Oil and water

| August 01, 2006

Off Port Aransas, Texas, driver Marcus Lindsey will take his 20-foot boat along giant oil tankers and look for big fish hiding underneath.

In a 20-foot boat, Marcus “Okie” Lindsey, his wife Amy and young sons Clayton, 5, and Collin, 2, look for big fish, often under big, big structures out in the Gulf of Mexico.

Sometimes, there off the Texas coast, their quarry is hiding beneath an oil tanker, and sometimes it is in the submerged superstructure of an oil drilling platform.

In the looming shadows of these behemoths, the Lindseys strike gold. Their haul includes kingfish, mahi mahi, amberjack and jack crevalle, big fighting fish that will make an 80-pound fishing rod bend to its maximum.

Lindsey runs out of Port Aransas at the northern tip of beautiful Padre Island, one of the Gulf Coasts’ premier oil terminal ports, and usually motors out anywhere from four to 12 miles, maybe 25 minutes from the marina.

“There are two oil drilling platforms out there they don’t use any more; they’re capped wells, and we troll around those,” Lindsey says. “Sometimes we’ll tie up to them and get bait all the way to the bottom. The rig goes all the way down to the sea bed, and fish like structures.” The family also finds shipwrecks to fish around. “We have a map with 50 years of wrecks identified,” Lindsey says. “I think they’re mostly old shrimp boats.”

Fish also like to hide under oil tankers when they anchor offshore for a few hours, waiting to go into port.

“We’ll go into within maybe 15 feet of the tankers and troll around them, getting the bait in under the hull,” Lindsey says. “If the water is clear, and it usually is out there, you can see fish rushing up at the bait from under the ship. The tankers usually don’t mind, but if you get too closed, they’ll blast the ship’s horn.

“We’ll fish behind a moving tanker sometimes, but only if it’s going really, really slowly and we’re well back. I don’t play with them.”

If he fishes alone, Lindsey prefers to fish off the port of Galveston, but more tankers, moving faster, make it a less relaxed fishing expedition for a family, he says.

“We can still see quite a bit of skyline up to about 12 miles out, and there are hundreds of kinds of fish out there. I think king mackerel are probably the most common fish we get. And I’ve got some big ones, fish in the 50- to 60-pound range. Fighting a big fish like that can keep the adrenaline rushing nonstop, and they can take half an hour to bring in. I remember the first time I got a jack crevalle I didn’t have any idea what it was. I thought it was a silver dollar or a king mackerel because of the resistance, but it’s a thin fish with a deep body, and it was turning sideways to me to increase the pull. We catch some big jack crevalles, but we don’t eat them; they’re just for picture taking and throwing back. Now if I catch an amberjack, we’ll be eating some good stakes that night. And if I get king mackerel, I’ll barbeque them on a skewer like beef kabobs, wrapped in bacon and skewered with shrimp.”

The Lindseys like to gather friends and family at the beach and cook fish. “My brother has a boat down there, too, and sometimes we go out together and fish side by side loaded up with friends and family,” he says.

Lindsey isn’t the only big fish angler in the family.

“Amy landed a mahi mahi that was 5 feet 1 inch long and took her an hour and a half to get in. It wore her out, but she’s not the kind to give up and hand it off to someone else. When it was done, she just lay down on the deck and went to sleep.”

Lindsey, 39, a 14-year trucking veteran who was formerly a framing contractor, drives a Kenworth T600 for CFI. An Oklahoma native, he now works out of San Antonio, an easy drive from the Texas coast and the Gulf of Mexico. He won’t go out on the water when the waves get over 8 feet, and he likes to be sure of the weather before he takes the family along.

“We only take the boys on short hops so if they get tired we can zip back in,” he says. “The boat has a Bimini top that gives us a lot of shade, so that helps on sunny days, and a little cabin.”

“If it’s just me and Amy in the boat and my mother-in-law looking after the boys, a quick trip 25 miles off shore is no problem. My brother and I went out 40 miles one day and got some great fish. We have GPS, so we know where we are all the time. When we were kids, it was compass only, of course.”

These days Lindsey’s boat is a 20-foot Aquasport with a 150-horsepower Johnson outboard. “It’s a family boat, that’s what it’s for, to provide fun for the whole family.”

Growing up in Oklahoma as the oldest of four brothers, Lindsey learned to be an active hunter and fisherman from his family. He still likes to hunt for deer, pheasant and dove, and to go bow hunting.

“Dad was an avid fisherman and hunter. He had a boat for the Gulf, too,” Lindsey says. “My brothers and I all went out with him as boys, and that’s where we learned to fish. When we got older, he’d let us go out together to the Whistling Buoy, 9 miles out. We’d have to be back at a set time, and I know we scared him a few times.

“Once he sent us out with what he worked out was five hours bait, and he told us when the bait was gone to come back. But we had money, and we bought bait off a shrimp boat. When we finally got back, he was ready to be angry, but he looked in the boat and said, ‘You’ve got more fish that you had bait. What happened?’ We told him and he kind of laughed and decided he couldn’t get mad at us for that.”

Lindsey has been hunting since childhood, starting with birds and graduating to deer.

“It was a family thing, still is,” he says. “The kids that are too young to hunt come along and collect the birds. They get an education that way and learn about safety so they can hunt safely themselves when they are old enough.”

But hunting and fishing aren’t Lindsey’s only outdoor loves; he’s always had a fondness for riding horses, too.

“I did some rodeo and cutting horse shows in my late teens and early 20s,” he says. “For two summers I rode horses for trainers, helping to break them in. My job was to ride ’til I stopped falling off, and then the jockeys would take over. I still own three horses and I ride when I get time, and the boys have started riding, too.”

“My dad tried to expose us to the outdoors with all its possibilities every chance he could when we were very young. That’s what I’m doing with my boys.”

