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Sunday, May 19. 2013
This past Wednesday I had my right knee “cleaned out”, cleaned out from bone chips, cartilage chips, along with spots of arthritis and I’ll be “stumpin’ around” for a week or two. The same doc that told me that I didn’t need a knee replacement did the surgery and he’s been keeping me playing Senior Softball for 5 years (after I was told by 2 docs that I’d need a knee replacement within a year). Such is life!
Surprisingly, there is some pain. When I go to bed at night, thinking the surgery would be a literal walk in the park, turning over is a great problem coupled with me being a restless sleeper, I wake up a lot! Last night, it was quite hot in our house and I checked the temp and found that it was 83, 83.8 to be exact. With the temp forecasted to be over 90 today, I hope our A/C man makes Sunday calls?
An old saying says, ”When it rains, it pours”. It’s certainly pouring on us now, but “things” will get better!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Random Thoughts at 11:27 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, May 13. 2013
This particular buck, he’s kinda’ my pet, first showed up robbing the corn feeder at MaMaw’s blind, he was just 2-1/2 then. Last year, he was the buck that challenged the buck that I had just shot and this year and now he’s 4-1/2 and will be a real shooter this year.
In 2011 he’s pictured going after the corn and protein, he’s the reason I put a guard over the feeder!
Last year he’s challenging the dead buck, see my post “Challenge Unanswered” of November 8, 2012.
Now this year, he’s still coming around MaMaw’s feeder, who knows the size his horns will reach?
I bet he doesn’t make it until next year!
Thursday, May 9. 2013
Reading the title, you’d think that somehow I’d gotten my line stripped by a monster fish, but read on and you’ll see it was something completely different.
After, as it turned out, a very eventful trip off shore, see my post of May 25, 2010, “Honey Hole”, with Bobby Baldwin, his brother and father-in-law, I was to meet Bobby and one of his friends from Beaumont at their boat shed on Bolivar peninsula and head back out with them for another go at some kingfish. To top it all off, my ex-wife and I were to spend the weekend at their family’s beach house.
When I arrived at the boat shed, no Bobby. His friend, Joe, was waiting for me and said, “Bobby was purty sick, but he told me to tell you to take the boat on out and catch some fish.” What a surprise to me because I’d never taken a big, boat out anywhere, let alone, offshore, but the Fishing God’s were kind, a slight southeast wind and the forecast was for it to be calm all day! Well there has to be a first time for everything so out we went!
Joe and I cranked it up, it started and purred as we backed out of the shed and putted out into the Intercoastal Waterway. Trying to remember everything Tom had said coming in from my last trip with them, I opened up the big engine and we cruised on out into Galveston Channel and around the South Jetty. We agreed that we’d stop at the special place and try for some speckled trout. Fiddling around there for an hour, we caught 2, 2 pounders, then pulled up the anchor and headed south, out toward the 12 mile, oil rig.
Really being ciceros and having no experience with a big boat or offshore fishing, just as we left the spot on the jetty, we put out 2 lines for trolling, one with a green feather jig and another with a blue. Unknown to me at the time, there’s a small hump on the Gulf’s bottom, probably an old wreck or some other type of structure, 6 miles of the end of the jetty. Trolling over the hump, both lines were hit and two kings took off. We did our best and finally gaffed both fish, by our estimate, 15, pound, kings.
Not even knowing to turn around and troll back across the hump, that we didn’t even know was there, we doggedly kept trolling south, toward the rig now visible just over the horizon. We trolled around the rig for an hour with no luck and since it was past time for lunch, I told Joe that we were heading back in.
We must have trolled back across the hump, because one of lines was smashed by something big! Putting the engine in neutral, I grabbed the rod this big fish took line out like there was no drag on the reel! The fish continued the battle, but stayed deep, taking more line. Finally I started gaining on it, and as it wallowed on the surface, we both gawked at the biggest red snapper we’d ever seen! Gaffing it, hauling it aboard, it was huge and we guessed it weighed at least 20, pounds.
