Running With The Bulls on the Bolivar Peninsula – Part 1

| December 12, 2015

fishing for redfish bolivar peninsula galveston

PART 1 From Immanuel Salas

We didn’t go to “Flounderville”, as my Mom calls it, because she had broken her foot earlier in the Summer and was still recovering.  Even though the wheelchair I brought her allowed us to cruise the Galveston Seawall and some of the jetties for light surf fishing, the four wheeler wouldn’t get us to the narrow, changing shoreline of Flounderville with its shoulder-to-shoulder combat fishermen and stacked flounder lying in ambush to strike our jig headed 3 inch Gulps.  That’s right; conventional tackle on this blue bird day (didn’t even feel like flounder weather), because Mama needed fish in the freezer.

Mom had lamented to coworkers that we wouldn’t be able to reach her favorite fishing spot because of the healing foot vs. Treacherous Shoreline battle that would require.  And a co worker offered up a couple of spots, with some detail, and a hand scrawled map.  As fishermen we must use every tool, experience and advantage we can muster.  And that includes the sympathy card.  Play it.

So undaunted, with a new target, and in severe need of the main ingredient to the Gaido’s stuffed flounder recipe we devour annually, almost religiously, we headed out.  We didn’t plan to be there two hours before the forecasted tide change as I normally like to do, just because of logistics, but also because our coworker confidant had told Mom “You catch fish there all day, doesn’t matter.  We even catch reds there.”  So all we had to do was show up.


I can’t give you the spot, as it was given to us and thus entered into the unspoken contractual agreement between fishermen, but I wasn’t immediately excited.  There was a long sandy shoreline that looked promising, but that was not where we were encouraged to fish so following our napkin map, we walked past the coffee stain, followed the torn off corner to a rubble lined shoreline with quick shifting water, to a picket fence of protruding rebar and island of busted concrete and lumbar.  Priority one was really finding water Mom could access. She’d be content casting all day long, and would probably out-fish (me) with me, and without the angst … and wrestling with decisions and logistics and fishing tactics I always impose on myself. Maybe I’ll wise up to that lesson one day.  For now, finding a clear path to water was the goal. We found a path and it was not clear.  Overgrown and made up of loose bowling ball rocks, chunks of flotsam and a cloud of those beach rock roach-looking bug things.  So we took our time, picked our way, held my Mom’s hand when it was needed, but she charged onward as we discussed the San Jacinto Butter that you drizzle across the flounder skin before baking to make it crisp up just so nicely…

I think that powered us through.  Soon we found a little cove with slower water, deeper pools, a row of salt splintered posts marching out into the bay and some solitude.  It took Mom two casts to completely knock the dust off and she was working the casting clock, Noon, 1:00, 2:00 and so on.  One of the reasons Mom likes this fishing is the simplicity and the freedom to really let loose on those casts and do your slow bottom-bumping retrieve.  We were both using All Star Instincts, the older Black and Rod models, Fast Action, Medium Power on 20 pound fluorocarbon  tied into 20 pound braid.  Overkill, but abrasion resistance gave us a chance against the snags we started to encounter.  And I joined her in working the grid, even casting behind us and parallel to the shore then sliding out another three feet for another parallel series, varied retrieves waiting for the fish to tell me what they wanted as suggested by every fishing book and mag I’d ever read … and we didn’t catch anything.  I knew it wasn’t cold, rainy or windy enough.  In waders, but with a hoodie in my waterproof pack, this just didn’t seem like flounder fishing yet.  But we got to watch the dolphins doing their thing.  Of course it looked like playing at first, Mom was thrilled, but they seemed to pop up sporadically and in numbers and I started to notice their movements being more deliberate.  Hard turns, swift arches driving them deep in a hurry and a few leaps where they completely left the water.  I had never seen that before outside Sea World as a kid, and sometimes bow-chasing boats.  But never in play, or in hunt mode which I believed I was witnessing.  I don’t fish near dolphins and neither should you.  In the kayak I have had them bump the plastic while chasing bait (that use me for cover) and I have had them snatch trout right off my line, but at the minimum I think it spooks gamefish. So I try to work areas that appear dolphin free.  Mom called me over excitedly, I saw no bend in her rod, but she did have this childish glee splashed across her face.  She told me she had seen the dolphin flipping flounder out of the water.  She doesn’t have the best eyesight, but she knows a flounder.


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Category: Adventure, Culture on the Skids, Reader Contribution, Texas Gulf Coast

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