I found this old Pelican kayak leaning against a chain link fence. I had no intention of using it, seeing as we had the boat with us on this trip.
Rain in Texas can be classified as showers, spontaneous in nature, unpredictable, nonexistence or torrential. For a saltwater angler too much rain can be a source of contention. Too much rain will dilute the bays, disturbing fishing for days depending on the amount of rain that fell. Trout will move out of the diluted bays as they prefer salinity over fresh. Reds aren’t bothered too much by the fresher water.
Stuart and I had been fishing in the bay for several hours. The Weld-Craft acting like she was made for the salt. The water was so fresh there wasn’t even a hint of salt in the air. The smell I longed for. We were catching hard-heads, croaker, mangrove snapper, sheep-head and black drum, albeit small ones. We had found the nursery for sure. Nursery or not, we were having a ball.
After several hours of all the fun we could handle, we headed back to the borrowed palace on the canal. I was exhausted and could have easily laid down and slept for a few hours. Stuart nudged me enough that we wound up heading back down to the pier.
If hard head were a game fish, we would have been set. I think we caught every one of those whiskered bottom feeders, at least twice. We also caught more croaker. Every time one of us would catch a croaker, Stuart would holler “golden croaker” in a long drawn out breathe while holding a honey berry cigar between his lips. At first, it was cute, then well, I could’ve done without it.
Across the canal, we watched as reds blew up the water along the grassy shore. It was so frustrating. I was on a pier, they were about 40 yards away, frolicking in the grass. Taunting me if you will. I tried to convince Stuart to put the boat back in the water so we too could frolic along the grass line. Like the red-fish, he wasn’t bitin’.
I sat for a little while longer. I was “pretending like I just didn’t care” and it dawned on me, there was on old Pelican leaning against the chain link up by the house. It would be a long haul from said fence to the water but worth a try. That ‘ole Pelican would get me across the canal, to the grass line to frolic among the shimmering pink, tail spotted beauties that I so desired to catch. Stuart told me go for it. I asked him if he was leaving me to my own devices and he jokingly said, “you’ve had a good life, knock yourself out.” Jokingly?
I was a little apprehensive about maneuvering across the canal. The boat and jet-ski traffic was a little unnerving to say the least. The wake they created, a possible hazard but worth the risk if I could land just one of those taunting little devils.
I made the trek back to the house, giving a nod to the sole patch of delicate little yellow flowers jutting out of the cracked, scorched earth. I found a paddle and life jacket that had seen better days. I was set. I grabbed the handle and headed to the water.
The bulk head was lower than the ground. The execution of getting in the Pelican wasn’t pretty but it was accomplished. I lowered it over the bulkhead and onto the beach. The tide was down making the muddy bottom barely visible. I stepped off the bulkhead and quickly sank to my knees in muck. I pulled my legs up, only to feel the mud tighten around my legs creating a suction. Once I freed myself, without loosing my sandals, I stepped on the front of the kayak. Shocked, I up-righted myself enough to grab onto the pier and then lower myself onto the seat of the kayak.
I was off. Paddle in hand, I finagled my way through barnacle clad pylons and then finally to the canal. I looked left, I looked right and when the coast was clear, I paddled as fast as I could. I thought my arms would burst into flames before I reached the other side.
I arrived. My presence didn’t disturb the frolicking reds one bit. The local bait house had an unfortunate pump incident the night before and offered no live bait. I prefer using a gold or silver spoon anyhow when targeting reds. I cast just beyond the flash of shimmering pink. I repeated this action over and over again. Reeling the spoon, pausing, letting it sink and reeling it yet closer. It was as if they were mocking me, slowly rolling in the water by the grassy edge.
It was hot and my mosquito spray had long since wore off. I had to keep trying. It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog, right?
Then I had to well, poop. There was no way in hell that I was going to paddle back just to do that. Earlier, we had seen a raccoon walking along the shore. It was kind of odd to see one out and about in broad day light so the thought of “doing it” in the brush disturbed me a little. But, I wasn’t ready to give up yet. Oddly enough, I really didn’t consider the boaters and jet skiers that might see me doing my business. At some point that thought did cross my mind, however. I took care of my business, crouched down behind mosquito infested scrub brush, holding a strap from the life-jacket in my teeth, using it as a shield.
I gave it another ago. This time with a silver spoon. Still, nothing. I am not one to give up but at some point, every dog in a fight has to know its’ limitations. Today just wasn’t the day. Heartbroken, mosquito kissed and not as fresh as I would have liked to have been, I paddled back to the barnacle covered pier where my adventure began.
Sometimes it’s more than the size of the fight in the dog, or in this case the fight in an ‘ole girl with a kayak.