COASTAL FORECAST: Aransas to Corpus
September 25, 2017
COASTAL FOCUS: Upper Mid Coast
September 25, 2017

Sparing the Rod

A lthough this article is  NOT about parenting, it probably should be because I definitely have an opinion on the subject. Much of what I think, most young parents these days would not want to hear.

There seems to be absolutely no accountability for the little darling the parents created and even less ownership for the way the whippersnapper is raised. More grandmas and grandpas are now being tasked with rearing their grandchildren. We should be down on our knees thanking God for these extraordinary co-parents. If there is hope for our up-and-coming generation it will be in large part due to these hero’s. I get more grandmas and grandpas as clients taking their grandchildren fishing than their true parents. It is estimated that 3 million grandparents now raise their son or daughter’s offspring, many of these below poverty level incomes. Ninety percent are on a retirement income and their numbers are rising. God has a special crown for these people in heaven. With terms like – “underachieving diamond in the rough”, “negative reinforcement”, “pacifistic nurturing”, the new generation lacks persistence in the face of challenge. No stick-to-itiveness. They get no discipline so guess what, they lack discipline. They get no punishment, rebuke or consequence for disobedience and therefore conduct themselves in an uncontrolled habitual way. One psychologist told a parenting friend of mine “you need to try harder at not trying hard where your kids are concerned”. What the hell does that mean? Our Creator said spare the rod spoil the child. Further, whoever spares the rod hates their children but the one who loves their children is CAREFUL to discipline them. Not in anger, CAREFUL – done showing thought and attention, avoiding potential danger or mishap. Notice that the word careful is before discipline. I should not have gotten started on this for I could write endlessly. Spare the rod, spoil the child does not mean giving the unruly child a fishing pole, even though many forms of today’s parenting seem to resemble this. But not to worry. I overheard just the other day “the little tyke will find their karma and happy place, just ignore them”. Really? Well, guess what mom and dad, if you don’t step up that place will more than likely be with grandma and grandpa. Believe it or not this does tie in to the original purpose of this article.

The rod I speak of now is yes, a fishing rod, and several questions have come to me where fishing guides are concerned. What is the protocol when a client breaks a guides fishing pole?

Should the client replace the rod/reel (which speaks to ownership of one’s actions much like the previous paragraph suggests)? We expect it of our children to be accountable, right? So how about us, be it a broken rod, a bent fender, or any number of nuisances that occur at our own hand?

First, it’s important to understand how the owner of the rod feels. In this case, it’s a fishing guide. Although few know this, there are certain items which carry no weight with a guide, meaning they could care less, a rod and reel is not one of them.

What a fine violin is to a professional violinist such is a rod and reel to many professional fishing guides. Some guides take more time selecting a rod and reel than they do a house or truck or boat. It is that final connection between them, their client and the prey they are seeking. It’s where the rubber meets the road.

The rods and reels can be old or new, some may need attention. Usually the more worn and old the rod is, the deeper the attraction and affection.

Some have custom features like special eyes or it could be made from a special blank (the core material a rod is made from). Special attention is given to tuning, such as the distance between the reel and the first eye on the rod or handle that creates perfect balance that keeps fatigue in using it to a minimum.

Reels are as wide and varied as rods. They can range from $25 to upwards of $500. It’s not uncommon for a guide’s rod and reel to cost $300 to $400. It is a taboo for a client to hang a big fish only to have it get away due to rod and reel failure, so most guides take good care of their equipment. Others will not dally when a rod or reel becomes marginal and instead of repairing will get a new one to replace it.

To them repairing or maintaining is not a prudent use of their time. Why take the chance the marginal equipment has been fixed properly? One rod or reel broken on a trip can eliminate any profit the guide might make for that fishing day.

It is a mistake to think that manufacturers give guides their rods and reels. Although some do get some of their equipment to test, that is the exception rather than the rule. Guides spend their own dollars selecting the best rod / reel they can for their clients.

