Stephen Geri | Hobbies | San Antonio, Texas

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

Category: Texas

Stephen Geri Camping with Kids

Your Family’s Guide: How To Camp with Kids

The summer of 2017 is quickly coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean family vacation is over for the year too! Camping is a popular activity for families to do in the fall, and for good reasons. Fall offers much better camping weather than summer. The trees provide gorgeous scenery, there are much less bugs, and the temperatures are cooler. If you’re looking for the perfect mini-vacation but aren’t pro campers, let this be your guide!

How to Camp in Tents with Kids:

There are a few options you can choose from when camping with kids in regards to how you’ll set up the tents. If you all want to be in the same tent, find a tent that provides multiple sections. Having more than one room to a tent ensures that you’re all together, but still receive the privacy you need. Some tents even come with convenient zippered-off rooms, as well as an added on floor-less screen room for protecting food and other items.

Another option when camping with kids is to set up a designated kids tent. If you think your children are old enough to be in a tent on their own, let them have some fun with a kids tent. If your children are on the younger side make sure you prepare them on:

  • Safety tips for going in and out of the tent
  • Safety tips for animals/strangers
  • How to use a flashlight
  • Where the bathrooms are located
  • When they should seek you for help

One of the most fun parts to camping is teaching your kids how to set up a tent. It’s a trip!

What to Pack for Meals with Kids:

You definitely want to make sure you have not only kid-friendly food on your campaign grocery list, but you also want to have fire-friendly foods. Pinterest has great camping boards and pins you can follow for ideas on what to cook. Here are some of the favorites:

Pack easy meals for breakfast or lunch that may not require a fire. Save the campfire meals for dinner and dessert. Using coolers with ice will help you keep food cold. Another camping hack would be to use plastic bins from Walmart to store your dry foods in that don’t require ice.

How to Plan Camping Activities:

Make sure you’re fully prepared with things and activities to do while you’re family is

camping. If your family is more active, consider going for an advanced hiking trail. New to camping? Take it easy by visiting the a nature center if there’s one at your campground.

Things to do while camping:

  • Go for a hike
  • Take a walk
  • Swim in a lake
  • Build a fire
  • Make nature crafts
  • Go fishing
  • Rent kayaks or canoes

General rules for planning activities during camping means that you have work around the weather and the time of day. Weather and amount of sunlight will limit your options. Always plan the more advanced activities for the mornings and the more relaxing activities for the afternoon. This is the best way to conserve your energy as well as your children’s.

Camping with kids is a fun time when you’re physically and mentally prepared. It’s a great way to get into the great outdoors, get your kids away from technology, and simply spend some time bonding together as a family.

Enjoy your memories made around the campfire!

Stephen Geri How to Be a Better Fisherman

How to Become a Better Fisherman

Fishing is a fun and relaxing sport that allows you to experience mother nature up close and personal. But let’s face it, fishing is always more enjoyable when you actually catch something. If you’re tired of going home empty-handed, consider the following tips on your next fishing excursion.

#1) Set the Hook

When you feel a tug on your line, set the hook by pulling up on your reel. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and won’t need to set the hook. Other times, however, fish will simply swim away after biting your bait or lure. Setting the hook secures the fish to your line, giving you a better chance at reeling it in.

#2) Use Native Live Bait

When fishing with live bait, choose bait that’s native to the lake or body of water in which you are fishing. Some anglers assume that all minnows are the same, but this isn’t necessarily true. Different waters, for instance, have different minnows living in them. Whether it’s creek chub, golden shiner, red shiner, crayfish, etc., use bait that’s native to your fishing hole.

#3) Fish Shallow Waters During Spring

Fishing in shallow waters during spring can increase your chances of success. Catfish, carp, crappie, bream, bass and other common species typically move to shallow waters to spawn during this time of year. This is actually an instinctual habit that’s triggered by spring’s warmer temperatures and longer days.

#4) Use Jigs for Bass

When it comes to bass fishing, few lures offer the same level of versatility and effectiveness as the jig. Featuring a weighted sinker with a hook, jigs live up to their namesake by “jigging” through the water. This motion mimics the behavior of bait fish, making them particularly attractive to bass, both smallmouth and largemouth.

You can use jigs to fish for bass year-round, and in both saltwater and freshwater. Jigs are also available in countless colors and color combinations. Feel free to experiment with different colors to see which jig color yields the best results.

