Saturday, September 23, 2006

18th Street Pier

Not long ago I read a book called Fly Fishing Small Streams by John Gierach, a popular fly fishing author. On the back cover there is an excerpt that reads,

"Maybe your stature as a fly fisherman isn't determined by how big a trout you can catch, but by how small a trout you can catch without being disapointed, and , of course, without losing the faith that there's a bigger one in there."

I like that principle and it has served me well - especially during my latest fishing outing.

I attended another business meeting this time in Kemah TX, a town about halfway between Houston and Galveston, in an area along Galveston Bay. Since I've been exploring the fine art of saltwater pier fishing, I thought I would see if there were any nearby spots to "soak a shrimp" during the down time.

I found that there were two public piers nearby - the Spillway Pier in Bacliff and the 18th Street Pier in San Leon. The Texas City dike was another option but I decided to keep it simple.

My experiences with pier fishing is limited to the county pier at SeaWind RV Park , and a private pier experience at the Wild Horse Lodge both on Baffin Bay, and more recently the 1st Street Pier in Palacios.

I called the number of the Spillway Pier in Bacliff and found out that it was closed. 18th Street here we come!

The group dinner at Joe's Crabshack was finished earlier than I expected and, I was ready to go do some scouting.

When we arrived to check out the action some lucky angler was bringing a stingray to the bait shop for a picture. They had already removed the barb and were going to release it after the picture. These can be pretty dangerous for those who walk through the shallows at night to gig for flounder. They learn the stingray shuffle to keep from getting a nasty surprise.

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The "stingray shuffle" should be standard operating procedure in any area where the bottom is not plainly visible. Sliding feet along the bottom, rather than lifting high for each step, transmits the commotion and vibration necessary to alert any nearby rays. This deliberate approach gives the animal time to flutter away.

After the recent death of the Steve Irwin, "The Crocodile Hunter" much attention has been drawn to the lowly stingray. They inhabit much of the gulf coast waterways and whether wade fishing or strolling along the surf picking up shells it's good to be aware that they are around.

There wasn't much activity on the pier. Someone reported that a 35" black drum had been caught earlier but there weren't even any hardheads being caught while we were there.

The next afternoon we returned with some dead shrimp and anticipation and were able to fish for a couple of hours before returning to the evening dinner meeting.
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Monster Hardhead

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Joe ready for the "Big Strike"

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Tom is wishing he was back in the meeting.

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Mark seems very relaxed.

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The only real fish caught - a nice sand trout.

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Joe's trout was a little smaller.

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Tom 's mini-hardhead and Joe's trout.
Almost a meal (for a seagull)

I didn't catch the biggest or best
but I think I caught the most different species:

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Atlantic Croaker

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Baby Black Drum

The fishing wasn't world class.
The pier needed better lights.
We needed more time.

But who's complaining?
We got to fish!

We all made it back for the dinner meeting
which included a boat ride around Galveston Bay and Clear Lake.

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Not a bad way to spend the evening.
Maybe we will finish in time for some more pier fishing!

1 comment:

Bawana said...

You have lighthouses in Texas? Sounds like a good trip, did you notice that bunch of cats that followed you to the meeting??