As the weather heats up, so does the fishing along the coast. Texas’ bay fishing for spotted seatrout, red drum, black drum, and flounder is as good as it gets. Just writing this makes my mind wander to all those wonderful, cloudy mornings pulling away from the dock in Rockport or Port Aransas with gulls squawking at us, with a swelling anticipation of what lay ahead. I’m in that boat!
I’m blessed with a wife who likes to fish, too. She understands my addiction. In fact, hers might be more acute. Once, on a charter boat out of Port Aransas, we had tied to an oil rig. The sea was rolling a little, and the boat was rocking with it. As the boat pitched, the rig stayed in place. Twenty minutes of that slow motion swaying did to her breakfast what a cocktail shaker does to tequila and lime. The greasy breakfast we thought we had bought proved to only be rented.
After chumming the water for a few minutes, she decided she needed to go below and give it a rest. I landed a couple of fish and then went to check on her. She was sitting at a table with her head down on folded arms. I asked how she was. She raised her head and looked at me like she had just awakened from a deep sleep. Her mouth quivered a little. I took a step backwards. Finally, she muttered, “Awful … but I want to fish.”
I didn’t think she could do it. But she staggered back to the rail and landed several more fish of her own. Like I said, she likes to fish. Lesser anglers would have called for Medivac.
On a smoother bay trip with a guide named Kyle Lafrenier and Ron Henry Strait, outdoor writer for the San Antonio Express, she never took a break from casting and reeling, although the fish weren’t biting. Strait and I opted to sit and drink coffee.
As we talked, I watched her casting, and politely suggested that she cast “over there,” as I pointed to her right. I’ll never know why I said that. But I know I’ll never do it again. She glowered at me and spit out, “I just did. If you think you can do better, go for it!” And sassily offered me her rod. I wasn’t sure what she had in mind.
Strait splashed gasoline on the fire by going, “Ooooo!” meaning, “Now what are you going to do, big boy?” Both of them looked at me. The gauntlet had been thrown. The ball was in my court. Slowly, cautiously, I stood up.
I took the rod and made a cast. I don’t think the lure even hit the water. FISH ON!
It was a good one! She muttered something unprintable.
The reluctant redfish made a good run halfway around the boat. Finally, it tired. I was leaning over and leading it to Kyle’s net. I heard her say something about “Ought to just push him in!” but I was too busy for small talk. I read in the Express the next Sunday that she was moving toward me menacingly. Kyle, probably fearing paper work, stopped her just before I swam with my fish. Strait is still laughing.