This post will basically be a fishing report, or rather a non-fishing report. There is a lesson to be learned from our tale and it is reflected in the title of this post. It seems simple, but for some of us I guess simple is a bit of a challenge at times. Since we live 6 hours from the nearest beach we can never get enough fishing time in and when we do it requires a lot of planning and coordination. As fate would have it we had the itch and we also had a family reunion scheduled for July 30 in Rockport, Texas. Driving to the coast without fishing is a bit of a sin in my book, so we had to figure something out. My dad and I cooked up a plan to go several days early and spend 2 1/2 days on the beach at Padre Island National Seashore (PINS), hopefully dragging in the big ones. We got packed up and took off Wednesday morning. All went well. We got there early and got the errands done. We were even able to catch some monster mullet in short order with our cast net. Things were going too well. I had that feeling that something was going to go wrong and the bottom had to fall through shortly. Things never go smoothly on fishing trips it seems. Well, unfortunately we were wanting to register for Sharkathon coming up in a couple of months and online registration started at 8:00 pm. We killed some time and then hit the Starbuck’s parking lot to get online. The site was soooo slow with the rush to register and it took us 1 1/2 hours to get three of us signed up. Boy were we glad to leave that parking lot! We then headed for PINS and found a place on the beach for the night, but it was a moonless, dark night. I mean dark like the inside of a cave dark. I don’t recall ever being anywhere that dark other than a cave. Anyway, it was too dark to run out a bait at night, so we figured we would crash and get going in the morning early.

 

During our trip we heard rumors of a tropical storm down near the Yucatan. We had not had any storms yet and it was just the beginning of the hurricane season, so we had not thought to worry about the weather. As we gleaned info from the internet in route we heard that it was headed for us, but was far away. We figured it wouldn’t get to us until Saturday or Sunday.

As we got up the next morning it turned out to be a perfect day for fishing. The water was clear and beautiful. The beach was clear of seaweed and we had a slight breeze to keep us cool, but not enough to stir up the surf too much. Surf was at about 3 feet. No waves breaking on the 3rd bar, so getting out would be a piece of cake.

We started getting set up and set up the new fishing platform and sun shade. It worked great, much better than anticipated. The view from the top of the platform was awesome! With my binoculars it seemed you could see forever. After setting up camp we ran out 3 shark lines. One with cownose ray, one with a horse mullet, and one with a combination of the two. Not much happening in the morning fish-wise, but it was such a perfect day it was good anyway. We caught the news on the radio and they had moved the arrival time for tropical storm “Don” up to  Saturday morning early. We figured we would have to leave the next day, so we were going to have to go “all in” that night. Instead of leaving it all on the field we would be leaving it all on the beach we figured. I took the kayak out in the afternoon and did some BTB (beyond the breakers) fishing. I paddled out trolling a crankbait behind the yak and drift fishing mullet on the way in. I did this three times with interesting results. On the way out each time I would get several hits from large ladyfish on the lure. I only managed to get one in and it went into the cooler for bait later that night. Drift fishing with mullet on the way in I would get hits from some smaller 2′ plus Atlantic Sharpnose sharks. I brought in 2 or 3 this way, but nothing large.

When I made it back in my dad was fighting a fish and almost had it in. It turned out to be a nice, juicy stingray! It looked like such yummy shark bait it almost made me want to take a bite! We put him in the cooler and we were stocked with some excellent shark bait and I was looking forward to our first night fishing. I was feeling confident. Things were looking good. We grilled some chicken on the grill for a power dinner after my cousin arrived to join us. Then we got what was left of the cownosed ray on a hook. I was going to get that out first and then get that nice, fat, juicy stingray out. It was going to be good!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, it was, but it wasn’t. I was actually pushing the kayak into the water to yak out the first bait when one of the park rangers pulled up and asked if anyone had talked to us yet? We responded that no they hadn’t, but we knew that a storm was in route. He proceeded to tell us that the park was closing and that we needed to start packing up and get out as soon as we could. Wow! That was most unexpected and out of nowhere. There was not a cloud in the sky and it was an awesome day! Anyway, that shot all our plans down in flames. Instead of fishing we spent 2 1/2 hours trying to get all packed up and out of the park. We got to my cousin’s house to crash about midnight.

The next day we tried to do a little wade fishing in Aransas bay to hopefully salvage the trip. The storm was blowing in, so the wind was high. The jellyfish were thick like I have never seen them. There were all different kinds hanging out together and we all wore shorts. We all endured a few stings, then we all about the same time got a good one that worked its way into the shorts. That was pretty much the end of things there. Apparently it was not meant to be.

In the end we didn’t catch much fish, but we enjoyed a beatiful 3/4 of a day on the beach! We also got to test out the new platform and do a test run for Sharkathon. The moral of this tale: Always keep an eye on the weather, even when you might not think it is necessary.

In the end we got to go fishing and that is what counts.

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