The Fish Trap

Taking the 2, plus hour drive from southwest Houston down to the coast, we, my dad and Dub Middleton and me, met my uncle, G.A. “Unkie” Pyland and his son George at the specified bait camp in Port O’Conner, Texas.  It was still dark and we’d have a 20, minute boat ride to our destination, a place Unkie called the fish trap.

With the tide coming in all morning, we cranked up our boats and headed down Matagorda Bay towards Pass Cavallo, the fish trap was located just north of the pass, with a small channel leading into a hundred acre lake, the trap.  Arriving, we anchored the boats, jumped into the water and started casting, our lures of choice were silver spoons with a treble hook, with a pink attractor attached to the hook.  Each of us was using a black reel, with a 7, foot, popping rod.

Bump, bump, “Fish on”, I yelled out, as the rod bent with the strike, soon, not using a net, I grabbed the small red, not big enough to keep, behind the gills, unhooked and released it.  First fish of the day, but soon we were all catching small reds and if we’d kept them all, we’d had a good mess!  The small reds finally quit hitting and we remarked that funny, no big reds and no specs either.

After almost 2 hours of this fun, Dad, Dub and I told Unkie and George that we were going to try our hand in Espiritu Santo Bay and see if any birds were working, knowing that early April was a little bit soon for bird action.  We pulled the anchor, and since Unkie and George were still fishing, we crept out of the fish trap and once in Matagorda Bay, headed north.  Rather then going all the way back to Port O’Conner, we took a short cut into Espiritu Santo, a small pass that led into the east end of the bay.

Not 2 miles into the bay, we saw a bunch of birds hovering over the water, a sign that something had driven the shrimp to the surface.  After changing to do nothing, slow sinking lures, we coasted up to within casting distance of the birds and Dub was the first to let fly and he immediately had a hard hit.  What was it, spec, gafftop cat or lady fish, but circling the boat the fish soon identified itself as a nice trout and when we netted it, a 3 pounder.

Dad and I cast out below the birds and both had hard strikes that proved to be identical fish to Dubs.  The birds would break up and 5 minutes later, here came the shrimp back up to the top, we could see them hopping about evading the specs below, but the birds would converge on the hapless shrimp and what the specs missed, the birds would get.

We stayed with this school of fish for almost 30 minutes and boxed a dozen then they quit.  For a while we stayed around, but we noticed the tide had changed and was going out, probably the reasons for the fish’s lockjaw.  No more bird schools that day and we headed home around noon.  It was a fun trip and we caught 12 nice specs, along with a lot of small reds.

The fish trap is no more because several years later a hurricane rearranged the coastal area around Pass Cavallo!