#5) Use Top-Water Lures During and After Rain

Some anglers call it quits and head home when it begins to rain. If you’re not afraid of getting wet, however, you can actually use this weather to your advantage by fishing with a top-water lure. Rain typically brings out insects, which in turn attracts fish closer to the surface. By using a top-water lure during or shortly after it rains, you can target these fish looking for an easy meal.

 

Stephen Geri Fish without the Fine

Fish Without the Fine: Why You Need a Fishing License

If you’re under the age of 17, then you don’t have to worry about fishing without a license, however if you’re reading this blog, it’s more than likely that you’re over the age of 17 and required to have a fishing license– If you’re serious about the sport, that is.

Anyone over the age of 17 is required to have a registered license if they wish to take fish, clams, crayfish, or other aquatic life from both freshwater and saltwater in the state of Texas. In any case where you’re looking to take frogs and turtles, then you need a hunting license. The only exception to obtaining a required fishing license is on Free Fishing Day, which takes place the first Saturday in June annually for Texas.

For residents under the age of 65, you can purchase licenses at varying prices:

  • Freshwater: $30
  • Saltwater: $35
  • All-Water: $40

Seniors receive significant discounts for their license packages:

  • Freshwater: $12
  • Saltwater: $17
  • All-water: $22

Compared to the fines you receive when fishing without a valid license, this Texas fishing licenses are not a high price to pay. You can find other fishing license information for the state of Texas on the Texas Parks & Wildlife website.

In addition to a fishing license, you are required to have a fishing endorsement for both freshwater and saltwater if you plan to take fish from public waters. This is essential for anglers to know and follow responsibly to ensure they won’t receive a fine if caught without a license or endorsement.

Fishing Fines & Penalties

If you’re a true, respectable angler, then you follow the Texas Parks and Wildlife code. ANyone caught engaging in activity that breaks this code will face penalties, and can expect fines to come along with those penalties.

For a Class C offense you can face fines anywhere between $25-500. For $5 more, you could have simply purchased a license. Class B or higher offenses have potential jail time, and fines ranging between $200-1000 depending on the class and the crime.

At that point, you’re better off following the rules and fishing with a license so you can ensure you won’t be fined. In addition to fines, you can also face penalties when breaking the Texas state fishing laws. Even if you do carry a registered license, that could be suspended for up to 5 years.

It’s pretty clear that the state of Texas takes their fishing laws seriously. Follow the Parks and Wildlife code– Ensure that you’re fishing without the fines.

Stephen Geri 2018 Elite

Tournaments in Texas: 2018 Elite Series Schedule

Bass fishermen all over the country have heard about the Elite Series. This unique, traveling tournament has a rich history in the angler world. Visiting venues that are new or familiar open opportunities for bass fishermen local to the tournaments. As the schedule for the 2018 Elite Series was recently released, anglers are anticipating an outstanding lineup.

The Bassmaster Elite Series is a tournament that has brought fishermen together over an expanse of states, reuniting old friends and igniting new friends with mirrored passions. As bass fishing is explored all over the country, dipping into new regions, it brings together those who love the sport but also take it seriously.

As the tournament will kick off in February, in Alexander City, Alabama, fishermen can expect an array of weather conditions. Although it starts in the southern states, moving from Alabama to Texas, anything from icy sleet to warm and sunny weather should be anticipated. Other states on the schedule hosting venues are Oklahoma, Tennessee, New York, and more. You can see full details of the schedule on the Bassmaster website.

Sabine River in Orange, Texas

2018 won’t be the first year that elite fishermen make their way to the Sabine River. Running through Orange, Texas and also through Louisiana, the river empties into Lake Sabine. Highly known to fisherman in both Texas and Louisiana, the Sabine River water body records show just how flourishing of a fishing venue this river is.

Largemouth, white, stripped and paradise bass are all found in the Sabine. Previously, this venue during the Elite Series has drawn in over 33,650 people during the four day event. Recently in June, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open shed light on the tournament to an impressive turnout, making elite fishermen aware that the Sabine River venue may break the one-day attendance record once again as it did back in 2013. This would take the reigns back from Waddington, New York, which has held the attendance record since 2014.

Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest

After traveling through states over the course of the tournament, elite fishermen will return to Texas for the Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest in mid-May. This event will benefit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. You can see the tournament standings from 2017’s Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest with elite fisherman, Brandon Palaniuk taking the win with over 93 pounds during the four day tournament.

The elite series is scheduled to go on from February through August, which will then be followed by the AOY Championship and Classic Bracket taking place in late September.

Stephen-Geri-Texas-Lures-Fishing

Best Lures for Texas Lake Fishing

Everyone knows the saying “everything’s bigger in Texas”, but are the fish? Whether you consider yourself an angler or just have a love for the sport and being out on the water, here are a few great lures you should keep stocked in your tackle box.

Jigs

Jigging is a type of fishing with a lure called a “jig”. As the jig goes through the water, it creates a jagged, vertical motion. Many fishermen would argue that jigs are the most versatile lure to use, making them widely popular. Jigs are fairly productive and light bait.

Many jigs can be made from lead or tungsten, giving the lure it’s weight. They come in many colors such as metallic or natural for example. The color choice for jigs and all lures in general will depend on the type of water and fishing conditions.

Crankbaits

Crankbaits are great for bass fishing because they are made for various depths of the water. The three water level crankbaits are specifically designed for are shallow, medium and deep water. Although you can use this type of lure year round, your best chances of catching bass with a crankbait are late spring, summer and early fall.

Spinnerbait

As many fishermen believe jigs to be the most versatile, others will argue spinners are the best because they can be used in any season and almost any water condition. Spinnerbait glides through the water in a horizontal motion. The metal on the spinner mimics the motion of small fish bait and attracts the larger fish, mostly bass in this case.  

Deep Diving Crank

As mentioned before, crankbaits are made for various water depths. Deep diving crankbaits get down to where the fish are and work well for easy bites. Deep cranking technique is different than shallow cranking which most fishermen are used to. The longer the cast using deep crankbait, the more time it has to dive. Another tip when using deep diving crankbait is to change the hooks every now and then to ensure they’re not dull.

Finesse Worm

There is much debate on whether or not “real” fishermen should use the finesse worm because it’s a fake worm, but many fish with this bait regularly. Some fishing techniques use a finesse worm as bait on top of other lures. For example, you can use a finesse worm and a jig. The old styles that always do the trick with finesse worms are the Texas rig worms and the “wacky rig”.

 

Fishing in Unfavorable Weather: Part 2

Stephen Geri Fishing Weather 2

In part 1 of this blog, I spoke about unfavorable weather conditions that you may face during your outing. To follow up with weather conditions, you need to make sure you’re prepared gear wise. You can one-up your fishing friends on your next outing with these tips and tricks.

Water Temperatures:

Most species of fish you’re going to catch are cold-blooded which simply means that they can’t control their inner body warmth. Thus, the temperature of the water has a lot to do with how the fish will bite.

Take a look at this fishing chart to see the optimal water temperature for certain fish. Note the largemouth Bass, with a range between 60-77 degrees. Near Houston, Lake Conroe is one of the best spots you’ll catch largemouth Bass, and is also known to have the biggest largemouth bass ever recorded to be caught in Texas Parks. In this water temperature, bass can be found in shallow beds.

Fishing Gear:

Some of the best baits to use in unfavorable weather are

  • Crankbaits
  • Jerkbaits
  • Spinnerbaits
  • Swimbaits


These lures can help you determine where the fish are in a general location, which then will allow you to switch baits. If you are fishing with a friend, be sure to use two different baits. This will allow for a better chance of finding the fish.

Wearable Gear:

When it rains, you have to make the best of it. With the right clothing, it’ll make your life a lot less miserable in the rain. Frogg Toggs is great waterproof gear, but some fishermen complain that they still get wet. Another option would be to buy from Cabela’s when there’s a good sale or gear goes on clearance. Waterproof gear is essential to fishing on a rainy day.

In hot weather and sunny conditions, wear a hat or visor, as well as sunglasses to protect you from the sun. Don’t forget sunscreen as the rays reflect off of the water and shine right on your skin.

No matter what weather condition you’re in, keep a plan of action. Break down your strategy if you don’t want a lousy day on the water. Always make sure you’ve got your gear too. A tacklebox, the right clothing and strategically picking your location could give you a great day of fishing.

 

 

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 - 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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