Hi there! I'm Jonathan with Captain Experiences. I'm here today with one of our damn good Captains - Captain Lee Crisler of Ocean Breeze Charters in Galveston. Come and join us as Captain Lee talks about his fishing experiences, deep sea trolling & more!
Watch the full video below or read on for everything Captain Lee has to share on Ocean Breeze fishing charters.
Jonathan: Like a pro boxer, you've got like the 10-seconds intro - master of the deep sea and all the stuff.
Lee: That's right!
Jonathan: Just so everybody knows - Captain Lee Crisler operates the Tequila Sunrise, a 50 foot ocean Super Sport out of the Galveston Yacht Basin in Galveston Texas. This is kind of a unique interview because Captain Lee is going to show us around. We’re gonna get into a current offshore Galveston fishing report with some big news about a giant bluefin tuna that was caught and Captain Lee’s gonna give us some tips on catching mahi-mahi on some offshore candy-lures. So we’ve got a lot to get into - captain, how you’ve been?
Lee: I've been good! Which I've been fishing more than I have in a bit - ready to go.
Jonathan: Y’all have a good recent trip - can we start there? How’d that go?
Lee: It went really great! We left in the morning - a two day trip. Went out about a hundred and twenty miles towards the flower gardens and everybody wanted to target tuna. So we put them on tuna, some wahoo and took other different species - grouper and a little bit of everything. It was a good trip - we had a lot of fun.
Jonathan: That’s great to hear. Can you touch on that because that’s something you do which is you talk to your clients before the trip and ask them what they’re targeting. Can you talk about how that kind of interaction plays out?
Lee: Well... I guess we do things a little bit different here - some charter boats you get on and they want to target certain species that they’re used to targeting but I want to try and give an experience with everybody that's gonna check things off their bucket list. I'm asking what kind of fish they are looking for and then advise them that we're going to be in that area where that fish is or if they’re in season running then we'll try and target them but I really try and put a lot of different species on the deck.
Jonathan: Yeah... Totally! That's awesome.
Lee: To our client, we try to fill their bucket list.
Jonathan: That's the name of the game - I'm writing a big blog report right now. Kind of like my top bucket list trip that we have on the site - you guys definitely make an appearance so be ready for that. So where are you sitting right now? Can you show us around?
Lee: I'm sitting in a comfortable recliner and I got buddy Ron over here. Say “Hi Ron!”
Jonathan: Hi Ron! How’s it going?
Lee: So we are here now on what we call a salon - couple of recliners, leather sofas, television, nice air conditioning, down is the galley area or the kitchen. Right here with all the amenities of home - I'm not going to show you my room cause it's a mess. Captain's quarters there and another quarters there, we got 2 bathrooms and 2 showers onboard and of course out back on the deck that's where all the action happens. Then we have a bridge up top of course.
Jonathan: That's awesome and then there's that little fridge tucked away down there too - that's not so little actually, It's pretty sizable so they can pack whatever they're bringing on board. It's nice to have a kitchen when you need to get cooking right away on that fresh catch.
Lee: Yeah speaking of that, we also try and stop off cause you know especially 2-day trips. We are allowed to stop and catch - let's say red snapper that's not in season but we’re allowed to catch and consume it cause we’re doing beyond a 24 hour trip. So we got a gas-grill on board and put anything there for us to consume. We've got Chris, Benny and David - the crew members make up a ceviche mix before we even leave the dock.
Jonathan: Wow! No way!
Lee: So we go out there to catch some snapper - have some snapper ceviche the next day and some iced cold beers.
Jonathan: You can’t go wrong with those! That’s nice! Can you talk about Chris and Benny a little bit - how hard the team works to really make it a seamless experience for the people coming out with you because that's part of the bargain for your clients.
Lee: Key word there is “Hard work” - we come out the full 24 hours to prepare all we need like 500 to 800 pounds of ice, fuel, water and build tanks, clean the boat real good, bait, do engine room checks, filters and get extra of everything in grocery stores. Those guys work hard - it takes a full crew to run about like this.
Jonathan: Definitely yeah! it's a full-time job to say the least. What would you say about the type of anglers or group that comes with you? Is it specifically an expert offshore fisherman or just kind of people who wants to have a good time on the water?
Lee: No! Actually our clients or customers who come on board are kind of moderate fishermen - they’ve been offshore but they haven't been on an offshore adventure like this. So there's a lot of things that they learn from us that they didn't know about. We fish deep waters especially in this area - a lot of people as far as they get out - personal center consoles like 50 to 60 miles is a long trip for them. So going out for around 100 miles further - it's a different fishing out there, different techniques. So you don't have to be an avid angler because we take care of all of them, everybody works hard together to give our clients a great experience - novice, moderate or avid.
