The Friends of Padre Adopted that section of Park Rd 22 between Commodores Dr. and Whitecap. We pick up trash there at least two times annually and Thursday evening March 28th was the first cleanup this year. Thanks to all of the motorists who drove by us carefully or waved hello.
Pictured left to right Friends of Padre board members, Kevin Eager, Troy Adler, Steve Gregory, and Jeff Wolda, Cody Moravits and Tyler Thorsen were also present. This stretch contains about 4 miles of actual surface given both sides of the highway and both sides of the median.
Water clarity: Poor on the north end better south of the 30 mile mark to beautiful from the 50 mile mark to Port Mansfield Jetty
Surf: 4 rows to 2 - 3 feet better south of the 30
Driving: Poor. The worst was at high tide and it was brutal. 4x4 only in the afternoon from the 45 mile mark to the 18 mile mark.
Debris: Lots especially on the north end with Water Hyacinth from the recent Midwest flooding comprising most of it along with wood. Some sargassum but not enough to hamper fishing.
Fishing Report: Jack Crevalle, whiting, pompano, spanish mackerel, bonnetnosed and blacktip sharks. Some trout on the rocks at Port Mansfield Jetty.
Birds Observed: Cattle egrets, willets, royal, sandwich and Caspian terns, long billed curlews, sanderlings, laughing gulls, herring gulls, grackles, great blue heron, cormorants, brown pelicans, Cara Cara, and white tailed hawks.
We started the day early to catch low tide as we had reports of a 4hr journey off of the beach late Friday due to high tides and soft sand. We spent half of the time telling Billy Sandifer stories throughout the day not realizing that this day was the actual one year anniversary of his passing.
Here is Sunrise at the 20 mile mark
We observed birds on our way south looking for jack crevalle to be wreaking havoc on the local bait during the start of their big migration only to find a few working bait well offshore. The water clarity improved south of the 30 mile mark and the conditions were beautiful south of the 50 mile mark. We stopped at the jetty and observed the erosion and spoke with fishermen camped down there.
While waiting on our quarry to appear we looked for bait and found a stretch near the 55 mile mark that contained many By-the-wind sailors, a form of small jellyfish harmless to humans.
It was at the 55 mile mark we asked Billy to tell us where the jacks were. We imagined him laughing at us for being skunked on fish with half of the drive completed. Suddenly the word 42 popped into my head so, at least I thought I might be getting some heavenly guidance from our late friend and mentor. Heading back north we still did not observe any frenzied activity near shore that would indicate the presence of jacks however there was some bait and excellent structure south of the 40 mile mark. We did stop at the 42 mile mark when FOP treasurer, Jeff Wolda, said "Here it is". We paused and looked hoping Billy had shown us to the "promised land" only to find more beautiful water but no jacks body surfing the waves into the wade gut. So we ventured on.
Then we stopped at a hole near the 40 mile mark and started blind casting when Jeff Wolda hollered "Jacks" when he saw two coming in from the first gut just into the wade gut and back into the first gut.
We hauled out sans waders into the large wade gut in the 71 degree waters and began casting our large silver spoons into the first gut. It wasn't long before Josh Kea was hooked up.
About 15 minutes had gone by and we were wondering if he was going to land this jack. Then suddenly we caught a glimpse of a five foot shark in the curl from the first gut into the wade gut and our hearts sunk thinking all of this fuss was over a shark and not our targeted jack.
Time wore on and we were wondering if this shark was foul hooked as it was acting like a stingray sort of dead weight-like. Then this happened!
As it turned out this 20lb class jack had been the victim of a bite from the shark we saw in the wave.
Success! Note the shark bite just above and behind the pectoral find and down by the belly.
The tide was rising quickly so we headed back north in the horrible soft driving hoping to avoid those skinny beach areas in the 30's and find more jacks. No more jacks or birds were observed this day and we headed home thankful that Josh had just gotten his personal best fish from the surf. It would only be later that evening when we realized this was in fact the day Billy passed last year. We were actually glad knowing that Billy would have rather seen us having fun fishing and telling "Billy stories" than mourning his passing.
Friends of Padre presented a $5000 donation to the Regional Director of the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network, Lea Walker, and volunteer Elani Morgan Friday. Left to right Friends of Padre Treasurer, Jeff Wolda, Lea Walker, FOP President, Aaron Baxter, and Elani Morgan
County and Federal Government are working together along with concerned citizens and Friends of Padre preparing to clean 20 plus miles of beach on Feb 23rd. Come join us! Smooth sailing now! It's great to see a plan come together. Let's make this a record year of volunteers! Thanks Tyler Thorsen and Jeff Wolda for the scouting report.
Friends of Padre, PINS Staff and Nueces County Coastal Parks are working overtime to get the road cleared out for the Billy Sandifer Big Shell Beach Cleanup. That's true dedication. Thanks to Friends of Padre Board members, Jeff Wolda, Cody Moravits, and Kevin Eager who camped alongside the Front end loaders so that they could stay in the work area near Big Shell.
The 2019 Billy Sandifer Big Shell Cleanup will be held Saturday February 23rd at the Padre Island National Seashore. Volunteers will meet at the Malaquite Visitor’s Center no later than 8am. The normal park admission fee will be waived for cleanup volunteers. Volunteers can expect to be back at the Visitor’s Center Parking lot no later than 2pm.
