2017-04-05 / News

Deep sea fishing reels in red snapper for party of Winter Texans

BY TONY VINDELL
Reporter


LUCKY FISHERWOMAN Brenda Tuck. shows her catches of the day at El Poco Loco dock. 
(Photo by TonyVindell) LUCKY FISHERWOMAN Brenda Tuck. shows her catches of the day at El Poco Loco dock. (Photo by TonyVindell) Depending on who one talks to, fishing in the Laguna Madre and in the Gulf of Mexico has been hard lately.

During a recent deep-sea fishing trip on a boat owned by Osprey Cruises, a group of anglers took the nearly eight-hour trip out of Port Mansfield and came back with good catches of red snapper, a few groupers and a shark.

Fishing was challenging as the boat kept making stops in hopes of everyone catching their limits of four red snapper.

The 30 or so fishing enthusiasts came from as far as Hidalgo County and most of them were Winter Texans who stay in the Rio Grande Valley during the winter months.

Head boats, such as Osprey Cruises, Captain Murphy and Breakaway Cruises, come to PM during the slow months in Port Isabel/South Padre Island area.

Some boats stay until the end of this month.

Minnesota resident David Ellingson made his first deep- sea fishing trip here.

He said he enjoyed the excursion even though the fish did not cooperate.

But that is why it’s called fishing, Ellingson said.

He said back home anglers catch walleye, northern pike and other species, adding fishing is quite different there.

“We even fish on ice,” he said. “Sometimes the ice is three or four inches thick; other times a couple of feet thick.”

Brenda Tuck, a Missouri resident staying at Mission Bell Travel Trailer Park, usually hits the jackpot.

She caught four red snapper, two of which were whoppers.

“This is my second trip and I caught my limits twice,” she said. “I will be coming back again.”

Tuck said the red snapper plus the fresh water fish caught in Missouri turn into a big party at the RV park where they stay in the Valley.

Commercial deep-fishing trips out of PM have been going on for a number of years despite the obstacles faced along the 10- mile trip from the harbor to the tip of the jetty.

And from the jetty, it takes another 10 or so miles to fish in federal waters.

Phil Calo, with Osprey Cruises, said some places along the way are only a few feet deep as sediment keeps piling up.

That can result in engine problems if a boat captain makes a wrong maneuver.

A couple of years ago, the Port Mansfield Navigation District sought funds from the U.S. Corps of Engineers to dredge the 10- mile stretch of channel.

The dredging project received $900,000 in funding, but no more money has been allocated since 2015 and none is likely anytime soon.

Part of that is the fact that PM doesn’t have commercial operations like barges, shrimp boats or other forms of maritime commerce - except the head boats..

Calo said they started docking in PM about six years ago and every year they think twice about coming back.

“There are certain areas that are silted in already,” he said. “We had to watch the weather very careful. I am hoping we are able to do this again next year.”

For those still wanting to try their luck in deeper waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Osprey will continue docking at the port until the end of this month.

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