Tucked away in one of the numerous pdbmagazine.com articles this last month is a heroic look at someone who sacrificed so much for the United States getting to live out his American Dream. It just so happens for Bronze Star recipient, Staff Sergeant Travis Mills, that dream included a pontoon boat. He said he remembered waking up in the hospital after an IED had exploded during his 3rd tour in Afghanistan, with no arms or legs. The exact words out of his mouth were “I want double stuffed Oreos, pineapple juice and I’m going to buy a double-decker pontoon boat to pull us all around Higgins Lake on a tube.” He had never even owned a boat before but suddenly that is what he knew he wanted. He used that as one of his motivators for almost 2 years of rehab.
After rehab, he was in a position to boat shop. He started going to local boat shows to learn what he wanted. The double-decker Avalon seemed to be the perfect fit. When he finally settled on it and went to get it at the local dealer he missed it by only a few minutes. Someone else had decided they just couldn’t live without it. In the long run, it worked out much better because he got to purchase an Avalon LSZ 2685 Cruise model which had most of the exact amazing features including the layout. It had the Art-Deco design, the only thing it lacked was the top deck. Its Retro looks of the Cadet drivers stand hearkens back to the muscle car days and provides a fun driving experience. It also has a powerful Millenia Bluetooth stereo, & speakers, tilt steering, soft Pillow top drivers chair and comfortable lounge seating with flip up storage compartments. Staff Sergeant Mills doesn’t regret his time in the army and would actually prefer to still be serving, rather than retired due to the IED. But to put a positive spin on it, at least he can be on the water more than most other boat owners.
Staff Sergeant Mills has become a motivational speaker these days. So many are eager to hear his story which is truly inspirational. He grew up in Michigan and admits to the fact that Avalon boats are built in his Hometown state, which somewhat factored into his decision to buy one. However, it was only part of what he considered. Sergeant Mills took plenty of time to do his research and for him the priority was quality. He purchased the Avalon from his local dealer and has gotten to be friends with many of the staff there. He only had to have a few modifications made in order to accommodate his disability. He needed an elevated stand next to the helm with the digital throttle controls raised to be able to reach them. The first summer he had the boat he had to stay on board and cook because it was to hard to get back in the boat once he learned to swim in the water without his arms and legs. Thanks to his local dealer a hoist was installed thanks to the dealers ingenuity.
Although Sergeant Mills has plenty of obstacles to overcome, regularly, he now has a hobby he and his family can do together, thanks to his new Avalon LSZ Cruise pontoon boat. There are plenty of things he cannot do with them, but now he can go tubing, boating and fishing with them. His boating experience actually motivated him to start a non-profit organization in order to help other disabled veterans realize there is still plenty of life worth living, despite their handicaps. He brings veterans and their families to Maine where he shows them first hand how life can still be lived to its fullest. The boat helps with giving them confidence and independence. For the ones that bring kids, it gives them a way to have fun and play together. If you would like to contribute to helping his non-profit it is called “The Travis Mills Foundation” and has raised 2.7 million dollars so far to help wounded veterans start living life again.
To read the full article in PDBmagazine.com……………..Click Here
Speckled Trout with Sauce
Vegatable or Peanut Oil
Speckled Trout (6 fillets)
Ingredients for Sauce
Dark Roux 3 tblspn
Butter 2 tblspn
Celery 1/2 stalk finely chopped
Onion 1/2 finely chopped
Green Bellpepper 1/4c finely chopped
Parsley 1/4c finely chopped
Pepper 1/4 tspn
Lemon Juice 1/2 lemon
Beef Stock 1 1/2
Worchestershire Sauce 1 tspn
Prepare dark roux or purchase it like you would normally do. in a microwave melt the butter. In a saucepan over high heat add butter, celery, onion, green pepper, parsley, pepper and small bundle of tied together fresh herbs of your choosing, such as rosemary. Saute it all together for several minutes, stirring. Then you can add the veal stock and lemon juice and boil for a couple of minutes. Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add 1 tblspn of the dark roux and simmer another 3 minutes until mixture is thick. Then keep adding the roux on tblsnm at a time until the sauce gently coats the spoon. Season it all to your taste wtih salt and pepper. Strain the sauce carefully into a bowl.
