ON A REAR VISIT to the local car wash to wash my boat after a trip (I normally use a power washer at my house), I noticed a small aluminum boat/trailer parked out of the way with a missing trailer tire.
The boat looked fondly familiar, so I walked over to inspect. It was, in fact, almost an exact replica of my first boat. It had been well cared for—probably restored because Lone Star stopped manufacturing sometime in the 70s.
This boat looked like a late 50s to early 60s model, but I couldn’t be certain. It was the same hull where I spent many hours in my younger years, acquiring an intimate knowledge of the Texas bays.
I heard a horn and an impatient friend waiting to wash his boat hollered “Are you taking up residence here or are you gonna wash your boat?” After some affectionate hand signals pointed at him, I walked back to my truck.
The other guide, now out of his truck, met me with an ice-cold Coke and offered it to me.
“You look rode hard and put up wet” he said, “I’m afraid of looking like you when I get your age.”
“Anybody who looks like the north end of a south-bound mule can’t do anything but improve, even with age,” I replied, then thanked him for to Coke.
“Did you catch any fish?” he asked.
I shook my head,”No.”
“Then why is it I saw you cleaning fish at your cleaning station?” he asked. “Every time I ask you about catching fish you always say no, but yet you always clean fish.”
“You asked if ‘I’ caught fish, which I never do, I never said my clients didn’t catch fish.”
He just laughed as I walked to move my boat and truck out of his way.
By now the owner of the small Lone Star had returned with a good tire, so I pulled up beside him and asked if he needed any help. “I hope maybe one day,” he said.
“Excuse me?” I replied.
“Maybe one day I’ll own a nice boat like your Haynie.”
“Well, it took me a lot of years to get this,” I told him, “but you’ve got a pretty good start,” motioning toward his boat.
“This was my grandfather’s,” he said with some feeling. “We fished a lot together before he passed.”
“Lucky you,” I said, “it’s a great boat to learn these bays in. Mind if I take a look?”
The boat had a 15 hp Evinrude, perfect for this boat, I thought.
The anchor was a small Super Hooker because the boat is so light. High backed fishing seat replaced the old flat wood seats. The young man didn’t have a jack under the trailer, but rather had it propped up on a block of wood after lifting it himself.
Nothing about this rig was hard: trailering was a breeze, it could be pulled with the smallest of trucks and most midsized cars. Launching and loading could be done with just a pull rope although the trailer had a winch.
I never used mine, mostly because it was broke and I didn’t have a winch strap. It’s a wade fisherman’s dream, easy to get in and out of.
Most ran a 15-inch shaft and could run as shallow as most high-tech bay boats. I seldom anchored but rather would run my Lone Star right up on a sand flat, high and dry.
Even as a youngster I could push the light rig off any reef or sand flat by myself. After a while the rivets would leak some, but two brass hammers and a willing friend could tighten them up—one working from the inside the other from the outside when things were slow.
I washed mine with a garden hose and parked it under an old pecan tree. Drift fishing was a dream in it as well. A pair of jeans with the legs tied off was the only drift sock I needed.
Standing and casting was a challenge, but one learned after a few dunks overboard it’s best to have a friend, one sat while one stood and cast, then traded positions.
The live well was a five-gallon bucket. The fish box was a small ice chest that doubled for an eats and drinks cold box, everything easily removed for cleaning.
Shifting the weight of the ice chests and tackle box and/or your fishing buddy around was your tilt and trimmer and trim tabs. I learned to run the motor once a week no matter what, or to be good at rebuilding the carburetor.
A pack of patches and glue and a can of WD40 meant no need for a spare tire, which I couldn’t afford anyway. From the look of things this young man couldn’t either.
Call it nostalgia, but I just wanted to hop in this boat, grab the tiller and take off. When I looked up from the old aluminum boat, the young man was standing behind the console of my Haynie.
“One day,” he said, “I am gonna have one of these!”
“Wanna go for a ride?” I asked.
“Oh man that would be GREAT!” he replied.
“Okay,” I said, “but here’s the deal—we ride in mine first, then go for a ride in yours.”
“You wanna ride in that?” he asked surprised, pointing at the old Lone Star.
“Oh no,” I said, “I wanna drive!”
October has turned into the month of change here on the Texas coast for anglers. Drastic temperature changes and limited bait can prove challenging for weekenders looking for some rod action. Plan ahead and keep extended forecasts at hand.
Copano Bay: The mouth of Copano Creek is a good spot for reds using new penny colored jerk shad. A quiet approach is essential. The old fishing pier adjacent to the LBJ causeway is a good spot for sheepshead using cut squid and frozen shrimp. Use the smallest kahle hook you can find.
Aransas Bay: Grass Island Reef is still holding some trout with free-lined croaker the bait of choice. The mouth of Allyns Bight is a good spot when the north wind causes water levels to drop. Reds and trout can be caught here on croaker and live shrimp.
St. Charles Bay: Big Devil Bayou, East Pocket and Little Devil Bayou are good spots to set up for reds, especially on a falling tide. Finger mullet on a light Carolina rig works well. The Twin Creek area is a good spot for black drum using fresh dead shrimp on a light Carolina rig.
Carlos Bay: If water temperatures drop, Cape Carlos Dugout is a good spot for trout using free-lined croaker. The current can be strong here so some weight might be needed, like on a fish finder rig. The shoreline of Bludworth Island is a good wade for trout, reds and flounder.
Mesquite Bay: Belden Dug Out is a good spot when water levels are dropping. Trout and reds frequent this area. Finger mullet on a medium weight Carolina rig works well. The reefs around Brays Cove are good spots for flounder and black drum using live shrimp jigged across the bottom.
Ayers Bay: Ayres Point is a good spot for trout using croaker. This is a good wade area. Some reds can be caught close to the grass lines. The pocket between Ayers Island and Ayres Reef is a good spot for reds using free-lined mud minnows.
Live Oak Point: It’s at the south end of LBJ causeway and can be a bit tricky to get to if you are physically challenged. Wades just off the point with gold and red spoons can produce some large trout.
Email Capt. Mac Gable at [email protected]