Stephen Geri | Hobbies | San Antonio, Texas

Golf, Tennis, Fishing and other things Stephen Geri loves to do when he's not at the office.

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Stephen Geri Safe Fishing

Safe Fishing is Smart Fishing

San Antonio, Texas is home to a myriad of lakes and rivers, abundantly stocked as a fisherman dreams. Some of the best fishing spots in Texas are settled in the suburbs of San Antonio. You won’t have a hard time finding a place to fish. Fishing can be enjoyable and relaxing, but you always want to be cautious and follow standard safety tips.

Basic Boat Safety:

Never get your boat in the water without a first-aid kit. You never know if an unfortunate event would happen, and it’s best to be prepared. Fishing hooks as well as other tools are dangerously sharp. It’s not uncommon that fishermen get hooks stuck in their body. With a stocked first-aid kit, you can prepare to handle an emergency if anything happens while you fish.

Weather Watch:

In a recent blog of mine, I wrote about how to fish in unfavorable weather conditions. Mother nature can be cruel to fisherman, both on land and out at sea. Use standard fishing safety rules and don’t fish in harsh weather. For example, your fishing rod is made of metal. No one should be fishing in a thunderstorm. Plus, if you’re in a boat on a lake, river or on the sea, you’re in danger. Always play it safe when fishing and keep track of the forecast.

Gators in Guadalupe:

Alligators are no strangers to Texas, in fact, it’s not uncommon to spot on in this state. The American Alligator population in Texas has grown since being removed from the endangered species list in 1987, to a conservative estimate of 500,000.

This time last year, in May of 2016, an alligator was spotted by kayakers in the Guadalupe River, just outside of San Antonio. Although gators are not common in the surrounding San Antonio area, if your fishing outings stray closer to the coast, be cautious of the alligators that are much more common to those areas. If you do spot a gator, keep your distance. Whether you’re on land or in a boat, you don’t want to scare the alligator, which could cause an uproar. 

Safe fishing is smart fishing. No matter if you fish for the sport or fish for pure passion of the hobby, be smart in your actions and you’ll ensure yourself a safe fishing trip.

Stephen Geri blog header for mistakes new golfers make

3 Common Mistakes New Golfers Make

Golf is one of the most difficult sports to master. Many people have played golf for their entire lives, and every one of them is still working to improve their swings and bring their scores down. If you start golfing with bad habits, they become extremely difficult to break once you start playing more and recognize the flaws you’ve developed. The following mistakes are made by most golf beginners and typically slow their progress until the mistakes are corrected. You will be ahead of the game if you can avoid making these 3 mistakes when you hit the links for the first time.

Trying to Kill the Ball

If I could pass one piece of knowledge over anything else to new golfers it would be this: Hitting the ball 100 yards on a straight line is more beneficial than hitting it 300 yards into the woods. So many new golfers walk onto their first tee box with the mentality of hitting the ball as far as they can. You need to focus on striking the ball well and hitting it straight when you are first starting out. The distance will come in time as you refine your swing and make improvements. Focus on good fundamentals at first to set yourself up for success.

Using the Wrong Clubs

The size of your clubs is one of the most important parts of hitting consistent golf shots. If your clubs are too long, too short, too stiff, or not stiff enough, you will most likely be playing from the rough or the woods for the majority of the day. Do yourself a favor and visit a local pro shop to get fitted for clubs. It will make your life much easier in the long run when you know how long your clubs should be. Depending on the pro shop, they may also have you swing a few different clubs to analyze what stiffness you’ll need.

Going for the Green from Everywhere

If you are behind a tree, in the rough behind a dogleg, or don’t have a clean shot at the green, do not try to go for it. Beginning golfers often tend to try to go for the green as much as possible, and it usually turns into a few extra strokes on their scorecard at the end of the day. It also doesn’t teach you to hit the ball from a good lie. If you can’t hit the ball straight from the fairway, there’s a good chance you’re not going to hit the ball straight out of the woods. Lay up and get the ball to the fairway so you can have a solid lie and give yourself the best chance to get to the fairway.

 

When it comes down to it, you are not going to be good at golf for a while. You might as well give yourself the best chance of improving by avoiding the mistakes mentioned above and focusing on getting a little better every time you’re out.

Stephen Geri blog header for fishing items

3 Items to Take on Every Fishing Trip

Fishing is simple, right? To the outsider who doesn’t do much fishing, you just show up with a pole and some worms. In reality, fishing is much more complex than that. Seasoned veteran fisherman study a number of things that influence how the fish react and what lures they’re going to be most attracted to. While it’s a good idea to “pack the worms” and make sure you have the lures you’re going to be using for the day, there are also a few items you should be taking with you every time you go fishing. The following three things may not seems like they’re important to a fisherman until you fish with them once. You’ll be wondering how you ever fished without them.

