Over the years fishing’s place in my life has transformed itself many times. When I started I went to have fun and hopefully catch fish. Size and quantity were trivial. As I began to grasp the concept my priority moved to catching numbers. The more fish I caught the happier I was. Next, the pursuit of big fish captured my attention.
As my passion for the sport grew I started to become a student of the science known as angling. Reading. Observing. Learning. I wanted to know how every little aspect affected the water and its inhabitants, so I studied the moon, tides, and weather. The next phase in my progression had me eager to capture and share the stunning and exciting moments I experienced. Photography, cinematography, and writing were my creative outlets that allowed me to share my passion with others.
Recently, as my mind wandered, as it often does, I caught myself reflecting, where am I now? I still enjoy catching fish as much today as I did the first time I picked up a rod and reel, although my means have evolved. Instead of live or dead bait I now reach for a self-tied fly or a plastic lure. I’m still a student of the sport soaking up every piece of knowledge I come across. I still love taking pictures, shooting footage and writing about my angling experiences.
Fishing’s role in my life has matured into all those things, but most importantly, I value the friendships created along the way. Fishing is now more about the quality of the experience; everything else is ancillary. I’ve fished with many characters over the years. Last weekend was no different.
I spent a few days fishing around Rockport, Texas. Objective number one, have fun, which I figured wouldn’t be hard to accomplish considering the guys I was fishing with, especially Mickey and Brandon. When you put these two guys together it’s like mixing gun powder and fire. Together they’re a combustible concoction waiting to explode at the feeling of a bite and the sight of a good fish. I don’t think I have ever seen anyone dance and scream more at a sold-out rock concert than these two guys when they’re on the water catching fish. Their child-like exuberance is entertaining and contagious.
The weather wasn’t exactly ideal our first day in the area, but we made the best of the situation. The seven of us spread out trying different patterns and techniques. We all caught fish, but size was lacking. We focused on drop-offs and deep reefs because the north winds from the day before blew most of the water out of the shallows. Sunny skies broke through the clouds late in the afternoon and we started seeing bait activity on shorelines, so we changed tactics hoping for bigger fish. We found quite a few reds up shallow and Mickey landed a couple nice fish while sight fishing. We ran out of daylight quickly and we had a long paddle back, so we call it day not soon after the action started.
The previous day gave us high hopes for Sunday. The weather forecast called for warmer temps and clear skies. We figured we would find fish shallow earlier allowing ample sight fishing opportunities. Given the superb conditions Mickey and I left the conventional rods in the truck and decided to live and die by the fly. We fished a different location and we added one more to flotilla; Brandon’s dad joined us.
The eight of us spread out in smaller groups concentrating on different areas. We immediately started seeing fish, mostly low to mid-slot redfish cruising the shallows. We landed about 20 fish between the group. Mickey and I accounted for 7 of those fish on fly. Brandon’s dad put on a clinic landing 8 fish. Lures that caught fish were Gambler Flap’n Shad, TTF Hackberry Hustlers, Corky Devils, Skitterwalks, gold spoon flies, and the infamous Mardi Gras shrimp.
Good times. Good friends.