The Gravel Pits

In 1954, May was a good time to drive up to the gravel pits outside of Romayer, Texas, north of Houston. If we left before sun up the drive, in non-air conditioned, cars, would be pleasant, 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 my dad purchased in 1958.

This particular spring day, my dad and I left our house well before sun up and at first light we had already picked out the gravel pit that we would assault. This one was elongated with an irregular shape that reminded us of a hand with four fingers extended.

Enough esoterics, anyway, we started off with yellow Piggy Boats, during the first thirty minutes we only picked up a couple of small bass, but threw them back. For some reason, then 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 Dad then slid a nice two 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 ten of the beauties, beauties to catch and beauties to eat!

The white perch stopped hitting so my 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 three-footer, was jump, jump, jumping, frothing the water. It then tried to spool him, made one last jump and the white, Piggy Boat pulled free, (thank goodness). Daddy said that the gar hit right as he was taking the lure out of the water, it scared him sufficiently to cause him to yell out and then the fight was on!

It took ten years for us to encounter another alligator gar! Thank goodness, we had long nose pliers!