Fingernail Clippers

This may be the most used tool in my tackle box. Think of how many times you change lures when you’re out on a day trip. If you do what most anglers do and bite the line off with your teeth, there’s a good chance you are leaving the knot on all of your lures. This becomes problematic the next time you need to use that same lure. Instead of biting the line, clip the knot with a fingernail clipper so you don’t have to worry about taking the knot off later. It will also help preserve your teeth, and you won’t have to the taste of lake water in your mouth after you change your lures.

A Disposable Poncho

Fishing in the rain is a lot of fun if you’re not getting soaked. A disposable poncho can be rolled up and kept in your tackle box or fishing vest. Many times, when it starts to rain is when the fish become really active. You don’t want to have to pack it in and head home just because you are getting wet. Throw a poncho over your head and keep fishing in pursuit of the biggest fish of the day.

A Multi-Tool

A multi-tool with a knife, file, corkscrew, miniature saw, bottle opener, and can opener will take care of almost any task you can think of. Whether you need to open a can of corn or cut down some branches that are in between you and the honey hole, the multi-tool will take care of it. You can purchase one at any outdoor store, and they’re small enough to carry in your pocket wherever you go.

Fishing without the proper tools can ruin your day. If you remember to pack the previously mentioned items, you’ll have a great day on the lake regardless of how many fish you catch.

Stephen Geri golf bag blog header

4 Items Beginners Should Carry in their Golf Bag

Golf is a sport that may seem simple to the outsider. Get a bag full of clubs, balls, and tees and head out to the course for a few hours of fun. In reality, there is much more to pay attention to when you are on the links, and most golfers’ bags are full of items to help make some tasks easier. If you are not sure of what you should be carrying, the following list will help you decide. Make sure you carry these five items to your favorite course the next time you head out.

Ball Marker

There are many companies that sell all kinds of ball markers, but in reality, you can mark your ball with anything. The reason you’ll need a ball marker is in case your ball could interfere with someone else’s putt. You’ll generally want something flat and thin to mark your ball so it does not cause too much of a disturbance on the green. If you do not want to buy a ball marker, you can use a lucky coin, a guitar pick, a button, or something similar in size and weight.

Divot Repair Tool

Once you start getting your approach shots dialed in, you’ll notice your ball will make divots in the green. It’s poor etiquette to leave these divots in the green as they could interfere with someone else’s shot later in the day. Divot tools are inexpensive and can be found in virtually any pro shop in the world. To use the tool, poke holes in a circle around the divot and lift it out above the green. You can then use your putter to smooth it and get it back in line with the green. It doesn’t take long to fix your divots and it will help keep everyone who plays the hole after you happy.

A Wire Brush

Once you have a wire brush in your bag, you’ll wonder why you never carried one in the past. Whenever you have to use an iron and get some mud or dirt on it, it’s a good idea to remove as much of that debris with a wire brush to keep your clubs in good working order. Most sporting good stores will have wire brushes specifically for golf that can be attached to the outside of your bag for easy access.

Two Towels

You’ll notice most golfers have a towel attached to the outside of their bag, and you may be thinking that is used to wipe them off. In reality, that towel attached to their bag is used to clean their clubs. You should always carry a towel for your clubs, you you’ll also want a towel for yourself. It can get brutally hot on the golf course, and you’ll be thanking yourself when you can wipe the sweat out of your eyes with a towel before you tee off.

Golf is a game that is never the same no matter how many times you play the same course. By carrying these items, you’ll at least be able to keep your clubs and the course looking great while you are making improvements to your game.

Stephen Geri header for spinning reels blog

The 5 Best Spinning Reels on the Market

If you’ve been fishing as long as I have, you know there is a distinct difference between a good reel and a great reel. The amount of feel and action you get from a great reel will leave you wondering why you weren’t fishing with one since you started. There are a number of great reels on the market right now, but the following seven are a cut above the rest.

The Okuma Avenger

The okuma Avenger is the lightest reel on the list. It’s graphite construction is designed to provide a solid reel without any extra weight. The drag system is ultra-responsive by incorporating the Japanese oiled felt drag washers. Six ball bearings in the spinning mechanism of the reel and one quick-set ball bearing in the crank provides some of the smoothest hooksets you will experience.

