Chris Berry
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Galveston Bay Reel Selection

In our first Blog we posted about the importance and differences in rod selection. It may have seemed rather trivial to think that a rod was such an important aspect of the Galveston Bay fishing process right, but as you learned from our first post it is the backbone that connects you to the fish.  Now we have to consider how do we get that fish back to the boat or shore for a complete catch.  We have selected our rod and picked out our line but wait, what are all these reel differences?  I thought I just pushed the button and cast?

I was talking with my mom last night and she mentioned how she was looking forward to going to Galveston Texas bay fishing and she wanted “a cane pole”, oh my I thought how technology has complicated that process. As our anglers get more advanced and the bait/lures we use get more technical so do the reels.  Now when we walk into a sporting goods store we are faced with so many options.  We have spinning reels, baitcasting, offshore reels, open face reels, level-wind and nonlevel-wind.  When did this get so complicated and why is any of it any better that a good old fashioned cane pole like my mom had when she was down in Surfside bay fishing?  In this section I’ll try to group these into 3 basic categories baitcasting, spinning, and open face so we can simplify some of the selection process.

Spinning reels are open face reels with a bail (small wire lock) used to unlock the reel so it can free fall line and cast. These reels are good reels for right or left handed anglers.  They are very easy to use, one simply holds the line with their forefinger while releasing the bail and then cast out to the target while releasing the line.  Spinning reels are capable of handling live bait and some lures.  The line is open and on a spool that does not spin like other reels so it makes the possibility for tangles and other issues very unlikely.  These reels are very forgiving and the go to reels for versatility of baits.  You can land small to medium size fish with these reels and they are great for children.  We use these reels for our guided fishing trips in Galveston and Freeport.  Common complaints on spinning reels is casting distances and their limitations, and also line twist that can happen when not closing the bail properly after casting.  However, even with the small limitations we find these reels to best suited for Galveston bay fishing guides and the Freeport fishing guides.

Baitcasting reels are the pro’s reel of choice especially for our tournament charter captins. Having a much better drag system to handle larger game, larger spool to handle more line and typically a very high reel crank ratio to get your catch in with less turns on the handle makes it very good set up.  Now, you’re probably reading this and wondering why we don’t recommend these reels for everyone and why they wouldn’t be used on the Galveston fishing charters.  Let’s look at some of the drawbacks.   They are every hard to cast, the angler must control the spool speed with their thumb to prevent the dreaded “birds nest”.  Most beginners are not familiar with this and would spend more time correcting the issue than fishing, this is not what fishing guides want to see.  Also, the maintenance on these reels requires them to be taken apart and cleaned every few trips to prevent salt build up.  In addition to these issues, most baitcasters carrier a much higher price tag and therefore are not good beginner reels in our opinion or for charter captains.

 

Lastly, we have are open face reels or offshore reels that we use on our Freeport offshore charters. Some of these are smaller and can be used for Freeport inshore guides use and actually one of my favorites for me personally.  Like baitcasting reels used by our Galveston tournament guides they have very strong drag systems, allow a lot of line to be spooled and can cast very far distances.  Also like the baitcasting reels the angler must control the reel speed with their thumb to prevent backlash.  Many of these, especially the larger offshore series used on our Galveston offshore charters, do not have a level-wind which spools the line back across the spool evenly and this can cause additional complications if you are not familiar with it or don’t have an experienced guide to help teach you.  Cheaper and more durable than bait casting reels they have become a go to reel for me but not recommended for beginners unless under the watchful eye of an experienced charter captain.

 

With our first two posts we have reviewed some of your equipment choices for Galveston saltwater fishing. Next blog will start discussing different types of tackle used in Freeport fishing charters, Galveston Fishing charters and start talking about some of the knots commonly used in fishing by the experienced fishing guides.  As always to learn about any of our fishing topics feel free to book a trip with one of our Galveston fishing guides and get all your questions answered first hand.

