When was the last time you went barefoot outdoors for an extended time? Maybe it was for a bit of grilling on the back deck, or strolling the beach. Good for you, I’d say. We spend so much time with our feet cooped up in shoes that any time spent barefoot is time well spent.
People who know me well will tell you that I spend plenty of time barefoot, even walking on the egg-cooking concrete of my local Texas sidewalks during summer. I sincerely enjoy the feeling of being barefoot, and I am willing to endure a few sand burrs for the pleasure.
With all that said, you won’t be surprised to learn I also love to wade barefoot. In fact, I have previously mentioned it in this blog post, in case you missed out.
Barefootin’ in a carp river.
I really love the feel of the sediments under my feet and between my toes. It’s very different than the normal wading experience, and it can make you far more stealthy than wading with footgear..
Great, you might say, Continue reading
We launched that morning under a patchwork of golden sunbeams stitched into the quilt of low grey clouds.
After wallowing a bit in the subdued surf as I coaxed the Evinrude to wakefulness, we buzz off towards the horizon.
My plan was to use the remainder of the morning to blind cast for kingfish around the rigs, or peel off and check any substantial floating debris for mahi or tripletail.
After searching the skies for birds and the immediate vicinity for debris, we ended up drifting near the barnacle encrusted legs of a rig. Dredging with a heavy clouser failed to bring any strikes, so we motored around and headed for the next rig on the horizon.
Arriving there, we immediately noticed the presence of baitfish. Continue reading
One thing you need to understand about the jetty is that it is a gateway, a portal between the endless openness of the Gulf and the more familiar inshore flats and waterways. Some jetties frame vast shipping thoroughfares, such as the Corpus Christi Ship Channel or the Houston Ship Channel. These channels are roughly 60 feet and 45 feet deep, respectively. To give you an idea of scale, this makes them deeper than the natural depth of the water over 10 miles offshore Continue reading
As I jot this story note on my smart phone, the water at the end of the jetty is a roiled, sandy mess. Wind is kicking up past 20mph, and the wind-generated swell is sloshing over the windward rocks with more than enough force to render line management a nightmare. There is so much sediment in the water that even the foam on the waves is tan.
The leeward side is a little better – patchy blue, much more calm – but I’ve been here 45 minutes and haven’t even wet a line. Haven’t seen a reason to. No bait flipping around, no swirls, no rolls, no greyhounding mackerel… just nothing. Might as well be sitting at a stoplight in town for all the fish activity I am seeing.
That’s the jetty though; feast or famine, with little margin between.
Yet, still I come back. Even now I’m glancing up every couple sentences, deliberating my next words while scanning for a glimpse that things around about to change. Because they do change out here – that’s the only thing predictable, the change. I’ve seen a dead day like today go from zero to a million miles an hour in less than thirty minutes. Tide change, pockets of green water, a raft of mullet moving in from down the beach or offshore, and suddenly there are chunks of mullet flying around as jacks harass and kings destroy. A school of tarpon could pop up, or a log could float in with a ling or tripletail hanging under it.
I have seen all these things happen before, and they could all happen today. But they probably won’t, so I’m about to stand and stretch some life back into my legs, get off this tall rock, and head in.
Win some, but lose more – those are the rules of the jetty.
By the time the family was fed and settled in for the evening, it was getting on towards full dark. As many of you know, fishing while on vacation with much-less-serious-about-fishing family or friends can be something of a battle of patience. Trying to balance the needs of everyone is tricky, but after years of dealing with my fishing addiction, my family is fairly used to my need to wet a line.
Fast forward to arrival, lakeside. Rod limbered, the lake-cooled breeze whispers around me as I walk down from the parking lot to the lake Continue reading
I had been on the end of the jetty since before sunrise, but I still felt like I was late to the party.
Good morning sun
When Jeremy (who blogs at Casting Tales) joined me, he found me sitting glumly on my fly box, staring out over the water, waiting for a sign. I had seen one ‘maybe’ tarpon roll, just a flash of movement that could have been a turtle grabbing a breath.
Now it was starting to get hot, Continue reading
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, Continue reading
It is only in sorrow bad weather masters us; in joy we face the storm and defy it.
One of the most consistently true fishing-isms I’ve heard living here on the coast has been “If you wait for a day when the wind isn’t blowing to go fish, you’ll never go.”
Weather just means more to a fisherman, especially a fly fisherman. We live and die, thrill and cry as the wind wills it. So many times an errant wind gust has caught the perfect cast midway to a fish and slammed it to the water like a bad Dikembe Mutombo commercial.
This is when practice and mental toughness come into play. Can you overcome adversity? Are you disciplined, stubborn, and just downright determined to get out there and catch a fish on fly even when you know it would be much easier to turn to conventional tackle?
Then you, my brother or sister, are a special kind of crazy. It’s nice to meet another one of us – welcome to the show.
There was a storm brewing… had been all day. Night before, we had stopped and spent the night in a motel rather than risk running through what we knew could be a twister-maker of a thunderstorm. You gotta know when to push your luck. Listened on the radio as a tornado was spotted dropping between towns, winding along, and then disappearing back in the clouds. No fuss, no muss – typical plains springtime. Weather cleared and we arrived safely the next morning.
Today was a different story. I watched from orbit as wave upon gnarly wave of thunderstorms marched northeastward, just missing us. I studied the radar, hoping it would Continue reading
Some do not understand it
How it pulls at my soul
Others, who have heard it…
The truth is, I don’t really know why.
I only know I have to return, down to the seaside
Where the green surf waves at the sky,
and the gulls give the gulf breezes a ride.
What I do know, for sure
Is I am a child of the sea, not of land…
And I shall always be, forevermore.