As the sun just peaked over the horizon we spied a huge school of birds swarming over the water between us and the Pelican Island Bridge. This early in the morning, it was unusual for birds to be working and in twenty minutes we were supposed to meet Dewey Stringer at the end of the South Jetty for a trip out to the Buccaneer Rigs, what to do?
We, Norman Shelter, Jim Buck and I had bought bait and launched the boat at Pleasure Island Bait Camp and were heading out to meet Dewey for a day of offshore angling, but seeing the birds working, he’ll have to wait, as we cut the motors back and idled up to towards the big swarm. For our offshore trip we would be using standard trout gear with a wire leader, but without a popping cork. Our rods were six and half feet long, with red reels loaded with fifteen, pound line and as we eased up to the birds, we quickly removed the wire leaders and slipped on our trout rigs.
A lot of birds working shrimp in deeper water, ten to twelve feet, could mean one of two things, good size speckled trout or small bluefish. Our first casts toward the birds resulted in two good strikes and the fish fighting on the top of the water and circling the boat, confirmed that these were big, trout!
Not having baited up, I netted both fish for Jim and Norman, two nice four pounders! As they were removing the hooks and boxing their fish, I quickly baited up, cast out and as the bait hit the water, it was hit immediately, jerking the rod almost out of my hand. Big trout are fun, these summer fish will smash a lure or a shrimp with reckless abandon, fight all the way to the boat and are excellent table fare! My fish, another 4 pounder, circled and as I reeled it in, beat the water around the boat to a froth. Jim netted it and as I slipped it into the cooler looked down at my watch, we were late to meet Dewey.
Trying to call him on the CB radio, with the distance and Galveston’s buildings blocking everything out, was useless, so we kept on fishing. Over an hour later, we had boxed twenty-five real nice specs, two to four pounds, so much for meeting Dewey.
Calling him that night, they had caught several nice kingfish, some small dolphin (dorado) out of a weed line and tied up to an oilrig, loaded up on spadefish, so much for meeting him, but we both had good days! This wasn’t a showstopper because Dewey and I were friends besides, catching fish was what we were meant to do!