My good friend and fishing guide Captain Ken Jones decided he had enough of the city life and wanted to return to his roots in Texas. He had been gone for the better part of a decade and despite the great fishing in NYC it was time to go home. I can relate to that. Something triggers an instinct to go back to your roots to put down some of your own. So I agreed to come to Texas once he settled in and had some time to put some casts in the water.
December is a great time to leave Cleveland and the fish pictures coming out of Texas were scary. I mean there are so many types of huge fish in Port Aransas that you truly have a year round near shore fishery. The town’s local school’s mascot is the marlin which could lead you to some assumption of the offshore potential… but the off shore story will have to be later.
This trip was back to the basics: I packed a carry on with some wading boots; stripping basket and a couple wind breakers; A 9wt with some clear intermediate line is my go to for most of my exploratory fishing travels. Ken said the week before my trip that we were chasing fish that wouldn’t require leaders under 25lb. test, so I grabbed a couple leader spools and some baitfish patterns and that was it! One bag for 3 days of fishing and two travel days. It doesn’t get better in my opinion.
There is something liberating about fishing from the shore. No one has to maneuver a boat or feel pressure to guide. As an angler, all you have to do is figure out the pattern and catch fish.
I arrived in Corpus Christie International airport to palm trees and warm temperatures. Ken picked me up and after a few short stops to pick up provisions and a fishing license we were on our way to Laguna Madre.
The drive out to our fishing destination was 60 miles of beach. Basically it is Baja style driving for 3 hours dodging beach debris that would undoubtedly rip the wheels/underside of the truck to shreds. Ken asked for me to keep the location specifics a secret, but I don’t think anyone is heading to this area unless they had a helicopter! That being said I’m respecting his wishes and will not disclose our exact location.
Once we arrive I’m like a kid in a candy store. There is a long jetty extending out into the gulf. Birds and sea turtles everywhere… we saw Spanish mackerel slashing bait and jumping all over. As we walked the rocks I noticed a few tarpon roll. I could not believe what I was seeing. This was awesome!
Ken and I fished large baitfish patterns for 3 days near the jetty. the weather was what you would expect for December. Some days were nice others were downright dangerous. We blind cast to rolling tarpon with 6 inch baitfish patterns hooking over a dozen and landing six.
We could see huge fish rolling out in the heavy surf and wondered what we would do if we hooked one! By the end of the third day we were exhausted, smelled like booze and campfire… our provisions and fuel dwindling we raced the 60 mile stretch back with only a gallon and a half of fuel to spare once we made it to the nearest gas station.
This was exactly the adventure I was looking for and cannot wait to get back!