Holy mackerel: anglers fish Gulf
April 6, 2011
- Soldiers take trip to Gulf of Mexico for deep-sea fishing.
FORT SILL, Okla.--The last time John Wilson went on a fishing trip he was in the eighth grade and was with his father.
When Wilson, a Soldier at the Capabilities and Development Integration Directorate, saw a deep sea fishing trip to Texas, offered by Family & Morale, Welfare and Recreation, he jumped on the opportunity.
"I have never been deep sea fishing, so I wanted to take advantage of it and do something different," he said.
Fishing 26 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico, Wilson caught his limit of two king mackerels. He had them cut and cleaned at the dock and had about a pound of it grilled, and blackened at Moby Dick\'s restaurant in Port Aransas, which is near Corpus Christi.
"It was great. I'm a big seafood fan and mackerel is something you don't see too often on the menu," Wilson said. "It doesn't taste overly 'fishy' so it's a good fish for someone who isn't a big seafood fan."
Nineteen people went on the first deep sea fishing trip offered by Outdoor Recreation Friday through Sunday. They brought back more than 300 pounds of fish, said Lara Patterson, Outdoor Recreation manager. The idea of a deep sea fishing trip came as suggestion from an MWR patron on a previous trip, she said.
Trip-goers left the RecPlex Friday at 8:20 a.m. in two 15-passenger vans for the 540 mile drive to Port Aransas. Arriving in the early evening, they checked into their lodging and many went out to seafood restaurants. Under way the next day, a two hour boat ride on a sunny, low-80s day took the 65-foot fishing vessel "New Kingfisher" to a hot spot. The Fort Sill group cast their furnished rods along with about 20 other anglers on the chartered boat.
"We dropped in our first lines, just quietly talking, then all of the sudden the first fish hit a rod,"said Blake Seibold, a National Guard Soldier. "Then it was contagious. Everybody's poles started bending and people were running around each other (landing fish)."
The mackerels weighed between 12 to 15 pounds and put up quite a fight, Seibold said.
"Yeah, it works the old forearms," he said.
It was a family trip for DA civilian Vince Noel, who brought his son, Orlandus, 19. Vince said he goes on many MWR trips, but had never been deep sea fishing so he decided to try it. Both reached their limits, and Orlandus "probably caught the biggest red snapper, unfortunately we couldn't keep it," Vince said. (Texas red snapper season opens June 1.)
Vince said he planned to freeze some of their catch and share it with his mother in Louisiana when he visits her in a couple weeks.
It was the first time fishing for Spc. Dean Cavin, 100th Brigade Support Battalion, 75th Fires Brigade.
"One of the things that I said I'd do is fish before I die, so here I am," Cavin said. He said it was a great trip. "The people have all been nice and the accommodations were good," he said.
Sgt. William McNeely, of the Warrior Transition Unit, went on the trip with three of his friends.
"We were one fish short of the limit, but we had a good time," said McNeely. He said they, too, were planning on having a mackerel cooked at a local Port Aransas restaurant. "One fish should feed us all, and the rest we're going to freeze and take back home," he said.
After about three hours, and with virtually everyone having reached their quotas of mackerel, the captain took the group to another spot for shark fishing. The area was popular for catching Atlantic sharpnose shark, said deckhand Jake Perales, but none were caught that day.
Wilson said he plans to continue deep sea fishing and recommended it as a family event. "It's unlike anything on a stream or lake - the size of the fish, the size of the water," he said."It was a blast."
Patterson said the trip went well. "Everybody seemed like they had a good time, they had some interesting stories and maxed out on fish," she said. The fishing trip proved to be so popular that Patterson said she will probably offer it again later this year during red snapper season