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Wednesday, June 15. 2011
Meeting my barber, Joe Riley, at his Sugar Land, Texas home, we drove on down to the San Barnard River, actually where it crosses the Intercoastal Waterway, to have a go at some trout and redfish. We were going to fish in a new spot for me a place Joe called The Tripod. He said it was a good spot and we wouldnâ€™t be troubled with other folks fishing there.
From the bait camp we bought live shrimp, ice, drinks, snacks and launched my boat for the two mile run, west on the Intercoastal, there we would turn into a little cut, not fifty yards wide, that opened up in a small, shallow bay. In the middle of the bay, I found out a few minutes later, was a gas well with a triangle shaped sign, hence, The Tripod.
As we entered the cut, Joe guided me to the left where he quietly slipped the anchor into the shallow, barely three foot, water. The tide was coming in toward us, bringing in green, fishy looking, water and, just perfect, the wind was at out backs, making casting easy! Cast toward the right of the cut and, keeping the line tight, let the current drift our rigs back over the fishing area, a reef along the right side. Today weâ€™d be using standard popping gear, six and a half foot rods, fifteen, pound line wrapped on red reels and a popping cork, but today was a little different. Instead of using a three to four foot leader under the corks, our leader was only fifteen or eighteen inches and no popping either.
Getting the feel of this new style of fishing, I cast out and began the drift with no results, but Joe, having cast out before me, was fast into a nice something that was stripping line from his reel. That something turned out to be a three, pound redfish that I netted, Joe took out the hook and boxed it, remarking, â€œI didnâ€™t tell you the secret. When your cork stops and acts hung up, set the hook because a fish has just picked up the shrimp.â€
The secret being out, my next cast scored, the cork stopped, I set the hook and was into something that was splashing at the surface, probably a trout that turned out to be barely a keeper, fourteen, inches then. Swinging the trout into the boat, I grabbed it, took out the hook and boxed it too. We kept catching small trout and Joe mentioned, â€œOver the years Iâ€™ve fished here a lot, but never have caught a trout over two pounds and often, Iâ€™ve wondered why?â€ Having fished the same spot for almost five years, we never caught a big trout there either!
Later in the morning I cast out, drifted my shrimp above the reef, my cork stopped and I reared back, setting the hook and the fish took off, stripping line off my reel. After a grudging fight, Joe slipped the net under a big flounder that on my hand held scale was just over four pounds, a new record for flatfish for me! This was a real bonus, a big flounder that would be delicious baked. For me, this spot turned out to be a flounder haven where I boxed several that were over eight pounds, whoppers! We ended the day with thirty-two fish in the cooler, flounder, reds and specs! Not bad for a new to me spot and I certainly will come back.
Over the years we had some excellent catches from The Tripod, but moving away and on our trips back I never had time to try it out, but after I returned to Houston, one afternoon, with the tide coming in Mac Windsor and I decided to check it out. Motoring west of the San Bernard River on the â€œIntercoastalâ€ we started looking to our left for the channel leading to The Tripod. Not there and no Tripod either. We came about and began searching back toward the river and it was still not there.
Motoring all the way to Karancuha Bay, five or six miles, still no channel. All we saw was a spot on the south side of the Intercoastal where it was extra wide. We came about again and motored to the bait camp where the river and Intercoastal crossed and asked the owner, â€œWhereâ€™s that little cut, that channel leading back to the gas rig, The Tripod?â€ â€œNot there,â€ he answered. â€œA while back, that gas well blew up and rearranged everything. We call it the Blow Out Hole now. Good fishing in the winter!â€
Now I found out why we never saw another boat there!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 10:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, May 11. 2009
Standing on the concrete spillway with the full force of Texasâ€™, Colorado River, being held in check by the restraining balloon, I didnâ€™t then, nor have ever found out what the air filled giant was made of, but it was over three hundred feet long and probably twenty feet in diameter and was stretched across the river from giant concrete anchors.Â Tidal water, from the Gulf of Mexico, fifteen miles south, was to my front and behind me, behind the huge barrier, was the fresh water from the river.Â The water was used for irrigation of the many rice fields in the area.
Surprise, one of my first casts, with an artificial shrimp tail lure, into the brackish water was picked up by a nice, channel cat and five minutes later I was stringing the eight, pounder.Â Â Several casts later, my rod bowed as a big fish hit the lure and headed down river.Â This wasnâ€™t a cat and, because of the apparent head shaking, I identified it as a big red.Â My gear, a six and a half, foot fiberglass, popping rod, Ambassadeur 6000C, reel loaded with two hundred yards of fifteen pound line, should be sufficient to stop this fellowâ€™s run.
