Capt. Raymond Appel brings the reds

Guides like Raymond Appel were the only reason scattered groups of outdoor writers had any chance of bringing in redfish Monday morning near Rockport.

Appel has been guiding for 13 years, and as a Rockport native, he knows the ins and outs of the business.

“My uncle was a shrimper, then he became a commercial fisherman,” Appel said. “I always loved to fish as a kid. We fished the Gulf, and actually he was a part-time guide here.”

Appel and several other guides were set with the task of taking numerous outdoor writers from across the state on fishing expeditions Monday morning for “Spring Fling.” Needless to say, patience is key for a professional guide — Appel excels. We brought in seven redfish — two were large enough to keep — and even a stingray in the bay, despite dead calm conditions.

“I love helping them (clients) to catch fish and showing them a good time,” he said. “It’s about working hard for them and showing them that you’re actually trying.”

Appel, along with his 25-foot boat, skimmed around the bay Monday from the Estes Flats to the Klondikes. Even with slow conditions, he knew the locations that were sure to have schools of redfish. He was right.

Appel said business has been good over the past few years, and he hopes to expand his business in the future. Handing the family trade over to his four children is the ultimate goal.

“My plans are to broaden this business out; when I retire I want to have such a good reputation that I can hand this business over to my sons,” Appel said. “I don’t want to go out and make a million dollars — it would be nice — but I just want to take care of my clients.”

Contact Captain Raymond Appel at (361) 386-0569, or email him at