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Sunday, July 15. 2012
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, Greenâ€™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)
Tuesday, May 22. 2007
In the spring of 1966, severe floods over the Trinity and San Jacinto Rivers and the head waters of Buffalo Bayou had flushed out Galveston Bay. The bay water was fresh and muddy and almost all of the bait fish had left and taken up residence at the jetties and along the beach front, quickly followed by the Trout, Red Fish and Flounders. This presented a real opportunity to catch some fish.
Four of the Igloo full of Specs we caught.This particular day, Wednesday, May 3, 1966, my Dad, being retired, and I, had decided to sneak off early in the morning, fish our South Jetty spot and be back in town by 10:00 AM so I could make some afternoon appointments.
We bought one quart of shrimp and put it in the internal bait well on the new, 16ft Falcon, then put the boat in at Bobby Wilsonâ€™s Bait Camp and sped at thirty-five miles per hour around the East Beach Flats, no more wading for us (only if it is too rough to get around the end of the South Jetty). No problem today since the wind was blowing lightly out of the north- east.
Just after sunrise we motored up and slipped up close to the Jetty, quietly dropping the anchor and letting out line. The anchor caught and we looked up and down the jetty, we were the only boat out. We ended up thirty-five or forty feet from the rocks, in ten feet of water. The depth dropped from zero to ten feet in forty feet! The tide was flowing to our left toward the beach. It is funny that when the tide is flowing out of the channel you get a reverse effect on the Gulf side of both jetties. Bait fish were crowded against the rocks. We knew the Trout were here.
Daddy had a new, red Ambassadeur 5000 reel with fifteen pound line, mounted on a six and a half foot fiberglass â€œpoppingâ€ rod. Just the right tackle. I was armed with a Mitchell 300 spinning reel, ten pound line and a semi-stiff, six and a half foot spinning rod. Ok unless I pick up a big Red or Jackfish. We were free shrimping with a BB size split shot attached about ten inches above a small, treble hook. Trout poison! For the record we had two coolers, a foam one for food and drinks and a new forty-eight quart Igloo for the fish. Funny thing, at that time, Igloo was one of my customers.
We baited up and cast toward the rocks, dragging the shrimp slowly along the drop off and whamo, whamo, we are both into two very nice fish. We began the â€œJetty Shuffleâ€, which is circling around the boat, passing rods under each other to prevent tangling, all while keeping pressure on the fish. We netted both fish in the same landing net, removed the hooks and placed them in the new forty-eight quart Igloo cooler. The fish were identical, twenty-six inches long with their tails curling up the side of the cooler. We shook hands, baited up and cast out and whamo, whamo, two more nice fish! We repeated this over and over until we had the new, forty-eight quart Igloo cooler full to the top with a minimum of ice left in it. Twenty-nine Specsâ€™, all twenty-six or twenty-seven inches long, almost two hundred pounds of fish. All of this in less than two hours!
Looking up, I see Wes Thomas, another â€jetty proâ€, and one of my old college and baseball playing buddies, pulling up slowly outside of us. I yelled across the water, â€œWes, our cooler is full so let me pull up the anchor and you all ease in here and you can catch some fish.â€
I saw in the next days Houston Chronicle that Bob Brister, the OutdoorEditor, wrote that the â€œjetty prosâ€ hammered the trout at the NORTH Jetty. Funny, I guess he really could keep a secret.
Just gutting the fish, we got back to Houston well before 10:00 AM and sold most of the fish for over $100. My afternoon appointments were no problem.
My â€œspecialâ€ spot is still there and still a fish haven, less than a mile in from the end of the Gulf side of Galvestonâ€™s South Jetty. I have caught a whole lot of fish in my life from Florida, to the Gulf of California, to Hawaii, but no day equals the quantity and size, or the fast, furious action that Daddy and I had on May 3, 1966.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 08:30 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, May 16. 2007
Dana Sawyer, like me was a fishing fool, and like me, was a senior level salesman with the same large computer company. Dana also had a very nice beach house on Tiki Island, complete with, I and my other fishing friends believed, was the best engineered boat launching ramp on the Gulf coast â€“ easy in, easy out! We called this pleasure spot Danaâ€™s Camp. Hardly a â€œcampâ€ but a very nice three bedroom home, built twelve feet above mean high tide, on concrete and steel supports, complete with an industrial class icemaker.
My computer salesman's uniform, which was soon to become fishing togs.Â It was probably roughest on my Florshiem Wingtips.Â The salt water didn't help the leather!Â
Tiki Island forms a portion of the southern
Many times when it was too windy to fish the jetties or the big bays he and I would fish Jones Lake. On
We didnâ€™t have much luck, some small ones, when I heard a â€œhmmpfâ€ from Suzanne. Looking over at her I saw she was fast into a nice fish, her Zebco reel whining, ZZZ, ZZZ, ZZZ as the fish took out line. For her first fish she was fighting it perfectly, moving around the boat and keeping her rod high. She won this battle and we netted her a fine, three pound flounder, a great way to start her fishing career!
