Making Do

Day was just breaking as Jim Buck and I rounded the end of Galveston’s South Jetty and headed toward our favorite fishing spot. We knew that with the lack of wind, the gently rolling Gulf of Mexico and the clear green water that we would hammer the speckled trout this morning!

We eased up towards the rocks, Jim slid the anchor into the water, and right away, we knew that we were in trouble. The anchor line dropped straight down, the boat didn’t swing around into the current because there wasn’t any current. There was no water movement, just the slight breeze blowing into our faces off of the rocks. No water movement meant no speckled trout movement. Looks like the tide charts were off a little!

We decided to make the best of this bad situation and cast our live shrimp back toward the rocks. We were using our standard jetty rigs; six and a half foot popping rods, red, Ambasseduer reels, loaded with fifteen-pound line, with BB weights clipped twelve inches above a small, treble hook.

As our shrimp swam and bumped along the rocks, both of us had solid strikes! Surprised, we set the hooks and held on as the fish ran along the jetties, no rolls or boat circling like big specs, just a dogged pull. Soon, both of us saw Jim’s fish, a big, sheepshead that we netted. Then, netting mine, a duplicate of Jim’s, I muttered to him, “Any port in a storm”, and we baited up and cast out again.

Sheepshead, Archosargus probatocephalus, when properly cleaned and prepared, are fine tablefare. They are found around rocks and pilings from the mid Atlantic to the Texas coast.

Within two hours we had filled up our eighty-eight quart, cooler with two to three pound, sheepshead and headed back on into the yacht basin. No specs today but we decided that since I had just obtained a commercial fishing license, we would sell these fish. The local commercial fishing house on the harbor paid me $39.00, around $.40 per pound for this catch.

It was still early, the tide was just starting to move, so we re-shrimped and headed back out to the south jetty to have a go at the specs.