Saturday, January 3, 2009

Cooning Oysters

After talking with the game warden, about picking up wild oysters I knew that it was an adventure we had to do. Now he had said that the people at Tin Can, a local wade fishing area, were cooning oysters from a banned area and that if caught it was a free trip to jail. He told me that oysters were filter feeders and that the closed areas were to close to pollution sources to be safe.
So getting online, I was able to download the oyster reef harvest area map and found the one place where a person could wade to and then coon oysters,(My sister Connie says the term used is Raccoon Oysters and refers to Louisiana wild oysters in general). I noticed that the regulations said that any area within 400 feet of a camp, septic system, were also closed. It all made sense and I also decided to not eat raw cooned oysters.
Driving out to Goose Island State park we waited on the fishing pier as a dense fog covered the area. I first used my cast net to catch mud minnows and mullet and Renita caught a speckled trout off the pier using a mud minnow, her first Texas fish!
The fog finally lifted, at 1 pm, and we pushed off and headed for the Bartell Islands. We met another kayaker who told us that we had to skirt wide to the north to pass the St Charles reefs and so the paddle to the first larger island went easy.
Along the way we noticed that the depth was pretty shallow and it would have been possible to wade almost all the way,(as it was near high tide this was good from a safety standpoint).
Arriving at the first main island, I grounded the canoe and put on my waders. Then pulling Renita along I netted oysters and put them in the boat. Of course I had forgot a hammer so it was with difficulty that I broke off and released the undersized oysters from their larger and less fortunate relatives. Soon I discovered my second mistake as I forgot my oyster gloves and cut my thumb on an oyster.
Deciding that I had enough I got back into the canoe and we had an easy paddle back to the truck. On the way back we met two other kayakers, from Carbon County, Wyoming! I swear the state of Wyoming must be mostly empty as there are a lot of Wyoming folks here!
Arriving back at the house Renita walked Molly as I shucked the oysters. Using my new oyster knife, a Dexter Russel Galveston model, the shucking went pretty easy. I filled up the container with future poorboy sandwhich stuffing! Life is good! Clear skies.

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