Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Deep Sea Fishing Aboard the Gulf Eagle

The fishing boat would plow into the wave and then seem to stop as the captain would ease the throttle before the ship would crash into the trough with a slow falling feeling. After each crash of the metal hull the ship would surge forward, it was going about seventeen miles per hour, as the skipper would accelerate the throttle and the diesels would roar until the next large wave tried to swallow the vessel. Some said twelve feet  and one said fourteen, but I thought they were closer to eight feet high waves. I do tend to underestimate waves however.
I had picked up Charles and Bill and we had taken the  ferry to Captain Kelly's deep sea fishing for an eight hour fishing experience aboard the Gulf Eagle. There we met Steve and his son and son in law and another fourteen people all ready to board the ship. The fishing would be for king mackerel and then shark and I really really wanted to catch some shark to eat, but both would be new species for me.
As we left the harbour and passed the Port Aransas jetties  two families were eating inside the cabin. It wasn't long before the motion had an adverse effect and their fishing day was over, I missed all the excitement as I was sitting on the port side, protected from the waves spray. I was giving a cowboy state yeehaw as we crashed through the waves and the ride reminded me of being in an amusement park,(My friend Bob had suggested such a viewpoint when we were caught in big waves years ago).
The ride continued but the waves actually lessened after about two hours, and except for an occasional rogue wave it wasn't bad as we started to drift fish for kings. I was the first one to let out my ribbon fish and almost at once I had a hit but no hook up. Beside me another fisherman started to fight a king and then another and another as the ship soon had four fish on. I waited to rebait before I noticed ribbon fish on the seat and Helped myself to another ribbon fish.
Gaffs were flying as the deckhands brought fish after fish aboard. As each fish was landed the hands asked the fisherman for their initials and then they would slice them into the skin on the side of the fish before putting the fish into a huge cooler in the back.
Suddenly my pole jerked as a king hit and then the fish took off on a spectacular run, stripping line from the huge Penn 113h reel. I don't know if I touched the spool but the line broke and the deck hand gave me an exasperated look. Grabbing another pole I moved to the back and rebaited.
As I let out line I got a huge backlash and of course another king mackeral hit, hooking itself and then running until the line snarled, caught, and then snapped. The Captain told me to not thumb the spool, and I hadn't but it didn't matter the fish was gone.
The mate retied another rig, as gaffs continued to reach about and bring aboard king after king. I hooked up on a fish and soon brought it alongside where it was gaffed and brought aboard!, Fish for dinner! Corn bread does make a pretty good dinner when the fish aren't biting but we had been eating too much of it lately. Rebaiting I soon had another fish on and just like that I had my limit of two king mackerel.
Joining the fisherman on the other side the Captain took the ship back into the wind to make another pass. We had thirty one king mackerel on the first drift and the hands had kept track by keeping a running tally on the side of the deck house using a red wax pencil.
On the second drift the fish had gone deeper and the mate dropped a jigging pole down finally getting a strike and bringing the fish up. He handed the pole to a small girl and she fought the fish with a determination. We all watched and wondered if the fish or her would win as she almost lost the pole into the water.The school followed the hooked fish up and it didn't take long before we had our limit of kings.
The Gulf Eagles engines started and the ship turned to the southwest as we headed for shark.This time we anchored as the hands baited the hooks with bonita chunks. Each pole was rigged  the same, an eight ounce slip sinker attached to a wire leaded and a stout number 6/0 hook. We drifted sideways as the anchor held and the ship was pushed by the wind. Bill caught a small, but legal shovel nose shark but that was all.
Moving to another spot we anchored and I actually felt several strong pulls on the line as my pole bent over, shark on! The fish fought pretty good but I was able to get into a rhythm of winding and pumping the fish up. It made several runs back to the bottom, pulling line out but the drag worked and the fish stayed on. I soon got the upper hand and I had my shark aboard,(I hope Pam and Roy like grilled shark).
The boat caught another keeper shark before Steve's pole doubled and he set the hook on a really large fish, He fought the fish and followed it as it ran around the boat! Setting my pole down I got out my camera and followed the action to the stern and then starboard side of the ship.
It was a really big fish and Steve had his hands full, but he did finally bring the fish up. It was a large black tip shark but not big enough to keep,(they have to be 54 inches from snot to the fork in the tail). The hands asked me if I had gotten a picture and as I nodded agreement they held and broke the line releasing the fish.
The excitement was over and we fished some more but no more shark. The captain announced that it was time to reel them up and head back to Port. It had gone so fast and the trip back seemed to drag on as oil platforms and then anchored tankers passed by.
On shore the fish were hung on hooks for pictures and it was pretty impressive, seeing forty kings and three sharks. The fish cleaners took over and it was the smartest forty cents a pound one could spend as they cleaners made short work of your fish, filleting and bagging them.
We talked on the way back about the days fishing and how could it be better. We all had our limits of fish for the table and we had all avoided getting m sea sick. It had been a good day aboard the Gulf Eagle, a day I would recommend for anyone interested in fishing for kings and shark! Clear skies.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Golfing At Corpus With Friends, Gabe Lozano Golf Course

