Wednesday, March 28, 2012
A Cattle Drive Across the Colorado River
Its a local event and so we joined the others in watching the cattle being herded into the water as cowboys and cowgirls, along with boats, guided them safely across. The drive was scheduled for nine am but the tides were too strong and we waited till almost four pm before it was judged ok to bring them across.
The calves had crossed earlier. on a small barge, and their plaintiff moos were used to draw their mothers across. Anyway it all worked as most of the cattle swam the river, and only a few refused to cross. These made a break for freedom but the cowboys on the other side chased them down and with their lassos swirling above their heads, soon roped and corralled the fugitives.
Canoeing the Colorado River, from Matagorda Nature Park
Still it's channel is used by birds and so we launched the canoe, to spend a day on the water, with a little birding, exploring, and fishing in mind. It was a really easy launch as we were able to put in right at the Matagorda Bay Nature Rv park. We were clear of shrimp boats, (its a busy channel), and in no time we were across and paddling past brown pelicans and Caspian terns.
We shelled a bit and soon she found a beautiful gastropod. Schools of mullet swam in the shallows and it would have been simple to cast my net and get all the bait I could possibly use. Crossing the channel to the north side we stopped and fished a bit, but no fish bothered our live shrimp.
Before we knew it the day was over and we headed back to the campsite. Renita's shell turned out to have a fiddler crab inside, which we discovered after it crawled out of its rinsing bowl and took off across the floor. She released it back into the mosquito pond, not far from our camper.
It was a nice day with a little birding, fishing but no catching, and simply a pleasant day canoeing the Colorado river at Matagorda Island. Who could ask for more? Clear skies
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Flounder, Fire, and More of Matagorda Island
Bait fish were everywhere and had been all morning. I had watched a fisherman on shore cast net his bait and then catch a nice red fish and of course a flounder. Pulling my line I felt some weight and at first thought I had more seaweed, but then the weight moved and I realized it was a fish. Let it be a flounder!
It came in pretty easy as I was standing on a walkway about fifteen feet above the water. At first the fish seemed headed for the jetty rocks and I feared it would become entangled and lost but I was able to force it up and over and I could see it, a really nice fish.
I didn't catch any more fish or even have any more bites, but it was ok as a flounder dinner was in our future. Returning to our fifth wheel for lunch a fire truck went by, and then Renita noticed the smoke. We had a grass fire burning out of control, right across the road! The flames were at least six feet high and we watched the fire with a lot of apprehension but the fire was moving in a direction which would cause us to miss it, still.
The flames died down and we all felt a relief. Thank you firemen!
I remembered watching a grass fire in Gillette run across a field as homeowners stood their with their lawn hoses. Luckily that one had stopped as the wind had suddenly gone still. That fire had impressed me with how fast a fire can run. All was well and the flames were out so we relaxed and went back to watching some golf and basketball and wondering what to cook for dinner, hmmm fish perhaps? Clear skies
Monday, March 19, 2012
Matagorda Bay Nature Park
I saw a glimpse of pink and turned as three bright pink rosette spoonbills passed by flying toward the Gulf. Not far away greedy brown pelicans were feeding on schools of tightly packed fry, as laughing gulls and Caspian terns plunged into the fray. Too relaxed to move and watch the frenzy up close I simply sat as the pelicans dipped their beaks and then lifted them into the air, expelling water and swallowing their breakfast.
We had finally left Fulton for maintaince and then three days of prepping at a luxury rv park in Aransas Pass. Wyoming and Alaska beckons, but its too early to move far north so we only drove 120 miles to Matagorda Bay Nature Park. There we were greeted by friendly staff and we parked our rig on the edge of the Colorado River,(Texas's Colorado River), where it empties into the Gulf of Mexico.
Setting up, we decided to take a stroll to the nearby Gulf beach and make a circuit of the walkway spit and jetty. Passing do not swim signs we saw several families with small children daring the surf and rip tides and it made us wonder how so many children survive their youth. Passing them the surf was whipped into a maelstrom of pounding waves and I simply shook my head.
A pair of lovers were embracing with a bit too much passion for a public place and we hurried by them trying not to stare,(we don't see many people in the Red Desert of Wyoming). Shells were strewn everywhere and Renita started to hunt for sea glass. I told here we had enough already but it didn't matter and so I also glanced at the surfs edge, hoping for some nice color.
After dinner I set out my poles and even caught a gaff sail catfish, which is pretty good to eat, but I released it as I didn't want to bother myself by having to clean a single fish. I didn't catch anymore but missed several hits by small fish. After having switched to circle hooks the catching has been pretty easy, at least when a big fish bites as the circle hooks the fish without any help. In fact you don't/shouldn't try to set the hook as simply waiting for the fish to do its job usually works and the hook allows for most fish to be released unharmed.
Winding my poles in I walked back to our fifth wheel and putting them away, Molly greeted me at the door. I am sure she was wondering why I hadn't taken her along but she had already had a huge walk with us. A cold front with possible dangerous storms should arrive tomorrow and so we may be house bound and glued to our smart phone, watching radar maps, but that's tomorrow. Clear skies
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Padre Island National Seashore 2012, Seaweed
Arriving at the PINS Visitor Center we learned that he beach driving was poor, (not really as the rain had packed the sand), and that there was lots and lots of seaweed. We decided to try driving anyway and although the tide was still high we were able to follow tracks alongside the shore and it wasn't really that bad. There were lots of tree trunks and sea weed but we didn't have to worry about getting stuck!