What to do? I didnâ€™t have any
Looping out a cast, in my excitement, I reel in too
Continue reading "Dana's Camp"
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 08:04 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, May 8. 2007
My dad and I had planned to fish around the Boilers, a wrecked shrimp boat on the beachfront, half way between the mouth of the Brazos River and San Luis Pass, a remote, fun, destination. Some say this wreck was really a small Russian submarine. Loading the car that morning we noticed an almost strong wind blowing out of the southeast. That wind would make the waves too high to comfortably wade along the beachfront. As we drove down Telephone Road, Highway 35, I-45 was only finished out to Ellington Field, we decided to head for Galveston and the East Beach Flats.
My Dad, John H. Bryan was a mid level manager with Southwestern Bell Telephone Co., owned by AT&T. Today what was Southwestern Bell now is, and owns, what was AT&T. Daddy, as I called him, was a former Sergeant (E-5) in the Marine Corps and in the 20â€™s was the Marine Fleet, middleweight boxing champion. My Dad also had combat experience in Latin America during one of the last â€œBanana Warsâ€.
He tried to enlist with the Marines on December 8, 1941, but was told, even with his past record, that he was forty years old and too old to serve in the Corps. He was a great Dad, a good man and very supportive of me, but he did have a problem with his language â€“ cursing. And, that weakness would show itself in full glory during this fishing trip.
As an interesting sidelight to my story, I remember that in the fall 1942 the movie â€œWake Islandâ€ was released and shown at the Metropolitan Theatre in Houston. We went to see it on the premier night because Daddy wanted to see one of his old COâ€™s from the Corps. I met the CO, now a Colonel, Chesty Puller, who ended up being the most famous Marine of WW II. He was on a war bond drive and temporarily back from Guadalcanal. My Dad would have joined back up that night also.
We got to Bobby Wilsonâ€™s Bait Camp and, sure enough, the wind was blowing a good fifteen knots out of the southeast. Our choice of the East Beach Flats was a good one. We fished hard all morning catching several nice Specs and numerous small ones. Mid morning the tide changed and started going out (towards the Gulf which was behind us.) and the current pushed our bait box behind me and to my right. I would turn around, pull the box towards me and get a shrimp, while my Dad would have to shuffle behind me, get a shrimp and shuffle off to make his cast.
As I prepared to cast, Daddy, shuffled behind me, looking down to get a shrimp, as my backward motion for the cast reached its apex and as the hook, shrimp, line and sinker began hurling forward, the hook, less the shrimp, was imbedded into his right cheek just behind the point of the bone, all the way past the barb in the hook. â€œDamn boy, you hooked meâ€ he shouted. Then a line of â€œblue streakersâ€, such as I had never heard before came out of his mouth. I was exasperated having hooked my Dad, but also for having a king sized backlash in my Shakespeare Direct Drive reel.
I stuck my rod butt into my jeans (no fancy rod holders yet), momentarily forgot about my backlash and cut the leader off at the hook in my Dadâ€™s face. His face was red, red, red and the â€œblue streakersâ€ were still coming out. We both decided that since I felt bad about hooking him and his cursing wouldnâ€™t do any good we should assess our situation. The imbedded hook caused no bleeding. After it stopped stinging there was no pain. The John Sealy Hospital Emergency Room was on our way home. The fish were biting and we had some good bait left. So we did what any red blooded guys would do, we kept fishing.
After about an hour we quit fishing and drove to the emergency room. He would get to try out this new thing The Telephone Company had â€“ Blue Cross Medical Insurance. My Mom and Dad were never sick and never went to the hospital for all of the years that I was around them. So the â€œblue streakersâ€ started again. He wasnâ€™t going to any blankety-blank emergency room and let those blankety-blank quacks cut on him. For the first time in my life I told my Dad what to do, â€œSettle down. We are going inside and they will get the hook out and we will go on home.â€
Removing the hook was nothing if the right tools were available. Push it through the skin, snip off the barb and pull the hook out. Then get a tetanus shot and go home. By the time we got home Daddy was red all over â€“ allergic to the horse serum used in the tetanus shot. Mother called our Doctor who lived fifteen minutes away from us, to come over and take care of John H. In those days Docs did house calls. We had antibiotics - sulfa and penicillin - but did not have antihistamines then. One Benadryl tablet would have cured him, but the treatment then was to take cool baths and â€œmopâ€ all over with Calamine lotion. He missed two days work before the reaction ebbed.
We went wade fishing again the next week and there was no mention of â€œthe hookingâ€, but Daddy never went to a hospital again for the rest of his life.
