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Saturday, June 30. 2012
Having had a lot of boats, 16 at last count, spanning 40-years, from 1965 to 2005 I could almost be called an authority on the subject. This is the story on how I moved up from a small 14 footer to my second boat, a 16 footer. The old story is true in my case, that as you grow older, “Your toys only get bigger!”
Carrying a load of firewood into my garage, I didn’t see the garage door wasn’t raised all the way. Bam, I ran into it and dropped the load of wood all over. A month later, as soon as my concussion was healed (some say it never was) we took my first boat out for a try at water skiing. The boat was game, but the 40, horse motor was insufficient to get me up on skis, my ex, being 80 pounds lighter, popped right up, but something had to be done about the boat and motor. That something happened the next weekend. Bill Priddy, one of my old West University friends, worked with me and invited us to go water skiing in Lake Houston with him and his date.
We showed up on time, but Bill and his date and Norman Shelter and his date were sitting in the boat. Wouldn’t 6 be too many, I thought as we loaded up everything? Bill’s boat, a 16-foot fiberglass, lap strake, packed a 65, horse motor and turned out to be a skiing delight. A little strained for getting me up with the crowd aboard, but nice.
It was dead calm as I finally cleared the water and began skiing, nice conditions, flat water, no wind and the thought came to me, Why am I being pulled behind this boat when not over 20 miles from here I could be fishing for trout in Trinity Bay? The thought nagged at me, but wore off as the morning wore on.
While Norman was skiing, we noticed a cloud building up over the south end of the lake and soon, pop-crak, thunder, as the lightning hit. We quickly picked up Norman, headed for the launch ramp and were all thinking, That was too close. Before we got the boat loaded, here came the rain and more lightning. Very exciting, but anyway, we were already all wet!
We decided to wait this storm out and sitting in Bill’s car he thought out loud, “I’m going to get rid of this boat and stick with bass fishing.” The boat seemed to be just what I was looking for, a bigger boat with more horsepower and within 2 weeks, I’d sold my first boat and bought Bill’s for $900.00. The price was a steal, 3 years later, when I bought my third boat, an 18-footer, I got a $1,200.00 trade in for it, even with 2 new motors and all, the cost for the new one was only $2,500.00.
Even though we used it for some water skiing, for the next 3 years, this one became my first real, fishing boat. Just learning about where to fish, when to fish, how to fish, boating safety and boat handling, I finally found my second love, fishing! Brad was getting old enough to fish with me and I had ample opportunity to take my dad, “Unkie” and Dub Middleton, each one of the older guys drilled safety into me! My younger friends Bill, Norman, Dewey Stringer and over 10 years later, Bob Baugh all were eager participants too, that is until moving to Arizona and finding about the wonders of quail hunting!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, August 16. 2007
One fishing trip, in the early summer of 1979, would change my fishing patterns completely. My Uncle, George Alvin Pyland, Uncle Gus or Unkie, Dave Miller, a friend, and I, in my new seventeen foot, deep vee, with a eighty five horsepower outboard motor, were heading in after a morning of fishing around Swan Lake, east of the Galveston Causeway.
Unkie and my big Redfish!
We headed under the big bridges of the Galveston Causeway and I was preparing to turn east into the channel to the Pleasure Island Bait camp, when Dave said, “Look at those new channel markers going toward Tiki Island and Jones Lake.” We turned west into the new channel and began a little exploring.
Unkie said he had fished Jones Lake once and remembered it being shallow. Dave said it was new to him, so we followed the new channel markers; bamboo poles with flags on them, stuck into the sandy bottom and cruised under the Tiki Island Bridge. Tiki Island, at the time, was a new bay home development, and has since grown into a large, up scale community.
Continue reading "A Change Of Patterns"
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, May 24. 2007
We had not had a damaging freeze on the coast for sixteen years and game fish and bait fish stocks were at record highs. Weather permitting, the Galveston Jetties were loaded with keepers, the weather had cooperated and our freezers were already full of filets.
I had received another promotion with the large computer company and with that had purchased a beach house at Jamaica Beach, ten miles west from the end of the Galveston Sea Wall. Launching at Jamaica Beach I was now five to ten minutes from some great bay fishing spots, Green’s Cut, the Wreck, Confederate Reef and North and South Deer Islands. My favorite South Jetty spot was only thirty minutes by boat.
Continue reading "One More Cast"
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 08:12 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, May 14. 2007
For years, on my way to fish the Galveston Jetties, the beachfront or West Galveston Bay, I would pass Jones Lake, by car or boat, never realizing the excellent fishing opportunities this small body of water possessed.
Jones Lake is situated west of Texas City and south of Hitchcock, Texas and is bordered on the east by marsh and Interstate 45, on the south by Tiki Island and the Intercoastal Canal and on the west and north by marsh. The western portion of the lake is littered with refuse left over from the dredging of canals in Meacom’s ill fated Flamingo Island community, which was one of the first EPA closures – spoilage of estuaries. More government BS! Other than the northwest shore, this area is dangerous for outboard motor lower units and except for a couple of channels, is avoided by fishermen.
In the early summer of 1979, my Uncle, George Alvin Pyland, Uncle Gus or Unkie, Dub Middleton, a friend, both now deceased and me, in my new seventeen foot Lamar, deep vee, with a eighty five horsepower outboard motor, were heading in after a morning of fishing around Swan Lake, east of the Galveston Causeway. We headed under the big bridges of the Galveston Causeway and I was preparing to turn east into the channel to the Pleasure Island Bait camp, when Dub said, “Look at those new channel markers going toward Tiki Island and Jones Lake.” We turned west into the new channel and began a little exploring. Unkie said he had fished Jones Lake once and remembered it being shallow. Dub said it was new to him, so we followed the new channel markers; bamboo poles with flags on them, stuck into the sandy bottom and cruised under the Tiki Island Bridge. Tiki Island, at the time, was a new bay home development, and has since grown into a large, up scale community.