I watched Roy cast out and determined he was throwing into the second cut and switching poles I actually missed a bite. Rebaitng, my line started to become entangled in seaweed when the fish struck and then took off on a drag burning run. I knew it was a nice fish and here I was using a tiny circle hook.
Actually gaining ground I saw the color of the fish and realized it was a really large legal black drum. Renita came down to watch and eventually I was able to drag the fish onto the shore. Measuring twenty five inches it was the largest slot sized black drum I have ever caught, (black drum must be between 14 and 28 inches to keep), I held the fish up for an image and then put it on ice. Finally a fish!
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
A Roller Coast Ride That Lasted for Eight Hours, Deep Sea Fishing
The shows were all over and so now it was time to relax, which meant fishing. Pam and Roy were visiting us from Iowa and Roy said he had regretted not going deep sea fishing last year so we booked on the Kingfisher for an eight hour trip. Arriving early we paid and signed in, before loading aboard. Anticipation was high as two fellow fisherman told us they had caught their limits the day before and that someone had caught a fifty eight pound grouper.Personally I couldn't care what kind of fish I caught, I just hoped to catch some fish and the kingfish were biting.
Rebaiting a thawed Spanish sardine, Roy had no sooner let out his line when another hit and he battled the fish to the side of the boat where the deck hand reached down and gaffed the fish. The deck hand sliced Roy's initials into the fish's skin and then hurried to gaff another fish.
Lots of people had limited and here I hadn't caught a fish yet. Meanwhile a young man hooked his second and let yell with a yeehaw and you know I have never liked young people. Another drift with no fish in the cooler.
Starting our last drift I had resigned myself to no fish and also to the fact that I hadn't gotten the Mal de Mer. I had barely let out when a fish took my sardine and ran as kingfish do. The initial burst of speed is about forty miles an hour as they thrust their powerful and streamlined shape with heir broad crescent shaped tail.
The fish were so close that you could actually see them take the bait and I was snapping some images when the captain yelled shark! I had forgotten about the shark pole at the back and another fisherman grabbed the pole as an eight foot shark hooked itself.
Time was up and the captain announced,"Reel in". The ship turned west and headed back. The ride was with the swells and it was so much easier though the people in the cabin didn't seem to brighten up any. It was quite a change by the time we got to the dock as they were all up and almost smiling and they had all survived the roller coaster.
It had been a good day and Roy was able to take the deep sea fishing trip off his bucket list. I still have one more trip to make as I want to take the overnight trip where the boats fish for tuna. That however is for next year's winter visit and so we headed back to the Blue Lagoon Rv Park with a cooler full of iced fillets,(Watersedge has been bought and undergone a name change and manager change). Clear skies.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Gulf Coast Gem and Mineral Society's 50th Show
The day before the show Roy and I had volunteered to help move the display cases from storage and as we got there was Dick. He is eighty seven years young and there he was helping to push a cart laden with cases onto the trailer. Arriving at the Robstown Fairgrounds we were able to back in and the setup went as easy as you can expect, with fifty years of practice( I know the numbers don't add up but the society didn't have its first show until 1962).
The next day we got up early and headed to the show. Renita and I were kind of old hands at the setup, but it still took us about an hour to get the tables ready. We had added several new displays including one in which people pick out a stone and then we make it into a custom ring It was our first show in which we were using two tables and it was the most expensive we have ever paid for a place.
Too soon the alarm went off, ok we don;t really use an alarm as I an an early riser, and we headed for the second day of the show. Being as it was a Sunday it started off slow, and we had time to visit with other club members and meet some of the Rolling Rocks, rock club members form other cities in Texas. We were invited to show at the Houston show, and while we can't attend it this year it sure is an interesting possibility.
It contains so much silver we can't afford to make more then one at a time so its more of a custom order piece in which we will make one special from each persons wrist measurements.
The day ended and we were tired as we loaded our displays and helped to tear down the clubs cases and supplies. It was the best show ever for us and got us thinking about next year, as we were told we were going to be offered a contract for sellers,(we had gotten in this year on Dicks contract as we helped him and his daughter in law Teresa with their breaks and sales. Time to take a break from rock and go fishing! Clear skies.
Thursday, March 1, 2012
2012 Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, A Crazy Day of Dodging Wildlife!
So Pam and Roy arrived for their yearly visit, and they suprised us by showing up in their new to them motor home. It has been a few busy days as they fixed some systems but it is so nice to see how happy they are with their rv!
We decided to take a break, us from rock and them from repairs, and we headed out for a picnic lunch at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. Of course we hoped to see some whoopers, a few alligators, maybe a new life bird, and basically just a fun day viewing wildlife. We got more then we asked for!
The next stop was the observation tower and we were surprised to see that the ANWR had built a new tower that is handicapped accessable and has even added another elevated trail. It was so nice to be passed by a gentleman in a wheelchair who plainly was happy to be able to climb the tower and see the whoopers.
We drove the eleven mile road and soon Renita yelled at me to stop and then back up. What I had mistakenly identified as a mockingbird was in fact a loggerhead shrike and it posed nicely before flying away and displaying its narrow white wing bands,(loggerhead shrikes are also known as butcher birds as they catch and impale grasshoppers on barb wire femces and tree thorns, saving them for a later meal).
Our last stop of the day was in front of the Visitor Center and there we watched the turkey strut its stuff. Renita got tired of the display and went to the waters edge where she found three more alligators enjoying the spring like day.
Heading home we all felt tired but refreshed from the day at the wildlife refuge. It was a good day when Teddy Roosevelt decided that we needed to save such places for future generations. Let us hope the politicians will speak for the birds and trees and gators, and yes even the mosquiitos. Let us hope there continues to be a place for them all! Clear skies.
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