W HEN SANFORD AND SON was created, I am pretty sure they let my Dad write the script. He threw nothing away, and many folks had lots of laughs where he was concerned.
The apple didn’t fall too far from the tree, for I seem to have inherited that gift, or, so many, including my wife, say. I believe it’s a gift to find a use for what others would throw away. My wife Lisa has several favorite pieces of clothing that were either fished out of the bay or found on the road dead, all a proud gift from yours truly.
I know many of you are tired of hearing about Harvey, but for us Rockport locals Harvey is now forever etched in our way of life. It seems one of the benefits of the hurricane (we have to try hard to find them) is an excuse to literally clean house.
This, of course, has been made easy for most residents as their belongings were cast to the four corners of three counties. Still, for someone with my frugal tendencies, I am amazed at what’s being thrown away.
Rockport is truly a junk yard dog’s paradise now. Yes, the growl of sanitation and debris removal trucks is a sound we have come to accept, knowing it won’t go away any time soon. On my daily excursions, whether it be in my truck or on a run or bike ride, I have yet to take an outing which doesn’t produce an urgent stop to investigate some piece of paraphernalia I spied.
The items range from rods and reels to lures and even boat motors. I personally have located three kayaks and four aluminum boats that were IMHO good to go.
Needing a memento from Harvey, I decided to build a pump house to cover our water wellhead and its necessary equipment. The pump house, I decided, would be 100 percent built from Harvey debris.
Honestly, it was too much fun! I literally had my pick of pressure-treated wood and a wide variety of roofing material. I think anyone who goes through such a horrific storm should have a memento, lest we forget just how devastating these gigantic storms can be.
The pump house, although it’s not the best to look at, has already been baptized—a superstitious way of keeping future storms away. Well, I can hope, anyway. Neighbors named it the Harvey house, and it’s 100 percent made from Harvey debris.
It truly irks me that more of this debris isn’t being utilized to rebuild our community. I understand wanting to start anew, but a fairly good percentage of the items going to our landfills are not only usable but far better than the same items new.
Last estimate from our county commissioner is 300 million cubic yards of debris has been collected. A small percentage is being burned in high heat furnaces (mostly wood) the rest is headed for landfills. (To get an idea, 300 million cubic yards is about the size of 40,000 Goodyear blimps.)
If you visit Rockport, the 35 Bypass between Rockport and Aransas Pass is the staging area for just part of the debris. It is truly a sight to behold.
Much to my wife’s chagrin, I am forever picking up wood and driving the nails out to build God only knows what. My fishing arsenal seems to be growing as well. The area is a treasure trove of old lures, saltwater-dunked reels. Occasionally I find a rod that’s not broken. Pick your size of ice chests. Being light and easily blown by the wind, they were everywhere.
Use a little Clorox and sniffy-jiffy spic and span, one has a new/old fish box. They also make nice, portable live wells. Of course, the treasure is not limited to just land-bearing folks. Just a few days ago, I fished a Nike wind breaker out of the muck, hosed it off; and our closet now has another garment.
For the do-it-yourselfer fiberglass guy, this is a resin-laying person’s dream. Slightly damaged boats are being totaled. For someone who has wanted a boat, but can’t afford new and is not afraid of some elbow grease, a solid bay boat can be made ready and not cost a fortune.
We in the land of plenty seem to have forgotten, or maybe never knew, the value of things. Why put so much importance on having things, when it can all be gone in the blink of an eye? Ask someone who’s seen the lack of things growing up.
A/C units, refrigerators, stoves, freezers that are perfectly good are headed to our landfills. Why? —simply because we can replace them—not always because we should. I know people in other countries who would kill for many of these things we are throwing away.
Recently some visitors from our southern border country were here asking whether they could have some of the stuff in our to-be-hauled-off debris piles. This family had driven up with their kids to help and were put tarping roofs etc. Yet when they asked if they could have the throw-aways the answer was mostly no. Amazing!
We’d rather it goes in a landfill than be put to good use in Mexico or anywhere else on our rapidly resource-depleting planet.
I know this sounds like wishful thinking, pie in the sky, tooth fairy stuff, but it’s not too far a stretch. We are asked to separate our debris into six separate stacks: household trash, vegetation (trees etc.), construction/demolition debris, appliance, electronics, hazardous waste.
With just a little more effort three of these categories, possibly four, could be isolated and used across our planet to help rebuild and vitalize disaster-stricken, war-torn, or otherwise poor / below poverty level cities/countries.
If you believe the experts between 700 million to a billion people live at and below poverty level. If you have never been in a disaster area, I hope you never will be.
For those who have, think about how much the things we throw away could be utilized in other parts of our shrinking planet. It’s not difficult science. We simply need to decide to do it.
April is usually the month many anglers wait for. It can be bull tide time. With the higher tides come plentiful bait, followed closely by our predator friends we love to fish for. It remains to be seen whether the infrastructure will be able to keep pace with the many visitors that frequent our area this month.
A new industry is taking hold as renting semi-permanent RVs to weekenders is shaping up. This might be a good option instead of a hotel. Regardless, securing a place before you come is still the best idea.
COPANO BAY: This is a productive bay when we experience the high tides of spring. Trout and reds that were all but gone during the winter, magically appear. Live shrimp is a good choice here. Free-lined is best or soft plastic in morning glory and nuclear chicken color. The three-inch shrimp version is a good choice. Cut bait still works well here for reds, especially at the mouth of Copano Creek. Trout frequent this area as well.
ST. CHARLES BAY: The mouth of Big Devil Bayou is a good place for reds, using finger mullet. Some black drum move through this area as well. The shell reefs just off Indian Head Point is a good place for trout using mud minnows free-lined.
ARANSAS BAY: Grass Island Reefs is a good spot for trout using a popping cork and live shrimp. Cast directly into the grass on high tide and fish the edges on low tide. Bartell Island is a good place for black drum using fresh dead shrimp under a silent cork.
CARLOS BAY: Wades down the shoreline of Cedar Reef work well for reds and trout. A bubble cork with a DOA shrimp is a killer here. Some decent black drum are still on Cedar Reef. Peeled shrimp on a light Carolina rig is the best bet here.
MESQUITE BAY: Beldon Dugout is still good for reds using free-lined finger mullet. The spoil area just off Bludworth Island is a good spot to wade from. Catch reds using Berkley Jerk Shad in new penny and rootbeer colors.
AYERS BAY: The shallow shell reefs off the southeast shoreline are good for reds and black drum. Live shrimp under a silent cork works well for the black drum and free-lined mud minnows for reds.
Goose Island Shoreline is a good place to be, especially during high tide. Wading or bank fishing can be productive for reds and some large trout. I like the largest shrimp you can find here under a rattle cork. You must pay to get land access via Goose Island State Park. Check ahead as the park can be closed for Harvey repairs.
Email Capt. Mac Gable at [email protected]