First, Saturday’s El Pescador Boat Owners Tournament in Port O’Connor, after which we “Head ‘Em Off at the Pass”

Tropical Storm Edouard, thankfully, rolled through the Upper Texas Coast’s McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge with a much-milder-than-anticipated signature. Here in Seabrook, we had sustained winds of around 35 to 40 mph for a couple of hours Tuesday morning, partnered with heavy rain.
It’s a real testimony to the hard work of the folks with Center Point Energy that, to my amazement, we did not lose power. I have seen lesser weather disturbances take down tree limbs and shut off the juice post-haste, so it was a wonderful relief to realize around lunchtime that what we were in for was essentially a peaceful, albeit wet and windy day at the home office.
I’m currently packing the camera and video gear in anticipation of a run south to Port O’Connor with my good friend Mark Hall of CoastalPhotos.net.
Come Saturday, I will serve as master of ceremonies for the El Pescador Boat Owners tournament. El Pescador Boats owner Dave Kveton not only makes a fantastic fishing boat, without a doubt one of the best-built, most versatile hulls in the industry; he’s also one hell of a fisherman. (For details on the custom-made El Pescador, check the web at www.elpescadorboats.com … when Kveton says the rigs can handle everything from “Six Inches to Sixty Fathoms,” he’s telling it like it is.) He also has a great facility in El Pescador Lodge, should you plan on visiting Port O’Connor any time soon and are looking for a great place to stay.
With Dave’s considerable angling skills at hand along with a top-notch fishing boat, being a couple of guys who never pass up a good opportunity to get out on the water, Hall and I will join Dave after the event for a day of drifting Pass Cavallo in search of some of the area’s sizable tarpon.
Texas tarpon fishing is always unpredictable at best. However, with Edouard’s recent appearance, I know from experience that the surf should be ripe with big bull redfish gearing up for the spawn.
However, if the sabalo do not cooperate, we’ll be plenty thankful to hang around and enjoy some get-down catch-and-release action Larry Bozka Black Salty Bull Redfishwith oversized red drum. As always, we’ll use circle hooks (for both tarpon and bull redfish). I’ve always been a big fan of Daiichi’s red-plated “Bleeding Hooks,” and as such have already stashed a few packages of 7/0 Circle Chunk Light hooks specifically for this trip. I’ve used the Circle Chunk Light in a variety of sizes for a variety of species, and have never been disappointed. The thinner-than-normal but extremely strong hook shaft does an excellent job of facilitating the classic “cam action” that makes hooks like this essentially set themselves.
Around lunchtime tomorrow (Friday), two 5-pound boxes of XL “Magnum” Black Salty baitfish will be delivered via Federal Express to Marty’s Landing in Port O’Connor. From there, Hall and I will situate the big 6-1/2- to 7-1/2-inch live baits in aerated freshwater holding tanks, where they will remain until we and Kveton board one of his 24-foot center-console rigs and do our best to “Head ‘em off at the pass.”
Should our efforts be rewarded, you’ll be able to see the results within a week or so of the trip, both as video posted to YouTube (where, under the search term “Black Salty” you can already see several of the Bozka Outdoor Media/CoastalAnglers.com videos produced by yours truly and son James, who works as both a field shooter and editor). Furthermore, photos of the trip will be posted to a new account I have created at online photo gallery FlickR.com. To check out the substantial inventory of images already posted, along with future material, go to www.flickr.com and log in to view photos from coastalangler@yahoo.com.
 We and other anglers have taken numerous tarpon while fishing the Black Salty in Florida, but this is the first dedicated run we have made using the Federal-Expressed shipped live baits for Texas tarpon. As for redfish, we have taken too many to count.
 Normally, it would be a bit early in the season to expect serious action from surf-running bull reds. Again, though, Edouard should have produced just the stimulus it takes to get those lunker fish going.
 Long-rodding for beachfront bull reds is a great way to while away a late-summer day on the Texas coast. A 2-piece 10- or 11-foot-class surf rod, spinning or casting reel with 30-pound test monofilament and a well-constructed shock leader fitted with a wire-pronged  “surf spider” weight is all it takes to capitalize on the big, bronze bounty of late August and September’s fast-moving tides.
 If you’d like to see the specifics on exactly how to tie a shock leader, go to www.blacksalty.com home page and click on “The Black Salty.” There, you will find both instructions and a detailed line drawing that shows the components and assembly process.
 Have fun catching those big fish, but never forget, the cargos carried by the heavyweight females represent tens of millions of eggs that will ultimately bolster what is already one of the finest red drum fisheries in the country. Always use circle hooks (which almost invariably hook the fish in the jaw, and likewise, are almost never taken deep in the throat where they could cause injury to the fish), handle the fish with care, and while you’re at it, give a tip of the hat to the concerned sportsmen that over 25 years ago gathered to form the then-Gulf Coast Conservation Association (GCCA, now the nationally-expanded CCA).
 Thanks to the efforts of those dedicated volunteers, and yours as well, we can all enjoy big-game-caliber sport fishing on an extremely modest budget.
 Like the MasterCard commercial says, the look on the face of the fisherman who for the first time in his life digs his heels into the sand while battling an unseen behemoth is absolutely priceless.
 And, I should add, so are the fish.

fun event coming up this Saturday.



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