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Friday, May 31. 2013
An early Friday afternoon in mid May found Max Windsor and I fishing on the Gulf side of the South Jetty, but it was just too rough to be comfortable. The wind wasnâ€™t too high, 10 to 12 out of the southeast, but the waves against the rocks just made fishing at this spot way too much up and down. With always the potential for one of us getting seasick, we decided on a different tack, so he â€œuppedâ€ the anchor while I slowly pulled the boat forward and soon we were cruising around the tip of the South Jetty.
Our new objective was the North Jetty and a â€œslantyâ€ rock near the end, on the Gulf side. This spot had paid off before, but the only problem, there was just room for 1 boat. Maybe it would be open today and as we motored up it was and we were in luck! With the jetty in question being 6 miles long and loaded with good fishing spots, the â€œslantyâ€ rock with the washboard face was one of the best. Angling under the surface it must have created enough hump to change the currents.
We came into the rocks quietly, carefully dropped the anchor, it caught, the boat swung stern to the beach and with the tide going out of the channel, a backwater was created on the Gulf side of the jetty, forcing the water to head in on our side. We would be free shrimping using live shrimp with our 7 foot, popping rods, black reels loaded with 15 pound line, split buckshot clipped on 12 inches above a number 8 hook, trout poison!
We cast out and as the bait slowly sank, the tide would carry it back toward the beach, with a strike being possible anywhere. Our first casts were rewarded with 2 good hits, not the nibbling bump of a bait stealer, but good solid hits that turned out to be, after long runs and thrashing around the boat, Spanish mackerel, 18 inchers. We boxed the 2, noting that we were lucky to land these sharp toothed, mackerel. Before they moved on, we added another to the cooler, but had several cut-offs.
When the speckled trout showed up, both of us had hard hits from 2 pounders that we boxed and cast back out. Mac had a hit almost as soon as the shrimp hit the water and as my shrimp settled, whamo, a spec nailed it and headed south! After spirited fights, we netted both and flopped them into the cooler. Thinking this would be a big catch day we both baited up and cast back out, but with no luck, the school had moved on!
While we were waiting for a strike, I put my rod in a holder and got out another popping rod, but this one had a spoon with a yellow, buck tail, why not make a few casts? About my third cast, I was rewarded with a nice strike and immediately the fish started a wallowing, splashing, surface fight, this was fun! Then Mac said, â€œJon, youâ€™d better check your other rod!â€ It was bent almost double, another fish and he added, â€œWhatâ€™cha gonnaâ€™ do now,â€ as I placed the rod under my arm, clamped down my left elbow and picked up the other rod and set the hook into a nice trout.
Not offering any help, he was laughing at my antics, but if heâ€™d just take one of the rods Iâ€™d be OK. Deciding that fishing with 2 rods was unproductive and that Iâ€™d bit off more that I could chew, I decided to let the line go slack on the spoon and I quickly stuck that rod in a holder, concentrating on just 1 fish, I landed it, but picking up the other rod, nothing was there.
We ended up with a dozen specs and the 3 mackerel, but the "Slanty Rock" paid off again.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, May 26. 2013
Posted by Jon Bryan in Pictures at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, May 23. 2013
In early May of 1968, my dad and I took off work early one afternoon and towed the boat down to Galveston Island, bought a quart of shrimp for $4.00, launched it and headed out into west bay on the east side of the causeway. Our objective for the day was to find a school of birds, sea gulls, working over shrimp that the speckled trout were driving towards the surface. Today weâ€™d be using live shrimp and our tackle was 6-1/2 foot popping rods, Dad had a red reel and I had a direct drive model, both spooled with 15, pound line, popping corks, a 2 to 3 foot leader with small treble hooks.
We headed out to the Intercoastal Waterway where the channels split, turned right along the Pelican Island channel, cut the motor down and started looking. Not 400 yards ahead, there was a big bird school and with no other boats in sight, weâ€™d have this one to ourselves. Positioning our boat down wind from the birds, we drifted up and at 40 yards, made our first casts. Dad sailed his cast right in front of the birds and before he could turn the reel handle had a big strike and me, trying to hard to make a long cast, had a wonderful backlash!
