The offcial page of The Island Moon Newspaper owned and operated by Dale and Jan Rankin. We cover N. Padre and Mustang Island news, events and entertainment.
Did Ya' Hear?
By Mary Craft
Sonic will be going in next to Starbucks on one of the three undeveloped site pads at Packery Pointe. There will not be two Sonics on the Island. The other two site pads will be Go Carwash and Las Palapas Restaurant. All four pads are .7 acres and the only lot left available is the 2.3 acre hotel site. Salt Smith Seafood Restaurant will be built on an acre of waterfront property behind Starbucks. Across the street from Packery Pointe is a .84 acre waterfront property available.
The Upper Laguna Madre Clean Up will take place on Saturday, October 23rd 9 am - 11 pm and clean u materials will be picked up at Doc's parking lot. The Coastal Bird Program needs your help to clear the nesting islands of trash and lost fishing line. To register go to [email protected].
The Texas A&M Islander Anglers Fall Fundraising Tournament will be held on Saturday, October 16th with weigh in noon - 3 pm at Waterline at Doc's Seafood. There will be teams of four and entry fee is $200. There will be $300 to $1,000 in prizes and also a raffle. To sign up go to forms.office.com/rDcN58MncEr.
The Seafair in Rockport will be held October 8 - 10 with a carnival, children's activities, live crab races, vendors and much more. There will be live music and The Spazmatics will be featured on Saturday. The hours Friday are 5 - 11 pm, Saturday 10 am - 11 pm and Sunday 11 am - 6 pm.
The La Isla Restaurant building that was built in 1997 and the metal building behind it built in 2014 are for sale for $1.6 million. The property is considered an investment real estate for rental income and will not affect the businesses there.
A story that Dale did on squatters living in Moon Shuttle Bus owner Paul Haynes home a couple of years ago in the paper and on his KIII Island Report has drawn attention from the Lifetime Channel. They are flying in Paul and Dale for an interview to be held at their Burbank studio and putting them up in a hotel next week. They discovered the story when they did a search on squatters. The show will be called "Hiders in my Home" and there is no date set on when it will air.
Beachfront Bargain Hunt Renovation Show on HGTV has an episode on North Padre in Season 1 episode 8 and on Port Aransas Season 4 episode 4. This is the link for North Padre https://watch.hgtv.com/tv-shows/beachfront-bargain-hunt-renovation/full-episodes/living-through-renovations.
Squared Away Boat Repair Boat Repair is a certified mobile marine mechanic/technical service provider. They also do boat maintenance. Call Bill Haynes at 663-4661 or Wes Rainosek at 220-6768.
The Island Strategic Action Committee will be meeting Tuesday, October 12th 5:30 pm at Padre Island Baptist Church
The Babes on Baffin Fishing Tournament will be held October 8th and 9th at Marker 37. Besides a fishing contest it has also a costume contest.
The Pearl Oyster Bar next to Snoopy's is ready for business they just need to get an inspection. Hopefully, there will be another new restaurant serving Islanders by the end of the month.
The Drive-in Laser Light Show will be in Robstown on Thursday, October 14th and will begin around 7:30 pm.
The Uretek Foundation Repairs also does bulkhead repair, swimming pool cracks, soil erosion voids filling and much more. Call 885-7901.
The Tax Appraisal Review Board is looking for a part-time contract employee. The pay is $170/day for regular and $135/day for auxiliary and the only requirement is you need to have been a Nueces county resident for two years. For more information call Taxpayer liaison officer at 696-7683.
Councilman Greg Smith is organizing a Town Hall Meeting to get input on short term rentals at the Waterline below Doc's Seafood & Steaks on Thursday, October 7th 6 pm. The mayor and other councilmen will be in attendance. Here's your chance to be the squeaky wheel.
St. Peter's By the Sea United Methodist Church in the Bluff at 1541 Waldron Road is having their annual pumpkin patch.
St. John's United Methodist Church has a large pumpkin patch. The hours are noon - 7 pm daily and 10 am - 7 pm on Saturdays.. They are located at 5300 South Alameda.
The Ice Rays have home games this weekend Friday, October 8th and Saturday 7:05 pm at the American Bank Center.
On the Rocks
A memory popped up on my social media page this morning, and it was a picture of me, Bizzy, and Kevin out in the Donzi at the MU-775 reef (Packery Channel reef). We were there to watch some the first pyramids get placed in the artificial reef in the northwest quandrant. What really blew me away was that the memory was from 8 years ago! I swear I don’t know how time flies so fast.
The memory of the artificial reefing efforts couldn’t have happened at a more interesting time. I was talking to my good friend Gary Glick yesterday, who is spearheading the efforts down in the valley for the Friends of the Rio Grande Valley artificial reef they have been working on down there in front of South Padre Island. He sent some recent video of a research team that was placing stationary motion sensor underwater cameras around some of the reefs. They were surprised to see that some juvenile fish were using the whip coral as structure as well, and not just the concrete. Of course, I had to take a few minutes and describe to my realtor friend what succession is all about. (Note: whip coral is the yellow “string” soft coral that washes up commonly on our beaches, also called devils shoelaces.)
