Gulf Coast Fisherman Magazine Vol 38 No. 3 - Page 5

Editor’s Notes With Summer becoming official June 2, water sports along the Gulf Coast will be in full swing now with all of the congestion at the ramps, rivers and bays that goes with it. Having that perfect place that avoids at least most of the crowds and still offers a fighting chance at a limit or two, is one of the all-time sought after goals of many a fisherman. It just comes natural for some living near a popular bay system and having the ability to fish during the weekend and avoiding the weekends. It’s always quite amazing to me to see a place like Port O’Connor, TX, so crazy on a summer weekend, and so quiet in comparison in the middle of the week. Fish are less “jittery” as well with many less props and paddles over their heads. Avoiding the crowds on weekends is still possible, if that’s a goal, by finding new approaches to favorite fishing grounds or finding entirely new areas to fish that have less pressure at the ramps, reefs, and shorelines. Many prime locations can be found by exploring roads that lead to the bay - where it’s possible to launch at least a kayak without a ramp; locating isolated ramp on maps; or by scanning shorelines on Google Earth for that interesting looking place that will deserve a visit. Reefs and other bottom features sometimes are also visible, as well, depending upon water clarity when the satellite flew over and took the pics. Congested waters are also inherently more dangerous and from the recently released 2013 Recreational Boating Statistics, the top two causes of accidents are (1) Operator Inattention - 567, and (2) Improper Lookout – 396. Operator Inexperience and Excessive Speed are three and four. On a percentage basis, however, the most fatalities were related to accidents involving (6) Alcohol Use. ‘Only’ 236 accidents with “Alcohol Use” were indicated as the causal factor, but they resulted in 75 fatalities. The number 1 and 2 factors, totaling 963, resulted in 76 deaths. The 10th item on the list of contributing factors is Weather – causing 40 deaths in 181 accidents. According to the compiled statistics, open motorboats and kayaks/canoes are the two craft with the highest number of fatalities by drowning. Makes sense because that’s the largest number of craft on the water. Total drownings in 2013 were 398, with close to 80% of victims not wearing a life jacket. Having been in two accidents on the water over 40 years (Reason 1 & 2...), I can only say they happen very fast, and if you have any time at all to react, you won’t have time to put on a PFD before you’re in the water. With today’s lightweight and water activated vests, there is no excuse for not always having one on, at least while running. So, take care on the water this quarter, watch out for yourself, and most of all, watch out for “the other guy”. GCF See page 26 for advance planning beyond this issue! CHANGE OF ADDRESS? Don’t forget to send us your change of address at least forty-five days prior to the publication date of the first issue you need to have delivered to the new address. JULY • AUGUST • SEPTEMBER 2014 5