The jetty is a place both forbidding and misunderstood. A pile of granite is as alien to the beach landscape as a skyscraper rising suddenly from a Kansas wheat field. What some people don’t think about is that a jetty is just a metaphor for human defiance of nature. Without those huge chunks of pink igneous rock, the ocean would quickly silt in the pass and shipping commerce would literally grind to a halt. Thousands of tons of granite are splashed into position, jostling and settling into their sandy resting place. Then, unexpectedly but inexorably, a jetty transforms into a gathering place for life of all shapes and sizes. It’s pretty incredible really.
Alien it may be, but the granite provides opportunity too; a solid spot to hang on to, a place for barnacles and algae to find a foothold, a place for small creatures to hide from the larger. I have seen estimates that say we have upwards of 600 species of fish and other marine creatures that live in, around or immediately offshore of the jetties. That’s not counting the much more complex macro (tiny crustations, plankton, etc) and micro (bacteria) ecology that exists.
Now that we’ve got all the science stuff covered, I’m going to launch into what the jetty means, rather than what it is. Hang tight, you’ll like this.
The barnacle encrusted granite slabs of the jetty create one of the least understood fishing environments in Texas. Every year I fish out there I see more and more people showing up to enjoy the sometimes fantastic fishing that can be available. There are just as many types of people out there as there are ways to fish the rocks – my buddy Adam profiles the often-quirky Rock People here; a great window into the soul of the jetty crowd.
With more people comes the obvious problems – crowding, territorial squabbles, more pressure on the fish and just simply more old fashioned accidents. It’s also an intimidating place – the wind seems to always howl, the fish can be big and toothy, and hooking a tourist on a backcast is a very real possibility. Then there’s the habitat itself – unforgiving granite underfoot, snot-slick algae ready to send the unwary crashing down onto the barnacles or plunging feet down between the rocks where sea urchins wait to impale.
Fishing the jetty is essentially a hospital trip waiting to happen. Saddle up boys and girls, this ain’t no trout stream.