It Was Free

Dove hunting season had started on September 1st, duck season would kick off late next month and with nothing to do on a Saturday afternoon, Bobby Baldwin and I were headed down to Galveston for some fishing.  As high schoolers, our spare time, when not involved with girls, athletics, hunting or studying (ugh) was spent fishing and most of the time this was around the Galveston’s South Jetty, either walking the slippery rocks or wading along the Gulf or channel side.

Today we were wading along the channel side of the South Jetty, casting into a small gut at the base of the rocks.  Bobby had a backlash and as he was removing it, his Dixie Jet spoon with a yellow buck tail attached, floated down to the sandy bottom.  One of my old Dixie Jets with a yellow buck tail is pictured.

Removing the snarl Bobby began retrieving the excess line and when his line came tight, he grumbled, “I must be snagged on the rocks,” just as his line headed east for deep water, he was into a nice fish, what kind, we didn’t know.

After a short, spirited fight a big flounder, 2 or 3 pounds, was on the surface.  Of course we didn’t have a landing net. That would have been too easy!  So Bobby tried to grab the flounder across its back like a spec.  It was more like pinching the fish since a flounder doesn’t have the width or “grabbing” surface that a trout has.  When grabbed, the fish flopped away, the hook came loose and the flounder headed for the bottom.

Sensing something, we cast our spoons toward the rocks, let them settle to the bottom, slowly retrieved them and for the next hour had some terrific fishing, not catching, but fishing!  Like my dad always said “If you caught fish every time you went out, it would be called catchin’ not fishin’!”  Without a net trying to grab one was next to impossible.  We tried hugging them to our chest and they just squirted up, away from us, trying to use both hands proved fruitless and no matter how hard we tried, they proved to be ungrabable too.  Anyway we had fun hooking them and trying to “capture” one.  We probably hooked 25 or 30 and landed zero!

The tide changed and the fish quit hitting and as we were wading out a man fishing from the rocks yelled to us, “Boys, that was a great show, and it was free!”  Being well brought up and taught to respect our elders, we said nothing and dejectedly walked back to our car.