The Other White Meat
First thing off the bat let me make this perfectly clear, this is no way affiliated with Opreah Winfrey or any of the views she may express on her show.. In fact I may have seen more hamburger patties in my lifetime than the average pimple face teenager working at the local McDonalds. In my mind nothing beats a nice Sirloin on the grill other than maybe a fresh fillet of Red Snapper. Which bring me to the point of this months article..
In most anglers mind there are just a few preferred species of game fish that most Texas anglers seek out during the course of a fishing season. Anything else brought to boat that doesn't fit into this small category of game fish species is quickly discarded or uses for cut bait. Taking into consideration this fact if most of your fishing expeditions are anything like mine, then 90 percent of the fish you catch are in those unwanted categories.. Which got me to thinking, maybe I was brainwashed at a young age of the true meaning of fishing. Although I hate to admit it maybe old Dad wasn't correct on just what sort of fish an angler should be keeping and those he should be throwing back.. It's like my Grandma use to say if youre a good enough cook then shoe leather will taste good if prepared right.. Since my time fishing seems to be getting longer and longer in between trips. With my average catches of fish seemly to be getting more and more in the categories of those species not found on most Texas Anglers top ten list. Then I suppose the only answer to my stocking of the family freezer so that we might have meat to go along with the potato soup that night, is not change my technique in fishing but my feeling of what is stringer material and what is not
The truth to the matter is, not meaning to brag mind you, is it is a rare occasion that I have actually been skunked during a fishing trip.. If I had a dime for every Sheepshead, Croaker, Sand Trout, or Gaftop I threw back I'd have at least 20 dollars by now.. So this year instead of holding my annual fish fry at the end of the summer season and not being able to invite but a few of my favorite cousins over, due to the lack of fillets.. I'm going to apply the Bizzaro theory of fishing and do just the opposite of what I would normally do Instead of keeping those few and far between 31 inch specks that I would normally be inclined to put into the ice chests they will be find themselves once again frolicking in the bay waters whence they came.. Twenty-five and twenty- eight inch reds will become just memories in a picture on the desk of the once long ago way of fishing of my former self.. Flounder will no longer swim off and hide as my boat passes those grassy flats in fear of becoming my next meal as once was the norm.. In time Tarpon will come from miles around to surf the bow of my boat no longer fearing a tantalizing hook may be thrown their way
Instead my sights will be fixed on those old reliable fishing hole that I have come to call Hardhead Havens Where once I dreaded those old familiar soft tugs of sand trout on the end of the line, I will instead rejoice in a job well done while he flies threw the air only to bank off the lid of the ice chest onto the ice Croaker will tremble in fear as they see my juvenile dead shrimp hit the water, knowing in a few short second they will become just another victim on the end of my stringer.. Sheepshead will lose those sheepish grin as the break the water and see me on the end of the line and know they have seen the end of their bait-stealing days.. Hardsheads will once again feel the slap of fiberglass against scale as I dislodge them suckers from my hook sending them dazed and confused back to the depths from whence they came. . Just goes to show some things never change!!!
This summer all the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and so on down the line of cousins will be invited to the annually fish fry.. Some I haven't seen since 2nd cousin Betty Lou and 4th cousin George marriage.. The freezer will be full of inconspicuous zip lock baggies with the name tags missing of their contents.. Only Grandma will know the true identities of those fillets as they make their way into the grease of the fryer.. Taking her up on her word and seeing if she can make sirloin from shoeleather. All the while we'll be smiling as I say eat up boy's there's more where that came from!!
So this year don't expect to see me cruising the back water bay shoreline in search of trophy trout.. The beachfronts will be safe from my countless hours of trolling in search of giant Tarpon to pose for a picture with me before being released to fight another day.. If you want to find me in 98 look for a bleached white boat with a sunburned lobster colored angler with rayban sunglasses and another Rocket championship hat on his head. Somewhere wetting a shrimp along the Texas coast line near a jetty formation, fishing pier, or rocking pass inlet.. With flies swarming the boat deck trying to get to the dead shrimp before they become food for my newfound friends.. If things hold true to form though, as I am hoping they will.. This time next year you should find me complaining of all those pesky trout, reds and flounder that keep screwing up my fishing instead of the true quarry that I was after in the first place.. Who knows this Bizzaro theory of fishing may catch on all along the Texas coast.. Although true Texas fishermen may not want to admit it, most are like me and already have a good head start on this new form of fishing technique The only thing missing is the way you look at it!!!