Another funny story about my Dad. John H. Bryan was his name. â€œWhatâ€™s the â€œHâ€ stand for Johnnyâ€, I heard his friends laughingly ask him many times? Well, when he joined the Marine Corps, the Recruiting Sgt. told him â€œSon, you have to have a middle initial to join my Corpsâ€. Puzzled my dad replied, â€œSgt. my only name is John, but if I need an initial make it H. H for hellion.â€
Continue reading "The Day I caught My Dad"
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 08:10 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, April 3. 2007
Having been blessed to have hunted all the species of Quail from Arizona to South Carolina, over the years I have had ample opportunity to sample Quail cooked many different ways. Through trial and error I have been able to invent one of my favorite dishes, â€œQuail Jonâ€, which I would like to share with you.
The ingredients are Quail legs, however, Dove, Bull Frog, Teal or Woodcock legs can be substituted, but I find large Duck, or Pheasant, legs too tough, and, depending on how many legs, one or two jalapenos, sectioned into 1/8 inch slices, sliced garlic pods or a copious amount of Garlic powder, Â½ to one full stick of butter (no margarine!) and lemon/lime juice to taste.Â Remember, you canâ€™t use too much garlic or jalapenos.
Clean and wash the legs and prepare your ingredients.Â Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after slicing the jalapenos!Â Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet, and when melted, add all of the ingredients at once and simmer, covering the skillet with a lid, for 15 minutes, then stir and turn the mixture, recover and cook until done.Â Feeds as many as you have legs for.Â Small legs are very good served as an appetizer, Frog legs can be the main course.Â Best if served hot, but be sure and eat all of the ingredients!
The sauce; butter, garlic, lemon/lime, and jalapenos, can also be used with small fillets of any white fleshed fish.Â Speckled Trout, or â€œTrout Jonâ€ is very tasty prepared this way, but caution, donâ€™t overcook, the fish being done when the meat flakes.Â
Both Shrimp and mushroomsÂ are "passed good" when prepared with this sauce.
Continue reading "Camp Fire Quail"
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 14:10 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, February 14. 2007
The summer of 1957 found the fishing still good for small to medium trout around Galveston Islandâ€™s East Beach Flats and it also found me boatless, still in college and awaiting a six week stint at ROTC Camp at Ft. Hood. We had been hearing stories about the great fishing behind Earl Galceranâ€™s camp and the old Coast Guard Station at the far west end of Galveston Island. How do we get to it?
Earlâ€™s camp was really several thousand acres leased for Dove, Quail and Duck hunting, plus it had access to some of the best Trout water in the state. No bait used here, only Dixie Jet silver spoons with a yellow buck tail attached. Like the Rockport and Port Oâ€™Conner area today, grass grew in abundance and the pot-holes in the grass reminded me of holes in the moss in fresh water lakes. How do we get to it?One of my ROTC buddies, a newly commissioned Second Lieutenant in the United States Army, Ralph Foster, an avid, avid fisherman, had the idea that since we couldnâ€™t sneak into the area, why didnâ€™t he and I go ask Earl Galceran, already a fishing legend, if we could fish behind his place. We could sight our lack of funds, honesty and Ralphâ€™s newly commissioned status as reasons we could be trusted not to do any damage to his property or equipment. Or, we could just go down there and act like members and wave and smile and just wade out and start fishing. We choose the latter approach, correctly thinking, â€œAlways beg for forgiveness and never ask for permission.â€ We would plead ignorance of the private property and say we were just following the road to West Galveston Bay.
Arriving at the open gate to Earl Galceranâ€™s we drove to a parking area, parked, grabbed our rods, and stringers and headed for the bay. Out came Earl Galceran, we smiled and waved, he smiled and waved and went back into his trailer. Whew! We must have looked like members.
Reaching the edge of the bay, a light Southeast wind blowing at our backs, as we looked out over Trout paradise, a slight ripple on green, clear water with grass growing and swirling right up to the surface. No hesitation now, in I go and find a hard sand/shell bottom and I canâ€™t believe the grass. On my first cast, the spoon lands silently past a three foot hole in the moss and I begin a rapid retrieve and whamo, a three pound Trout nails the spoon and the fight is on! When a big trout hits, you know it, a jarring, pounding, rod bending hit, not the sideways, slow hit of a big Red picking up a shrimp. Landing the Trout bare handed, getting a firm grip behind its gills, I slid him on the stringer and looked over at Ralph who was in the middle of a fight with a nice fish also.
â€œThis is some place,â€ I exclaimed, sailing another cast past a likely looking hole in the grass, and getting another whamo! The hook pulled out, no fish. What I didnâ€™t know then, but have since learned, the Trout lurk in the grass beside the holes and ambush baitfish as they swim through the open area. Another cast, another jarring hit, and this oneâ€™s hooked solid and Iâ€™m soon stringing another three pounder. Several casts catch grass and before you know it, whamo, another fine fish soon to be on my stringer.