Jonathan: It's just like Mark and Joe - Mark Schaefbauer of the Bait Butler has his own boat. He likes to go bay fishing and things - he’ll even go snapper fishing on his own boat but he’s not gonna go a 110 miles offshore to Flower Gardens. They had a blast on the trip and they brought some of their own gear because they are avid offshore fisherman who wanted to try to test it against blackfin tuna but you guys obviously have your own penn rods and everything of the highest quality. It's very fun having everything ready for you - ready to go.
Lee: A lot of people have their own gear - I don't mind at all, that's great because for some people catching a fish with their own gear it's actually special for them.
Jonathan: Yeah! Definitely! It's kind of like a fly-fishermen who likes tying his own flies - that kind of routine. So what's the current fishing report out of Galveston? How are things looking? Obviously the big news is about the giant bluefin tuna but you've been out there relatively recently. So how things have been in general and where do you think it's headed?
Lee: So right now bluefin is reading about a hundred twenty miles under 30L - so everybody is talking about the 820 pounder they brought in and the 599 a day before one after another. It's pinching deep offshore in the Gulf Stream year-round. A lot of people think that winter time fishing slows down. No… the fish will actually stay out there because of warm Caribbean water flowing through that area so it's a good time to be out there. The closer to shore you are - it’s more seasonal, right now captain Leslie said the water temp a week or two ago was 86. Here we have maybe 73 or something like 74 - drastic difference in temperature so that's what you want to find, some temperature change and different species. So now the Wahoo are moving in and of course the kingfish are going to be here - the reason is that warm water is coming this way.
Jonathan: Chris just commented “The marlin have showed off” and Mark said “I’m ready to fish!” - So maybe we got to get on some marlin - kill two birds with one stone.
Lee: That’s right, we’re ready! Chris told me that his buddy was out there, it was pretty slick-day before yesterday and they were trolling in the center console. They got the marlin that chased their spread or their lures a few times but it just got quite hookup. It's just exciting having the chance to have a marlin chase your spread out there - that's something else.
Jonathan: That's a good point! Can you talk about your spread - how you guys set things up when you’re trolling. You've got the daisy chain, nomad lures, offshore candy. How are you spreading those things up?
Lee: Well... one of my favorite trolling lures skirts top water is going to be offshore candy. As a matter of fact, Marc from offshore candy sent me new ones today - I'm really excited because I like running tandems. Tandems pick up a little bit of everything - they can pick up a bull mahi, yellowfin, blackfin, kingfish, a lot of different species. Let me show it to you real-quick - we run all of these on the corners of our back of our boat back there driving 30 yards back or so. That's the very first thing we set out - those diving lures because they are the fastest and the easiest and they catch a lot of fish - all kinds of species. So basically each outrigger has two different lures on it - long and short. We’ll throw out our long first and depending on the waves it’d be about four or five wakes behind the boat, depending on what reaction we get from that lure. We don’t want to out the lure all the time, we want it to look natural. Then we’ll run ashore and we’ll have two sides of that, port side, starboard side - I have two longs, nebula to be lined up then we’ll have two shorts they’ll kind of be lined up. Then we'll run what we call shotgun - real far behind the boat, maybe 75 to 80 yards back there and next the trailer. We’ve used the islander on that a lot - Islander is basically a long skirt with different colors. Whites are the really good one out here and it’s weighted in the front and we put a ballyhoo on that or you can run what we call nekkid - just run a ballyhoo out there too. We’re just going from spot to spot and in a sport fishing boat - you pick up a lot of fish.
Jonathan: Haha! Yeah! A lot of freeloaders along the way.
Lee: Yeah, just go from spot to spot. You gotta find that highway.
Jonathan: Can you tell more about that because I think that's another reason why your trip is unique. You're not just going out there to troll, you're not just lining it to a rig to go jigging. You are trolling to the next spot so you're catching fish consistently - You are doing it in different ways which is really fun catching different species. Can you touch on all the different facets of your trips?
Lee: So like I said, we like to mix it up. I want a boat-load of fish so we work hard and my favorite way of catching fish is trolling most of the time. It's not everybody's favorite way that's why I try to mix it up. It's an entertainment trip, I'm there to make sure that our customers are entertained. So we’ll troll from one rig to another, we might pick up something - might not. We’re going to the bottom also, we're going to target grouper, tuna, wahoo. On the troll you can pick up a sail, marlin, mahi, kings. We’ll take the deep drop reels - electric reels. We’ll deep drop for a tile or barrel fish - those types of fish. We try to mix it up because fishing is fishing - there's no guarantee that you can catch anything. I've never been strong - I’ll put it that way. Some days are tougher than others - it's a fight because there's a lot of different things that affect fishing, weather, sea temperature, currents, and barometric pressures. Lot’s of things.