While I picked at the backlash, Dad was in a big fight with the spec that later proved just under 5 pounds, but soon he wore it down and as I slid the net under it, Dad unhooked it and put it in the cooler, rebaited and cast back out. Finally proving victorious over the backlash, I cast out and we both had big strikes, good fish that circled us around the boat, wallowed on top and we finally tired out both specs and netted the almost 5 pounders. Having only one net on board, I netted my dadâ€™s fish, then he netted mine and, while we were wasting precious fishing time with this school of big trout, it fell to me to untangle the mess.
Untangling us, we baited up and cast out, had simultaneous strikes, 2 more nice fish, but mine slipped the hook and Dad brought his spec in, I netted it and added another to the box. Baiting up and casting out, Dad was immediately into another nice spec, while I had the Mother of all backlashes. This one shut down my fishing for the afternoon, Dad added 2 more almost 5 pounders giving us a total of 6, almost 30 pounds of speckled trout!
The birds finally dissipated, Dad cast out several times with no strikes, so we drifted for almost 15 minutes hoping the specs would gather back up, they didnâ€™t, so we headed back in, filleted the fish and drove back to our southwest Houston homes, all the while me thinking, Iâ€™ll have to get me one of those smooth casting, red reels.
The next day I stopped by Oshmanâ€™s and picked me up a brand spankinâ€™ new red reel!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, May 19. 2013
This past Wednesday I had my right knee â€œcleaned outâ€, cleaned out from bone chips, cartilage chips, along with spots of arthritis and Iâ€™ll be â€œstumpinâ€™ aroundâ€ for a week or two. The same doc that told me that I didnâ€™t need a knee replacement did the surgery and heâ€™s been keeping me playing Senior Softball for 5 years (after I was told by 2 docs that Iâ€™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, â€When it rains, it poursâ€. Itâ€™s certainly pouring on us now, but â€œthingsâ€ will get better!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Random Thoughts at 11:27 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, May 13. 2013
This particular buck, heâ€™s kindaâ€™ my pet, first showed up robbing the corn feeder at MaMawâ€™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 heâ€™s 4-1/2 and will be a real shooter this year.
In 2011 heâ€™s pictured going after the corn and protein, heâ€™s the reason I put a guard over the feeder!
Last year heâ€™s challenging the dead buck, see my post â€œChallenge Unansweredâ€ of November 8, 2012.
Now this year, heâ€™s still coming around MaMawâ€™s feeder, who knows the size his horns will reach?
I bet he doesnâ€™t make it until next year!
Thursday, May 9. 2013
Reading the title, youâ€™d think that somehow Iâ€™d gotten my line stripped by a monster fish, but read on and youâ€™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, â€œHoney Holeâ€, 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 familyâ€™s beach house.
When I arrived at the boat shed, no Bobby. His friend, Joe, was waiting for me and said, â€œBobby was purty sick, but he told me to tell you to take the boat on out and catch some fish.â€ What a surprise to me because Iâ€™d never taken a big, boat out anywhere, let alone, offshore, but the Fishing Godâ€™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 weâ€™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, thereâ€™s a small hump on the Gulfâ€™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 didnâ€™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 weâ€™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, weâ€™d never thought to fill the gas tank, luckily for us we didnâ€™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 didnâ€™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 wouldnâ€™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 weâ€™d gotten the click when we were offshore? I didnâ€™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
â€œUnkieâ€, G.A. Pyland, of course my uncle, had been telling me about this new â€œsuperâ€ 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 â€œUnkieâ€ and my cousin George at the specified bait camp in Port Oâ€™Conner. It was still dark and weâ€™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, â€œFish onâ€, 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 weâ€™d kept them all, weâ€™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 werenâ€™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 Oâ€™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 fishâ€™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 didnâ€™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 (2) | Trackbacks (0)
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