The rule is if you don't use it in a year you should take it out of the rv. While this rule is usually followed, I simply couldn't get rid of my golf clubs. So when our rv park neighbor got to talking about his golf game I managed to worm my way into an invite to join a group when he had an opening.
Now I was sitting, standing ready, on the first tee and wondering if I could even get the ball past the ladies tee. It had been two years since my last golf misadventure and I was hoping that I wouldn't hold Jerry and Frank back.
I addressed the ball and took a swing, only to slice the ball into the rough by the next fairway. Not a good start. Luckily I have some Irish blood and I asked for a Mulligan. My second chance was actually pretty good. Luck is better then skill sometimes.
Ending up with a seven on the first hole, a triple, I really didn't feel too bad and I doubled the next two holes. Doubles seemed to be the name of the game until I got a bogey and then another! Now my friend Bob had told me years ago that my goal should be to be a bogey golfer and that shooting in the mid forties would place me in good stead, so I was pretty happy to end up with a fifty two for the front nine.
Of course  I started the back nine with a double but then things started to click, even though I was getting a bit sore from walking the course,(the real reason I should golf more as walking is good). I then settled down and shot a few more bogeys, hoping for a least one par on my return to the links.
We got to a par three and it was two hundred and ten yards from the white tees. I took out my driver and actually kept my eye on the ball. It hit in front of the green and rolled to within five feet of the cup! Oh my goodness a chance for a birdie put. Carefully lining up I stroked the ball and it went into the dead center of the hole,my first birdie in four years!
I never did get a par and I ended up with a forty eight for the back nine. It really surpassed my expectations and I found myself wishing, or looking forward to another day on the course. Good friends, a rosette in the water on the third hole, and a birdie......Clear skies.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lagoons Park Craft Show Again, our Second Show

We had been anticipating the February Arts and Crafts Show at Lagoons and so we spent the cold January and early February, making and wrapping cabochons/ We also redid our display cases and arranged our tables making a palate of color, hoping it would be less confusing.
The big day arrived and we were one of the first to arrive! It didn't take long to set up our tables ad we had a good hour to kill before the show opened. Walking around we enjoyed looking at others art work and we did notice quite a few wire artists, including another who wrapped sea glass.
Nine o'clock arrived and the hall filled with people. We were both busy explaining our work and showing our rock collection. We sold our first piece, sea glass from Grand Isle and then another. It was a good start and we hoped for more but the real goal for us is to make contacts and give out cards.
The day moved swiftly and by noon the crowd thinned. It never really picked up again but it was ok, we had made a profit and had learned a lot about shows and sales and picking your audience. Another couple were rock hounds from Idaho and they showed us several rocks w could collect in their state, including star garnets and white and black zebra stone.
Two o'clock rolled around and we tore down, which really was pretty easy. It has been a learning experience this year and we have had a good time, so that's what its all about. Our final show in Texas is the Gulf Coast Gem and Mineral Society Show where we volunteer and don't sell. That will be relaxing. Clear skies.

Friday, February 4, 2011

More Whoopers and Ice Storms and the Sun Came Out To Play!

Renita called me and told me I needed to get over to Lamar as two families of whoopers were having a territorial fight. She was with Judy and Cissy and Judy said she had never seen whoopers fighting before! Of course I grabbed the cameras and binoculars and headed out the door and of course the fighting was over by the time I arrived.
It was still a sight as there were now three different whooper families, the Alts, the pair with twins, and a new pair that was so close I could take their picture through the truck window! I felt nervous as I watched them feed on crustaceans exposed by the extremely low tide. Occasionally they would stop their activity and look at me and so I drove away as I didn't want to stress them with the cold front approaching and their need to put on more fat.
That night the front passed and the temperature dropped to the twenties. Our hose froze and so I took it off and stowed it inside to thaw. The forecast was for an ice storm and so we put in the slides as I didn't want to test the weight bearing capacities of the slide outs. One half of an inch of ice would add over 1000 pounds to the normal load on the roof alone.
Luckily the ice storm didn't put much ice on us. Enough to shut the areas roads and bridges down, and enough to kill the flowers and many sea turtles and possibly the fish. I took Molly for her morning walk and took photos of the ice on the sago palms.
This afternoon the sun came out and the temperature warmed above freezing. I reattached the hose and we washed the dishes and even cleaned up. Our house has so much more room with the slides back out and the whole experience made us wonder why we were in South Texas, but only for a little while, The whoopers and birds and fish and ocean have a hold on us and our new friends in the lapidary shop and jewelry factory,(our recreation hall), all add to our enjoyment.
Our daughter called and she said she wondered how we were dealing with the cold. She casually mentioned it had been thirty below in Minneapolis and we told her how our daughter in law Patty, had said it was 29 below at their new house just south of the Hoback in Wyoming. We hope of course that this will be the last major cold front of the season, but it is still winter. Clear skies.