We iced the snapper in our cooler and headed in, past the end of the South Jetty, up the Galveston Channel and turned into the Intercoastal Waterway. The engine had been running for almost 7 hours and, when we left this morning, we’d never thought to fill the gas tank, luckily for us we didn’t run out! But misfortune reared its ugly head as I was putting the boat into the slip. Turning off the engine, our drift, that I thought would take us on into the slip, stopped cold. The tide was going out, back then I didn’t even know about tides!
Trying to start the engine, all I got was one click. The engine that had been running for almost 7 hours wouldn’t start. The starter chose this time to quit working. Luckily, a man outside of the shed threw us a line and we tugged the big 23, footer boat back into the stall. What if we’d gotten the click when we were offshore? I didn’t even know how to use the ship to shore radio!
On meat market scales the snapper weighed 22, pounds!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 16:38 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, May 5. 2013
“Unkie”, G.A. Pyland, of course my uncle, had been telling me about this new “super” place for speckled trout and redfish, not 2 hours from our homes in southwest Houston. Taking the short drive down to the coast, gas was only $.30 a gallon then, we, my dad and Dub Middleton, met “Unkie” and my cousin George at the specified bait camp in Port O’Conner. It was still dark and we’d have a 20, minute boat ride to our destination, a place Unkie called the fish trap.
With the tide coming in all morning, we cranked up our boats and headed down Matagorda Bay towards Pass Cavallo, the fish trap was located just north of the pass, with a small channel leading into a hundred acre lake, the trap. Arriving, we anchored the boats, jumped into the water and started casting. Our lures of choice were silver spoons with a treble hook, with a pink attractor attached to the hook. Each of us was using a black, Ambassaduer reel, with a 7, foot, popping rod.
Bump, bump, “Fish on”, I yelled out, as the rod bent with the strike, soon, not using a net, I grabbed the small red behind the gills, not big enough to keep, unhooked and released it. First fish of the day, but soon we were all catching small reds and if we’d kept them all, we’d had a good mess! The small reds finally quit hitting and we remarked that funny, no big reds and no speckled trout either.
After almost 2 hours of this fun, we told Unkie and George that we were going to try our hand in Espiritu Santo Bay and see if any birds were working. Knowing that late spring was a little bit soon for bird action, but these little reds weren’t putting any fish on the stringer! We pulled the anchor, and since Unkie and George were still fishing, we crept out of the fish trap and once in Matagorda Bay, headed north. Rather than going all the way back to Port O’Conner, we took a short cut into Espiritu Santo, a small pass that led into the east end of the bay.
Not 2 miles into the bay, we saw a bunch of birds hovering over the water, a sign that something had driven the shrimp to the surface. After changing to do nothing, slow sinking lures, we coasted up to within casting distance of the birds and Dub was the first to let fly and he immediately had a hard hit. What was it, spec, gafftop cat or ladyfish, but circling the boat the fish soon identified itself as a nice trout and when we netted it, a 3 pounder.
Dad and I cast out below the birds and both had hard strikes that proved to be identical fish to Dubs. The birds would break up and 5 minutes later, here came the shrimp back up to the top, we could see them hopping about evading the trout below, but the birds would converge on the hapless shrimp and what the specs missed, the birds would get.
We stayed with this school of fish for almost 30 minutes and boxed a dozen then they quit. For a while we stayed around, but we noticed the tide had changed and was going out, probably the reasons for the fish’s lockjaw. No more bird schools that day and we headed home around noon. It was a fun trip and we caught 12 nice specs, along with a lot of small reds (that we didn’t keep).