Thirty minutes of fishing, wonderful conditions, bait in the water, trout all around and three solid three pounders on the stringer. What a day this will be!
Wait a minute, my stringer is caught on something. That something hits my leg. That something is a shark! â€œShark,â€ I yell, stepping back and looking down at my stringer, which is tied, not looped, onto a belt loop of my jeans. Another lesson learned, â€œNever tie, always loop.â€ Two bites and the shark, a four foot plus Black Tip, clips off the last two Trout on my stringer, swirls around me, brushing my leg again, and comes up to the surface and grabs the last Trout, all of this right by my right hand which is futilely trying to pull the fish away from the shark.
I hear Ralph laughing. I donâ€™t think this is funny at all. Iâ€™m left with three trout heads on my stringer, heart racing and heâ€™s laughing. I guess Earl Galceran kept these sharks around as pets to feed on his â€œguestâ€™sâ€ fish. I quickly got out of the water and sat on the bank for thirty or forty minutes cooling off and by that time Ralph, still laughing, came out of the water with five nice trout on his stringer. He said â€œYou ready to call it a day.â€ I didnâ€™t reply, just turned around and started back to the car.
I went back to this place by boat in 1970. A big chemical plant had been built in the mid â€˜60â€™s, on one of the feeder bayous that feeds into Lower West Galveston Bay above Earlâ€™s old place and the grass went away. Trout fishing changed in Lower West Bay to anchoring on reefs, fishing under the birds or drifting. Earl Galceran moved to a house boat set up in the Chandleur Islands off of the Louisiana/Mississippi coasts. From what I have heard, he took his sharks with him.
My buddy, Ralph Foster, went on active duty at Ft. Hood as a Platoon Leader in a basic training company. One of his recruits was Elvis Pressley.
Continue reading "A More Closer Encounter"
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 14:53 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, February 10. 2007
In the summer of 1954 trout fishing had been very good along the broad sand flats from Galvestonâ€™s East Beach Lagoon around to the base of the South Jetties, a curving distance of approximately two miles protected from any wind except north or northeast.
This area was at the far eastern tip of Galveston Island and the western side of Bolivar Channel, which cuts between the island and the Bolivar Peninsula. This is also the mouth of the Galveston and Houston ship channels. It was good fishing and just plain fun to go down there and watch the ships and the girls. We always tried to plan our trips when the wind was light and the tide was coming in.
The week before todayâ€™s event my Cousin and fishing buddy, George Pyland, and I had made a â€œkillingâ€ on school trout on the north side of the flats. The fish were everywhere, plugs or live shrimp, even a bare hook. We spread the news among our fishing group and everyone awaited a break in the weather.
I get a early morning call from one of my partners in crime, Bill Brown, saying â€œThings look good for the flats this afternoonâ€. My reply was â€œI canâ€™t. I have a dateâ€. This was totally unacceptable to Bill. His girl friend didnâ€™t like to go fishing and he was free today and tonight. My girl friend was game for anything. She didnâ€™t fish but liked to wade out and watch us fish. After saying, â€œHe would buy the gasâ€, all of $.18 per gallon, I called my girl and told her of the change in plans and she reluctantly agreed to go with us.
The tide was running in and the wind was light as we bought shrimp at Bobby Wilsonâ€™s East Beach Bait Camp and headed for the flats. Wading out about seventy-five yards to waist deep water, the fish were there and we started catching some nice â€˜Specs, up to two pounds. Bill, to my right, and I were about 30 feet apart and girl friend was behind me, my stringer floating off to my left with the breeze and incoming tide.
My cork goes under and as I set the hook I remark, â€œHey, this is a real nice fish probably a Redâ€. I struggle to keep the line tight as the fish bores toward me, my companions watching intently. Ten feet in front of me a beautiful five foot long Black Tip Shark clears the water, mouth open, the teeth getting my attention, hits the water splashing some on me, and heads off to my right towards where I thought Bill was located. My valiant fishing partner and girl friend had already halved the distance to shore leaving alone me to battle the denizen.
Not much of a battle, fifteen pound braided line on a Shakespeare Direct Drive reel and a fiber glass popping rod, all being no match for an eighty pound shark. The shark headed to my right and I headed straight for the shore where my stalwart friends were waiting for me. At least the shark didnâ€™t get the fish on our stringers!
This area, the East Beach Flats including Bobby Wilsonâ€™s Bait Camp no longer exists. Natural erosion assisted by a small hurricane that came up the channel in the mid 70â€™s, completely changed the landscape, eliminating one good fishing spot.
Girl friend never went wade fishing with me again.
Continue reading "Close Encounter"
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 16:08 | Comments (0) | Trackback (1)
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