A cold February afternoon in 1959, just before I entered the U.S. Army, my Dad and I met Dub Middleton, a neighbor and a good fishing friend, at a nondescript, bait camp, near Matagorda, Texas. The camp was about a mile up from where the Colorado River emptied into the Gulf of Mexico. We were going to fish for speckled trout at night, under some bright, flood lights, a first for my growing obsession with trout fishing.

This old picture shows some of the specs we caught that night

The principle was simple, the reflection of the lights on the water drew small fish and shrimp in to feed on the minute sea life and the abundance of small bait drew the larger predators, the specks. The action could be fast and furious, and it turned out to be!

Starting about 8:30 PM, the three of us beat the water to a froth and our effort yielded only 4 small specks that were thrown back. After 2 plus hours with little luck, Dub and I choose to take a nap on the couches inside the bait camp. After midnight, my Dad woke us both up exclaiming, “Get up quick and come see all the fish!”

“All the fish” was right. The tide was coming in bringing with it stained, almost sandy, water. In the reflection of the large lights, the water was dimpled by hundreds of specks slashing through the thousands of bait fish being carried in with the tide!

Savoring the spectacle for maybe 5 seconds, our primal instincts kicked in, and we began casting into the melee. Using a Tony Acetta #7, silver spoon, with a yellow buck tail attached, almost every one of my casts resulted in a solid strike, a spirited fight and a nice speck flopping on the dock.

This action continued for nearly 30 minutes. Then, the tide changed heading back out to the Gulf, with the water movement, the bait and predator fish followed. As hot as the action was, it was all over now. Nothing remained except for us to clean and ice down the fish, collect our tackle, bid adieu to the camp operator and start our two-hour drive back to West University, a Houston suburb.

At the time, my family didn’t have a freezer, so all of our friends and relatives enjoyed the fish we happily gave to them