Jonathan: So given all of those conditions, what are you looking for that you could say it's the perfect mix of conditions for trolling on these trips?
Lee: Some people don’t like to troll when it's rough but honestly some of my best days trolling are when it’s pretty rough. I think a real good scenario - a clear July day where the water is semi-calm. Sometimes when the water is too calm, it's more difficult to troll because your lures don't get the actions that they need. Definitely summer time for mahi, we're going to look for warm water, clear water. Mahi are not dirty water fish so you’ll have a chance to get a really good mahi. I've seen them in the green water but usually not the pools. A nice semi-calm day that’s clear usually produces pretty good.
Jonathan: Can you take us through your year starting January - when is the best time for which specific species?
Lee: January, tuna definitely - yellowfin, blackfin are year-round. Tuna loves cooler water, wahoo moves in - the big ones. They are here year-round but in numbers they're in the winter.
Jonathan: Wahoo is your favorite eating fish…
Lee: Yeah! That’s awesome! Take this bag, I got so many of it! Captain Dave, he gave me some sashimi the other day. Oh man! It’s so good! Such a clean white fish. The fish here doesn’t taste like a typical fish - the ocean produces different flavor especially the deep water fish. I gave my wife a tilefish the other day, she’s a tuna kind of person but as soon as she tasted the tilefish, she said “I have my new favorite fish now”.
Jonathan: That’s awesome! I have a question for you, what do you think of when people say “Oh, he’s a fishy guy”, “Oh, he’s a fishy guide”, “Oh, he’s a fishy captain”. What that means to you or would you want someone to call you fishy? What do you think about the term?
Lee: Not really because from where I came from, fishy is kind of shady. Well... everyone has different opinions but for me I don't want to be called a fish kind of a guy.
Jonathan: Well... some people just say “He’s a fishy guy, he studies the charts and journal of conditions back to 10 years - he knows a lot”. Something like that.
Lee: There's a few captains around here that I like to give credit to. I definitely would put that comment on them for this because they really know their stuff and I really admire them for that.
Jonathan: What's it like for you when something hits and the reel just starts screaming? What's that feeling like?
Lee: That's like an adrenaline rush - it never gets old. For me, that’s a sound of victory because it's a hunt out here and the ocean is a big hunting ground. To find that one that's going to hit that lure that you spend so much time and effort to make it presentable to that fish. It's satisfying, very satisfying.
Jonathan: That's awesome! So why would you say you do it day in and day out? What gets you up in the morning?
Lee: You know... I have no regrets in life. This is something that I love, I've always wanted to do, I’m living my dreams, I don’t want to have regrets when it’s time for the rocking chair - I’ve done what I wanted to do.
Jonathan: Is there a number one memory that stands out from your trips or days on the water, anything specific?
Lee: Yeah! I think Chris will probably remember this one. We had a guy come over from Belgium - he was a chef. He called me up one day and said “Hey, my plane leaves in three days, can you get me and my buddies out on the water?”, I’m just like “Yeah, let’s make it happen. We got a good window”. So he came down here with his friends and we took them out on a 36 hour trip and he’s like "Look! I got a bucket list. I want to catch mahi and snapper and grouper" - we made it happen for him and he was just totally thrilled. That was a good trip, I remember that. I was glad I could send somebody across the pond with a good memory.
Jonathan: That's great to hear! So what's the biggest fish you ever caught?
Lee: I want to say a marlin but it was not, I think probably a shark around 200 to 230.
Jonathan: If you have one more cast in your life what would you throw and where would it be?
Lee: I think some people might say go out of the country - States got so much to offer. We're surrounded by water all the way, so I think I want to go to Dry Tortugas down out of Key West. I watch the shows and the places are so beautiful and there's so many different species of fish over there - it’s amazing.
Jonathan: Yeah! Out there is like in the middle of nowhere.
Lee: Yeah! That’s a beautiful area with a lot of different species - you can catch everything. It’s a really beautiful place.
Jonathan: Why do you think what you're doing is important?
Lee: I'm an entertainer, I love when people catch a fish and they’re just so excited - I'm really excited for them. I'm just really happy sending them home with a good memory. Sometimes we may not catch as many fish as we want but we will have a good time. It's more like I'm happy giving people a good time and experience in the waters.
Jonathan: Definitely! Especially in times like this. How do you feel about the future of fishing?
Lee: I think it's great because there's a lot of conservation going on even though there's a lot of people going on the waters. A lot of people are conscientious about fishing, I think it's going to be just fine and in some aspects it will be even better.
