Occam’s razor of Fishing

T he definition of Occam’s Razor will give most anglers a headache, so in fisherman’s terms it means the simplest explanation is usually the correct course for action.

Further, the law of Parsimony supports Occam’s razor philosophically. In principal, explaining things or events are made possible by the fewest and simplest assumptions. If we get any deeper into these definitions most of us might as well be paddling around in a 30-foot boat with just our hands. It would serve little purpose.

As is the case with most theories and even laws of relativity, most are being proven to be wrong universally these days. For me at least that’s true for the law of Parsimony and Occam’s razor. Things are NEVER as simple as the simplest.

I am not content knowing how to fix a problem, I want to know why the problem occurred in the first place. The answer might have been the easiest/simplest, but I made it complex with my wanderings to know why.

For example, if you will indulge me my boat trailer. Failing lights (running, brake, clearance) are always ground wires, that have corroded. It’s Rockport’s own Law, proved over the last 100 years.

We are hopeful it will be considered for enrollment in the physics catalogs of our nation’s great Universities. Its name would look like “submersive, corrosive, over indulgence” or something like that.

Once I was told it was a bird’s nest that made its home behind my license plate, my rebuttal was “impossible, for my boat is kept inside where birds do to not reside”

“Where do you shop?” the guy fixing the short asked.

“Where the home of the brave, land of the free shop: HEB” I replied.

“Look up” he said, “there are birds in the building.”

“Yes, I had one land on my shopping cart.”

“Cute” he said, “the repair is 40 dollars.”

“Forty dollars??” I yelled.

“Yes and I’m being kind, and will save the nest for you.” Then he hung up. 

How about premature wear on my trailer tires? Obviously, the axles were installed out of alignment; and therefore, my tires were wearing out too fast. After many hours of measuring and unbolting and researching, I finally took it to Craig’s Tires and asked for an explanation.

“They are worn out for sure,” I was told.

“This I know, but why are they wearing out so soon?”

“Soon is a relative term” Craig said.

“Captain Mac, they are over ten years old!”

God, I’m getting old was my thought! By now most know about my gas gauge/gas station pump/smart gauge calibration problem that created an out-of-gas situation for me. (Well at least the many phone calls I got, tells me it’s now a well-known fact.)

Anyway, one guy called and was still laughing so hard, I’m sure he soiled himself. Despite these few contradictions I still submit that we anglers do, in fact, prove the “it’s the simplest explanation” to be in ardent error.

Two fellow anglers had driven their boat in tow to Rockport for a quick fishing trip. As it happens more than most will admit, they had tied it on at one of the local hangouts the night before their fishing trip.

Saturday dawned early, and the driver remembered his buddy had passed out in the back seat of his four-door Dodge truck. Thoughtfully he had covered his buddy with some old blankets to let him sleep it off.

The driver now in much need of coffee, was in a hurry for some reviving caffeine and needed to get bait at the bait stand before they sold out. So after a quick stop at the local gas station/convenience store, he was off to the races, his buddy fast asleep in the back seat.

I was on my way to the boat ramp having got bait, and he pulled out right in front of me making me spill some of my much-needed hot tea. “Let it go,” I told myself, wanting to give him a piece of my mind.

At the first red light, I noticed a guy stumbling around in the boat that this guy was towing. Against the law and not safe I thought, but hey, that’s a weekend in Rockport, Texas.

I decided to give these guys a wide berth. It was comical watching the guy try to stand up. Obviously, he wasn’t in full control of his faculties. Then, to my surprise, he tried to step over the side to exit the boat about the time the light turned green and slid/fell right under the right front trailer tire.

Some brain cells were working because he tried to get out of the path of the tires. Luckily he made it except for one ankle, which was promptly run over by the two trailer tires. The first tire he didn’t feel much, but the second one hurt like hell he told me later.

I looked up to see whether his buddy had noticed the mishap. I remember seeing him tip his coffee cup up and punch the Dodge, heading “Katie bar the door” for the bait stand.

I stopped to help the guy on the ground. After inspecting his ankle, I could tell it was at least badly sprained and probably broken.

There was no minor emergency clinic back then and the nearest hospital was Aransas Pass, about a 20- to 30-minute drive, so that’s where I was headed. The guy, however, insisted in pain, that I follow his buddy as he was going to stop just up ahead at the bait stand.

I objected, but he kept insisting. I thought to myself, I hope he doesn’t have a gun on him. I might be witnessing a shooting as well as a boat trailer accident.

As we drove, I asked what he was doing in the towed boat in the first place.

“I wasn’t in a towed boat!” he retorted. “I was in the back seat of the truck, and the lights from the gas station woke me up. I got in the boat to get my wallet. Next thing I know Mario Andretti there was off to the races.”

“Well yeah, he was in a hurry.” I’m not sure I should have mentioned it.

“That !@#$%^& ran over me!” he shouted through gritted teeth.

“Hell, I thought he was playing. How did he not see me?”