But boating is the family’s main outdoor recreation.

“If we can’t get to the coast, we go to a lake, whichever one we can get to that day,” he says. “Fishing, waterskiing, whatever, we want to be out there. As a driver it can be hard to organize, but I will stay out longer sometimes, stay out as long as I need and work with the company to take a week off. When I’ve got the time and I’m ready to run home, I call and I’m on the way.”


Eternal Greatness
Halls of fame give fans a closer look at the history of their favorite pastimes

For any passion or pastime, you probably can find a hall of fame.

From the great sports halls of fame to offbeat odes to greatness, many buildings in cities all over the country exist to preserve milestones and achievements for future fanatics. If it’s a certain sports hall of fame you are looking for, a quick search in the International Sports Heritage Association at www.sportshalls.com will help you locate just about any sport museum. Other halls of fame and museums can easily be found with a quick Google search, many not far from where you live or travel in your truck. To get you started, here is a list of some of the most famed halls of fame and related museums:

National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
Located in Cooperstown, N.Y., the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is perhaps the most widely known sports hall of fame in the country. The Hall of Fame features not only items of interest like Ty Cobb’s baseball glove and Jackie Robinson’s Dodgers jacket, but also includes an extensive research library with factoid after tidbit on anything you want to know about baseball history. New to the museum is an exhibit chronicling the history of women in baseball, Diamond Dreams: Women in Baseball. Although the film A League of Their Own depicted a similar exhibit, the real Hall of Fame exhibit was dedicated Mother’s Day 2006.

The Hall of Fame and Museum are open from 9 a.m. to 5 a.m. Monday through Friday at $14.50 for adult tickets and $5 for children. For more information or to purchase tickets online, check out this site.

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
The National Baseball Hall of Fame committee will induct 17 new players into the Hall of Fame this year from the Negro Baseball Leagues, including Sol Manley, an owner in the Negro Leagues who will become the first woman elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame. This landmark in history warrants a trip to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo. After construction in the late 1990s, the Museum, opened in September 1997, now occupies 10,000 square feet in a joint museum experience with the American Jazz Museum. The Museum is not a Hall of Fame, but rather a way to honor and tell the story of black Americans in baseball.

A self-guided tour takes visitors through film exhibits corresponding to time lines of baseball history and details on individual players. Admission is $6 for adults, and the museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, check out the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum website.

Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
You can either spend a Monday night watching the Lakers play the Pistons, or you can experience basketball from its conception to present day at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. It is the only basketball hall of fame in the world, and its unique architecture, a giant metal orb at the entrance, makes the museum outside Boston worth seeing.

The museum is named after basketball inventor James Naismith, a gym instructor who created the game as a creative way for students to exercise. The Basketball Hall of Fame website, features an events calendar that lets you plan your visit around the monthly happenings, as well as a search engine that lets you search all hall of fame inductees since its opening. Adult Admission is $16.99 every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Motorsports Hall of Fame
Air racing, drag racing, stock cars, powerboats and motorcycles are all part of the Motorsports Hall of Fame, a tip of the hat to the world of high-speed competition. Located in Novi, Mich., just outside Detroit, the museum features exhibits and photographs of the people and speed machines that pioneered the world of motorsports.

If it’s famous cars you love, the museum has a unique display of old-fashioned racecars and futuristic designs. Henry Ford’s 999 is featured in the museum, along with the Knight Twister racing biplane and a 1930s Italian motorcycle.

Admission is cheap at only $4 for adults, and although public admittance has been temporarily suspended in search of a new building, private viewings are available at by appointment at (800) 350-RACE. The Hall of Fame inductions for August 2006 can be purchased online at the Motorsports Hall of Fame website.

The Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame
Even if you don’t own every episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation on DVD, the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame should be at the top of your nerd list. Created by former Microsoft techie Paul Allen, the Hall of Fame is located at the base of the space needle in Seattle in the famous Frank Gehry building. Celebrity architect Frank Gehry is known throughout the world for his far-out designs using shiny metal edifices and rounded corners, and the home of science fiction in Seattle is no exception. In addition to unbelievable exhibits, including robots, alien creatures and interactive games, the museum also features a mod café and lounge for tourists.

The exhibits in the museum are meant to stretch and bend the mind, causing tourists to see the way science fiction relates to culture and shapes the future. Exhibits like Brave New Worlds feature futuristic cities as well as famous science fiction cities in The Jetsons, The Matrix, and Blade Runner. Another exhibit of the weird, Them! is dedicated to famous and infamous extraterrestrials, including robots and androids.

Inductees into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame include Star Wars creator George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and famous science fiction author Isaac Asimov, who wrote books like I, Robot and Strange Playfellow.

Museum hours are Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closing at 6.p.m on Fridays and Saturdays. Admission is $12.95 for adults and free for members. For more information or to buy tickets, check out the Science Fiction Hall of Fame website, a space age must-see as well.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
In the rockin’ city of Cleveland, Ohio, lies the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum, an ode to the generations of songwriters, musicians and rock stars who have inspired revolutions and prom classics. New to the museum is Haunting and Yearning: The Life and Music of Roy Orbison, a tribute to the love ballad legend whose black sunglasses and smooth voice churned out hits like “Pretty Woman” and “Only the Lonely.”

Permanent exhibits include artifacts from the John Lennon era, the beginning of jazz and Eric Clapton’s stage guitar. Contemporary celebrities frequently stop by the museum, and fans can see photos of celebrity visitors on the website. Admission is steep for adults at $20 but definitely worth it if you love rock music history. Packages and discounts are also available.

Music, sports and science fiction are only a few of the museum and hall of fame genres in the United States. Conduct your own research at your favorite Internet search engine.
–Rachel Telehany

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