THIS ARTICLE IS GOING TO UPSET some people and hopefully be a relief to others. As I made my way through Houston Texas to attend my daughter Michelle’s Ironman competition (yes, I am very proud of her!) it had been seven months since Harvey dropped biblical amounts of rain on the bayou city.
Needing to escape the wreckage in Rockport, I knew in my heart that Houston was probably the last place to do that. To my surprise Houston had recovered, or better, was recovering well. It was hard to see the wide spread flooding damage I was prepared to see.
My wife Lisa asked “You looked perplexed, are you worried about Michelle?”
I was perplexed, but something was different here in Houston, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. It was as if life was moving forward at its usual pace. Stopping to eat, I expected to hear (as is the case in Rockport) about THE storm, but during the whole time we were in Houston (several days) not one word was uttered.
The whole city was not only working again, it was almost BAU. INCREDIBLE!
Of course, you can’t compare the two. One was a direct hit and the other had incredible flooding. If you have never been through a flooded area (I have), I can’t say one is any easier than the other. Both are truly life altering. Houstonians, or at least the ones I interfaced with, seemed to have put the event behind them. Note to self: there is no future in the past.
As much as I want to move on, I would be remiss not to acknowledge at the time of writing this article, Rockport was amid recognizing the Anniversary of the Storm that visited us. For three days events such as The Harvey Grateful Fence, Harvey Reflection Gathering, A County Wide Moment of Silence, Book Signings, First Responders Program, and finally on Sunday 8/26/18 churches throughout offered special services aimed directly at remembering and recovery.
I am sure there are those who needed this. However, let me be the voice of those who have bent my ear and say we don’t need help remembering what happened.
For those who live here, it has been chiseled into our memories forever. We greatly appreciate those that came to our aid, and we now hold our neighbors closer.
Of course, we still have much to do. Our hearts are in the right place with these remembrances, but many just wanted the anniversary to get by us. Like a bad dream they needed to wake up and embrace a bright new day.
Rockport has been in the focus long enough, and it’s unhealthy to stay there. Some folks will while away in self-pity forever, but many locals yearn for the day when a conversation can be had that doesn’t include that infamous day or its affects.
Adios Harvey, like a memento we hang on a wall that occasionally jogs our memory, you are part of the past. We look to the future now and are moving on.
We as anglers are the world’s worst at hanging onto things, so it’s no wonder in a fishing community such as ours that letting go of the old is not in our nature.
I saw him arrive at the bait stand many times. His boat was truly a clanking, cluttering, collection of caliginous junk.
He worked on the trailer and the boat to and from the bait house, and if he were successful in launching the leaky vessel it seldom would start. If it did it would run for no more than two minutes max.
Often he would start it, run for two minutes or until the old Evinrude died and wait until it would start again, doing this the whole way to a fishing hole. He’d fish a bit, then start, run and wait his way back to the boat ramp, all the while sipping his thermos of coffee.
The boat wasn’t worth the effort it would take to pull the plug and send it to the bottom of the bay. The trailer couldn’t qualify as scrap iron, it was so rusted through.
I often thought there was probably some financial reason why he kept the rig, but soon learned he had more money than any five of us put together. Sentimental I thought, or he just liked tinkering.
Whatever the reason, he soon stopped fishing. I was told later he thought fishing was just too frustrating. Incredible! I thought. But in truth I was almost as bad, holding onto worn-out rods, old rain slickers, corks, any variety of hooks and fishing line one might need.
I have seen anglers take a tackle box along with a special toolbox just to work on old rods and reels they know will break once put to use. How about old bait (my wife’s pet peeve)?
Oh sure, there is a sound reason, but seldom if ever do I use old frozen bait, and I especially don’t need a freezer full of it. Shake your head at me, but I’d bet you are just as guilty.
Why can’t we move on to new things where fishing is concerned? These THINGS may give us warm, fuzzy feelings, but why do we persist in taking them fishing? I mean, it’s called fishing, not fixing!
For those of you much like me who are too cheap to buy new, tell yourself you must go see new fishing tackle/stuff. Grab a cup of coffee and head to a good tackle store or boat dealer. There is some great equipment out there.
