Thursday, January 29, 2009

Port Aransas Beach, Surf Fishing Revisited

The waves were huge, at least to me, they looked to be six or seven feet high. As each wave broke and rolled up the beach it met the water from the preceding wave and formed a standing wave,(An example of a standing wave is when you are at a fast flowing river and it flows over a rock or rapids forming a wave that stays in one place).
The happy hour group decided another day at the beach was in order as it was going to be nice, before being slammed by another cold front. So we loaded up the truck and drove the usual route to beach access one, where we turned south and drove near the water. The beach driving report was poor so I put the truck in four wheel drive and drove past fisherman after fisherman sucking shrimp and surf fishing. It didn't seem possible for any shrimp to survive.
Reaching our group we dropped off our chairs at the "Gathering spot" and I set out my pole while Renita and several other ladies decided to take a walk down the beach.
My line quickly washed ashore and so I put on five ounces of lead, before it stayed set. Looking down the line of fisherman, and fisherwomen, all were pretty much standing there doing nothing. Would the fish be in such pounding surf?
Steve, next to me, was looking for ghost shrimp, as I wound in my line to check the bait. It looked like something had been biting as the piece of shrimp was chewed up.
Rebaiting the hook I cast out and watched my pole more carefully, and sure enough a bite. Missed it! Again I cast out and again I missed the fish, darn! I switched hooks and put on a small circle hook. It worked as I pulled in a small whiting! Another cast and another whiting!
Renita returned and we ate some pineapple oranges, which we had quartered and taken as a group snack. She moved down the line sharing the oranges before returning to tell me that the hot dogs were cooking and lunch was being served. I joined her, got in line, and hurriedly wolfed down several dogs and the usual healthy chips. There were also lots of brownies and cookies so I sampled each tray until I had tasted each batch! Renita was still filling her plate,(Have you ever noticed how fast teachers eat?).
Winding in my pole I rebaited, but only with a small piece of peeled, fresh dead shrimp. It was actually shrimp bought at the grocery store and was probably sushi quality, the fish had to bite.
I watched the pole carefully, and quickly had a bite. Not setting the hook, I simply wound in and the circle hook hooked the fish for me! Another cast and another fish!
Down the line the fishing picked up as the whiting seemed to sense that lunch was being served,(Actually high tide was nearing). The surf grew stronger and the undertow increased so much that wading out was getting dangerous. A coast guard helicopter flew by, looking for foolish people, and it was soon followed by another rescue helicopter.
The waves had actually grown and we had to move the truck twice as the tide moved in. I had caught tweleve whiting and was getting ready to call it quits when a member of our group got stuck, trring to turn around in the soft sand. Apprehensive, as I have been nervous about driving on the beach I backed up and hooked up to his two wheel drive truck. After getting the shovel out and digging in front of the tires, Dave gave me a call to hit it and it almost worked, I didn't hit it hard enough. Backing up a bit I hit it again and pulled the truck from the sand.
It was time to go, so we drove down the beach, only to find Dale and Reva stuck in the sand. This time Dave and Jane did the honors, after I dug out the wheels with my trusty shovel.(I had carried that shovel for a year and finally used it).
We were able to get back to the pavement without anyone else getting mired in the soft sand. The beach driving had deteriorated since we had drove out and there were marks where people had gotten stuck and been helped. Helping people is good!
We returned home, and cleaned the fish, donating them for a future group fish fry. Life is good. Clear skies.

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