I think one of the best ways to describe succession is to use an example of a freshly cleared yard on the Island. It will look like it just starts off as sand, but there are seeds in the “seed bank” that will start to grow immediately. This will of course be stickers burrs and sunflowers, as they are “pioneer species” that are the first ones to take advantage of the lack of competition and open ground. They don’t provide much cover or food. They will cover the entire lot for several years (if code enforcement doesn’t find them), but eventually the native railroad vine will find it’s way to the edges, as well as ragweed, the native coastal bluestem, and other native species. They will eventually start to crowd out the pioneers, and the plant assemblages will go back to being all natives. That is the easy version of succession, and maybe you can look around and see different stages around you.
This same thing happens underwater when you place new material down. The pioneer species are typically algae, barnacles, and telesto. These grow relatively quickly, and don’t provide much cover or food for fish. As time goes on, however, you start to get sponges and the whip coral that starts to take hold and colonize the area. The artificial structure will also start to be colonized by sea fans, and eventually around here we do have ivory corals, which are hard corals. As you may guess, the more diverse attached reef species that you have, the more diverse fish species you will get. Artificial reefs don’t just grow fish the second you put them down; they need time to develop.
So back to the reefs that we put down eight years ago. The reefs that Gary and his team were looking at were around 4 years old, and the soft corals were just a few inches tall, but growing (whip coral gets to 3-4 feet tall). The local pyramids have been down twice as long, and I am completely remiss in my duties by not catching a ride out there, strapping on a tank, and going down to get some film of our project. We would have to catch it on a very clear day, because of the nepheloid layer down on the bottom. Some of you loyal readers may remember that subject, but I will fill the rest of you in some other time.
Well folks, hope you enjoyed your biology lesson this week. I appreciate you reading and hope one or two of you learned something. Next weekend is both the Babes on Baffin at Marker 37 and Sharkathon fishing tournaments. You can still sign up for either one online if you haven’t already. I will see you at one or both events. Thanks again to Islander Cheri Sperling for sponsoring the Babes tournament hats. Drop me a line at [email protected] and I’ll see you here next week On the Rocks.
Plans for new Bob Hall Pier
First draft of plan
Public comments sought on three possible designs
By Dale Rankin
Nueces County Commissioners this week released the first draft of a plan for the rebuilding of Bob Hall Pier which was damaged beyond repair by Hurricane Hanna in 2020.
More than 1700 public comments have been submitted for the design of the new pier and can still be registered at: www.futurebobhallpier.com. The number one suggestion from public comments is the addition of at least two sets of restrooms on the pier, followed by increased lighting, an larger restaurant and bar operation, benches, and shade structures.
The T-shaped structure on the end of the pier was destroyed by Hurricane Hanna and an inspection after the storm found that the surviving portion of the pier was damaged beyond repair. The engineering company hired to remove the underwater debris left by the storm and to demolish the pier said this week that plans for debris removal are 90 percent complete and the work is expected to be completed by the beginning of the turtle nesting season in 2022 with demolition expected by mid-2022.
About 350,000 people visit the pier each year and the rebuilding project will mark the fifty time the pier has been rebuilt after storm damage.
Still to be determined is whether the width of the pier can be expanded under the current permit with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, county officials said this week. Designers would like to expand the width from the previous 15 feet to as much as 25 feet is allowed without having to restart the permitting process which would take an estimated three years. The hope is that the new pier can be ready by the summer of 2023, or at least have the structure at the beach-end of the pier ready for Mikel May’s Beachside Bar & Grill to open by that time.
Funding for the estimated $25 million is in place.
