Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Dale and Michelle

LIfe has blessed us in so many ways, not least of which is the friends we have made throughout the years. Two of our dearest are Dale and Michelle from Gillette, Wyoming,(I taught with Michelle and met Dale when he was a Uniserve director. Renita and Michelle took girl trips and danced together). So it was great when Dale called and said they were thinking about coming down during Christmas break.
They arrived here on the 27th and I made my shrimp ettoufee,(Actually Connie's recipe). It was well received, which was good as I made it a bit spicy for some. We sat and talked of the possible adventures and decided to fish the Port Aransas Jetty and to explore Mustang Island State Park and the Padre Island Seashore.
Shortly after they left a strong cold front arrived and plunged the temperatures from the upper 70's to the upper forties so we loaded up the cars and prepared for a blustery day at Port Aransas.
We forgot to get bait and found out there wasn't any live shrimp on the Island, so we went to a seafood market and bought some small bait sized shrimp. At the jetty we found a spot and cast out, using split shot. letting the current wash the bait into the rocks. It didn't take long and we were snagged. Now we had been told that this method was snaggy but that it did produce sheepshead, so we continued using it until our patience was at an end,(and my tackle box was rapidly emptying). Switching to surf sinkers and rigs I cast out and caught a hardhead catfish. Another cast and another fish. While I wasn't always hooking them the bites were furious and it didn't take too long to convince Dale to switch rigs. Soon he was catching fish also. Catfish, croakers, and whiting gave us action and made us forget the cold north wind. A couple arrived and cast out sand lice, catching a really nice black drum. Dale talked with them and they gave us one, which we promptly put on to no avail.
The tide went slack and the bite stopped, something our new friend Pete had told me about. Renita and Michelle decided to go sightseeing, after lunch, so the didn't see the tide coming in. It was really amazing to see the murky water moving fast through the channel. The pelicans rode the edge of the mud line eating confused bait fish as the darted out of the murky water, into the clearer bay water that had filled the pass. The girls arrived and we called it a day. No fish fry that night but our friends took us out to a local seafood restaurant.
The next day arrived, along with easing winds and so we headed to the beach. Stopping first at Mustang Island State Park, Dale and I checked out the jetties, while Renita and Michelle shelled and beachcombed. There were a lot of ghost shrimp holes so I returned to the truck and got my minnow bucket and shrimp sucker. Dale got good at finding large holes and it didn't take long before we caught some nice bait.
Leaving the park we headed south to the National Seashore. We drove out on North beach, set up the lawnchairs, and had a nice box lunch picnic of friend chicken. It was so nice to hear the roar of the surf, I think Dale liked that the best! The surf was pounding the shoreline with waves of six to eight feet so fishing was out of the question. Michelle and Renita talked as the ever present seagulls edged nearer, hoping for handouts.
All to soon it was time to go. We did stop at the park headquarters and drive out on the beach at the end of the road. Driving home we got caught in a traffic jam at the ferry. A combination of rush hour and having two bays closed for repairs made for an unpleasant hour long delay. We finally crossed the pass and drove home, arriving tired from the long day at the beach.
The next morning arrived and Dale and Michele had to head back to Wyoming, all to soon. While Dale and I drove around and bought shrimp and pineapple oranges, Michelle and Renita walked out on the pier. They were blessed with the sight of dolphins cruising back and forth. The wind died and they were able to see the clear bottom. Dale and I arrived at the pier and they pointed out all they had found. It was a moment of peace that you hope will never end......
All to soon the time for them to leave arrived and we headed back to our home to say our goodbyes. Thank you Dale and Michelle! Clear skies,

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