The Big Red

Because of the late hour, we had braved a huge storm in the early hours of the morning, we launched my 24 footer at the Galveston Yacht Basin, rather than making the 10 mile trip from Bayou Vista, by water. In and out launching was $3.00 and gasoline was still less than $1.00 per gallon, (the good ‘ole days).

The weather still looked a little “iffy” so we decided to buy some shrimp and fish around the Pelican Island Flats, near the old, sunken concrete ship, a good spot for spring time speckled trout. We drifted for about 45 minutes and caught a few small specs, then the tide started out, and of all things, the wind laid. I told my crew, Suzanne, Mike and his friend, Dick “Get your lines in, we’re going to the Gulf side of the South Jetty.”

Seven-miles out, there was no wind blowing as we rounded the end of the jetty and headed for my favorite spot, and since the tide was going out, the water on the Gulf side was moving toward the beach. As we anchored I noticed small fish hanging close to the rocks. A real good sign!

Changing from the popping corks we’d used when we were drifting, to a split shot 10 inches above a small hook, we baited up and cast toward the rocks. Dick got hung on a rock and had to break off and while he was re-rigging Mike had a big strike and was fast into a nice red fish, catch the conditions right at this spot and it always paid off.

We had been fishing for about an hour and had 5 nice reds and 2 trout, 4 pounders, when I heard a “Hmmpf” from Suzanne and saw her rod nearly bend double. A big red and he was moving down the rocks to our right, out to sea, as Suz held her rod up high and hung on. Soon we boated a very nice 28, inch, red, that she fought perfectly.

For a day that started as a washout, literally, we now had nice mess of fish, spanish mackerel, red fish, trout and a couple of big sheepshead. Our big cooler was close to half full of fish, so as the tide changed, we headed back to the Yacht Basin. We were 4 grubby, stinky, fisher persons with a box of fish to clean!

This particular day, we were the only boat that had gone out, so as we loaded the boat on to the trailer, we drew a nice crowd of onlookers who, when we got the cooler down and opened it, they appropriately “oohed and aaahd” over our catch. Mike, Dick and I were kidding around, chewing tobacco and spitting, and cleaning the fish when a well to do appearing lady came up to Suz and asked her, “Did you catch any of these fish?” and Suz replied, “Yes Mam, I caught the big red.” The lady replied “Good for you!”

We finished cleaning the fish and iced them down. Then, as Dick and I were lifting the big cooler up to Mike, he leaned over to grab it and, by accident, belched. We paid no attention and just kept loading the heavy cooler. The well to do lady turned to Suz and asked her, “Young lady, just who are those men?” Suzanne replied, “The big guy over there with gray hair is my dad and the big guy in the boat is my brother in law and the other big guy is Dick, a friend.” “Hmmpf, they’re gross!” the well to do lady said, as she turned and scurried off.

Even though Suzanne is a graduate from and former Texas Aggie, she has been fishing with me since she was 11 years old. She can bait her own hook, cast the bait out, land the fish with a net and take the hook out, all of this even though she is an Aggie!