The greatest compliment a guide can give a client is to hand his/her personal rod for them to fish with, so don’t take the offer lightly. A good guide will match the rod and reel to the person. Although some can fish with any rod, most—even though they don’t know it—need the pairing, and it does make a difference.

Repeated misses at biting fish is often because a rod and reel just doesn’t fit a client’s mannerisms or idiosyncrasies. Rods too stiff, not stiff enough, reel handles on the wrong side, bait caster or spin cast and many other factors play into this.

By now I hope you get the drift Rods and reels are special to fishing guides, and breaking one is akin to breaking their fingers. Guides can get hooked, cut, beat up in rough water, even have things go wrong with their boat and at the end of an outing they still have a smile for a good catch day.

Let a rod or two get broken, and the same guide’s gaze will be locked to the ground. He will speak only if spoken to and go home to lick his/her wounds. It’s usually at the top of the list when communicating to other guides.

The question remains whether to pay or not to pay and the best answer is yes to both. If the rod/reel was broken because of your negligence or that of your child, by all means offer to help the guide out if you can. At the very least have the conversation.

Repeated warnings by the guide that are not heeded with broken equipment the result, is a no-brainer. Dig deep and help them out. Breakage from normal wear and tear is part of the business, and usually the guide will state that fact.

A grey area exists between that which is, and that which is not, negligence. Again, this should be discussed with the guide. Most guides I know are pretty forgiving, but some are not. Most will appreciate any amount one can give in replacing what is to many their most sacred fishing item.

I believe those who were spared the rod seldom if ever pay and seldom say sorry, those who were not spared the rod were reared to take accountability for their actions and help out if they can.


October—Hot or cold is the question where the weather is concerned. This month it’s wise to put a jacket in your boat and some long pants.

Cut bait is my preference this time of year with mullet at the top of the cut bait list. Cut menhaden works well too, but mullet seems to be the overall favorite.

Copano Bay: The shoreline southwest of Bayside is a good spot for black drum using fresh, dead shrimp free-lined or a light Carolina rig. There is a boat ramp just off FM136. I suggest a shallow draft boat here as navigating it can be a challenge. Mission Bay is a good spot for reds using finger mullet or cut mullet free-lined. The key here is high tide or a dropping tide.

Aransas Bay: The trout bite is still good using croaker free-lined on Mack Reef and Half Moon Reef. Poverty Reef is good for black drum using a silent cork and fresh dead shrimp. Wades down Blackjack Point are good for trout and reds using Berkley Gulp shrimp under a bubble cork.

St Charles Bay: On cold front days, the back part of Cavasso Creek is a good spot for flounder using a shrimp on a light Carolina rig. Slight taps are typical. Often the flounder will bury-up on the bottom after ingesting the bait making you think you’re hung up. When in doubt set the hook.

Bartell Island is a good spot for reds using mud minnows free-lined. Lot of shell here so cast and try not to reel in until you get a bite.

Carlos Bay: Drifts across Carlos Bay with a popping cork and shrimp are good for trout and some black drum. Frequent drifts back forth are the key here. Carlos Dugout on colder days is a good spot for trout using croaker free-lined.

Ayers bay: Ayers Point is a good spot for wades using croaker free lined or new penny Jerk Shad on a light jig head. Rattlesnake Shoreline is a good spot for sheep head and black drum using a silent cork and shrimp; cut squid is a good choice as well.


No Over-sized Red Tag—A red fish over the limit (over 28 inches) must be tagged immediately.

Thanks to Shawn Logan for the heads up.

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

[email protected]





Port Bay Bridge just off highway 188 is a good access spot if you are limited in your ability to move/get around. There can be a lot of traffic here crossing the bridge, so be careful. A rising or falling tide is best here and cut mullet or finger mullet work well this time of year. A light Carolina rig is best this time of year. A light Carolina rig is best. Reds and black drum frequent this area and those that use the tides and have patience can be rewarded with some good fish. Nice sunsets here as well.


Email Capt. Mac Gable at [email protected] 

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