Monday, November 16, 2009

Flounder for a Friend

On Monday after Tracy's BD, it was too windy for a boat ride.

The little cold front that blew through in the morning demonstrated why the awning manufacturers recommend that you roll them up before the storm arrives.

Suffice it to say that we learned the hard way that even though it may be dead calm, some cold fronts can arrive with a bang and this one did just that.

After removing the remains of the destroyed awning, Tracy and I bundled up and went down to the boat slips to see if we could catch a flounder.

Some say flounder are not the prettiest saltwater fish but I find them appealing. They have cool green eyes and their mouth is shaped in a permanent sneer as if to say "Yeah - I'm cool".

Their skin is blotched and spotted for camouflage against the sandy or muddy bottom where they lie in wait for their prey to swim by. They love the shallows at night and when they are still are almost invisible.

With both eyes on the same side of their head and a mouth that works sideways you wouldn't think they could see or catch anything but when they decide to eat something, it rarely gets away.

I only managed to catch one flounder all afternoon and Tracy got skunked.

This one wasn't nearly as big as the one Tracy caught on Friday but was definitely big enough for a nice meal. Since we got to enjoy Edie's version of stuffed whole flounder for dinner, I gave her and Tommy this one for them to have after work.

Sharing fresh fish with friends makes the effort worthwhile.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Flounder on Deck and Reds in the Box

Tracy's birthday weekend promised to be better for fishing as the rain had cleared out and the weather was beautiful. We were out of town all week and it was good to come "home" to Matagorda.

After supper at Spoonbills, we headed out to the PPRV boat slip for a little night fishing under the lights. I tagged a few trout and Tracy caught this beautiful 20" flounder.

Guess what we will be having for dinner? Monday night we took the flounder to Spoonbills and Edie stuffed it with crabmeat and served it with a nice salad and grilled asparagus. I think we both ate until we were the ones that were stuffed and enjoyed the meal and the special dessert.

On Saturday we headed up river to our usual spot and even though the trout didn't seem to be there, Tracy caught this nice redfish on a live shrimp.

On the way back down the river we spotted a pair of bald eagles waiting for a fish to rise.

We moved to a spot in the diversion channel halfway between the ICW and West Matagorda Bay and the fun really got going. We caught several redfish and though most of them were undersized, we were able to put four slot reds in the box.

Here is Captain John with a nice slot red. I was fishing lower in the water column and seemed to have the luck of the bigger fish in my corner for a while.

These fish are aggressive fighters and catching them in an anchored boat is different than catching them in a kayak where you can let them pull you around.

This was the big fish of the day. He already had a belly full of mullet when he took my shrimp.

This black drum put up a good fight but was released to grow some more.

Tracy has "fish on" and keeps the rod tip up (just like I taught her!).

Don't horse him!

The shoreline of this river delta is littered with tree trunks and logs. This white ibis was feeding nearby.

Here is the catch of the day at the cleaning table. Four reds is plenty!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

South Texas Critters

I like to photograph animals no matter how strange they may seem.

On my way out the door to hit the road for a work trip to South Texas, I nearly walked into this guy.

This wolf spider had stretched her net from the tree to the Jeep and to the house. That would have been quite a shock had I ended up with this big girl down my neck!

While giving a tour at one of our facilities, I noticed something under the right side of this CP rectifier.

A closer inspection showed that had we not been paying attention we might have payed a price!

Some say the mosquitoes are the state bird of South Texas. This "Purple Rain" variety was captured before I needed a transfusion.

One of our facilities sits on the Upper Laguna Madre just outside of Corpus Christi. This fine looking whitetail poses in front of the old CPL facility adjacent to our site.

Down in Falfurias they grow beetles big enough for a meal. They do make your fingers stink though!


A three day work trip to South Texas ended up with lunch at Kings Inn on Baffin Bay.

After lunch it was time for the manager to do some "coaching". I had brought along some fishing gear and promised to play guide for some new anglers.

We were properly licensed, and had purchased some fresh-dead shrimp. The weather was beautiful and the fish were willing!

The crew heads down the plank on the pier at SeaWind park.

Here is Alexandra with her first croaker. Now you know why they call them that!

Dharma caught this whiting and I think she also caught fishing fever.

Dharma's redfish thought he was a speckled trout.

Here we are with a triple - I had a small speck, Dharma had a whiting, and Alex had silver perch, aka yellow tail.

These guys are a pretty fish no matter what the size.

We all caught our share of reds. This little guy is showing off his spot.

Dharma even managed to hook the ultimate bait stealer - the pinfish.

We caught seven different species of fish and though they were small everyone had fun and caught fish. I'd say that would qualify it for a successful coaching session.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Catch n Release

Sometimes the fish are willing but just don't "measure up".

Here we are heading for the best spot north of the ICW.

Tracy's skills have improved to the point where she quickly gets out in front.

You can almost see the gratitude in his eye as this red gets to live to fight another day.

Tracy scores again with a small speck and I got a workout paddling back and forth across the channel.

Look at the spots on this nice red. Just a little too short!

"Back you go little buddy".

This red was nearly in the slot.

Tracy is somewhat "reflective" about this catch and release thing.

Later as we escaped the wind I tied into another Cn'R candidate.

Anyone want to try wade fishing at 3-Mile Lake?

Friday, November 06, 2009

Team Building

My friend and work counterpart in Salt Lake City had planned on fishing with me "someday" and finally that day arrived. Sergio stayed over an extra day after a three day meeting in Houston and we weere to meet in Matagorda for a day of paddling in the marsh.

Tracy and I spent the night at PPRV #7 and I found that a few trout had made it up the river.

The recent rains were slacking off and and what I had hoped for was coming to pass. The trout are making their way back up the river as trhe salinity increased.

Friday morning found me rigging the yaks and rods at the launch site as I waited for Sergio's arrival.

The tide was up which would make for easy paddling but may have the fish scattered.

The wind along the coast was calm and the time was right for a good paddle but there was fog inland and we got off a little later than wee planned.

Sergio took to the kayak in no time and we made our way down the channels towards the lake. We saw lots of birds and some mullet but the reds seemed to be hiding from us.

I located a feeding trout at the mouth of the channel as we came to the lake and I thought we were finally going to get into the fish.

We covered several miles of paddling all around the lake to all the famous spots where I had found fish before but by 11AM we were still without a fish on the stringer.

Here is Sergio calling home to SLC to give his wife the news - "Great paddling but no fish!"

The wind started to come up after we had exhausted our search and we headed back. I finally hooked up on a slot red in the channel and fought him to the boat. I was having trouble getting the frisky red in the net and on my third try he got my line tangled in the net and pulled hard enough to break off. Sergio and I watched the fish swim off with my 20lb leader hanging out of his mouth. ARRGGGHHHH!

Now it was my turn to call home and I told Tracy we were heading back to the launch and that I had just lost the only keeper fish of the day.

Believe it or not, as we began our paddle back my red floated to the surface! I quickly scooped him into my kayak and there was my leader and rig still stuck in his throat. We took him to the cleaning table at the Harbor and later to Spoonbills where Edie & Tommy fried him up for a great supper.

I was disappointed that I was unable to get Sergio on a fish but wee both enjoyed the day and the meal. We may have to do it again Sergio!