 

What to Look for in a Galveston Fishing Guide

So you’ve made up your mind to cast out into the great fishing waters of Galveston? Now comes your most important decision – which Galveston fishing guide to pick. But there are a lot of choices out there, and not all of them are equal. So before you go out and take the plunge, let’s look at how you can make the best and best-informed choice of fishing guide for your next Galveston fishing charter.

Professionalism and Experience

The first thing you want to know before booking a Galveston, Texas fishing charter is that your guide knows what he’s doing, whether up at the helm or while reeling in a big one. You’ll want a charter guide with plenty of experience fishing the grounds for your trip – whether deep-sea or in bay fishing – and one who knows well the species you’re out to fish. What’s more, you’ll want a captain who knows his boat and gear inside and out, and who upholds a high standard of maintenance, keeping everything ship-shape. Also, make sure the crew and the chartered vessel are all licensed and registered per law, and ask to see documentation if you have any doubts.

Attentiveness and Accommodation

Apart from a knowledgeable hand, you’ll want a guide with open ears. That is to say, you want to make sure you pick a fishing charter guide who will listen to you, work to understand what kind of fishing trip you want, and do what’s needed to provide you with it. While, of course, you want a guide with the requisite knowledge to get you out to where they’re biting, and to help reel them in once they do, the last thing you want is a guide who decides everything for you without checking first to see what your preferences are. So seek out a guide with good fishing charters reviews, and find one who knows how to balance what they know and what you want.

Communication and Transparency

One of the most important considerations in picking the right Galveston fishing guide Is to make sure your guide is a good and clear communicator. Be sure you get all the info you need up-front. For example, your charter company should tell you the full cost of your fishing trip, taxes and tips included; the gear that will or won’t be provided; the route or routes planned; and the expected weather, what you should wear accordingly, and any rough-weather contingency plans. Also, make sure you know what kinds of fishing grounds you’ll be fishing, in terms of terrain, and what species you can expect to encounter.

Reputation and Customer Satisfaction

As mentioned, make sure you pick a fishing guide with a well-known reputation for professionalism and for producing results (i.e. finding the big fish!). You’ll want to look for a trusted name in the Galveston fishing charter market, one known for leaving their customers happy. Look for websites that provide real past customer reviews, especially ones that show them with big grins of satisfaction, holding up that big catch in a memorable snapshot. Why take a chance? Look for a charter operation that already has some ratings, and know for sure that you’ll be out fishing with the best.

How to Pick a Trip for a Galveston Fishing Charter

Ask any experienced fisherman out there where to find the best fishing in the Gulf, and sure enough, he’ll mention Galveston. Well-known for its variety of fishing grounds, which include bays, jetties, flats, and blue water, Galveston is home to a vast array of fish, from bottom feeders to schoolfish to predators like sailfish and shark.

There’s no doubt that it’s easy to have a great time out on a Galveston fishing charter, but the more you know about the species of fish you’re after, the grounds you’d like to fish, and the type of experience you want to have, the more a good charter operation can help give you the best fishing trip possible. So let’s look at some of your options in picking your next Galveston fishing charter trip to help you make the right choice.

Picking the Fishing Ground for the Species You Want to Fish

Galveston, Texas, as mentioned, is home to a huge diversity of fishing grounds, so make sure you know how far out you want to fish before booking your next charter trip. For shallower fishing, you can check out the bay side of Galveston Island.  The areas around Galveston Island State Park and Pelican Island, for example, host red drum, flounder, trout, shark and redfish.  You can also head deeper out to fish off oil platforms, wrecks, and artificial reefs for snapper, amberjack and kingfish. Head even further out and you can find the big deep-sea fish like billfish, sailfish, tuna or even tilefish if that’s what you’re after! Just remember to factor in the time out and back to your fishing grounds, and stock up on drinks and snacks accordingly!