Hopping down off of the spillway and running along the bank, I was able to gain some line and soon the fish slowed and made another shorter run, but something was out of whack, this fish was fighting deeper than a red.Â Maybe it had swallowed the lure?Â Gaining line and easing the fish up out of the depths, I had my first glimpse of a big striped bass, probably thirty inches long.
Having caught some in South Carolina, but never in Texas waters, I wanted this one for, at least, a picture and as I bent over to â€œlipâ€ the striper, all the while trying to keep my line tight, the single hook on the plug, pulled out.Â I could only watch, and I still have the mind picture, as this silver/greenish, striped beauty slowly finned down out of sight.
There is a small striped bass fishery in the Trinity River, below the Lake Livingston damn.Â Having fished Trinity Bay, around the mouth of the Trinity River, many times, I have caught reds and specs but never a striper, although Iâ€™ve heard tales of anglers regularly catching them.Â Iâ€™ve fished around the salt water, barrier on the San Bernard River and no stripers.Â I think thereâ€™s too much pollution around the Brazos/New River system for them and have never caught one around there.
All I can imagine is that this fish either came into the Colorado from the Gulf, or came down Trinity to Galveston Bay, then into the Gulf for, forty miles, then up the Colorado?
Whatever, it certainly did some traveling.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, April 12. 2008
Norman Shelter had been after me to take him fishing to a new hotspot of mine, â€œThe Tripodâ€.Â It was near where the San Barnard River and The Intercoastal Waterway, or â€œIntercoastalâ€ as we called it, crossed.Â The Brazos River flows into the Gulf at Freeport, while the San Barnard enters ten miles to the west.Â The spot was a small cut off to the Intercoastal, leading into an unnamed bay that had a gas well in the middle.Â The apparatus on the well was tripod shaped, hence the name.
Our fishing target was a reef on the west side of the cut leading into the little bay.Â The gas well wasnâ€™t a problem, but once or twice a week an inspector came out and checked it and the fishing stopped for about a half hour until after he leftÂ Â We would anchor in the middle of the cut, cast toward the mid point in the opposite bank and let our rigs drift, on the incoming tide, to our left.Â We fished about eighteen inches deep and when your cork stopped drifting and appeared to be hung up, set the hook and hold on.
Saturdays and some afternoons when the tide was right or we had been blown out of our regular bay or jetty spots my Dad and I would head to â€œThe Tripodâ€ and consistently catch fish.Â One trip I caught two Flounders, both over eight pounds, huge ones, and another trip we caught several six and seven pound Reds.Â The Trout were never over two pounds and itâ€™s funny, we never saw another boat at our spot.Â I often wondered why?
A beautiful spring morning found Norman and Tony Welsh, a neighbor of mine, and I pulled up, anchored and cast our rigs out and, until the tide changed, we enjoyed a morning of good fishing.Â We iced down over 20 Flounder, 5 Reds and 10 Specks and the 88 quart, cooler was full when we loaded the boat on the trailer and began the, slightly over one hour, drive back to southwest Houston.
We were about to cross the railroad tracks at Post Oak and Highway 90A when I noticed the car was acting sluggish.Â Turning the corner, Norman glanced back toward the boat and trailer and told me, â€œJon, looks like a bearing has gone out on the trailer!â€Â Pulling over, sure enough, we had lost the trailerâ€™s right wheel bearing.Â We were stuck!
Across the highway was a truck stop, so we â€œcreepedâ€ over and asked for the Manager, (we had been well trained, always call at the top).Â Explaining our plight, I distinctly remember his reply, â€œWhat kind of fish are in the cooler?â€Â â€œFlounder, Specks and Reds,â€ I replied.Â â€œHow many Flounder,â€ he asked?Â My reply of twenty sealed the deal.Â He told us â€œBoys, Iâ€™ll fix the bearing right now for 20 flounder.â€Â Highway robbery, but we got home OK and the following Monday saw me install bearing buddies on my trailer.
My last trip to â€œThe Tripodâ€ was several years later and as we motored approximately three miles west of the San Bernard River on the â€œIntercoastalâ€ we started looking to our left for the channel leading to our old spot.Â Not there.Â We came about and began searching back toward the river and it was still not there. Â
Motoring all the way to Carancuha Bay, five or six miles, still no channel.Â All we saw was a spot on the south side of the â€œIntercoastalâ€ where it was extra wide.Â We came about again and motored to the bait camp where the river and â€œIntercoastalâ€ crossed.Â Asking the owner, â€œWhereâ€™s that little cut, that channel leading back to the gas rig, â€œThe Tripodâ€?â€Â â€œNot there,â€ he answered.Â â€œA while back, that gas well blew up and rearranged everything.Â We call it the Blow Out Hole now.Â Good fishing in the winterâ€ Â
Now I found out why we never saw another boat in our spot!Â
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
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