Sand Trout

We were down at our beach house in Jamaica Beach, on the west end of Galveston Island, and one Sunday afternoon in late April of 1969, Norman Shelter and I decided to take a run out to the Galveston Jetties to try and hook up with some white, sea trout or sand trout, Cynoscion arenarius. These are fine eating fish but because of their soft texture they are difficult to freeze. The best way to try and keep them for any length of time is to freeze them in water and be sure to squeeze the air out.

It was a strange day, not much wind, light out of the southeast, but huge swells rolling over the ends of the north and south jetties. Within the jetties, they served their purpose well and broke the big swells, but as Norman and I rounded the end of the north jetty, it was gut check time. We could’v gone through the boat cut, but decided that the shortest way to the fish was to go around the end. We raced up the side of two big swells and then sped down the front of the next one and we were safely into the calm water.

Anchoring up, we bated our lines with fresh, dead shrimp and cast back toward the jetty. We were fishing with six and a half foot, popping rods, red, Ambasseuder reels, loaded with fifteen pound line, on the bottom, about thirty-five feet down, right among the rocks. Both of our casts were met with solid strikes and after short battles, we boated two nice, sand trout, two pounders. Good fish, since the bigger ones like this were usually caught miles, off shore. Both fish had a mouth full of teeth, no spots like speckled trout and a pretty, a bluish hue covering their heads.

This was repeated over and over until out eighty-eight quart cooler was full of fish (and ice). Then, Norman said the famous last words, “I’ll make one more cast.” He cast out toward the open gulf and the bait had no more hit the water than he was greeted with a savage, strike! The fury of the strike hurled the king mackerel ten feet or more out of the water. Then the king ran!

Wrasslin’ with the anchor, it finally pulled loose and I started the motor. As I came about, the king, a nice one, forty pounds or more, hit the end of the line, spooling Norman. The line gave a popping sound as it separated from the reel.

Since our cooler was full and our anchor was up, we headed back to the yacht basin. Going back we smartly chose to use the boat cut!