Picking the Right Boat for Your Needs

Once you’re set on the fish you want to fish for, you’ll want to decide what vessel and party size you want. Don’t make the rookie error of mistaking the lowest rate for the best deal. Remember that a charter trip is as much about the service you can expect from captain and crew, as it is about the boat and equipment itself. So look for a boat built for, and a crew knowledgeable about, fishing. Things like well-maintained rods and reels, sturdy rod sockets, built-in fish boxes, and fish finders, for instance, are the mark of a real fishing vessel. Also, you’ll want to be sure the boat’s got powerful enough engines to cut the chop, and that it’s up to snuff on all safety equipment and regulations.

Finally, make sure you give some thought to the party size you want on your boat. Some boats offer party charters, where you go out with a boatload of other anglers, but this sort of trip obviously won’t give you the intimacy and attention of a private charter. Even though the latter are significantly more expensive, booking one means that it’ll just be you and your buddies out on the boat with its small crew dedicated to helping you find and reel in the big ones. But if you can’t afford a private charter boat all to yourself, you can think about a shared expense trip, in which you split the cost with another small party or couple, thus benefiting from affordability and intimacy all in one package.

So think over what, where, and with whom you want to fish, and book your next Galveston fishing charter trip today!

What Does a Galveston Fishing Guide Do?

Galveston, Texas, is world-renowned as one of the greatest spots for saltwater fishing, whether out in the bay or in deep sea. The island’s beaches, jetties, reefs, and flats are home to multitudes of species, from flounder and cobia, to piggy perch and speckled trout, to tuna and shark, just to mention a few. But picking the right bait, tackle, time, and spots can be a real hassle if you’re not a seasoned pro. So why not leave the work to us here at Just Cast Charters, known far and wide as among the best Galveston fishing charters, and, like our name says, all you’ll have to do is cast out and wait for your first bite. Just what is that our chartered Galveston fishing trips have to offer you? Let’s take a look.

Forget the Stress of Gearing Up – Leave That to Us

Our boats are fully stocked with the most professional equipment for any fish you want to go out and catch. And we pride ourselves in making sure all our rods and reels are kept clean, mess-free, and serviced for seaworthiness. So, if you come out fishing on our charters, you’ll never have to worry about untangling that spool or derusting that gaff; it will all be done for you ahead of time.

Besides gear, we’ll prepare all the fishing reports, marine charts, tide tables, weather reports, and anything else needed to ensure smooth sailing and big bites. And our captains are old hands at navigating the tricky waters around Galveston, so you won’t have to fret. Just relax and maybe check your cooler as you head out to sea with a pro at the wheel.

Where We Go

As mentioned, Galveston offers an array of saltwater fishing grounds, including three different bay complexes for you to enjoy, and we know and have fished it all. Explore the island’s bays, with their extensive system of jetties and flats, where you can for perch, speckled trout, bull reds, and flounder, or look for redfish in the back lakes. And if you really want an adventure, it’s anchors away and out to the Gulf of Mexico, where you can cast out for snapper, kingfish, dorado, and even go shark fishing – not even 30 miles out. Or plan an excursion farther out, and head out into oil rig territory, where tuna, grouper, and sailfish abound. And for those looking for true blue-water fishing, you can charter one of our boats to take you some 100 miles out, and fish for hundred-pound marlin! Believe us, they’re out there.

Our Boats and Their Captains

Our fleet is made up of the best center consoles, the Blue Wave 2400. The BW 2400 is over 24 feet from stem to stern, and has a draft of 15 feet, so it can cut through rough seas to give you a smooth ride out to your fishing destination. It comes loaded with features for performance, like built-in insulated fish boxes, as well as safety features to get you out and back without a hitch. The BW 2400 can comfortably take out a party of six, though it’s even roomier with just four.

Our experienced captains know both the boat and the waters like the back of the hand, as they’ve been chartering with us for years, so they’ll get you out quick to where the fish are biting and back just as fast to slap those fish on the grill. And even if the weather turns foul in the middle of your Galveston bay charter, our skippers can always steer you into the shallows to fish in calmer waters.

Come out fishing with us and you won’t be disappointed! JUST CAST, and our crew and the fish will do the rest.

Don’t believe us? Check out our fishing charters reviews.