Sunday, June 7, 2009

Checking in

The weather has been extraordinarily nice during the past couple of weeks. The wind has not been too strong, and has been from the South East - which is the 'right' direction. I had high hopes when I finally got a chance to take the boat out this weekend. Although I enjoyed myself, we did not catch too many. I did put a nice flounder in the freezer and caught a couple of small redfish. I still think its a little early in the season for keeper reds way back here in Carancahua Bay. We'll give it another shot today, and see what happens. I'll let you know how it goes.


Scott Gaspard said...

Thanks bigk. I deleted your comment by accident.

Carl Frey said...

I'm looking for info and tips about boat fishing in Matagorda bay and came across your blog.
What would you recommend for a first timer on the bay with a 18 ft V bottom boat?. Friends have scared me about hitting oyster beds. Is there any maps or safe areas to sail?
Thanks in advance for your help and congrats for your posts.
Carl Frey

Scott Gaspard said...

Hi Carl,

Congratulations on your new boat! The real question about your bout is how much does it draft? In other words, when full of passengers, fuel, and equipment, how deep is the keel of your boat below the water line? My guess is that it is no more than about 18 inches. Most modern bay boats are V-hull in front, but more flat in the rear. The V-hull helps cut through chop, but the flat rear helps the boat ride up on the water when under way (get on plane). This means that your draft is significantly less when you are under way, versus when you are at rest.

You should always be careful about oyster reefs, submerged pilings, sand bars, and other obstructions. When you are in unfamiliar water, take it slow and easy until you get a feel for whats under your boat. There are no reliable maps that can help, but I find that the satellite view from Google Earth can help point out the obvious stuff.

I remember when I first got my boat, my butt would pucker up tighter than a frog's ass everytime I tried to make the cut at Saltwater Lake. Now I know where to go, so I don't think about it much other than pointing my boat in the right direction.

Most of Matagorda Bay is pretty deep, without much to worry about. Its only when you get close to shore, or get back into the secondary bays that you really need to watch out.

I always record my tracks with my GPS unit, and every time I see a pipe sticking up, or an oyster reef, I mark it with a skull and cross-bones. This way I know to avoid it when I am cruising at speed.

Good luck with your new boat. Take it easy for the first few years until you get to know your waters. Make your own maps, and talk to boaters at the ramp. You'll be skipping over the water like a pro before you know it.

Carl Frey said...

Thanks Scott,
It's funny, I had already started marking my GPS (road type Garmin) with pirate skulls where the map shows reefs.
My boat (not new) hax max draft of 3 ft. with propeller down Min 18 inches with propeller up.
I'm planning to go to East Bay, what is the best or safest cut to take?
I'm not sure where SALTwater Lake is.

Scott Gaspard said...

Sorry, Carl. I'm not at all familiar with East Bay. You have a pretty deep running boat, so be careful! You should consider getting a real GPS/sonar combo for your boat. I have a Lowrance - with the built-in detailed nav maps. Although I don't rely on them exclusively, the topography indicated on the map is usually pretty accurate - at least enough to find the deepest channels. If you stay within the deepest parts of the bay as indicated by your nav map, you can carefully branch out from there until you learn the water. Good luck. Bring a cell phone with you and all of your gear - plus a good pair of wading boots in case you get stuck!