Port Aransas – 9/26/2008 thru 9/30/2008
What an awesome trip!! For over a year I had been planning this trip and it was literally eating me up having to wait to take the trip! But then… it was finally time to go!!
This was a special trip indeed for I got to spend this trip with two of the most important people in my life – Johnny and Gerrardo. If you were at the TBF Gathering on Ray Roberts back in April 2008, you got to meet Johnny. Now for those that don’t know, Johnny is like a father to me and my life has truly been blessed having him a part of it! Gerrardo and I have been like brothers since 1990. We served together in South Korea and were inseparable then and now!
Now this is going to be one long report so hang in there as there will be plenty of fishing action! At the end of this report will be links to all the folks mentioned so that you can check out their services while you’re in Port Aransas!!
Johnny and I set out for the scenic-filled 7.5 hour drive down to Port Aransas. Heading down south towards Waco and then veering off to Victoria, down to Tivoli and then dog-legging down to Rockport and on into Port Aransas. There are some spots on that route that you just have to hit during the fall when the leaves start changing their colors!! And you need to stop in West… gotta get some brats from West!!
We arrived in Port Aransas and checked in at the Dolphin Dock office to figure out what all needed to be done in preparation for our 24-hour fishing trip. While there I saw a truck belonging to our buddies at Pirates of the Bay guide service. Put in a call to see how they were doing and to let them know that we were in town for a weekend of fishing!
We then headed over to Port A Outfitters to load up on some fishing goodies and then we headed off to the Pioneer Beach Resort to get everything set up on our home-away-from-home. By now we’re starving and head up to Trout Street for an awesome meal and some refreshing drinks!
9/27/08 – 9/28/08 (Saturday-Sunday)
Up early and waiting at the marina to head out with Capt. Doug Stanford of Pirates of the Bay. We set out for several hours of fishing hitting the jetties and some of the shallows. On our way to set up on the jetty, we spot an odd looking jellyfish and Capt. Doug scoops it up and puts it in his hands!! Turns out to be a cannonball jellyfish Stomolophus meleagris as I like to call them!] (a.k.a. cabbage-head jellyfish). They don’t sting but as you can tell in this photo, it’s a pretty good-sized chunk o’ jelly!!
Capt. Doug with the Stomolophus meleagris
Johnny got the show started with a really nice red drum! A little while later I pulled up my first legal red!! We took notice that something else had taken quite an interest in this one particular red as shown by the evident bite mark! Even the dorsal fish was damaged and there were two small gorges where a little bit of meat was ripped off. So to be nice, I invited this red drum in and we’ll be having him over for dinner sometime soon!
My beat-up Red Drum
We even got to spend some time next to Capt. Doug’s son, Capt. Brad, while he took a group of folks out for a few hours of fishing! Always good to see the family business in full swing! Next we headed off into the bays and I saw right off the bat that there were tons of baitfish… sometimes that’s good, sometimes that’s bad. Well we worked over those shallows and saw the mullet jumping all about (I think they just love to jump for the heck of it sometimes!). Gerrardo had some fun toying around with a lively stingray! Good thing that joker didn’t get on the bottom and suck in to get anchored down; once they get like that, you’ve got some work on your hands getting them up!!
Gerrardo with his sting ray!
I tell you folks, when you head down to Port Aransas, you’re going to have to set up a trip or three with Capt. Doug and his son Capt. Brad! These men will treat you right and you’ll have an enjoyable trip like we did! My utmost thanks to Capt. Doug for his hospitality and showing me all those amazing tips and tactics! And Doug, you’ll need to swing by when you’re in the area for us to head out for some serious crappie fishing!
Back to the docks after the five or six hours of morning fishing to get ready to head out on our 24-hr fishing trip. Sometimes a man don’t need no sleep when he’s having the time of his life! After boarding the La Pesca there at Dolphin Dock, we head out into the beautiful blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico! The seas were calm for the entire trip!!
Bound and determined to bring in a hearty catch!
On our way out, we started noticing debris in the water and soon came upon a boat that had capsized. An eery feeling to say the least. The boat was anchored and the diving buoy was out. Our captain radioed the Coast Guard and they confirmed that no one has reported this situation and they got right on it. And we got right on out to our fishing after ensuring that we did not see any survivors floating about.
Soon we’re dropping bait and bringing in the fish!! Blue Runners, snappers, kingfish and even some barracuda! Normally folks don’t keep blue runners since they are so oily but some of us like fish that way. Our deckhands didn’t know Johnny and I were keeping those and tossed ‘em back into the waters!! (Note to self… tell deckhands not to toss away my fish!!) Man oh man how I wish it were red snapper season ‘cause I pulled in 45 of them!!! But we had to vent them and release them.
I’ve never fished that long or that intensely as I did during that 24-hour trip! I tried fishing for kingfish but never did land one, but one of the anglers gave me a kingfish once he had his limit! Johnny landed him a couple of really good-sized kingfish; and both times he gave me that sheepish grin like he was saying, “I caught one. How many have you caught?!”
We stopped at one of the oil platforms for some amberjacks but they just weren’t taking the bait. We then headed back to another spot for some long-lining for kingfish while some of us still worked for amberjacks. But still… nothing. And that’s just how fishing goes!! Sometimes you fill the boat and other times you just fill the boat with gas!
Oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico out of Port Aransas.
Once back, our catch was processed and into the blast freezer. I know I’ll definitely be going out on another trip like this one and maybe extend it by another day or two!!
My stellar snappers!
Johnny and his big king fish!
Me and my snappy snappers!
Up and at it early!! We’re packed and hitting the surf and fishing the flats and doing some wade fishing! We hit several spots all up and down the coastline but not having very much luck. But it was still good to be out on the waters with my fishing buddies!! At one stop, while fishing, a crab pinched the heck out of my big toe!! Well one good deed deserves another! So eight big crabs later I know I have the makings for some delicious meals!! Stopped off at Moby Dick’s restaurant to gulp down a much needed lunch!
Gerrardo out wade fishing near Corpus Christi
Pics of my crab catch. Notice in the bottom right-hand corner… that crab is right at the minimum legal size limit! (So all the other crabs are nice and big!!)
We wound up the evening with a delicious fajita meal, good drinks, and Monday Night Football! By the way, I had previously picked Pittsburgh with a 3-point spread. Woohoo!! After the game we started getting things pre-packed for the trip back home.
Up early and off for a big breakfast at San Juan restaurant. But I noticed everyone was eating much slower. Guess it goes to prove that all good things must come to an end. We said our goodbye’s and hit the road. But all the way home I was reliving some incredible moments from this trip. And I know, another one will be planned soon!
Dolphin Dock – http://www.dolphindock.com
Pirates of the Bay Guide Service – http://www.piratesofthebay.com
Port A Outfitters – http://www.islandtackle.com/
Pioneer Beach Resort – http://www.campingfriend.com/PioneerBeachResort/
Trout Street – http://www.tsbag.com/
My Catch Count:
Red Drum – 1
Blue Runners – 37 (all involuntarily released by deckhand)
Red Snapper – 45 (all vented & released)
Vermilion Snapper – 7
Lane Snapper – 7
King Fish – 1
Crabs – 8