Joey's Fishing Report
I feel like I'm driving a spaceship before dawn slipping across the flats in the predawn glass. It's hard to tell where the water and sky meet, and it all blends in together. I can feel the wakes of fish under the boat as loads of mullet and redfish dive to escape us. Against the red sky growing, schools of redfish rose to the surface as they felt the buzz of out motor. We circled around them and slid to a halt in only inches of water. I poled two hundred yards hoping to sneak into casting range of some of the redfish in this massive school of probably 1,000 fish. As I pushed us along single reds pushed wakes up as they casually swam away one by one. Fishing right now is tough, but also accented with incredible moments. With this, go out in hopes of a quality fishing experience instead of expecting a fill the box up to the top type of outcome. Every catch is a success and learning experience. Texas Parks and Wildlife Fisheries has reinstated standard trout limits back to the way they were before they decided they needed to protect our trout populations after the Freeze Kill. PURE STUPIDNESS! We lost 60% of our trout population, then sport fishermen have harvested half of that over the last 8 months. They tried to keep more fish in the water to spawn this year, but when your numbers are that low it's going to take years to recover, not one spawn. We have practiced and preached conservation this year, but now I believe politics are making decisions in TPW, if not it's just the wrong people making decisions. TROUT LIMITS ARE AGAIN STATEWIDE 15" minimum 5 per person 1 trout over 25" per person per day Those redfish a few mornings ago had been feeding together in a large school with satellite schools buzzing all around us. We never got one to bite, even when we could see them pass by our lures. Imagine all night in the darkness without any human noise or interference. Then just as light was changing to dawn the roar of those boats explodes and the vibration of 300 hp outboards shake the bottom. Those redfish can feel a shrimp pop ten feet away, they can hear your boat passing by 200yds away for sure. They have been run over, through, around and pounded with pressure all year, and they have gotten pretty smart! There are some ways I've learned to keep those drags singing and fish on the line. Drifting and throwing soft plastics and topwaters allows anglers to cover water. Right now most of our fish we are catching are fish that are in 2-5 fish schools, Pods. Stopping and casting at fish when you see them lasts one cast, then that school splits up and will eventually swim off of the flat towards deeper water. This holds especially true when they are chased over and over again. When the wind is up don't put a drift anchor out unless you have to, you want to drift at a fast pace. This keeps you slipping up on them before they have a chance to feel your boat in the water or see your profile. I have also had great success putting the drift anchor in the back and drifting now forward to slim up my profile. Light jig heads and big plastics are slowing us to make long casts without heavy weight. The DOWN SOUTH LURES soft plastic baits rigged with a OWNER SLED HEAD has been the perfect combination with the floating grass we have had lately up shallow where the redfish have been. Weedless presentation allows this bait to cover more ground because your not getting caught in the weeds! Fishing in 3-4' of water has been difficult because fish are hidden in the thick grass sometimes over two feet thick. It's hard to feel movement in that thick carpet and impossible to see anglers baits in that thick grass. My solution has been to stay shallow, 1-2" deep and skip and dart soft plastics along the surface to make sure they hear and feel the lure. The fast action brings them up out of the thick cover and they explode behind the bait!
We will be keeping only a few of our trout catches and releasing most all trout we catch, it's going to take years to rebuild our trout populations to anywhere close to what they were. It feels good to let great fish go, how much better luck can you find than that! KEEP CASTING
Around the Island
By Dale Rankin
Mother Nature’s Alarm Clock went off just before sunup Wednesday morning with a clap of thunder that Islanders instinctively know means the power has gone out. It’s one of the realities of Island life and all of the folks who spent $15,000 installing generators after the Big Freeze rolled over in bed and congratulated themselves on money well spent. The rest of us just rolled over and went to sleep in the dark.
For newer Island arrivals we can say that, believe it or not, with the exception of the anomaly of the Big Freeze the number and duration of power outages Around The Island has dropped considerably in recent years. Gone are the years when firefighters watered Island power lines in the heat of the summer to keep the salt residue from building up and shorting out Island power every time the wind blew over twenty miles per hour…which was just about every day. When our Island was annexed way back before Al Gore invented the internet the promise was made (in the annexation documents) that Island power lines would be buried where practical. As it turns out it must not have been practical to bury them anywhere because they are all up there on poles swaying in the breeze.
A rose by any name
We had a question from a nice lady this week asking what kind of flower was in the photo on the front page last time. The Moon Flower Identification Department says it is a Desert Rose which grow hereabouts.
Aside from regular power outages another anomaly of Island life is that when our knuckleheads run from the PD they often take to the water and we had one recently. About once a year some knucklehead up to no good decides that his freedom depends on his jumping into a canal and swimming for it. Our officers learned long ago that jumping in after them is not the way to go. They simply stand in the street and wait and sure enough, before long a homeowner comes running out of his house shouting, “some knucklehead just climbed up on my back deck” and a few minutes later there is a perp walk with some soggy knucklehead being loaded into the back of a patrol car while the officers make sure he doesn’t bump his knuckle head on the door jam. Turns out you can lead a knucklehead to water…and make him jump in!
There are roughly 400 miles of coastline between South Padre Island and Galveston and in that distance there are exactly two oceanfront hotels and one is closed. The Holiday Inn on the Michael J. Ellis Seawall has been closed since Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and shows no signs of opening. That leaves only the Beach Lodge which is tucked right in the dunes in Port Aransas where it has been for at least five decades and other than that visitors must rent a condo or rough it on the beach. But that looks like it is about to change as we have reported here before there is a new hotel coming to the area on the seawall south of the Holiday Inn. Site work has already begun and while there is no public announcement yet the plans we have heard about will be a great addition to our Island. We will present them here as soon as they are available.
The Summer Fever has broken and we even got a little rain this week. The beaches are beautiful and relatively empty. We’ve hit the Sweet Spot of the Island year. Say hello if you see us Around The Island.
14646 Compass Dr, Suite 3
Corpus Christi, TX
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