Like Big Game Hunting? How About Some With Fins?

Texas is blessed with 262,000 square miles of land that boasts some of the world's greatest hunting opportunities.  Hunters from all over the country and the world converge on Texas every year for all sorts of winged and four-legged game to hunt.  But, with 367 miles of coastline that boarders 600,000 square miles of ocean known as the Gulf of Mexico, there are other big game targets to look for as well - and they have fins!  These aquatic trophies may not have the horns, but they can lead to "big bucks" - the green kind. The big game fishing season in Texas starts around April and runs through November.  During this time, boats of all sizes venture offshore in search of various fish species in the near-coastal and deep waters of the gulf.  Snapper, Cobia (Ling) and Kingfish are near-shore fish that can be targeted by most "mosquito fleet" boats depending on the weather conditions.  Further offshore (and in most cases hundreds of miles offshore) bigger sport fishing yachts target the pelagic and open-ocean species that inhabit the deepest waters of the gulf.  These include Tuna, Wahoo, Dolphin (Dorado) and the highly coveted Billfish. BIG BOYS AND THEIR TOYS To go after the pelagics, you need to have a serious commitment to do so.  First, you need a sea-worthy craft that can handle surprise weather conditions and can take on enough fuel for the long run to the fishing grounds.  That means leaving the Jon boat at home.  Next, you need to upgrade those $6.00 Zebco 202 reels to something a little more substantial like a Penn International PEN30VSX at about $550.00.  Finally, just put a little aside for baits, rigging and general maintenance for all the above and you have a nice little nest-egg in a guaranteed depreciating asset.  But, then again, a round of golf really never grew in value - did it? If you are up for it, you can even try your luck at one of the many offshore fishing tournaments as they work their way down the coast.  After several tournaments on the East Coast and the Bahamas, the Gulf Coast tournament scene begins in Alabama in late May and continues down to southern Texas in August.  Tournament rules, regulations and prize money vary from venue to venue but prize money can be as high $500,000 or more for a winning billfish.  If you got the money and the time, not to mention the equipment, then there is a billfish tournament waiting for you.  A rifle or a bow are not the only way to go for "big bucks" around here.  And these you hunt out of season!

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