Don’t Forget the Captain

John Cochrane
Don’t Forget the Captain

A new decade is upon us and as we look back over the years, offshore fishing in Texas has come a long way. From the early days of navigation by compass and sextant to later devices such as Omega, Loran and GPS satellite navigation systems, finding a vessel's position on this planet has become much easier. In addition, integrated electronics systems, fuel efficient/high horsepower propulsion, global communications and an information mega-source called the internet, has revolutionized the sportfishing industry. The sport of offshore fishing has become much more sophisticated with computer programs and internet websites providing more information than ever before. Technology has really changed the face of sportfishing as a whole and has made it more efficient, faster, safer, and more productive.

This new technology is an immense accomplishment and the future holds great promise of even more inventions and ideas that will surely change the way anglers go about fishing in the future. But some details of fishing are perpetual and cannot be changed by machines and gadgets.

"You can't catch 'em at the dock" Nothing compares to experience. You can talk about fishing all you want, but you need to spend a lot of time on the water. A good captain on board can fill that requirement. Information and technology is great, but a captain's instinct is also critical for success. Knowing how to interpret all this new data is a challenge. Side Scan Sonar is a great tool, but it takes experience and savvy to operate it successfully. Safety is a big issue when you are well offshore and there are many new devices for sending out emergency signals and transmitting coordinates. However, nothing can take the place of a prudent captain when it comes to how safely a vessel is operated and maintained. Experience, equipment maintenance, systems knowledge and evaluating risks all play a big factor when you are navigating offshore in marginal weather or at night. Confidence in a knowledgeable captain to get you through these obstacles with flying colors is what makes it all worth while. The captain is the one responsible for everything and everyone on the boat, whether he is an owner/operator or a professional captain. So in this day and age of great advances in technology, science and data, it still comes down to one thing. You can't beat having a great captain on board. And without one, all the information, gadgets and technology in the world won't help when problems arise. So, captains, take pride in your work and learn as much as you can about all aspects of your boat. Keep maintenance logs, make sure your craft is seaworthy and always be ready for anything that might happen. Boat owners, give your captain the support and necessary tools that he needs to operate and maintain your vessel in top condition. You will catch more fish, have less break downs, be inconvenienced much less and have a much better time on the water. Good luck and good fishing this New Year.

Don't Forget! It's time again for the winter wahoo run on the deep rocks offshore. This time of year it is tough to find calm enough seas, but when you do, it can be very rewarding. Many of the fish will average over 50 lbs and the bite can be quite intense. Pick your weather and head out the night before for an early morning arrival. This is prime time for the best wahoo bite. The deepwater rocks around the Flower Gardens and to the east provide the perfect location for these bluewater speedsters. Concentrate on drop-offs and edges around 150-200 feet of water while trolling deep swimming jigs and a weighted ballyhoo. Some of our favorite lures are Strike Pro Wahoo Hunters and similar lures by Yozuri and Braid. Rapala Magnums are also a good choice. We like dark colors like black/purple, black/red and all black, as well as blue/silver. Of course, the ballyhoo is always a great choice, usually skirted or behind an Islander lure. As for tackle, four 20-30 pound-class rods and two-speed reels spooled with 50lb test line will work great. Consult your local tackle shop to help you get rigged up right. One other thing about wahoo fishing; when the bite is on, try to conserve our resource. It's tempting to load the boat, but you will do us all a favor if you only keep a reasonable amount of fish to eat and release the rest. For more information about wahoo fishing off the Texas Coast or to just talk about fishing and hunting, come by the Fox Yacht Sales - Seabrook Office at Tops-N-Towers. At Fox we have an extensive inventory of brokerage boats and we are the exclusive Texas dealer for CABO Yachts. Come by and get a great deal on your next boat. For more information check out our website at or you can contact John Cochrane at [email protected].