Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Beast and the Beauties

Saturday's weather forcast was typical August - hot and still. For most fishermen, that means get on the water early and get your fishing in before the heat of the day.

We got the first part right at least as Tracy and I were up at 4AM and on the road in time to beat brother Paul to Matagorda. He got to the the launch at McNab first though at 6AM since we stopped at Buddys for some ice. For those of you who have ever fished with Paul (or any of the Batchelder boys) it is rare to out-early someone who is hot to fish!

The sun wasn't up when we arrived but a new crop of mosquitos was and they were glad to see us!

Dawn at the McNab Launch.

Early Morning Fisherman

Sunrise in the Marsh

Fishing the Channel

Paul launched ahead of us and Tracy and I took our time getting in to the lake. There were some fish working around the reefs and I got a blow up on a bone spook jr. so close to Tracy's boat that she got sprayed with water from the strike. We moved up to the corner where we had caught fish two weeks ago but all we could manage was a hardhead, a ladyfish, and a small flounder.

We finally gave up and beat it back to the lake. I paddled into the smaller lake on the way to McNab which had just enough water in it to float me and all I could manage to catch was this monster on the mirrodine.

We made it back to the main lake and had just set up at the mouth and could see Paul way down in the back of the lake when he began to signal to us by whistling and waving his paddle. I thought he was just letting us know where he was but Tracy said she thought he was calling for help.

I pulled up my stake and set a new McNab record for making the trip to the back of the lake where I found brother Paul hooked into "The Beast". He had tail hooked a large (understatement) alligator gar and had been on a 15 minute sleigh ride with no end in sight.

After looking the situation over we decided that my net wasn't big enough to hold The Beast and even if you did get him in the net then what? Do you really want a four foot fish with a mouthful of teeth in the kayak with you?

Most of the bottom in McNab is so soft that getting out of your boat is not a good option. There is one spot that has a harder shoreline - of course it was a quarter mile away on the other side of the lake.

As the picture above shown, I hooked a rope on the bow of the Tarpon and towed Paul and The Beast across. We took it slow but by the time we got across all three of us were tired. Paul was able to manuver the huge fish close enough to the shore for me to get his head in the net and we somehow got him beached without incident. OK - Now What?

Paul tried to get hold of the slimy rascal for a picture but as this photo shows he had to demonstrate some fancy footwork to keep from having a close encounter of the toothy kind.

He was able to finally get the lipper into his bottom jaw and hoist the 43" Beast up for a picture.

This is the biggest fish caught in the kayak thus far. Paul - You Da Man!

This is where he gets the name alligator gar.

Paul asked me to estimate his weight since I had left my scales back at the launch. "Heavy?"

Toothy Grin

OK enough about the gar now lets talk about the real reason you go fishing at McNab.

The morning was about to get away and none of us had been able to connect with a keeper fish. Tracy and I paddled back across the lake to the back corner channel and set up to try our luck. There was so much bait in the middle of the lake it looked like you could almost walk across the water on their backs. Paul soon joined us after releasing The Beast and he started fishing the shoreline as we fished the mouth of the channel.

Fish on! Paul finally connected with a nice redfish and we got him in the net.

Finally a keeper red from McNab for Paul! He found a formula for casting his green apple sand eel up close to the grass and working it "low and slow". Paul connected with several fish and put two nice reds on the stringer.

I on the other hand found a couple of fish myself. Both of these "Beauties" were caught on one of my new Mirrodine lures. The net really makes a difference when you are boating the flounder.

Here we are back at the launch with the catch of the day. Thanks to Tracy for all the photography work. She fished and paddled hard all morning in the heat but her guide couldn't get her on the right combination of lure and location.
We said a prayer before the launch asking for God's blessing and "one fish".

God demonstrates every day that He gives in abundance more than we can ask.


Renna said...

That alligator gar is one very creepy looking fish!

Congrats on the good catches of the day, and as always, Tracy's photography is superb!

Margene said...

I confess that that gar gives me the creeps! Wow, it's big!

Jennifer said...

It looks like that gar could of eaten you! It's huge. What a great catch.

YayaOrchid said...

This is such a great post! The beast sure did make for an awesome adventure. Glad you were able to take home some good eats!

BTW- Gar does make for good fried fish eating.

Bawana said...

Nice job on the fishing report. unfortunately you have not heard the last of the Gar story by a very long shot. That tale will be told around campfires and I expect that the length and weight will increase over time. Glad you had such a good day, Tracy did a great job on the pictures.