Jonathan: Just to wrap things up we prepared a few rapid fire questions. Whatever comes to mind first just spit it out. Here we go, what's your favorite body of water to fish?
Lee: My favorite body of water to fish is Mississippi Canyon Louisiana.
Jonathan: That's nice! If you had to be doing something different, what would it be?
Lee: Study captain!
Jonathan: What other hobbies do you enjoy outside of fishing?
Lee: Spending time with my wife.
Jonathan: There you go! Do you have a nickname and if so how’d you get it?
Lee: My grandfather nicknamed me J - he wanted to name me that but my mom said no. He loves John Wayne.
Jonathan: Do you have a favorite song or band right now?
Lee: I really like Nickelback.
Jonathan: What's your favorite movie?
Lee: Favorite movie - gosh there's so many of them. I don't know, can we skip that?
Jonathan: If anybody has a question for Captain Lee, please feel free to drop them in the comments and we'll try to shout them out before we wrap up. How about your favorite sports team?
Lee: Houston Astros - support the 'stros!
Jonathan: If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Lee: X-ray vision!
Jonathan: What was your last Halloween costume?
Lee: I don't know - probably something offensive.
Jonathan: What do you want for Christmas?
Lee: New electric reel - Wade baby, can I have one?
Jonathan: Hey I think you need to touch on the sound system cuz you guys just revamped things right?
Lee: Oh yeah! That thing is wicked! Chris bought over a JL audio system. Oh my goodness! David and I went trolling the other day just to kill some time and check it out over the engines. Oh my god! That system is a killer, I can only turn it’s volume half way. It’s a good system, good bass and everything. We put on a Bluetooth system to where all the customers can tap and play their favorite song - they’ll be in control. That system is good!
Jonathan: Jamming some tunes, trolling out there. That sounds pretty nice! Can you name one of the Seven Dwarfs?
Jonathan: How many pull-ups can you do in a row?
Lee: I don't know - probably eight.
Jonathan: That's good! That's solid! Now just wrapping it up, do you want to give a shout out to the troops, Armed Forces, Veterans - I know your son is serving right?
Lee: Yeah if you're listening son God bless you and everyone over there. God bless all of our service members and God bless all the people in the hospital who're having trouble right now - God bless America. We're always talking that when these things end a lot of people will go to beaches and fishing - like our normal lives.
Jonathan: Yeah that's the best way to celebrate a life! Hopefully some of those people spend a day at the beach or whatever and then they head offshore with you. Can't recommend it more highly, it was a blast when we were with you. Definitely a bucket list experience, it’s really something else.
Lee: Well... you know you'll never know what you're going to get out there - It's just a new thrill, never gets old. A lot of people don't know that there's a lot of sea turtles here in this area, we're just loaded with sea turtles and that's pretty awesome to see that.
Jonathan: Like the flying fish, that one nearly hit my face - that kind of stuff.
Lee: I would love to have people come out after all this is over with and we’re still open. I actually stay in the boat a lot - I've been back and forth to my boat for the last 3-4 weeks so I've been staying down here. Doing some things, having a good time - I’m ready to get out and associate with everybody.
Jonathan: Yeah, soon enough! Sooner rather than later!
Lee: I want to show you our crew shirt - right there. You see the Captain Experiences.
Lee: Yeah! This is all our sponsors. We really appreciate you and what you’re doing for all of us captains. It’s great to have somebody like you we consider locals in the area.
Jonathan: I really appreciate that, it's just an absolute blast. I think you have a more fun job than I do but still it's really fun to get people out there. It's all better having confidence into trips that we offer and in the captains that we help. Thank you for offering lifetime experiences that you offer. I'm excited to help other people share that experience.
Lee: Well we’re gonna share it next weather window so I told you to be ready to have your bags packed because you won't be able to see land for a few days.
Jonathan: I love the sound of that. I know there's a lot of things that you still need to do - we really do appreciate having you here in another Captain Experiences live interview. Again Captain Lee Crisler of Ocean Breeze Charters aboard the 50-foot ocean Super Sport the Tequila Sunrise - I told ya, you’ve got that boxing intro like a worldwide champ.
Lee: Yeah! Actually my wife says I'm a bulldog. Haha
Jonathan: We’ll add the bulldog title next time. Thanks again!
Lee: Thank you, see you next time!
Thank you for visiting us here on Captain Experiences with Captain Lee. Here's some pictures from Captain Lee's Ocean Breeze, Galveston fishing trips.
Updated on December 6, 2022
April 26, 2022
January 4, 2022
June 22, 2022
April 15, 2022
August 1, 2022