Sunday, August 20, 2006

Patience pays off for Houston fisherman!

Saturday's fishing trip went about the same as my running schedule has been lately, not as planned. Still, we had a blast. We didnt' catch as many fish as we had liked and did not fish where and when we had originally planned. Nevertheless, it was a great time for daddy to just get away for the day with the guys for a little down time.

The plan was to go offshore. A friend of a co-worker of mine owns a 34' sportfish and offered to take 5 of us out for the day if we would pay for gas and clean the boat when we got back. So, basically, it was a free trip. When we arrived at the marina, on schedule for our 6 am departure, we found Ron sitting on the dock with grease up to his elbows, holding some sort of contraption. Adrian, another friend from work who is mechanically inclines, quickly recognized the contaption as a water pump. Turns out that the part was not in tolerance when Ron started up the boat earlier. Oh, and it was pouring down rain as well. It didn't seem to concern Ron too much as he said we would just have to wait until the marina opened and we could get a new part. That would be 8 am.

So, that brings me to the first of several poor eating choices for the day. Actually, there really wasn't much of a choice. We decided to go eat breakfast at a little joint in surfside. There were only 5 menu choices, the #1, the #2, the #3, get the message. I ordered the #2. I guess in the grand scheme of things, it wasn't too bad. Just quite a bit more fat than I've become accustomed to eating. I'm not going to post any more about food. Suffice it to say the day's nutrition was not at all conducive to healthy eating and weight loss. :)

After breakfast we killed some time as the downpour continued. We visited, drank coffee, told fishing stories, and bonded. Everyone of us work in IT so we had a lot to talk about. Oh, so here's who was on the trip. The trip was set up by my good friend, Dan, an analyst that works with down the hall from me. He invited me and another co-worker, Adrian, a project manager. We were joined by Travis, Dan's brother-in-law and his son, Eric. Eric is a progammer and Travis is a project manager for a large computer firm.

We headed back to the dock around 9:15 after some more delays in finding the part for the boat. Ron and his wife had not returned yet. When they did return, it was a good news, bad news thing. The good news...they found a part. The bad news...the part was in Houston. So, the mission was scrubbed and rescheduling plans began and are still underweigh. As the weather cleared we began to consider our options at this point. We considered wade fishing the surf as the water was quite calm. We decided instead to take Dan's 18' john boat out to Christmas Bay and to do some bay fishing. Travis and Eric have a boat also but decided to just call it a day, leaving Dan, Adrian, and myself.

Then, it was back to the beach house to unload all the offshore gear and get rigged up for bay fishing. We then drove "into town" to retrieve Dan's boat from his mother's garage. Then back to the beach house to load up. Oh, we stopped to get ice, too. By this time, it was aroun 11:00 am. It was getting late but the prospect of actually getting a line wet kept me interested and excited. As we drove to the spot where we were going to put in, we noticed that all the bait shops were out of bait. You have to buy bait near where you are putting in because a longer drive can stress the shrimp and they can die by the time you get there. There's a bait shop at the boat ramp so the plan was to get shrimp there.

When we arrived, guess what! No shrimp. But this shop has their own boat and the guy was expecting more shrimp to arrive any minute . We put the boad it and parked it behind the shop, thinking the shrimp would arrive any minute. So, we hung around and talked about where we were going to go and what we were going to catch. Long story, short, the axle broke on the trailer that was bring the shrimp to us, they fixed the trailer and finally got the shrimp to us. This was one and a half hours, one cheeseburger and an order of fries later. So, about the time we were supposed to be returning from offshore, we were finally filled up with bait and off into the bay. Whew!!!

Just the highlights now. My friend, Dan, who grew up in the area knows the Bay like the back of his hand. You and I look out and just see a big body of water. He knows and sees all the reefs, all the areas where it's just 1 foot of water or less, all the guts and dropoffs. It was great being with someone so knowledgeable. Of course it was the heat of the day. We caught 3 keeper trout, 2 nice sheepshead, a black drum and a couple of croaker that we kept just because the meat is so sweet. Not quite the day it could have been. Seems like we would come up on a spot and catch one, then nothing. We caught a few hardheads which I HATE. One stuck me right in the knuckle. Adrian caught a ribbonfish. It was cool-looking.

Towards the end of our trip, as evening began to fall, we turned the aerator off and fished in silence. It was so peaceful. The bay was calm as the breeze pushed us along a gentle drift. We talked a little about work, a lot about fishing, and some about family and friends and life. We threw out the last cast just as the sun was setting. It was a spectacular, beautiful, red, orange sunset. Tiny sparkels of light jumping out of the water. I was going to take a picture but I thought, no. I'm just saving this one for myself. I just enjoyed it. I was totally exhausted yet at peace. Not worried about water pumps or not catching many fish or missing my 8-miler that morning or how many calories that cheeseburger had. For those moments I just relished in God's majesty and his creation, cherished the friendships that were made that day and thanked God for my life. It is good.

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