The devil is in the details. Of course the simplest analysis is he had to see him but, he hadn’t.

At this point the hangover kicked in alongside the ankle pain. He bent over at the waist, and I’m thinking my newly vacuumed carpet is going to get baptized.

“You gonna get sick?” I asked.


“I will pull over.”

“NO! Catch that @#$%^b first, I will hold it in!”

Back at the bait stand, the injured guy saw his “friend” getting bait, having never noticed that he wasn’t in the truck. “Stay put,” I said. “You don’t want to move that foot and make things worse” That was not the main reason I said what I said—an injured angler in a fistfight? well, you get the picture.

As I walked by the truck, which had the door open, I couldn’t help but notice that in his truck were two cups of coffee sitting in the center console.

“He bought you a cup of coffee,” I told his injured friend, “so he was thinking about you.”

“Yeah, just before he ran over me, that @!#$%^&b!!”

I’m not helping here, I am thinking.

“Sir,” I said as I walked up to the now in trouble driver, “I don’t think you’re gonna need that bait right now

What?” he replied.

“You lost something.”

“I did? Did something blow out? Oh, wow, I forgot to get ice, I bet my ice chest blew out AGAIN.”

“No,” the bait stand owner said jokingly of me. “He would have kept that, if that’s what happened.”

“No it was ME and I got hurled out!!!!” his injured friend yelled out.

The driver’s dots were blurred by imbibing the night before, but it’s amazing how quickly those dots re-connect in a fight or flight situation.

“Job??” (We’ll call him Job, the injured one, as he suffered greatly) the now frightened driver squeaked. “You were in the back seat! You were in the back seat!!?”

Where in the back seat? is what I thought. Hmm, Occam’s Razor not working here.

“You threw me into the street, then ran over me!” Job yelled.

 “His ankle is injured and possibly broken,” I said. “He needs attention pretty quickly.”

“I ran over him with the truck??!!” he whined.

“No, with the boat trailer. I saw it happen.”

“No way,” he exclaimed. “How??”

 “OH, @#$%%^b!—What was I thinking?”

Again, not the simplest explanation but not much, I thought.

“Not to be a jerk, but I need to get going, and he needs a doctor,” I said.

We helped Job into the truck, and they both asked how they could repay me.

“How about that coffee right there? I don’t think he’s going to be drinking it.” Not the intended application, but the simplest.


Black Point just off FM 136 is an accessible spot for most. During late evenings, some big reds come into the Aransas River Channel there to feed. Cut mullet here is very productive, especially with tide movement. Free-line is best or a light Carolina rig.  

Contact Capt. Mac Gable at
Mac Attack Guide Service,
512-809-2681, 361-790-9601





This is croaker season, but on those balmy, hot windless days, top-waters can be a lot of fun. The goodness here is you can work a top-water in shallow or deep water with equal effectiveness. Rule of thumb: Early morning and late evening fish shallow, mid-day deep-water edges are a good bet.

Copano Bay: Copano Reef is a good spot to shake a croaker for some keeper trout. Free-lined is best here. Lone Tree Point is a good spot for trout as well. A free-lined croaker or live shrimp work well farther off the shoreline. Closer to shore is a good place for reds using finger mullet or cut mullet or a Light Carolina rig.

Aransas Bay: The mouth of Allyns Bight is a good spot for trout using live shrimp or soft plastics in limetreuse and plum chartreuse colors. The back of the Bight is good for reds on a high tide using cut menhaden and or finger mullet on a medium heavy Carolina rig.

St Charles Bay: Some keeper trout at the mouth of Cavasso Creek. Use a rattle cork and live shrimp at low tide. Big Devils Bayou is a good spot for reds, using free-lined finger mullet. The west shoreline close to Salt Creek is a good spot for reds as well. Cut mullet on a medium Carolina Rig is best here.

Carlos Bay: Some black drum off Spalding Reef may be found using fresh dead shrimp on a light Carolina Rig. The east end of Pelican Reef is a good spot for trout using croaker free-lined.

Mesquite Bay: The spoil area just off Bludworth Island is a good spot for reds using free-lined finger mullet. Wades just off Ballou Island are good for reds and trout using soft plastics in new penny and spicy pumpkin seed colors. This can be a boggy area so exercise caution.

Ayers Bay: Second Chain is holding some reds using finger mullet and cut perch on a light Carolina rig. This a shell area so rig as light as you can. Some large black drum may be found just off Rattlesnake shoreline using fresh dead shrimp on a fish finder rig. There are some sheepshead here as well. Cut squid is a good bait choice, free-line is best.

Here’s wishing you tigh lines, bent poles and plenty of bait!


Location:Black Point just off FM 136 is an accessible spot for most. During late evenings, some big reds come into the Aransas River Channel there to feed. Cut mullet here is very productive, especially with tide movement. Free-line is best or a light Carolina rig.  


Email Capt. Mac Gable at captmac@macattackguideservice.com 

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