THERE IS THE OLD MAN and his ANCHOR,” came a comment from a jibing friend.
“Where you been?” another guide piped in.
“Contemplating the purpose of the universe,” I quipped back.
“Guess he’s going to tell us the meaning of life this morning,” came yet another well-meant harassment.
“Guess you’re the one challenging the theory of relativity,” the verbal onslaught continued.
“Being in the presence of such great minds as yours, I do try to keep abreast of topics that are way over your heads.”
“I’m only interested in fishing,” came the retort to my comment.
“Maybe you should get interested in catching too,” said another guide.
As the quibbling continued, I was thankful to no longer be the center of attention this windy morning.
“He’s adopted a new GREEN approach to his fishing business, let’s fish but not catch and save the aquatic universe.”
“I believe you have a low tire on your trailer, why don’t you remove the valve core and blow it up with all your hot air?”
Happy they were making someone else’s life joyfully miserable, I quietly eased away from the dock.
“No clients?” came a hollered question.
“Oh, he’s so good his clients just pay HIM to fish now!” I drowned the laughter as I throttled the Mercury and got up on plane.
I love these guys. When the chips are really down, they have my back, but this day a little bit of them was going a long way.
As I made my way across St. Charles Bay the comments from the well-meaning anglers and guides echoed in my head. I asked myself which was more important to me—To fish or to catch?
This rule doesn’t apply to everyone, but I have found in my maturing years, the catching that was once so important to me personally, seemed to be playing second fiddle to the healing powers of just fishing.
Draw a small circle. Now draw a very large circle around it. The large circle is our area of concerns, to which we have little or no influence. The smaller circle is our circle of influence, where we have direct control to exact an outcome.
Unfortunately, 90 percent of our population lives in the circle of concern; we worry endlessly about things we have absolutely no control of.
This worry can be fed with antidepressants, anxiety drugs or drinking, resulting in an unhappy view of the day and to life in general. A days fishing narrows our focus to what’s just ahead.
It’s thinking in the present moment, to just that day—and no farther. How’s the bait doing? Do I have the right rigging? Where should I fish? It takes us from the grip of the thousand-pound gorilla (that circle of concern), which rules the majority of our lives.
It’s just one day, but its positive effect can be felt for weeks or even months afterwards. Believe it or not, we honestly have little or no control over “catching” but we do exact much control over “fishing.” It’s a lesson we can apply to everyday life. Letting go of those things that you have no control of is NOT a lack of caring, it is a sign of wisdom. It’s also a recipe for a longer and happier life.
Those days I must focus on the “catch,” I usually come from the water wound up just as tight as when I left. When focus is on “fishing”, I find the catching takes care of itself.
September is a time for cut bait. The bays have been hit hard with every variety of live bait. I saw one angler using goldfish, but have no clue as to how effective they were.
A cut piece of menhaden or fresh mullet cast on a free line is about as good as you can get. This is not fast-pace fishing (usually), but is slow soaking in its purest form. Partially fileted croaker is a good bet as well. As a stiff wind at your back helps when no weight is used; couple this with an area with a slight current, and the cut bait is twice as effective.
Copano Bay: Lap Reef is a good spot for trout using new penny colored jerk shad. Cut mullet off the grass lines of Newcomb Point is a good spot for reds. During high tide, fish in toward the bank.
St. Charles Bay: The cut between Aransas Bay and St. Charles Bay is a good wading spot. The deeper water of the cut is a highway to fish this time of year. A cork drifted in the current is the best approach, using fresh dead shrimp. East Pocket just to the east of the cut is a good spot for reds using cut menhaden.
Aransas Bay: The Grass Island Reefs just east of the north end of the LBJ causeway is a good spot for trout using free-lined croaker. The new jetty area adjacent to the Grass Island Reefs is a good spot for black drum and sheepshead using fresh dead shrimp under a silent cork.
Carlos Bay: The spot where Carlos Bay empties into Mesquite Bay is a good spot for trout and reds using free-lined live shrimp or live shrimp and a cork. Cedar Reef is still holding some keeper reds with free-lined finger mullet the best choice.
Mesquite Bay: The north shoreline close to the fish huts/houses is a good place for reds and black drum using free-lined live shrimp. The south side of Ayers Reef is a great spot for reds using a popping cork and cut mullet. This is a heavy shell area and bottom rigs can hang up/cut off easily.
Ayers Bay: The north side of Ayers Reef is a good spot for trout using mud minnows or live shrimp under a popping cork. There is still some black drum on the east shoreline with fresh dead shrimp the best choice.
Lamar Beach Road on St. Charles Bay is a good spot and is easily accessible. The area from the St. Charles Bay Hunting Club all the way to Twelfth Street has a lot of salt grasses. This shoreline early morning and late evening is frequented by reds and black drum. Bottom rigs work well here with a light Carolina rig being best. Fresh dead shrimp or cut mullet is the best choice. Be mindful of the road traffic, especially mid-day.
Email Capt. Mac Gable at [email protected]