Penn Battle II

If you’ve ever purchased a Penn reel, you know what you are getting into. The Battle II is the latest installment in a history of tried and true reels from Penn. Carbon fiber drag washers along with various carbon fiber components create a light yet sturdy reel that can brave any element. Five stainless steel ball bearings and an anti-reverse ball bearing provide a great experience from the cast to the catch.

The Pflueger President

Pflueger really outdid itself with the construction of the president, and it is aptly named considering it is my favorite reel on this list. Another graphite construction that comes in just an ounce heavier than the lightest reel on our list, but when you put it on your hand you can’t notice at all. The drag provides consistent pressure, and every component was constructed to withstand the elements to avoid corrosion.

Lew’s Speed

There’s no better way to describe this reel than by using it’s name. If you like to fish fast, then this is the reel for you. The faster you reel, the better it responds. The aluminum design with carbon inserts allows you to save weight when you need to while still feeling like you’re holding a sturdy reel in your hand. This may be the only reel that makes it seem like you can outreel the fish before they get to your lure.

The Sougayilang Metal Spool

This flashy reel is CNC machined to perfection. If you’re not catching fish, you’re at least going to stand out in the crowd with this anodized gold gem. The s-curve oscillation system allows for flawless line widening and constant tension without activating the drag unless you absolutely need it. 13 total ball bearings, a one-way clutch, and an anti-reverse bearing in the handle makes it hard for you to blame a missed fish on this reel.

Stephen Geri Bedded Bass

The 3 Best Bedded Bass Baits

There are few things more exciting than spring bass fishing in Texas. While it can be challenging to target bass while they’re bedded down, there’s nothing like hooking into a lunker in the crisp spring air. Over the years I have experimented with dozens of tactics and baits for springtime bedded bass. I have had the most success with the following baits in the spring when I’m targeting those big bedded bass.

Tubes

Plastic tubes have been my go-to bait for years, and they’re especially effective during the spring when the bass aren’t as mobile and are in defense mode as opposed to predator mode. Make sure you use a hook that is close to the same length as the tube. The reason you should do this is because the bass will often not be as interested in eating your tube as they will be in moving it off of their bed. When they grab the tube by the tail, like they do with anything else on their bed, they will still be grabbing your hook.

Plastic Lizards

Lizards and bass don’t typically get along, but in the spring there is no love lost between the two animals. The lizards want the bass eggs, and the bass will do everything they can to keep the lizards at bay. Plastic lizards are the perfect bait to take advantage of this feud and allow nature to have a say how your day on the lake will go. Drag the Texas or Carolina rigged lizard across the bass beds and you’ll garner plenty of attention.

Rat-L-Traps

Rat-L-Traps are my favorite brand of lipless crankbait, but in reality you do not really need to use that brand. I just found that the added rattle from the beads inside the bait tend to draw more strikes than a traditional lipless crankbait. A simple cast and retrieve that just grazes the tops of the weeds above the beds is usually enough to trigger plenty of strikes throughout the day. If you want to mix it up, you can let the bait drop into the weeds and bring it back to the surface, which I have to work well in colder waters when the bass aren’t moving to the top of the bed.

Spring is probably my favorite time for bass fishing. The weather is beautiful, and not too hot, and it takes a certain set of skills to be able to locate and entice bedded bass to strike. It’s not something that happens overnight, but with enough practice you’ll be pulling plenty of bass from your local lake this spring.

Stephen Geri Masters

2017 Masters Preview: Final Two Group Predictions

Of the four major golf tournaments, the Masters is by far the most exciting for golf fans and players alike. After a long winter layoff, golf gets back to full swing every April in Augusta, Georgia, and it couldn’t. The perfectly manicured course is one of the most challenging in golf, and the Green Jacket waiting for someone at the end of the 18th hole on Sunday is one of the most coveted trophies in sports. This year’s Masters is shaping up to be an instant classic with a star-studded field of competitors. The following eight golfers are my picks for the final two groups to tee off on Sunday, in no particular order.

Henrik Stenson

Coming in at number five in the world, Stenson has a legitimate shot at being a frontrunner on Sunday in Augusta. He was the embodiment of consistency at the end of 2016, and he picked up right where he left off this year. If he can drive the ball well like he has in past Masters tournaments and putt consistently he will be in good shape.

Dustin Johnson

DJ is a fan favorite, and plenty of experts are picking him to win the whole thing. He finished tied for fourth in last year’s Masters, and he has been showing improvements in his game each tournament since. He took over the world number one spot and played well down the stretch in 2016. Solid iron play will be the key to his success.

