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Category Archive:   Texas Coast Fishing


Freshwater. That’s been my bag since the beginning. There’s something about the diverse, yet limited amount of options that somehow matches not only my personality but my fishing style as well. Put me in a 20 foot wide, 60 foot high canyon in the Rockies and I’ll barely blink. Drop me anywhere on the coast though and you’ll instantly see the panic set in, there is just SO MUCH!

Still, after working the last few months in the fly shop at Gruene Outfitters I’d heard so many seductive stories of salt water adventure that I eventually loaded the Honda Element down with rods, reels, and the paddle board in hopes of heading south and tapping into this lifestyle that has ignited passion in so many of the people I’ve met over the last few months.

Though I’d visited the coast twice with a rod, both times were 12 years or so ago when I was about as new to fly fishing as you could possibly be. I still was confounded by how finding a fish in this seemingly endless expanse could happen, but felt much more confident this time, armed as I was with the choicest of saltwater flies and tips and tricks picked up through hours of conversation with salty folks at the shop.

It was a quick 30 hour trip that in every way a micro adventure. Although I was only there and awake for 22 hours (8 hours of driving) I managed to take part in the following:

  • hooked a sea turtle by accident and landed it (released safely)
  • landed a crab on a clouser
  • paddled along the cuts with pods of dolphins
  • car camped on the beach
  • studied the stars until I fell asleep with the after image of them shining behind my eyelids
  • learned two new constellations
  • witnessed a menagerie of different crabs
  • waded carefully through softball sized jellyfish
  • caught my first redfish

It was an incredible experience, a relatively short drive yet still an otherworldly adventure. I may not have caught any one of the sizable fish that my ears have been peppered with over the last few months, but there was a definite allure that I can only imagine will magnify and grow in my head, heart, and tales until I return again.

P.S. I also endured constant 30MPH winds that at the time seriously shook me and my patience to my core, blowing me every which way on the paddle board despite the anchor that simply surrendered to the gusts and dragged limply along the waters bed. In light of the weather of the last two days and those still to come for the Texas coast I’ve turned my disdain for those gusts into a bitter sweet memory of calmer days. On behalf of the blog i’d like to wish everyone on the gulf coast and along Texas waterways a safe next few days, minimal loss and a quick recovery. -eric

TPWD-mag

Texas Parks and Wildlife has an excellent new online fishing magazine (even if the fella on the cover is sitting in a chair and fishing). Highlights include information on where bass can still be found as we dip deeper into the drought, and an excellent piece on how to fish Texas year round.

Click your way over to www.tpwmagazine.com/digital/2014/fishing/ to get your own copy.

It’s not that i don’t get skunked from time to time, but in freshwater i’ve got enough tricks up my sleeve that i can usually save the day with a palm sized sunfish. The same can not be said for saltwater fishing. I can count the days that i’ve spent on the flats on one hand, and not suprisingly, can count the amount of total fish caught on one finger, and after all the futile hours spent catching next to nothing, you can probably guess which one that is.

After fishing a day recently with friends on Matagorda Bay and coming up empty, i wasn’t so much surprised by the skunk, as i was the Tyson like blow that it delivered squarely to my ego. Never the less it was nice to wander around on the paddle board in an environment that strips you of all perspective and keeps your hopes in check. It seems to be an innate human instinct to feel small when there is NOTHING around you to judge your size by, something we can all use every now and then. (Maybe we should send some CEO’s, Hollywood stars, and politicians out to the bay for a little soul searching, if for no other reason than to see if they can even find one.)

A freshwater fisher by trade, i don’t think i’ll ever get used to the sense of awe that these bays provide. Pelicans, dolphins, sting-rays, sea trout, reds, sheepshead, and sharks that try to block the path of your speeding boat, it’s all mystifying and sort of magical / scary for someone used to holding his catch in one palm. But if i had to pick one reason that it’s so enjoyable, i would have to say it’s time spent with friends, chatting about the day that hasn’t even past, and the one that’s right around the corner, both of them divas making grand entrances and exits in smoky robes of pink and orange, setting fire to the sky as they ebb and flow above a hapless fly fisherman getting skunked.

Hope that changes with time…

It’s hard to imagine that just a few hundred years ago the island off our coast was nothing but a long strip of sand, only occasionally visited by native americans that crossed the expansive bays in dugout canoes.  These people were “discovered” by explorers in the early 1500’s and wiped out as a race by 1852. They lived and breathed the bays and waters along the ample coastline. Known as Karankawa, the early explorers and settlers had another name for them as well, “Water Walkers”.

Paddling my board around the Laguna Madre, feeling like a modern-day “Water Walker” it was hard to imagine a simpler time when sand would be whipping off the dunes and through the sun drenched sky. I was here, surprisingly, with tens of thousands of others that were celebrating Holy Week (aka Easter). Cars were crammed like sardines on every exposed inch of gooey asphalt. Live shows at the local water park caused sonic booms to echo across the bay at 120 Beats Per Minute. Parachutes swam through the overhead sky. Tourist beckoned to me from the pier hoping to ask “What is that called? Is it hard?”.

In the midst of all this i really only had one thought…fish. If you’ve ever had a rod in your hand, as i guess most of you reading this have, you know the feeling. Casting into the water HOPING to feel resistance and a tug manifested on the other end of the line. You focus so much on this potential moment that at some point the distance of time between you and that moment starts to converge though they may in fact never meet. At that time your truly in the moment, you are at “0”. Neither dwelling on the future (positive time) or the past (negative time). I experienced this sensation when i lost myself for what felt like a good while, (probably only really 10 seconds). The crowds slipped away and the constant barrage of noise melted into the din of the crashing waves. The bay bridge simply disappeared, ala David Copperfield, and suddenly i was back in time with nothing but the water and the sandy dunes bordering the horizon, the Karankawa spirit floating across the bay on the cusp of the breeze. It was bliss. The moment of zero.

On the long drive home it occurred to me that this number was the connection between the moment, the amount of fish caught, and the holiday that had come to pass. That being a celebration of re-birth with the most appropriate of symbols, that being the egg, or the number i’ve come to find solace in, the mighty “0”.

God i hope i catch some fish soon.