BA DONK A DONK, HOPPY, AND SANTA CLAUS
Five days of fishing at San Luis Pass proved interesting and productive during the second week of September for Carol and Junior Larkin, Jean, Zack, and me. Normally we fish several locations but due to the wind we fished all five days in a quarter mile area just south of the toll bridge on the Galveston side of the pass. The red fish is one of the most prized species as it not only fights like a jack crevalle, but is also very tasty. For those 20-28 inches long you may keep three a day. If over 28 you may keep one a year and must “tag” it like you would a deer with a tag on your salt water fishing license. I caught a 21 incher, filleted it, left the scales on the side, and placed it scale side down on a charcoal grill. Red fish on the half shell. Very tasty even if we didn’t marinade it as many folks do. Large redfish in the thirty and forty inch range are called bull reds or sows. In the five days we fished we caught over twenty redfish, two were thirty eight inches, another thirty seven, and the rest gradually decreasing. Others species caught were sharks, whiting, sand trout, ladyfish, hard head catfish, and gafftop catfish.
When you stay five days in basically the same spot you meet some of the local characters, not people but birds. One little sandpiper we saw every day only had one leg and we named him Hoppy. Adapting in order to survive he was more brave than the other sandpipers and would come right up to our feet as we fed him tiny pieces of mullet and bread. Then there was the little blue heron that had fishing line and a half ounce fishing weight wrapped around his leg just below one knee. Several times we lured him close by pitching small mullet and I would throw my cast net trying to catch him but he would take off just before my net arrived. The line must be affecting his circulation a little since he walks with a limp. Apparently the lead weight bangs on his leg at every step also.
This trip I tried another method of fishing in addition to the long rods. After setting out several surf rods I used a smaller rod and reel to cast an artificial lure, hoping to catch a red fish or trout. The lure was a cigar shaped, four inch long, floating lure called a “ba donk a donk.” When a lot of mullet surfaced I thought there might be bigger fish chasing them and cast the lure. A pelican was passing by, swooped down, and grabbed the lure. That pelican was trying to fly away and my rod was bent double but no way could he break the fifty pound test, braided line. After a little tussle I “landed” him and held him down while Junior used pliers to get the hook out. Wasn’t as tasty on the grill as the redfish. Hey, I’m just joking.
One of the strangest things occurred not on the beach but outside our motel room. When Zack wants to go out during the night he shakes his head and his ears make a popping noise that wakes us up. Zack flopped his ears at 3:00 a.m. and I sleepily walked him to the courtyard, wearing only my pajama bottoms. A tall, white bearded man came out of a nearby room leading his dog. Turned it loose so it could smell and play with Zack. We were facing east and I saw lightning in the distance. To make conversation I mentioned it looked like we would get some rain. The Santa Claus guy surprised me by saying, “I don’t give a %&$# if it does. I got plenty money and don’t have to work.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a big roll of money. Said, “I got five thousand here and five thousand more in my van. You want some money? I give it away all the time.” Now I was about half asleep and wasn’t making good decisions. When he picked a hundred dollar bill out of the roll and forced it on me I wasn’t able to resist. I hope I didn’t get a bad mark in the big tally book on high. Besides, they say it is better to give than receive so I sure didn’t want to refuse the gift and keep him from being more blessed. When I went back into the room I told Jean I just met Santa Claus and she told me to be quiet so she could go back to sleep. She didn’t get the story until we got up.
On the way home we made a loop off Interstate 45 to see the sights in Texas City, La Marque, and finally League City where we had trouble finding the huge oak that had been recently moved to make room for widening Louisiana Street. After asking at several places we finally found the famous Ghiradi Compton oak. Ghiradi is the name of the landowners and Compton is the variety of oak. As we stopped at a meadow entrance here came elderly Mr. Clarence Ghiradi himself and he seemed a little angry. “What do you think you are doing?” Apparently he has had his fill of publicity, vehicles, and people looking at his tree. Some have been driving across his hay meadow to get a close look. After we talked a while he cooled off and told us we could walk out there. A nice man that had almost been overwhelmed by the $200,000 moving job. When the tree was moved a few weeks ago it had a 162 inch circumference, was 51 feet tall, and had a canopy width of 97 feet. Now it seems to be doing well but looks a slightly duller green than normal.
Sign in a bar: Designated drivers not welcome. We need business. (It was just a joke.)