Business Comes First

Many times during the summer we cleared the Galveston Jetty’s before the sun was up. This was one of those times and in the dark we had stopped by our friendly, German bait camp operator, the same one that was the star of “Invasion” on my post of July 8, 2010, picked up bait and ice, and found out from him just where the shrimp boats were anchoring up and culling. This would be a quick trip out and back, because all 3 of us, Max, Dewey and I had business to take care of back in Houston, we were all 3 top salesman with the same large computer company and business comes first, you know!

Dewey Stringer and I had conjured up this fishing trip on the spur of the moment, picking a Friday morning since we had a bad case of cabin fever, because it was too hot to work (ha-ha), we had conned another of our king chasers, Max Weber, to go along. We decided that we would leave early, before the sun came up, find some shrimpers culling their nights catch, then, load up on the kings and be back before 9:30 AM, that would fit in real good with our schedules.

Max spent the night with Dewey at his Tiki Island place and I stayed at my Bayou Vista canal home and all of us were up way before the sun, loaded up Dewey’s boat, a 23 footer with a 200 horse outboard, and headed for the Intercoastal Waterway. Hand held spotlights blazing, we planed out his boat and sped under the bridges of the Galveston Causeway, under Pelican Island Bridge, through Galveston Harbor then turned right between the jetties and on out into the gulf.

We had picked a beautiful morning for our jaunt offshore, very light wind out of the southeast, slick seas with virtually no swells and at first light, sure enough, 20 miles out, we found 3 shrimpers tied together, culling their nights catch! We pulled up beside the 3 and made the almost, obligatory trade of beer for shrimp, packed the fresh shrimp in the big cooler, then set to catching some kings.

Max was first in the water and his line had barely settled when a hungry fish gobbled it up and took off. The long run against the lightweight tackle, assured us that it was probably a king, it was and after a lively tussle was gaffed and into the cooler it went. Our lines hadn’t even settled good when both Dewey and I had big strikes, 2 more long runs and soon we had the 2 kings up alongside the boat and gaffed them too. We were 3 for 3 on kings and soon we’d have the big cooler filled up!

Dewey had a big hit and off the fish took, but it wasn’t fighting like a king. Shorter runs and a grudging, not give an inch pull on his line. It was a jackfish, jack crevelle, not edible, but what fighters! On the light tackle Dewey was struggling with the jack, the fight took over 20 minutes, for just after sun up with no wind, Dewey commented, “I’m working up a sweat”. Max said, “I’ll fix that” and with one swoop of a handy, bucket, filled it and deposited the contents over Dewey’s head and shoulders. The 84 degree water was cooling and after that, as we were fighting fish, one of us would anoint the other. Believe it or not, it was cooling and refreshing.

By 9:30 we had limited out and filled the big, cooler with kings, but before we started in, we anointed each other one more time and took off. The big, 200 had us skimming over the flat seas at a record pace, we retraced our way in and were back unloading the boat by 11:00 AM. We iced down the kings and would clean them tonight, but anyway it was a great trip, even with the heat and all 3 of us made our appointments on time!