Entering lower Jones Lake, we cut the motor down and slowly proceeded toward some low laying islands and reefs which run southeast to northwest and bisect the main section of the lake. Two of these islands had small, crude, fishing shacks built up on pilings, very basic accommodation, that would late be blown away in 1983, by Hurricane Alicia. The lake is not big, probably five square miles, not deep, probably five feet at its deepest, but the bottom, in 1979, was studded with live oyster reefs and clumps of grass. Now, most of the grass is gone but some live reefs still remain.
We headed toward the second island/reef, just about in the middle of the lake, and I said, “We’ve got some dead shrimp, let’s try a few casts.” We started drifting in almost four feet of water, and my first cast would change my fishing tactics for the next twenty-six years. My popping cork hit the water and within a minute, the cork started moving to my right, against the tide, which was coming in and Unkie said, “It’s a red, give him a second to get the bait in his mouth good. Now hit him hard.” Which I did, getting a good set on the small hook, and the red took off, almost spooling my Ambassadeur 5000C full of fifteen pound line. Dub started the boat and the chase was on. What a fight, long runs, swirls at the top of the water, head shaking, which was really the red trying to rub the hook out of its jaw on the bottom, and finally we got it to the side of the boat and it was too big for the landing net, so Unkie got a good hold behind its gills and heaved it aboard.
The redfish was 33 inches long and we estimated it weighed 15 pounds. That day we caught one more red 29 inches long and a couple of 22 inchers. This was all before a twenty to twenty-eight inch slot limit was set for reds.
The next afternoon found me again in Jones Lake, in my new boat, with a new, bigger landing net, and a new fishing companion, Jim Buck. We caught a nice mess of reds and trout and these first two trips insured that I was hooked on Jones Lake and that I had found a new, hot spot!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 08:34 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, May 10. 2007
George and I had talked of a Saturday afternoon trip if conditions were right and we could take Jim’s new boat. We were both married, over twenty-one, commissioned officers, college graduates and veterans of many good and bad fishing trips, but we had never taken a boat out by ourselves into Galveston Bay without one of our Dads along. A first time for everything.
Alvin "Gus" Pyland, Uncle Gus or Unkie, 1970's. A fisherman's fisherman!
Continue reading "The Guardian Angel"
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 08:12 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, April 28. 2007
From 1966 to 1970 Bart Paxon and I were members of an “exclusive” hunting and fishing club south of Danbury, Texas. The club catered to Duck hunters, but allowed fishing and frogging when it didn’t conflict with the hunting. The club offered a nice air conditioned and heated lodge that slept twelve, a complete kitchen, including a cook during Duck season, game cleaning facilities and six, flat bottomed, aluminum boats and, on top of all of that, family members could use the facility for fishing, etc. without the member being present.Besides the camp house and one hundred acres of woods, the club consisted of three lakes, rice field reservoirs, of about twenty acres each. A deep channel was cut all around a square impoundment with the excavated dirt piled up to form a type of dam, with about ten feet of shallow water along the dam’s inside, before the excavated channel dropped off to about six feet of water. The channel, the only structure in the lake, was approximately thirty feet wide, sloping up to a large, shallow flat, two feet deep, which covered the center of the lake. The lakes were over twenty years old and had excellent aquatic vegetation flourishing in and around them. Plenty of snakes but, strangely, no Alligators
My Dad was retired and his fishing companion many days was Brad, his Grandson and my Son. Brad was five or six at the time but loved fishing with his “Poppy”. I was meeting them down there one Friday afternoon and my Dad and Brad went down early. When they arrived, the owner was draining one of the three reservoirs to clean out the channels and increase it holding capacity. The lake was down to only a square channel of twenty feet, or so, wide, behind the dam.
My Dad had told stories about low water conditions and pounding something against the bottom of a floating boat, creating vibrations under the water, causing the fish to jump in the air, some falling back into the boat. Hookless fishing! I have seen salt water Mullet become excited and jump into a boat, especially at night, when flounder gigging, in shallow water.
Launching a boat into the channel, he and Brad, climbed in and while Poppy paddled, Brad smacked the bottom of the boat and the fish started jumping in. Brad was excited and laughing at the sight of the fish landing and flopping in the boat. Most of the fish were thrown into one of the adjoining lakes but Poppy kept three for supper that night.
I had gotten down to the club in time to take this picture that clearly shows the low water channel behind my Dad and Brad. One of the two adjoining lakes is visible in the background.
As soon as the picture was taken, Brad began jumping up and down wanting me to take him fishing and see the Bass jumping into the boat. I did, and we quickly “caught” six more Bass in the boat and put them in one of the other lakes.
What if a four or five foot Alligator Gar had jumped into the boat?
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 12:59 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, March 27. 2007
By the summer of 1946, WW II had ended the previous August and gas rationing had gone away. We celebrated these events by taking a trip to visit my Aunt Lenora and Uncle Pete and their two kids in Temple, Texas. I was excited to see the family, but really excited because Uncle Pete told me that he was going to take me fishing in his boat. Never having fished from a real boat I was wound up tight for the visit.
At the time, Uncle Pete, A.J. Peters, had a Texaco Service Station in Temple and I remember he had a trophy in the station for having the number one Texaco Station in the country. How could a station in Temple be number one? Easy, Ft Hood, with about 50,000 troops stationed there, was about thirty miles away and anyone leaving the post heading east would stop at his station and gas up for around $.15 per gallon, get their tires checked and their windshield washed, all for no charge. Everyone smiled and spoke English then.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 12:25 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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