope you don’t mind my posting a few questions:

1) what tide / wave forecast should we look for?
2) best place for public boat launch
3) recommended place to navigate to on 1st outing to fish (and also what to watch out for as to not bother experienced boat owners)
4) type of anchor and rope or chain
5) OR, is there another area to go to to get more practice (cruising, anchoring)

Any other general advice would be greatly appreciated

Thanks!
I would never recommend the jetties to a first timer. Currents, swells and wakes from the ships can even mess me up from time to time, but I have enough experience to save my A**, well so far.

Fish Clear Lake until you feel like you have your sea legs under you, then give the Galveston Ship Channel a try next. Before you go outside the jetties, fish inside the jetties near the boat cut a few times. Get familiar with how the current and boat wakes can move your boat. Then go get'em. I prefer fishing outside the North Jetty (with southerly wind) about half to 3/4 way to end. There is a concrete boat scuttled near the end. Be sure you know what you are doing before you go beyond it.

But most of all, have fun and remember, a bad day fishing, beats a good day at work everytime.
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Old 09-20-2019, 08:13 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cap'n Crunch View Post
Since you're familiar with Clear Lake start there.

1. Mild forecast. No lightning storms. Winds less than 12-15 preferred.
2. You have already launched there.
3. See suggested plan below.
4. Rope length should be 7 times the water depth you plan on fishing. Start with 100'. Chain should be 1/4" or 5/16". I prefer the thicker. Get about 4 feet. Anchor should be a danforth. Buy the next size up for your boat rating.
5. Consider buying a hand held VHF radio and a personal locator beacon that floats.

Start by practicing your open water proficiency by motoring out the Kemah Channel. Go straight out the channel markers to the intersection of the Houston Ship Channel. On the other side is a big rectangular island spoil bank. Practice navigating in that open area. Also go to the windward side of the island and practice setting the anchor and tying it down correctly. You may want to practice deep water anchoring at the drop off of the channel as well, but BE CAREFUL SETTING AN ANCHOR WHERE SHIPPING TRAFFIC EXISTS. Or you may find yourself cutting a new anchor line. Google the proper way to tie a rope to a cleat. Get familiar with these simple little things - knots, where to tie, etc. - so they are second nature and are eliminated from the confusion when seconds count.

Once you are familiar with the open water, pack a lunch and make your next trip a trip to Redfish Island. This trip will allow you to practice your navigational skills in open, unmarked water. Exit Kemah by heading out past the second set of channel markers then make due east (90 degrees). Redfish will be about 5 miles. Once there set the anchor on the leeward side, which is typically the Kemah side, and have a picnic. When navigating Galveston Bay be careful. The route from Kemah to Redfish is open, but when you deviate from that line there can be pvc poles marking oyster leases. If you find a marker like that try striking out from it on a compass course of your choosing. Run a half mile, or at least further than line of sight from the starting point, add 180 degrees to your heading, and come back to your starting point, taking wind and drift into consideration. Now is an excellent time to be playing with the GPS, including the man overboard feature. Bring a rod and soak a shrimp while picnicking behind Redfish. Or stay the night. Many do. And remember while in the water to be careful. Always have life jackets and throw devices where the law states they should be - "immediately available".

Once you feel comfortable launch at the dike. Head straight out from the dike the short quarter mile-ish hop to the ship channel, turn to starboard, and follow it on out to the jetties. Know that the inside of the jetties can be a hard place to set an anchor in wind and current, but the fall yields big redfish there so it's a place you sometimes have to be. Be on your toes! Take a ton of line, pay it all out, get the anchor good and set, then take up the line to a length of your liking.

And most importantly - have fun!

Capt. Bill Ferguson
Thank you, Captain Bill!!
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