Volunteers with four-wheel-drive vehicles are and have always been the backbone of this event. However, those without four-wheel-drive are welcome and will be transported down the beach as space becomes available in four-wheel-drive vehicles. Volunteers with four-wheel-drive vehicles willing to accept riders should notify team leaders during registration. Trailers for hauling trash are much needed but must be in good condition due to the rough terrain.
Volunteers are advised to check weather forecasts and dress appropriately as the event has historically included some rather adverse weather conditions. Long trousers, long sleeved shirts, windbreaker jackets or slicker tops, suitable headwear and sturdy work shoes are recommended. Boards with rusty nails can and should be expected under piles of dead sargassum so sandals and bare feet are not recommended.
Food will be available at the Malaquite Pavilion at the conclusion of the event with Corpus Christi Area Domino’s Pizza and the CCA Corpus Christi Chapter Wienerschnitzel Wagon. Drinking water and light snacks will be available in the work area but feel free to bring something to eat during the event if you feel it necessary.
Volunteers will receive those wonderful Augsart commemorative Coyote Design T-shirts while supplies last. And this year for the very first time we are honored to offer up to 1200 volunteers Yeti Rambler Tumblers in various sizes. Thanks from our first time sponsor, Yeti, one of the most respected outdoor manufacturers in the world. Thanks to our friend and fellow cleanup volunteer, Kurt Obersteller, who works at Yeti for bringing this new partner to our event.
And to our largest and long time supporter, Mr. Leon McNinch of the Ruth Parr Sparks Foundation of Alice, TX , we thank you for letting us continue our mission dedicated to the preservation and betterment of North Padre Island and the people and wildlife that call it home.
Brother Curtis Mai and the Sharkathon event have been one of our biggest supporters and friends for years as have our partners in conservation at the Corpus Christi Chapter of CCA.
Michael Laskowski Sr. and Jr. of Trac-Work Inc. has been our glove supplier for over decade. Brian McKinsey is our Support Leader and Vehicle “Puller Outer” down island. In addition to that role, Brian has personally bought ads in various publications and has purchased billboard space this month along South Padre Island Drive and I-37 in Corpus Christi to publicize this event. Thanks to Everett Johnson aka “Yank” for all of the support from Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine. The Padre Island Moon, HEB, Value Bank, The Texas State Aquarium, Saltwater Angler, Corpusfishing.com, Graf Plumbing, 1360 KKTX and K99, The Bait Bucket, Gambler Specialties, Security Service Federal Credit Union, Stephen and Donna Gregory, Federal Steel, Coastal Bend Audubon Society, Padre Island National Seashore and the Matt Eckstrom Family. Thanks to the City of Corpus Christi for providing recycling for our recyclable plastic from the beach.
“Life’s a hoot! Get you some of it!” See you on Saturday February 23rd 2019!
Driving on Friday Nov. 23rdwas brutal. Tides to the dunes, and multiple vehicles had issues. Driving on Sunday, Nov. 25thwas a 10.5 out of 10. Pompano were caught the length of the beach, mostly on the south end. Water cleared as the weekend progressed. Hardheads still present in fair numbers while pompano fishing, occasional blacktips and bull whiting were mixed in. structure in the 40’s and 50’s is amazing. Weed present on the north end of the beach from the blacktop into the 30’s, and absent south. Shelling excellent. Debris moderate with occasional logs across the beach impeding traffic during high tides from the 40’s south. Two narrow pinches, one in the lower 40’s and one in the upper 50’s. best camping areas are the washovers in the mid 50’s. firewood scare in many areas due to recent high tides.
Waves: Flat calm building to 2 foot surf Monday afternoon
Wind: Light SE winds all day on Sunday increasing to 10-15mph by Monday afternoon
Weed: Some to moderate dead grass in the guts but still completely fishable
Driving: 5/10 at high tide and 8/10 on low tide
Mullet weren't observed in numbers until the SE wind kicked up a little and got the water moving back north. Fishermen reported slow fishing for the most part over the weekend with better catches of pompano being found on the northern end of the beach on shrimp/fishbites.
Long rod fishing on the south end resulted in mostly hardheads, a few nice whiting, one slot redfish and one pompano for dinner.
Fishing with live mullet only yielded blacktip and finetooth sharks in the 2-4 foot range. Driving was fine north of the 15mm but quickly got soft and bumpy once you hit the 20s. The worst part of the beach was between the 20-25mm.
Tides have fallen out by now so if driving at low tide be careful for washouts. Don't forget to slow down when driving by people's camps and pick up more trash than you bring out!
Air temp: High 84* Low 76* Water Temp: 83* Waves: 2-4 feet Mullet were observed the length of the beach with the most bait being on the south end. Water clarity was nice and green with a few areas of browner water in the 40s.
Sargassum was washing in along the majority of the beach with the worst area being the mid 40s, making long rod fishing difficult but not impossible. Driving is best at low tide however there are many washouts that need to be watched out for & the high road is soft from all the rains.
The tide has been coming up almost to the dunes at night so take that into account if camping overnight. Fishing was rather slow despite the large amounts of bait on the beach with anglers reporting catches of mainly ladyfish with the occasional slot red, small jacks, spanish mackerel, trout, and bluefish.
Peregrine Falcon Caracara White Tailed Hawk Willet Curlew Cattle Egret Blue Heron Turkey Vulture Rudy Turnstone Reddish Egret Snowy Egret Franklin’s Gull Laughing Gull Herring Gull Caspian Tern Royal Tern Sandwich Tern Common Tern Marbled Godwit Turkey Vulture Black Bellied Plover Piping Plover Sanderling Brown Pelican