Sunday, December 10, 2006

Scouting Trip

I could have called this post "Fishing Road Trip" or "Two Crazy Brothers". Either way you would get the idea.

It started out inocently enough when I informed Paul that I was intending on returning to Palacios for my usual night-fishing excursion when I got back from the latest business trip. He was also scheduled to travel this week so it seemed natural that he was also looking for some R&R when he stated that he was considering joining me.

My trip was to be a whirlwind sweep of the Eastern Seaboard starting Wednesday and returning on Friday. We began the odessy by flying from Houston to Birmingham, AL.

My co-pilot was joining me and since I avoid the Atlanta airport experience at all costs, we flew Southwest Airlines to Birmingham which is as close to our first destination as we could get. We drove to Monroe, GA and visited one of my staff, Wayne, who is recovering from hip surgery and I'm happy to report seems to be doing remarkably well. We had a nice visit with him and his wife and proceeded on through Georgia to Gastonia, NC, just outside Charlotte, and stopped for the night.

We were up early on Thursday and drove through the rest of NC to Appomattox, VA where we met another one of my staff, Joe, for lunch at the famous Babcock House. I was conducting performance reviews on this trip and it was nice to be out where the work actually takes place for a change.

We proceeded on to Charlottesville, VA which was to be our stopping place for the night. We were to meet a third staff memeber, Kent, the next morning but were able to catch him that evening at the last half of his daughter's basketball game. It's been a while since we have attended a school atheletic function and I think even Joe enjoyed watching Abby and her teammates run away with the game.

Friday morning was spent finishing up my disciussion with Kent and participating in a 2-hour conference call before heading out to the airport for the ride home. Since we were flying Southwest, the closest return flight was out of BWI in Baltimore, MD.

I had figured the trip pretty close and thought we would have enough time to get to the airport, eat something (lowfat) and make the flight. I didn't plan well enough though and after experiencing heavy traffic in Northern Virginia, slow traffic approaching DC, and a big delay on the beltway, we arrived at the airport to hear our names being called over the intercom from the gate. We had to change to standby on a later flight but that gave us time to eat and relax before heading to Hobby.

We founa a great place to eat in the airport, Philips Seafood which serves up a mean Maryland crabcake and some lower fat dishes that we could enjoy. We started with some boiled u-peel-em shrimp (served hot) that were delicious. I also had some grilled tuna and Tracy had a grilled chicken sandwich. Both were served with a salad and we got steamed veggies as a side item. They have their own seasoning which has a lot of celery salt and enough red pepper to catch your attention.

We finally arrived at Hobby airport after 11PM. I had called Paul earlier to let him know that instead of my usual plan of sleeping for a few hours, I was going to rely on my three hour nap on the plane and was going to head straight to the seawall.

He has always been the more sensible brother (about sleep anyway), and did actually sleep for a few hours before joining me.

I arrived after 2AM and there was again no other fisherman to be seen at either pier or the seawall. To my dismay, there were also no signs of fish at any of these places. I also checked the new spot we had found last week -the bulkhead- but there wasn't anyone in town fishing. I tried everything in the tackle box and even pulled out the 10-footer and cast a double shrimp rig halfway to Mexico but the fish just were not there.

I met one other brave soul that, immediately, upon assessing the situation said, "Water's too clear. Need to move down to the marina". He meant down near Bayside RV park where the shrimp boats are docked. This is some of the deepest water around and he seemed to think that there were some fish there.

When Paul arrived I suggested that we give that a try but he had another idea. We have heard about a hot spot down the coast near Port Aransas and both of us have been chomping at the bit to give it a try.

Needless to say after fishing another hour or so without even a bite we were both ready for a Scouting Trip.

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We both enjoyed the time together and checking out a new spot. We didn't find the fish but we did learn something. We rode the jetty boat from Port Aransas to San Jose (St. Joe) island and were determined to fish the jetties. We learned that when the boat gets clear of the dock you'd better be hanging on because they don't waste any time getting across.

We also learned that there were a lot of dolphin and pelicans working in the area indicating that there were some fish around.

Finally we learned that had we been there earlier we might have had stringers that looked like these:

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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

There was a party of five that had arrived at 6AM and had fished along the jetties until they were halfway out to the end. They came in to catch the 10:10 return boat which we were also on.

For perspective just think that the smallest fish on the stringer is at least 15" and you get some idea about the size of the bigger fish.

I predict we will again return to Port "A" another day when we have a little more time. I think we may be on the first boat across too!

1 comment:

Bawana said...

Hi John, this is a great story thanks for writing about your week. If you feel some unexpected aches and pains its just me moving a red push pin and a recent picture of you around on my map of the United States.