Dear Capt. Paul:

I would like to learn to fish the Sandy Point area. Do you have the GPS coordinates for Sandy Point? Any coordinates would be appreciated.

Thanks, Bill

Capt. Paul's response:

Sandy Point Bay is located between Bay Coqutte on the west, Bayou Jacques on the north, Bay Tambour on the east, and the Gulf of Mexico and Sandy Point Island on the south. There has been a considerable amount of erosion of the bay's original shoreline, but you should be able to still see most of the shore.

It is just north of Sandy Point, a small island in the mouth of the bay partially separating the bay from the Gulf.

Sandy Point Island is located at or about N29 13.075 x W89 29.228.

Sandy Point Bay is just north-northwest of the island. The center of the bay is located at or about N29 13.855 x W89 29.510.

The northernmost part of the bay where Bayou Jacques enters the bay is located at or about N29 14.816 x W89 28.960.

I have been told that all of these inshore areas can be productive at certain times of the year during certain tides.

In addition, there are a series of about 28 oil and gas platforms (some may only be 8-foot-by-8-foot "Christmas tree" type platforms) located about 5 to 8 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico between the Empire rock jetty and Sandy Point. They are in 15 to 30 feet of water. These structures are commonly called the Sandy Point rigs.

The center of the area, about a 3-mile-diameter circle, in which the platforms are located is about 5.5 miles from the Empire Jetty, at a bearing of 135 degrees magnetic, and about 4 miles, at a bearing of 236 degrees magnetic, from Sandy Point.

The closest platform to the Empire Jetty in the Gulf is MX-WD 24-4. It is at or about N29 12.538 x W89 32.375, and is about 4.9 miles from the Red No. 2 ATON at the jetty.

Near the above platform, there is a "flare" platform, MX-WD 24-FLARE No. 1, at or about N29 11.962 x W89 32.172.

The southernmost of the series of platforms, MX-WD 24-5D, is at or about N29 10.707 x W89 32.044.

The easternmost of the series, MX-WD 192-8, is at or about N29 11.451 x W89 30.411.

Two of the most popular locations are near the southwest section of the group. MX-WD 23-3 is located 5.2 miles at a bearing of 159 degrees from ATON Red No. 2, and is at or about N29 10.524 x W89 34.559.

The other, MX-WD 23-FLARE No. 3, is at or about N29 10.489 x W89 33.099, and is about 6.2 miles at a bearing of 146 degrees magnetic from Red No. 2 ATON.

The all-time favorite in the area is referred to as the Green Monster, WD-23-3 CMP, which is located at or about N29 10.525 x W89 34.560.

All of these features may be viewed on NOAA charts 11358-Barataria Bay and Approaches and 11361-Miss. River Delta.

All positions are listed as DD,MM.MMM, and were determined using WGS 84 DATUM.

Dear Capt. Paul:

I am an avid hunter, and I am in the market to purchase a GPS.

I would like to mark stand locations and travel routes, and would like Internet downloading capabilities. I have looked at several GPSs.

Which would best suit my needs without getting a lot of extra things I do not need. I also like the built-in tables for best hunting and fishing activity.

Thanks, Clint Vaughn

Capt. Paul's response:

I have found that most GPS owners eventually upgrade to a mapping GPS unit. The mapping features really bring the GPS into a realm that allows the user to take full advantage when using the unit.

My recommendation is for you to first consider a handheld unit from one of the major manufacturers. Most manufacturers have a web site that comprehensively covers their line of receivers.

I suggest that you begin by looking at each of these sites for an understanding of what is being offered in today's market. There are others, but I would start with the three largest companies that sell to the consumer market.

Garmin (Garmin.com), Magellan (magellangps.com) and Lowrance (lowrance.com) all offer features and specifications on all of their units.

I would begin by using the Magellan Meridian Color GPS and the Garmin GPSMAP 60 or the Garmin GPSMAP76C as a basis for your comparisons.

Magellan is offering their Meridian Color GPS in a Travelers Value Package that includes their MapSend Direct Route mapping software, a mounting bracket, a 64 MB memory card and the necessary accessories to connect the unit to your computer for downloading maps and files into your GPS unit.

This, when supplemented with their MapSend TOPO in the U.S. mapping program, will more than adequately fulfill all of your auto traveling, with street-by-street turning instructions, all of your hiking, hunting and boating needs for the entire United States. In addition you could also purchase one of the Magellan BlueNAV charts for the offshore areas that you most frequent.

Yes, other Meridian units will do, but start with the color as the basis for your investigation.

Garmin's GPSMAP 60C is a fast processor, multi purpose unit that with auto routing offers turn-by-turn directions and auto alerts along city streets or trails using the GARMIN MapSource City Select or 24K topo optional software.

This unit when loaded with their MapSource U.S. Topo mapping software, in addition to the City Select maps, offers a very versatile unit that will more than accommodate your auto and boating travels.

It comes with a computer connecting cable, but you will have to separately purchase their mounting bracket and a remote 12 volt auxiliary supply cable.

The new GPSMAP 76C is another Garmin color screen unit that offers quite an array of features; among those is the ability to store 115 MB of mapping memory.

For the offshore trips, you may want to have the appropriate Garmin BlueChart map(s) for that area.

The Lowrance's iFinder H2O Plus is another unit that has an impressive amount of features that would also suit your needs.

All of the latest generations of GPS units are incorporating more user-friendly operating screens and features. You will note that the sizes of some of the screens on these handhelds are quite impressive.

Check them out, and narrow down your choice. Then get back with me.

Got a GPS question for Capt. Paul? Ask it at louisianasportsman.com, and you'll get your answer before you know it.