I enjoy spending my Summer days along the Texas coastal waters, enjoying the smell of saltwater through the light breeze and soaking up the sun while fishing.
As a little girl, I spent a great deal of my time with my grandparents at their weekend home along the coast, hanging out with family and setting traps for blue crab or flounder fishing at night. I also loved playing on the beach, hunting sea urchins or searching for interesting items that washed ashore.
Still today, I have a strong passion for the outdoors and welcome all opportunities to go fishing. When my husband discovered that I was interested in fishing, he invited me along with his friend Doug on a fishing trip. I was very excited about this invitation and couldn’t wait to show off my talents!
My first stop was at Academy Sports and Outdoors to purchase my fishing license, which is a must. A saltwater fishing license costs about $35 in Texas. You never want to get stopped by the Texas Game Warden without a license, otherwise you may receive a hefty fine.
Even if you have a license, you also need to know the rules of fishing. You must know what is a “legal keeper size” and the number of “keepers” of each species you can catch per day. With my license in hand, I headed over to the fishing tackle section to gather a few items I needed for the trip.
Depending on the time of year you are fishing will determine the best bait to use. I knew the plan was to use live bait, which is typically a small croaker, but I went ahead and picked up a few bags of artificial lures to have for back ups. Next, I needed a bait bucket to store the live bait in while wade fishing. It is very important to keep the bait alive, because the fish prefer feeding on live bait.
We had planned to wade fish, which means getting in the water about chest deep. For this kind of fishing, specific fishing gear is needed to provide protection from stingrays and other creatures.
I already had most of the necessary gear except for the boots. I needed a good pair of wading boots, which are basically like water shoes but come with a guard that wraps around the lower leg. After trying on different boots, I found the right boots and added them to my cart. The next item on the list was a “doughnet,” which is a floating ring with a net attached to it. By placing the fish in the “doughnet” you’ll keep the fish alive and protect your catch from becoming bait for a bigger fish.
After making my purchase, I drove home to gather the other fishing gear I needed for the trip. I pulled out my favorite fishing shirt and fishing pants, sunglasses, and fishing hat. The guys, Omar and Dough, had rods, reels and fishing tackle for me to use. I also packed a change of clothes for the trip home, sunblock, towels, and a few snacks.
The next morning, we woke up at 5:30 am, got dressed, loaded the truck and went to pick up Doug before we began our drive towards the coast. We stopped in Bloomington, a small town about 12 miles south of Victoria. There we pulled into a convenience store for a few “food essentials”. We grabbed some breakfast tacos, orange juice, coffee, sandwiches for lunch, chips, dips, water, ice and most importantly a few Almond Joy candy bars. Almond Joys are my husband’s ritual when going on a fishing trip. We loaded up again and continued our drive towards Seadrift.
I sat and listened to Doug and Omar as they shared fishing stories of crazy adventures they’ve had experienced over the years. I was looking forward to being on the water because it had been awhile since I had been fishing.
The sun was rising over the horizon. It was so peaceful looking out over the water as we arrived at the dock of Charlie’s Bait Camp. We backed the boat up to the boat launch and slowly dropped the boat into the water. I went and parked the trailer as Omar tied the boat to the dock. Doug went inside the bait shop and purchased our live bait. As I stepped back on the boat, I sat there waiting and saw two gulf coast birds standing watch on a pier nearby. I quickly got out my camera and took their picture.
After a few adjustments on the boat, we plotted our fishing spot on the GPS and started heading in that direction. As we left Charlie’s, I sat on the boat admiring the marshes, plants and animals along the channel. After few minutes we reached the open waters where the ride became a bit bumpy because of the southward wind, but we continued on our charted path in search for speckled trout, redfish and flounder.
When looking for a good fishing spot, it is best to find a place where fish will either be resting, for example along the edge of marshlands, or dips (which are like walkways in a garden) where they will swim in schools. Sometimes they like to be on reefs because they can hide from bigger fish. We checked out a few places, but nothing was biting!
We decided to move the boat to a location that was next to a lake. This area had a small channel where fish could swim through from the open water into the lake. We got out of the boat and started casting our line and before my husband could throw his line I had already caught my first fish.
I was so excited!
I reeled it in, and as the speckled trout got closer to me, it splashed its tail so hard it almost undid the hook. My husband used a fishing net to scoop it up. This trout was a beauty! Omar helped me unhook it and placed this beauty in my “doughnet”. My sweet husband went ahead and baited my hook and before he could walk three steps away to start casting his line, I had another fish on the line. I knew this was going to be an excellent day for me!
We continued to catch fish for the next couple of hours until we had reached our daily limit. I could have continued to fish all day. My husband joked that he felt like he was my fishing guide because all he did was bait my line and unhook my catch. He never had time to cast his line!
After we had our lunch, we tried to fish for redfish but didn’t have much luck, so we decided to head back to Charlie’s. Once we docked at Charlie’s, Doug took the fish over to the cleaning station to filet our catch so we could put them into small ziplock bags to store in the ice chest. Omar and I worked on getting the boat back on the trailer and started tying things down to tow it to the wash station by our boat storage.
After the boat was washed and cleaned, we backed it into our boat storage where I changed clothes. We started our drive back to Victoria talking about our day of fishing. The guys shared that they had one more stop to make before reaching Victoria. A “ritual” kind of thing after a day on the bay, is a stop at the Dairy Queen in Bloomington for chocolate-dipped cones. I chose the dipped cone which was a very yummy treat and an excellent way to end a very successful day of fishing.
Fishing is so much fun! I think Doug and Omar thought of me as their good luck charm because after this trip they continued to invite me on all their subsequent fishing excursions.