Rickie Fowler

It seems like Fowler has been on the fringe of excellence for the past few years, and he is poised to break out in 2017. His putting has always carried him at Augusta, but he needs to be able to drive the ball consistently and hit more greens in regulation to have a legitimate shot on Sunday.

Rory McIlroy

Rory has been nursing an injury that kept him sidelined for the majority of 2017 thus far. Augusta would be the perfect course for a return to top-tier competition as he strives to complete the career Grand Slam. He’s finished in the top 10 in each of the last three Masters, and if he can avoid any awful rounds like in 2014 and 2016 we could see him walk away with the Green Jacket.

Jordan Spieth

Spieth knows what it is like to win at Augusta(2015), and he also knows what it feels like to fall apart (12th hole in 2015) on Sunday. Nobody has played as well as Spieth over the last three months, and he is carrying that momentum from the West Coast to the Masters. Barring a meltdown or any bad luck, Spieth will be in the hunt on Sunday.

Phil Mickelson

Masters experience. Lefty has more of it than the majority of the field combined, and that alone could be enough for him to fly under the radar to Sunday. He hasn’t played well as of late, particularly with his irons. If he can get his midrange game together, Mickelson will be mixing it up at the top of the leaderboard.

Adam Scott

Scott hasn’t finished inside the top 10 at Augusta since winning the Masters in 2013. With the ability to crush the ball, keep it on the fairway, and play with extreme poise all weekend, he has the potential to tee off with the leaders Sunday afternoon. He will need to hit some challenging putts without his long putter to put himself in a position to win.

Sergio Garcia

There is no love lost between Sergio and Augusta, and this may finally be his year to contend for a Masters championship. He has not fared well at Augusta recently with only one top-10 finish in the last 10 years. His play has been streaky as of late, but if he can string together a few good rounds he will be playing as the sun is going down on Sunday.

Regardless of who is in the final two groups on Sunday, we are in for an exciting weekend of golf. Augusta National always has a number of surprises in store, and this year will be no different.

Stephen Geri Nicest Courses

The 5 Nicest Golf Courses in San Antonio

San Antonio, Texas is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States, and it only continues to gain recognition as a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. Among the city’s attractions are its countless golf courses, many of which have gained attention for their scenery and playability.

Here are five of the nicest golf courses in San Antonio:

La Cantera Resort

La Cantera Resort has one of the best reputations of any golf resort in the United States, and it is arguably one of the most popular resorts offered in the San Antonio area. The resort includes two prestigious courses–The Resort Course and the Palmer Course–each providing views of surrounding attractions and scenic divisions of the city. Annual passes are offered at a reasonable price and include a variety of discounts on course shops and lessons.

The Dominion Country Club

Standing across 54,000 square feet, the Dominion Country Club’s clubhouse is a marvel to behold in itself. The massive construction stands as evidence of the Dominion’s dedication to excellence and sophistication, which spreads into its equally elegant 18-hole golf course. The course provides a healthy balance of scenery and difficulty, featuring a design that ensures no player will ever tee off into the rising or setting sun. Other features include a piano bar and lounge, a wine room, and a library complete with a fireplace.

The Golf Club of Texas

The Golf Club of Texas officially reopened its doors to the public in the Summer of 2015, after undergoing over $6 million in renovations. The club provides green surfaces made of optimal golf grasses–including L1F Zoysia and Jamur Zoysia. Additionally, the club’s practice area has introduced two new putting greens as well as a short game scoring area. All of these amenities are included in the hope of offering the “best course conditions anywhere…and at an affordable price,” according to the club’s website.

Northcliffe Golf and Country Club

Originally conceptualized in 1979, the NorthCliffe Golf Club offers a vintage “links-style” design implemented by course mastermind Joe Finger. This design features a wide open front nine and includes large fairways paralleling nearby creek beds. The course is sometimes regarded as one of the most well maintained golf courses in the San Antonio area.

Briggs Ranch Golf Club

Briggs Ranch Golf Club boasts not only its easy accessibility from downtown San Antonio, but also its ability to seal off the commotion of the city. The 18-hole course features bent greens, rolling terrain, and stunning views of its oak tree-filled landscape. Visitors can also enjoy the club’s esteemed practice area, which is designed for players of all abilities. The clubhouse veranda offers a beautiful view of the club’s eighteenth hole.

Stephn Geri Costco

Costco Drives Titelist to Court over Kirkland Signature Golf Balls

Last year Costco released a Kirkland Signature golf ball that made national headlines for its performance that rivaled the best name brand balls on the market. While most top-tier golf balls are priced around $40 per dozen, the Kirkland Signature balls were selling for just $15 per dozen. Golfers throughout the nation quickly caught wind of the superior performance of the ball at a much lower price point, and Costco couldn’t keep up with the demand.

