The Tripod

Meeting my barber, Joe Riley, at his Sugar Land, Texas home, we drove on down to the San Barnard River, actually where it crosses the Intercoastal Waterway, to have a go at some trout and redfish. We were going to fish in a new spot for me a place Joe called The Tripod. He said it was a good spot and we wouldn’t be troubled with other folks fishing there.

From the bait camp we bought live shrimp, ice, drinks, snacks and launched my boat for the two mile run, west on the Intercoastal, there we would turn into a little cut, not fifty yards wide, that opened up in a small, shallow bay. In the middle of the bay, I found out a few minutes later, was a gas well with a triangle shaped sign, hence, The Tripod.

As we entered the cut, Joe guided me to the left where he quietly slipped the anchor into the shallow, barely three foot, water. The tide was coming in toward us, bringing in green, fishy looking, water and, just perfect, the wind was at out backs, making casting easy! Cast toward the right of the cut and, keeping the line tight, let the current drift our rigs back over the fishing area, a reef along the right side. Today we’d be using standard popping gear, six and a half foot rods, fifteen, pound line wrapped on red reels and a popping cork, but today was a little different. Instead of using a three to four foot leader under the corks, our leader was only fifteen or eighteen inches and no popping either.

Getting the feel of this new style of fishing, I cast out and began the drift with no results, but Joe, having cast out before me, was fast into a nice something that was stripping line from his reel. That something turned out to be a three, pound redfish that I netted, Joe took out the hook and boxed it, remarking, “I didn’t tell you the secret. When your cork stops and acts hung up, set the hook because a fish has just picked up the shrimp.”

The secret being out, my next cast scored, the cork stopped, I set the hook and was into something that was splashing at the surface, probably a trout that turned out to be barely a keeper, fourteen, inches then. Swinging the trout into the boat, I grabbed it, took out the hook and boxed it too. We kept catching small trout and Joe mentioned, “Over the years I’ve fished here a lot, but never have caught a trout over two pounds and often, I’ve wondered why?” Having fished the same spot for almost five years, we never caught a big trout there either!

Later in the morning I cast out, drifted my shrimp above the reef, my cork stopped and I reared back, setting the hook and the fish took off, stripping line off my reel. After a grudging fight, Joe slipped the net under a big flounder that on my hand held scale was just over four pounds, a new record for flatfish for me! This was a real bonus, a big flounder that would be delicious baked. For me, this spot turned out to be a flounder haven where I boxed several that were over eight pounds, whoppers! We ended the day with thirty-two fish in the cooler, flounder, reds and specs! Not bad for a new to me spot and I certainly will come back.

Over the years we had some excellent catches from The Tripod, but moving away and on our trips back I never had time to try it out, but after I returned to Houston, one afternoon, with the tide coming in Mac Windsor and I decided to check it out. Motoring west of the San Bernard River on the “Intercoastal” we started looking to our left for the channel leading to The Tripod. Not there and no Tripod either. We came about and began searching back toward the river and it was still not there.

Motoring all the way to Karancuha Bay, five or six miles, still no channel. All we saw was a spot on the south side of the Intercoastal where it was extra wide. We came about again and motored to the bait camp where the river and Intercoastal crossed and asked the owner, “Where’s that little cut, that channel leading back to the gas rig, The Tripod?” “Not there,” he answered. “A while back, that gas well blew up and rearranged everything. We call it the Blow Out Hole now. Good fishing in the winter!”

Now I found out why we never saw another boat there!