Jim Buck and I were fishing in lower West Galveston Bay, having good luck on specks, with some five or six pound, gafftopsail catfish, (gafftops), thrown in. Gafftops are slimy, slimy, but offer an excellent fight, and when fried, offer excellent table fare. After each gafftop that we caught, we had to clean the slime off of our line and leader and if we kept one to eat, we ended up with a major chore cleaning our cooler.
We noticed a storm forming west of us but, as usual, thought nothing of it and continued to catch fish. Soon, common sense overtook our desire to catch fish, and we headed back to the east and the safe harbor, at Jamaica Beach. We were making thirty-five in my boat, but it seemed, that the faster we went, the storm went faster.
Running along the shore from Snake Island and taking the sharp turn into the Jamaica Beach, channel, I cut the engines and coasted up to the dock. One boat was loading and we were next. The wind was blowing at least sixty, slamming things around, but thank goodness, the loading ramp, at water level, offered about 4 feet of protection. If we raised our heads, the blowing sand and spray was like needles.
Peeping over the edge of my boat’s deck, looking north toward the mainland, I saw a small boat, fighting the storm and heading our way. Nothing unusual, a small boat heading in, but as I looked closer, I saw a waterspout right behind it. He was going about twenty-five and the waterspout was keeping up with him, not catching him, but staying about a hundred yards to his rear.
The small boat cleared the north end of Karankawa Reef and at full speed, made a hard right, across the bay, toward the Jamaica Beach channel. Lucky for him the waterspout continued east towards Green’s Cut. Soon the back edge of the storm passed over us and we successfully loaded our boat on the trailer.
We then helped the lone fisherman in the small boat that the waterspout chased. He was wet, scared and glad to be ashore and away from the waterspout. He said, “I thought it had me and I was afraid to turn because I thought it would follow me.”
We never saw him again. I bet he took up a safer hobby!