The national media attention coupled with the high praise from golfers caught the attention of many golf ball manufacturers, and they were less than happy. Acushnet, the parent company of Titelist, was one of the companies that did not take the news of Costco moving into the golf ball market well. Acushnet decided the best course of action was to send Costco a letter claiming infringement of 11 patents and using false advertising by claiming the Kirkland Brand balls “meet or exceed the quality” of the larger national brands.

This isn’t the first time Acushnet has gone after a golf ball manufacturer with similar claims, but it is the first time the golf giant has targeted a company as large or as powerful as Costco. In the past, Acushnet has sent similar complaint letters to smaller golf ball manufacturers in an attempt to strong arm them out of the business. The small companies do not typically have the finances to go to court with the likes of Acushnet, and the accusations brought forth are enough to force most small manufacturers to close. This practice is known as “sport court” and it is common amongst larger businesses that are getting competition from smaller companies. However, Costco is not one of those smaller companies that is financially strapped for cash.

Costco fired back with a federal complaint against Acushnet almost immediately to request the court state it did nothing wrong. A spokesperson for Costco said the company did nothing wrong, and furthermore it never directly compared the Kirkland Signature ball to any ball manufactured by Acushnet. This will mark the first time that a company has fought Acushnet’s accusations. In the meantime, Costco plans on releasing a second round of Kirkland Signature golf balls in April for the start of the golf season. With the highly-anticipated release just around the corner, it will be interesting to see if Titelist has a drop in golf ball sales while it battles the wholesale giant in court.

Stephen Geri - Bass Lakes

5 Best Bass Fishing Lakes in Texas

Texas is constantly at the top of the list of best bass fishing states, but Texas is a huge state with many bodies of water. There are so many great lakes, rivers, creeks, and ponds throughout the state that it can be difficult to decide where to go if you are fishing in Texas for the first time. I love taking my grandchildren out on my boat to various lakes around the San Antonio area, so naturally I gravitated to breaking down the best lakes. There are a lot of factors that went making this list, and I don’t want to bore you with the details. Just know that you will have the best chance of catching bass if you fish these 5 lakes.

Amistad

Amistad is a giant reservoir located at the northwestern tip of South Texas Plains. The reservoir is fed by the Rio Grande River, which is an extremely fertile stream providing Amistad with a plethora of baitfish for bass to feed on. Most anglers have a lot of success with topwater lures in the spring and fall seasons. Crankbaits are also a popular tackle and have been shown to bring in some giant bass when they are run shallow through submerged vegetation.

Choke Canyon

This is one of my personal favorites as it is close to home. Choke Canyon is a 25,670-acre reservoir between San Antonio and Corpus Christi, and it is home to some of the biggest bass in the state. The fish have a diverse menu of bluegill, crawfish, and shad to choose from, which is why they grow so big so fast. Plastics, crankbaits, and topwater all work well at Choke Canyon depending on what time of year you hit the water.

Falcon Lake

This reservoir on the Rio Grande River is located just 40 miles east of Laredo. At 83,654 acres, Falcon Lake is not to be taken lightly. Do some research on the lake before you head out, but rest assured that the largemouth fishing in the spring and fall is phenomenal in most locations. Spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and plastic worms with Carolina or Texas rigging have seen the most success. Try to avoid Falcon Lake, along with most other lakes in Texas during the summer as the heat can really put a damper on the fishing.

Sam Rayburn

Located about as far east as you can get in Texas, Sam Rayburn has been at the top of bass fishing lists since I can remember. It is a destination for anglers from all over the world. You will be seeing a lot of traffic on the weekends since it is so close to major metropolitan areas and is a great boating lake. Even at its busiest times, the 116,000-acre lake is never actually crowded and you will always be able to find your own spot to fish. The abundance of structures, natural bait, and arms fed by creeks creates an angler’s paradise.

Toledo Bend

While part of this 185,000-acre lake is in Louisiana, you cannot leave it off the list of best bass fishing lakes in Texas. Giant schools of bass will cruise along the river and creek channels of the lake feasting on shad. There is no shortage of down structure throughout the lake, and you can practically throw anything at the bass hanging around the structure depending on what time of the year it is.

All of the lakes in this list have the ability to produce state record bass on any day. Try to visit in the fall or spring for your best fishing weather, and make sure you check the fishing reports before you head out for the day.

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