The “Slanty” Rock

An early Friday afternoon in mid May found Max Windsor and I fishing on the Gulf side of the South Jetty, but it was just too rough to be comfortable. The wind wasn’t too high, 10 to 12 out of the southeast, but the waves against the rocks just made fishing at this spot way too much up and down. With always the potential for one of us getting seasick, we decided on a different tack, so he “upped” the anchor while I slowly pulled the boat forward and soon we were cruising around the tip of the South Jetty.

Our new objective was the North Jetty and a “slanty” rock near the end, on the Gulf side. This spot had paid off before, but the only problem, there was just room for 1 boat. Maybe it would be open today and as we motored up it was and we were in luck! With the jetty in question being 6 miles long and loaded with good fishing spots, the “slanty” rock with the washboard face was one of the best. Angling under the surface it must have created enough hump to change the currents.

We came into the rocks quietly, carefully dropped the anchor, it caught, the boat swung stern to the beach and with the tide going out of the channel, a backwater was created on the Gulf side of the jetty, forcing the water to head in on our side. We would be free shrimping using live shrimp with our 7 foot, popping rods, black reels loaded with 15 pound line, split buckshot clipped on 12 inches above a number 8 hook, trout poison!

We cast out and as the bait slowly sank, the tide would carry it back toward the beach, with a strike being possible anywhere. Our first casts were rewarded with 2 good hits, not the nibbling bump of a bait stealer, but good solid hits that turned out to be, after long runs and thrashing around the boat, Spanish mackerel, 18 inchers. We boxed the 2, noting that we were lucky to land these sharp toothed, mackerel. Before they moved on, we added another to the cooler, but had several cut-offs.

When the speckled trout showed up, both of us had hard hits from 2 pounders that we boxed and cast back out. Mac had a hit almost as soon as the shrimp hit the water and as my shrimp settled, whamo, a spec nailed it and headed south! After spirited fights, we netted both and flopped them into the cooler. Thinking this would be a big catch day we both baited up and cast back out, but with no luck, the school had moved on!

While we were waiting for a strike, I put my rod in a holder and got out another popping rod, but this one had a spoon with a yellow, buck tail, why not make a few casts? About my third cast, I was rewarded with a nice strike and immediately the fish started a wallowing, splashing, surface fight, this was fun! Then Mac said, “Jon, you’d better check your other rod!” It was bent almost double, another fish and he added, “What’cha gonna’ do now,” as I placed the rod under my arm, clamped down my left elbow and picked up the other rod and set the hook into a nice trout.

Not offering any help, he was laughing at my antics, but if he’d just take one of the rods I’d be OK. Deciding that fishing with 2 rods was unproductive and that I’d bit off more that I could chew, I decided to let the line go slack on the spoon and I quickly stuck that rod in a holder, concentrating on just 1 fish, I landed it, but picking up the other rod, nothing was there.

We ended up with a dozen specs and the 3 mackerel, but the “Slanty Rock” paid off again.