In a deep heavy saucepan fill halfway with oil. Heat to 350 degrees. Place the flour on a plate and season it with salt/pepper.
In a separate bowl add the buttermilk and milk. Place in large, shallow bowl mix the milk and buttermilk. Dredge your fish fillets through the flour, then dip in buttermilk, coat both sides the same. Dredge back through the flour a second time and gently shake excess off. Lower the fillets into the heated oil. Fry for 5 minutes until a golden crispy brown.
Dredge two of the trout fillets in the seasoned flour, then dip in the buttermilk mixture, coating both sides evenly. Dredge again in the seasoned flour and gently shake off the excess. Gently lower the two fillets into the oil. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until golden brown, nudging occasionally. Retrieve the fillets gently with a skimmer and transfer onto paper towels on a plate to drain.
Serves 6 with the Meuniere Sauce on the side.
Here at Texas Marine, we function as a Team. We even call ourselves the Texas Marine Team. Our employees are part of what makes this company so successful, but even more than that, a great place to work. We value the relationship with our employees and admire their accomplishments. This is one of those rare times we get to celebrate an employee who has been with us almost from the beginning.
Dennis Hebert works in our Service Dept. and has been with Texas Marine for 30 years. The Team gathered together on his 30th anniversary last week to recognize a job well done! Dennis is that guy who is always there when you need him and you can always count on him to go above and beyond what is required or asked of him. He is a true team player. Dennis will help anyone who asks for his assistance. Over the years he has helped train new techs. He has also contributed greatly in training parts and service staff members.
One of the funniest stories we like to tell about Dennis happened several years ago. Dennis was on the lot in the hottest part of Summer. He opened one of the large boat engine hatches and got inside of the engine compartment to check it out. The engine cover somehow fell and he was trapped inside. Nobody was around and he was struggling to get out. After a long while, he came walking inside red-faced, hot, sweating and looking exhausted. He told us the story. At the time it wasn’t funny but later we all talked about it with him and got a good laugh.
Texas Marine recognized Dennis Hebert’s accomplishments with a “Big Green Egg” BBQ Grill and a check in celebration of his time with us. We all wanted him to know how very much this good man is appreciated and respected. So, congratulations Dennis Hebert on 30 years of outstanding service and a job well done!
H.R. 3094 the “Gulf Coast Red Snapper Management Authority Act,” just left the House Natural Resource Committee with bi-partisan support. It is a bill to transfer management of Red Snapper, in the Gulf of Mexico, from the Feds to the appropriate States. It still needs the full approval of the House and Senate, along with the President’s signature to be become law, it wouldn’t hurt to call your Congressman and the President.
“Once it becomes law, the mechanism in the bill for the transfer of management authority is very simple: Once a States agree on their management plan, then the responsibility moves to that States,” the President of CCC (Center for Coastal Conservation) said to news organizations in June. The CCC is just one of many groups who have worked tirelessly to change the way Red Snapper is regulated for the recreational anglers. The Red Snapper season this year was only 9 days, causing these anglers to see red.
The House has really stepped up to the plate when it comes to challenging fisheries issues, the last couple of years. They passed a fix to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Act, which had grouped commercial and recreational fishing into one big pot, regulating everyone the same. The President of Congressional Sportsmen’s foundation said “The Feds model is clearly not working, and it’s time for a more balanced approach to the management of fisheries.”
Remember the ole cliché’ “The government that governs best is the one closest to the people?” Well, the same could be said for fish management. The reason the Feds are having problems is because their data collection methods are not able to measure recreational angler’s harvest accurately. All of the Gulf States have been measuring this on their own quite effectively. The states management process will be combined with their already existing data collection procedures, for the red snapper population itself. This will put the states in the perfect position to assume all new management responsibilities from the Feds.
