Splitting The Difference

One memorable trip to “The Wreck” was during the summer of 1982. Alvin Pyland, my Uncle Gus, Dub Middleton, a close friend, and I had spent the morning fishing the Gulf side of the South Jetty. As usual we had an enjoyable trip and a large cooler over half full of fish. The tide had been going out pushing baitfish around the end of the jetty and back toward the beachfront and we had caught trout, reds, Spanish mackerel and even a cobia, better known along the Texas coast as a ling. When the tide changed and started going in I suggested we try “The Wreck”.

Neither of my companions had ever fished it and didn’t even know it was there. In the past, during the fall, they had good success fishing for reds almost directly across from “The Wreck” in ten feet of water along a shelf on the east side of the Ship Channel.

We pulled up my twenty foot, deep vee, into the vicinity of “The Wreck”, and with the depth finder began our triangulating. Soon we were anchored over it and had our baits in the water, when “wham”, Uncle Gus had a big hit from something judging from the bend in his rod, and another, “wham” Dub had a big strike on his spinning outfit, and “wham” I had a big hit too, three almost simultaneous heavy strikes!

The fight was on! My fish, a three, pound trout, came to the boat first, and Uncle Gus netted it while still fighting his fish. Dub was locked in a line loosing struggle with something big and shouted “Jon, start us up and get our anchor up. I can’t stop this thing.” I had a dilemma, Dub’s fish showed no signs of tiring and was heading north with the tide and Uncle Gus’s fish was heading east toward the deep water of the ship channel.

Like a politician, I split the difference and headed at a forty-five degree angle between the angler’s fish. Soon Uncle Gus’s fish, an over thirty, inch red was alongside the boat and we netted it, got the hook out and released it. Reds now had a twenty to twenty-eight inch slot and this one was too big.

Dub was still struggling with his fish, which he thought was either a record red or maybe a big, black drum. I followed it and soon we saw a large, over twenty pound, jackfish. “Record red, huh, haw, haw, haw,” we both laughed as I readied the net. One more short run and the jack was ours. We got the hook out and released it. Jackfish are great fighters, more like sluggers, but have no food value. We found ourselves over three hundred yards from “The Wreck” and both of my guests said, “Why don’t we go back to “The Wreck” and anchor up?”