Tyler's Surf Stuff

I am usually not one that advocates fishing tournaments on the beach since there historically has been a mindset that strains the resources beyond the breaking point with lots of trash, and dead Bull Reds, large Sharks, and Stingrays that don’t get utilized all for a few moments glory because someone wants to win a prize.


 Four years ago some friends of mine got tired of tournaments like that and organized Sharkathon – a big non-profit surf fishing tournament that promotes the idea of “catch and release” and gives surf fisherman the chance to win prizes. The Padre Island National Seashore receives some of the proceeds to be utilized for park improvements and programs.


   The first year they had over 50 participants and paid out over 2500 dollars in cash and prizes. The second year they had over 90 participants and paid out over 5,000 dollars in cash and gave out 3500 dollars in merchandise. In 2006 the event had grown into 219 participants, 12,000 dollars in cash and some 9,000 dollars in donated merchandise. This year promises to be even bigger allowing the organization to spread the idea of conservation to an even larger audience. This is an event I can truly get behind in hopes that it gets the message out that we need to conserve our resources and let a few of those sharks and other game fish we catch go so that future generations will be able to enjoy the wonderful fishing that has historically been found on Padre Island.


   I hope that this year’s tournament grows and spreads the message of conservation. We truly can benefit when all of our resource users see that we can maintain our current fishery while utilizing it and protecting it at the same time. Last year’s tournament resulted in 1,000 dollars being given to the National Park Service to a “Park watch” reward program.


   This year’s tournament is scheduled for September 7th through the 9th. Entry fees are 100 dollars for the Shark/Redfish/Trout Division, 50 dollars for the Shark Division, 25 dollars for the Trout Division, 25 dollars for the Redfish Division, 10 dollars for the Tarpon Division, and the Kid’s Division 15 years and under for 15 dollars. Raffle tickets are available for 5 dollars each and includes prizes such as a – One day guided hunt at the Granite Ranch worth 1250 dollars,  an Ocean Kayak Scrambler outfitted worth 800 dollars, a Breakaway Nuke (Sharkathon Edition Rod) worth 399 dollars, and an educational beach trip with Captain Billy Sandifer worth 250 dollars.


   Cash entries will be accepted on the beach at the last access road (N. Beach access, exactly 9 miles past Whitecap) before entering the National Seashore. Please visit the website for more detailed directions at www.sharkathon.com. Online entries will still proceed to the 4x4 base camp on the National Seashore.


  Fishing has been off and on with good catches of Pompano coming when the surf turned Caribbean green. Tropical Storm Erin resulted in higher tides and turbulent water. The fishing after Erin was slow with some fisherman reporting only five Whiting in two days of fishing over the weekend. One Tarpon was hooked on an otherwise slow day reported by one angler. Mike Buti had the catch of the month with this 14.5lb Triple Tail, the first I can recall being caught on the beach that fell to a Mannolure on 8/13/07


   With the effects of Hurricane Dean one can expect slow fishing as the surf finally calms after big waves and water rising to the dunes. With each tropical system water fills the bays then gradually recedes bringing bait such as Finger Mullet out along area beaches. Following the Finger Mullet will be slot Reds, Bluefish, Spanish Mackerel and Trout. Later in the month as the surf calms between tropical systems expect Dusky Anchovies to join the mix with large Skipjacks and Tarpon joining the fray. This is my favorite time of the year. If the tropical systems and Red Tide leave us alone, the surf fishing season peaks with Jack Crevalle, Sharks, Tarpon, Redfish, Bluefish, Trout and Spanish Mackerel all coming together to feast on the bounty of baitfish leaving the bays migrating south along the area beaches to run the gauntlet of all of our near shore game fish, It truly is a site to behold.


Bring out more trash than you take in and enjoy the resource responsibly,


Tyler Thorsen