Saltwater Fishing In The Lone Star State

On the way to my family’s spring Texas hog hunt from our home in Minnesota (I am 13 years old), we heard on the radio a forecast for 9- to 10 inches of rain at our hunting spot. We decided to delay the start our hunting trip and instead go fishing in Port Aransas, which is near Corpus Christi on the Texas Gulf Coast.

We got to Port Aransas at noon, and found my aunt’s condo. She lives in Texas for the winter to avoid the cold in Minnesota. My uncle, Todd, loves the fishing down there, so he decided to take my dad, our friend Les, and me with him the next morning to see if we could catch something.

The anglers (left to right) Jay Leitch, Todd Taylor and the author, get rigged to fish a jetty off the coast of Texas.

He showed us his fishing rig setup and made a few for us. He uses a spinning reel with a medium-length rod. Then he puts a triple swivel at the end of the line and attaches 4-1/2 feet of line to two of the swivels. On one line, he puts on a bobber, and on the other, he puts on a hook. We went to bed that night looking forward to the coming morning.

Baiting Up
We got up before light, and my aunt drove us out to where the boat is docked. We picked up some shrimp and sea lice for bait. Sea lice are small crustaceans about 6- or 7 inches long. Their body looks similar to that of a crayfish, except they are wider and have sharp spikes running along their sides. They also have pinchers like a praying mantis, and can cut a shrimp clean in half. We put our bait in a bucket, and got onto the "Jetty Boat." The boat is called that because the main channel to Corpus Christi has two long, cement walls with rocks on the side of them called jetties. These jetties help prevent erosion. The boat takes fisherman to and from the jetties.

When the boat was full, we drove through the fog to the north jetty, and walked about three quarters of a mile down the jetty. We cast our lines out and waited for a bite. We had been waiting for about 15 minutes without a bite, so my uncle Todd told me to reel in my line to check my bait. As I was reeling it in, I felt a tug on the line. I reeled it in the rest of the way and on the end of my line was a very ugly fish that looked like a bullhead. Todd joked the local fishermen called it a mother-in-law fish. We threw it back in the water and once again cast out our lines.

Dad Gets A Big One!
We waited for a little while, and then my dad’s rod bent all the way over. He fought the fish for a couple minutes, and then got it close enough for Todd to net. He netted it and it was a big sheepshead, probably 8- to 9 pounds! Sheepshead resemble a sunfish, but are larger. They also have black and white stripes running vertically down their sides. They get their name from their teeth; they stick out in the front just like a sheep. Anyway, we took a few pictures of the fish and then tossed it back.

The author and a nice sheepshead.

All the rest of the fish we caught were between 1- and 4 pounds, and we had to quit fishing after a couple of hours because we ran out of bait. We did end up seeing about two-dozen dolphins, and a couple of sea turtles, though.

We loaded up our gear and walked back to the dock to wait for the boat. After a short nap, the boat was at the dock. We loaded up and headed back across the channel. We got to the dock, unpacked, and then went back to my uncle’s to soak in the hot tub.

Later that day, we headed north. Our hunting destination was near Hubbard, Texas, and we arrived there in a few hours. After hunting for a few days, Les and I did manage to both shoot hogs, but that is a whole different story. So, all in all, it was a good time down at the Lone Star State.

For a fine assortment of Fishing gear, click here.

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