The fish trap is no more because several years later a hurricane rearranged the coastal area around Pass Cavallo!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, May 2. 2013
Showing these pics to my Sunday school class, they laughingly told me to send both of them over to their places so they could eat their grasshoppers too!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Pictures at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, April 29. 2013
April 1970 offered some beautiful Gulf coast weather, light winds and warm days that had raised the water temperature to over 70, the speckled trout had spawned and now had moved onto the sand/shell flats prowling for food. It was mine and Jim Buck, my brother-in-laws plan to intercept some of these monsters on the sand flats, on the south side of the spoil banks of the Intercoastal Waterway, just west of Greens Cut, but not as far as Karankawa Reef where the sand flats turned into mud/shell. Two months earlier, on a warm February afternoon, the mud had offered us some good fishing, but now the specs had changed to their spring and early summer pattern.
Jim and I were using live shrimp under a popping cork, but weren’t blind casting and drifting. Our targets were the slicks made by the specs gorging and regurgitating bits of their prey. The oil released will pop to the surface as a pail or washtub size, shiny, oily slick and the trout will be under the slicks. A telltale sign produced by the slicks is a distinctive watermelon smell and many times we’d pick up the odor before we found the slick.
We were idling along in my new 17 foot, deep vee, cross wind to a light southeast breeze, and sure enough, Jim said, “I smell ‘em” and I also picked up the unmistakable scent. Scanning the immediate area, we both saw slicks popping to the surface less than a hundred feet to our left and cutting the outboard, we looped short casts between 2 of them and were both rewarded with solid strikes. After a few short runs, a boat circling battle ensued and we let the specs tire before slipping nets under them and claiming a brace of fine 3 pound, trout!
Restarting the motor, we continued looking and sniffing and came upon a tub size slick to our front. Jim shot a cast toward it, popped his cork once and a spec smashed the shrimp and headed off across the bay. Rod tip held high, Jim’s fish began the first of 3 circles of the boat, each being closer, until laying on its side, I easily slipped the net under it and hefted a nice 5 pounder aboard. Jim had been fishing for specs for the past 4 years and this was his best one to date. He was happy and, smiling, told me, “I’ll drive the boat and you catch the next one!”
Within 15 minutes we both caught the scent and as I cast toward the emerging slick, I remarked to Jim, “I’ll bet this'l be a nice one.” No sooner as the shrimp hit the water, there was a smashing strike! The fish headed “south” and all I could do was hold on. Finally, stopping the run, I was surprised when the fish headed back towards the boat. Most times a good spec will begin circling, conserving its energy, then really put up a scrap beside the boat, but not this one.
Reeling madly and barely keeping pressure on the fish, it rolled a short distance from the boat, revealing a flash of silver and we both remarked, “That’s some spec!” It made several short runs and stirred the water to “a froth” around the boat, but finally tired as Jim netted it and held it up for both of us to admire. We guessed that it weighed over six pounds.
We had already filleted the other three fish and belatedly decided to, at least, take a picture of the big ‘un!
We had four very nice specs in the cooler and called it a day. We loaded the boat and drove down to Red’s, 7 Seas Grocery, to weigh the big fish. Red, the owner, was holding court with several of his friends, and even though it was before lunch, he and his pals were well into the sauce. Declining his offer to join into the festivities, I asked if we could weigh a big trout that I had just caught? “By all means,” he replied.
Showing off the big fish, it brought “ooohs and ahs” from the group and placing it on to his meat scales, the meter stopped at 7 pounds, 2 ounces. This was a “best trout” for me for the next 21 years!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, April 26. 2013
Because of the late hour, we had braved a huge storm in the early hours of the morning, we launched my 24 footer at the Galveston Yacht Basin, rather than making the 10 mile trip from Bayou Vista, by water. In and out launching was $3.00 and gasoline was still less than $1.00 per gallon, (the good ‘ole days).
The weather still looked a little “iffy” so we decided to buy some shrimp and fish around the Pelican Island Flats, near the old, sunken concrete ship, a good spot for spring time speckled trout. We drifted for about 45 minutes and caught a few small specs, then the tide started out, and of all things, the wind laid. I told my crew, Suzanne, Mike and his friend, Dick “Get your lines in, we’re going to the Gulf side of the South Jetty.”