This new method of management should allow recreational anglers to have well over the current 9 day fishing season. They will have access to one of the most thriving Gulf of Mexico red snapper populations, in decades. Texas and Louisiana red snapper anglers deserve much more than the current system by the Feds is providing for them and states are the best way to make that happen. They have proven themselves in this area time and time again, providing the populations sustainability while giving anglers plenty of reasonable fishing opportunities. If this all sounds like something you would like you may want to call you Congressman and the President to pass and sign the bill into law.
Breaking News: Gulf Coast Red Snapper Management……….Click Here
It’s about to be that time of year again. You know, the time when you pack up the entire family and hit the road for that long awaited family vacation. Most families do not realize how close they are when traveling, the American interstate system, to some of the nation’s best boating hotspots. So, this summer it would be well worth your while to budget in extra time for some boating pleasures. The chances of you being near the perfect fishing, swimming, exploring, skiing or just cruising lakes, oceans, reservoirs or rivers is highly likely. Get out the old map or simply google it and you will likely see a myriad of opportunities that will be worth towing along the family funship! Checkout these “Family Vacations for Boating.”
In Texas, alone, there are hundreds of massive lakes, reservoirs, bays, ocean inlets and rivers to launch at. In Louisiana, the Salt Water launch opportunities off I-10 (East or West) are endless. If you love Saltwater fishing and you are heading down I-10 take a trip over to Galveston Bay and launch at anyone of the dozens of marinas or public use boat ramps that string their way along the coastline right off the I-10 corridor between Orange and Houston.
Here is a map of the lakes you have access to in Texas alone-Click Here
Here is a map to the beach accesses along part of the I-10 coastline you have access to: http://txcoasts.com
Don’t forget to bring the fishing and skiing equipment also. At most marinas they also have equipment rental available, so don’t let a forgotten ski get in your way. Head on out into the great unknown this summer but don’t forget your boat when you leave. It will be well worth the extra trouble.
Texas Marine recently added MB Sports boats to their new boat lineup of incredible brands they are offering the public. These incredible boats are built by legendary boat builder Mike Brendel. He is a 2nd generation boat builder with over 50 years of manufacturing experience. Mike deeply believes that boat making is a work of art and MB Sports company is developed around that philosophy. When you look at a MB Sports brochure you will see nothing but sincerity. Mike does not have aspirations to be the largest boat builder. He desires a for MB Sports boat to be a well-crafted work of art. Beginning with the original concept to the final production. There are many things that cannot be copied or faked, like in a mass production environment. The website itself is built to allows for a custom build to fits final delivery. The process incorporates the MB owner from beginning to end.
For 35 years Texas Marine has brought Texas and Louisiana the highest quality boats on the market. Texas Marine is a family owned and operated marine dealerships, with 3 locations. They are a top 100 Award winner for over 10 years. It is also the winner of the Better Business Bureau of S.E. Texas Torch Award for marketplace ethics. Texas Marine is one of the top 10 dealer in the nation for all of the brands they carry. They are looking forward to making MB Sports the leader in ski tow boat sales for our region. Texas Marine is focused on customer relationships and their standing as a Marine Industry Certified Dealership, which has helped then to attain top CSI scores with the exceptional boat lines they represent.
The unique partnership between Texas Marine and MB Sports combines the strength of a locally owned and operated dealership and a family owned and operated boat manufacturer. This partnership has uniquely positioned Texas Marine to provide boat manufacturer. This partnership has uniquely positioned Texas Marine to provide personalized boating experiences to those looking for a ski tow boat. Boat buyers will be able to experience the personal touch by dealing with 2 family run businesses, rather than the “just take a number” approach of buying from a corporate retailer center.
The 1st MB Sports boats just arrived so stop by one of our 3 convenient locations in Conroe, Beaumont and Clear Lake to check out one of these masterpieces! If you are in the market for the finest quality boats in the world look to Texas marine with Avalon, Chaparral, NauticStar, Shoalwater, Vortex, Yamaha Jet Boats and now MB Sports boats. For more information go to TexasMarine.com
Total prevention of issues may not be possible but there are steps you can take to minimize the occurrence and severity of the negative affects of E10 fuel:
• If at all possible, do not use E10 fuel.
