This past Wednesday morning, after dropping Layla off at the Killeen airport, she’s running a Senior Softball tournament in Pensacola, I drove on down to Corpus and, too late for lunch, met Randy and his friend Wayne at a local sporting goods store. Unbeknown to me, we were going to fish Wednesday afternoon and that involved a fairly long drive down Padre Island.

Padre Island, 70 miles long, is the longest barrier island in the U.S. and the longest undeveloped barrier island in the world! Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning we would be fishing in the Laguna Madre, specifically behind Bird Island, along a big grass covered sand flat. An interesting fact is that the Laguna is the only lagoon in the U.S. saltier than the ocean!

After meeting our host, another Wayne, we drove 15 miles down the island and took the Bird Island road and arriving at our embarkation point. The tide was out and donning our wading gear, both days we’d be wading in up to thigh deep water and we planned on covering a mile, or more, of the flats.

Wayne and Wayne both had spinning outfits with 8 pound line, while Randy and I were using my 7-1/2 foot, popping rods with green reels loaded with 12 pound line. Both, casting and spinning, were excellent choices to throw the baits we’d be using, 8 inch long, “do nothing” lures, packed in a “can’t help but catch them” fish attractor.

We started chunkin’, and for 15 minutes, nothing, then I had a big strike and the fish took of, heading for parts unknown! No circling of our positions, probably not a big trout, and we tentatively identified it as a red, a nice red fish, or channel bass. Out a ways from us the fish swirled on the top of the water, the bronze back giving it away as a nice red and I still held on. What fun being man to fish, the red running, but stubbornly giving in to the pressure of the rod and drag combination. After we netted the red, we guessed its length as 24 inches. Thinking to myself, It’s been 5 years since I caught one of these and the old zing is still there, I have got to do this more often!

Wading and casting, soon Randy’s friend Wayne picked up a small flounder, barely a keeper, but on to the stringer with it. Our host, Wayne, caught 2 under size speckled trout that he threw back. Nothing of size since my big red, but we kept chunkin’ until sunset, then we slogged back to clean the fish.

Supper Wednesday night at the premier fish place in Corpus, then snoozing at a friends, up before the sun to drive out and meet our host, Wayne for a morning of more fishing. Arriving, the tide was in covering our flats with water all the way up to the marsh grass, maybe this was what it would take to really turn the fish on? We started casting and walking, more of a shuffle, we shuffled because of the stingrays, stingarees locally, Urotrygon, specifically, that have a barb at the base of their tail that can inflict a painful injury! Alert for stingarees, we noticed many jelly fish too, or Ctenophora, their long tentacles packing a terrific sting, we avoided them too!

Wayne, Randy’s friend, struck first with a 20, inch flounder a good fish and good eating. Having another strike, probably a keeper, that bit my “do nothing” plug in half, changing baits, I switched to a different kind of swimming plug, still with no results. Reaching our outward boundary, we turned back toward the cars, still shuffling and chunkin’.

Shuffling along with water up to almost my waist, I shuffled into a 1 foot deep hole with mud on the bottom, floundering, down I went with only my head above water. Friend Wayne shuffled over and helped me up, but everything, reel, fishing license and my car keys were wet. Frustrated, I closed up shop and shuffled back, a little more quickly.

Everything turned out OK, everything dried out, I cleaned the car “unlocker” and it works fine, my rod and reel, veterans of being under water before, cleaned up to my satisfaction and I did have 2 nice red fish, fillets, 1 to be fried and 1 to be marinated in Italian dressing, then grilled with the skin and scales still on, scale side down toward the coals.

Just remember, as someone once said, “A bad day fishing beats a good day working,” or something like that!