Seven-miles out, there was no wind blowing as we rounded the end of the jetty and headed for my favorite spot, and since the tide was going out, the water on the Gulf side was moving toward the beach. As we anchored I noticed small fish hanging close to the rocks. A real good sign!
Changing from the popping corks we’d used when we were drifting, to a split shot 10 inches above a small hook, we baited up and cast toward the rocks. Dick got hung on a rock and had to break off and while he was re-rigging Mike had a big strike and was fast into a nice red fish, catch the conditions right at this spot and it always paid off.
We had been fishing for about an hour and had 5 nice reds and 2 trout, 4 pounders, when I heard a “Hmmpf” from Suzanne and saw her rod nearly bend double. A big red and he was moving down the rocks to our right, out to sea, as Suz held her rod up high and hung on. Soon we boated a very nice 28, inch, red, that she fought perfectly.
For a day that started as a washout, literally, we now had nice mess of fish, spanish mackerel, red fish, trout and a couple of big sheepshead. Our big cooler was close to half full of fish, so as the tide changed, we headed back to the Yacht Basin. We were 4 grubby, stinky, fisher persons with a box of fish to clean!
This particular day, we were the only boat that had gone out, so as we loaded the boat on to the trailer, we drew a nice crowd of onlookers who, when we got the cooler down and opened it, they appropriately “oohed and aaahd” over our catch. Mike, Dick and I were kidding around, chewing tobacco and spitting, and cleaning the fish when a well to do appearing lady came up to Suz and asked her, “Did you catch any of these fish?” and Suz replied, “Yes Mam, I caught the big red.” The lady replied “Good for you!”
We finished cleaning the fish and iced them down. Then, as Dick and I were lifting the big cooler up to Mike, he leaned over to grab it and, by accident, belched. We paid no attention and just kept loading the heavy cooler. The well to do lady turned to Suz and asked her, “Young lady, just who are those men?” Suzanne replied, “The big guy over there with gray hair is my dad and the big guy in the boat is my brother in law and the other big guy is Dick, a friend.” “Hmmpf, they’re gross!” the well to do lady said, as she turned and scurried off.
Even though Suzanne is a graduate from and former Texas Aggie, she has been fishing with me since she was 11 years old. She can bait her own hook, cast the bait out, land the fish with a net and take the hook out, all of this even though she is an Aggie!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, April 21. 2013
As a true Texan, 5 generations worth, I’m proud of my State, proud of its founders, proud of its heroes, proud of the Alamo, although the results weren’t to my satisfaction and doubly proud when General Sam Houston led his men to a rout of Santa Anna at the battle of San Jacinto in 1836! Being a 5th generation Texan carries no rewards except knowing in my heart that my relatives built a wonderful place to live and raise my family.
As Bum Phillips, former coach of the Houston Oilers, said “My dad's buddy Bill had an old saying, he said “That some people, Texans, were forged from a hotter fire.” “Well, that's what it is to be Texan. To be forged from a hotter fire.” This is the same Bum Phillips that said, when asked why he didn’t wear a hat inside the Houston Astrodome, “My Momma always told me not to wear my hat indoors!”
Along with Texas Independence Day, Texas A&M University, the seventh largest University in the nation and the largest University in Texas, also celebrates its Muster on this day, April 21st. The Aggie Muster is held to commemorate Aggies who have passed away the preceding year. In years past Musters have been held in foxholes and on ships of the Navy, now they are held in Afganistan, or wherever Aggies are present, maybe ballrooms or steakhouses or in the case of Mills County, Texas in a bank’s community room, also Aggie Musters have become one of Texas A&M’s most revered traditions!
When Suzanne and Randy were seniors in high school I told both of them, “You can go to college anywhere you like, but the money is going to Texas A&M!” Of course, both are now former Aggies.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Random Thoughts at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
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