Nano tech rods, reels that are light, balanced and flat cool to look at, fishing clothes—OMG! Everything from sun blocker and color-coordinated to keep you cool-in-the-relentless-heat garments.
For lure chunkers (artificial), some of us would catch more fish if we’d just turn our tackle boxes upside down over a trashcan and start over.
I mean seriously, look at your lures. Most, if you fish saltwater, are rusted to a reddish brown and should they hook a fish, it’s doubtful the rusted thin hook would stand the strain. Okay, one or two are sentimental but not twenty!
How about soft plastic baits? Some are so old they have eaten through the plastic bag they came in. Word of caution here—if you are an old boat owner and decide to head to your favorite dealer, beware!
It might be beyond your ability to resist some of the cool boats and motors offered now. More than likely, you will end up pulling a new boat/motor/trailer home.
Good advice is to leave your receiver hitch and ball at home. creating a safety zone from the explosion from an unsuspecting spouse who sees a new rig sitting in the driveway—umm, next to the old rig.
Some of us would be much better off cleaning house, getting rid of the old, sell it, give it away or throw it away and start afresh. Some old salts like me are so old school that we are in danger of not seeing that newness and the future can be a very good thing.
If life has taught me anything, it’s taught me change is inevitable—you are not gonna stop it. Storms will come, things get old, priorities will change and often need to.
The old /past can be truly liberating. It can also be a prison in which you while away your life. Don’t you dare allow that! Can you move on? Will you move on?
Yes, we all must!
H OW ABOUT REDFISH on the half shell for Thanksgiving? The cold fronts often send the redfish into deeper trenches, like the ICW. Find these areas with adjacent shell reefs or salt grasses and a live finger mullet free-lined or on a Carolina Rig could put fish instead of turkey on your table for Thanksgiving.
Redfish on the half shell is nothing more than a fillet with the skin still attached. When cooked on a grill with lots of smoke, the skin imparts a delicious flavor to the meat.
Lay the fillet skin-side down. I leave the ribs and belly meat attached on a punctured piece of foil, and then add my favorite spices. The fish is ready when it easily pulls away from the skin. Happy Thanksgiving!
COPANO BAY: The mouth of Mission Bay is the place to be for black drum. Fresh dead shrimp on a fish finder rig works well here. Plenty of sheepsheads may be found on the pilings of the old fishing pier next to the LBJ causeway. Free-lined pieces of squid or frozen shrimp is the ticket here. Once hooked up on a fish, reel fast to get the fish away from the pilings.
ST CHARLES BAY: The area close to Twin Creeks is a good spot for black drum using fresh dead shrimp on a light Carolina rig. A moving tide is best here. The mouth of Little and Big Devils Bayou is a good place for reds using cut menhaden or cut mullet free-lined or on a light Carolina rig. Stealth is needed here for best results.
ARANSAS BAY: Live shrimp under a silent cork is a good rig for trout on the ICW side of Deadman Reef. Some black drum may be found here as well, fished best with a north wind. Drifts down Traylor Island are good for trout using croaker or mud minnows free-lined. There are still some reds on the north side of Mud Island. Finger mullet free-lined and thrown into the sand pot holes work well here.
CARLOS BAY: Carlos Trench is the best bet for this bay. Deep running lures fished in the current in bone and red and blue and silver colors work well here for reds and trout.
MESQUITE BAY: Rattlesnake Reef is a good spot for reds using finger mullet free-lined. Patience is needed. Wades at the mouth of Cedar Bayou using soft plastics such as Jerk Shad in new penny and morning glory colors work well for reds and trout.
AYERS BAY: Some trout may be found on the north side of Ayers Reef with free-lined live shrimp the best choice of baits. The east shoreline is good for some black drum using fresh dead, peeled shrimp on a very light Carolina rig.
Howard Murph Memorial Park behind the airport on Copano Bay is a good place to wade-fish for reds using soft plastics in nuclear chicken and root beer colors. Top waters on calm days work well for large trout using Super Spooks in bone and red and white and blue colors. Wade out enough to be able to cast 360 degrees.
Email Capt. Mac Gable at [email protected]