• Ideally (before switching to E10 fuel) have your fuel tank completely drained to remove any accumulated water. As little as 16 oz. of water can promote phase separation in 25 gals of E10 fuel. The result would be 2.75 gals of unusable ethanol and water mixture on the bottom of the tank.
• If the tank can be completely drained, the internal surfaces should be mechanically cleaned to remove rust or aluminum oxides. Fuel polishing companies may be able to provide this specialized service.
• Consider replacing the fuel tank in an older boat.
• If your boat has fiberglass fuel tanks built prior to the early 1990’s, consult with your boat builder concerning E10 compatibility.
• If unable to completely drain and clean your tank before switching to E10 fuel, add as much E10 fuel as possible to minimize the possibility of phase separation. Example: 16 oz of water may cause phase separation in 25 gals of E10 but 16 oz of water in 30 gals would be safe from phase separation.
• Install a Yamaha 10-micron water separating/fuel filter between the boat’s fuel tank and the engine.
• Change the 10-micron filter every 25 hours of use until there are no indications of excessive water and contaminates collecting in the filter. Normal filter changes are recommended every 50 hours of use.
• Carry extra filters and change more frequently if there are indications the efficiency of the filter is rapidly diminishing due to excessive water and contaminates.
• Do not drain a used filter and reinstall. Contaminated fuel can enter the filtered side of the filter while draining.
• Buy name brand fuel.
• Buy fuel from the same source if possible.
• Buy fuel from stations that have newer, cleaner storage tanks.
• Occasionally, test your fuel to verify the amount of ethanol is not higher than 10%. The blending of ethanol with gasoline by distributors is not a precision process. Inexpensive test kits are available, GOOGLE E10 Fuel Test Kit.
• Regularly use Yamaha Fuel Stabilizer to retard fuel aging.
• Stabilize fresh fuel before storing. Stabilizers do not help fuel that has already aged. Stabilizers are most effective when immediately added to fuel fresh from the gas station or marina fuel pump
There is just something about Family + Fishing + Frying that = FUN
There is many outdoor activities you can do with your children they will enjoy. However, none of them will give you the life lessons and immediate rewarding results that fishing will. One of the quickest ways to teach your children the rewards of fishing is to have a family fish fry! There is an immediate reward at the end of the fishing trip they will never forget. Begin to build up the fish fry to your kids before the event occurs, so they can start looking forward to it. Also, explain that they will be providing the fish for the family event so they have skin in the game. You may have to subsides some fish by purchasing or using what you already have, but its worth it. Begin planning the family fishing trip and also your guest list with them. Allow them to make some decisions about the trip and party itself. This activity alone will begin to build an appreciation in your kids for the value of family time together.
Fresh or Saltwater fish will work for any fish fry. Plan on about half a pound of fish per adult coming to your fish fry, so you know when you have enough. One of the most important tools for having a successful fish fry is a deep fryer. If you can invest or borrow a quality double-vat propane outdoor fryer with 2 burners you will be glad you did. You will also need a great recipe for the fish; most families have their own twist on a basic recipe. Beside fish you will need the traditional sides like fries, onion rings, hush puppies, coleslaw, pickles and onions known to jazz up any fish fry! Also, remember no fish fry is complete without sweet tea. Last but not least, don’t forget the tartar sauce, vinegar, ketchup, cocktail sauce and lemons! Then for a sweet ending to the day break out the banana pudding or peach cobbler.
The very best part about a fish fry is virtually no cleanup. You can go old school with old newspapers or paper bags for plates and have a roll of napkins on the table for fun. If the kids enjoy more of an invested interest in the party decor they can set the table with paper plates, napkins, cups and plastic utensils for a more formal look. Have a large garbage can with clean empty trash bag within site of the table and people will get the hint, instant cleanup!
No fish fry is complete without games, so break out the washer boards, croquet and horse shoes! Invite the cousins and let your kids experience the fun of a traditional good ole fashion family fish fry.
Here is a great one if you do not…..Fried Fish Recipe.