Before the time of car air conditioners, May was a good time to plan fishing trips, so this particular day in 1955, my dad and I planned a trip up to the gravel pits north of Houston, just outside of Romayer, Texas,. If we left before sun up the drive in a non air conditioned, car would be pleasant and if we fished ‘till dark, likewise for the drive home. For the record, our first car with A/C was a 1956 Chevy, Bel Air that was purchased in 1958.
This particular spring day, Dad and I left our house well before sun up and at first light we had already picked out the gravel pits that we would assault. This one was elongated with an irregular shape that reminded us of a hand with 4 fingers extended.
Enough esoterics, anyway, we started off with yellow Piggy Boats and during the first 30 minutes we only picked up a couple of small bass, but threw them back, then for some reason, my dad changed lures and attached a white one. His first cast, slipped under a low hanging willow tree, was met with a strike, not the solid head shaking hit of a good bass, but just firm pressure. The fish tugged and made one short run, but soon yielded to the pressure of the rod and drag, laid on its side and my dad then slid a nice 2 pound, white perch, crappie, (sac-au-lait for my Cajun friends), on to the bank!
We never took pictures of the white perch we caught and I had to get this one from Wikipedia.
That got my attention and, quickly changing lures, I hurried over beside him. He had already strung the first one and had cast back out and was into another that turned out to be a mirror image of the first. My cast was met with a strike and I reeled another white perch in. This was repeated until we had strung 10 of the beauties, beauties to catch and beauties to eat!
The white perch stopped hitting so Dad walked around to the next finger of the pit and I moved to the one past him. More small bass, no keepers, but I heard Daddy yell, “Son of a gun!” and as I ran around to him, my first thought was snake, but as I cleared the point I saw him locked in a struggle with a good sized, alligator gar.
The gar, at least a 3, footer, was jump, jump, jumping, frothing the water. It then tried to spool him, made one last jump and the white, Piggy Boat, thank goodness, pulled free. Daddy said that the gar hit right as he was taking the lure out of the water and scared him sufficiently to cause him to yell out, then the fight was on!
It took 10 years for us to encounter another alligator gar and thank goodness again we had some long nose pliers along with us!