Friday, April 10, 2015

South Padre Island Fun

Clark and I went on a fishing trip to South Padre Island with some friends from our park.  Carol had a coupon for everyone, so we only paid $18.00 each for the boat trip and then $11.00 each for  a one-day fishing license.  That was the best $58.00 we have spent in a long time.  We had so much fun!  We were also relieved to find it was a four hour tour and not a three hour tour - remember what happened to Gilligan?!

When we stopped to get our licenses, our friend, Jamie, decided to get a hat.  After shopping for a hat, we determined that no one could ever accuse her of having a big head.  She had to buy a youth's hat because the adult hats came down below her eyebrows and she had to tilt her head up to see!  I had planned ahead and took a hat I had gotten from Clark's mother a few years back.  Here we are with our hats on just waiting to load the boat.  Now, when you look at the photo below, it certainly looks like my hat will protect me better than hers will because mine is so much bigger, it can even shade my nose and chin!  But, all is not as it seems...

Jamie and I while waiting for the ok to load the boat.

 We soon discovered a flaw with my hat when the wind picked up...

My hat did protect my ears from sunburn at least!

The hat twists down so you can put it in a handy dandy carrying case around your wrist.  Because of that, it wanted to fold back down as soon as the wind blew!  As helpful as an umbrella when you try to use it in the wind!  I think if I dye it orange my dad could use it when he goes hunting.  Don't they wear those hats with flaps for that?

They set us all up with our own poles and told us to be careful because if we somehow lost them overboard we would have to pay for them.   We were also told if we caught either catfish or an eel we could not even bring them into the boat; just leave it hanging over the water and call it out and they would come get it off of our lines for us.  Several people on the other side of the boat did, in fact, catch eels but I never got to see one because they were so quick to get there and get them off the lines. 

 We  were told no casting, just flip the thingy-muh-bob, let the line drop to the bottom, and flip it back. I can understand why they said no casting, as there were probably twenty or so people on the boat.  I can imagine that there were probably those who didn't have a clue and could have put someone's eye out as they casted, or possibly snagged their own jacket from behind them on the bench thus launching it into the bay.  I know for a fact that one of you reading this right now has done this very thing with your own shirt, You know who you are so you shall remain nameless in my blog.  The only clue I will give as to who you are is to say, "We will not speak of this."

The little white "tray" to the right of the poles is where they dumped the bait
for us to use as needed.  They had these placed along the boat so you didn't
have to go far to get your bait.

They gave us shrimp and squid to use as bait.  I was so glad to have Clark there so he could bait my hook.  When I was a little girl, my dad used to take me fishing.  After a time, he told me I was going to have to start baiting my own hook.  I started fishing with lures from then on.  If I could not put a worm on a hook, there was no way in the world I could put on a shrimp or a squid.  They are so  creepy looking, not to mention disgusting!

 Let me just say that  I cannot believe people actually eat these things.  First of all, I cannot imagine how you can eat something that looks like that in the first place, but it is bait for crying out loud!  You wouldn't eat a worm would you?  Or worse yet, stink bait?  But, as usual, I digress.

Moving on...

Clark got me all baited up and we were off to the races.  If not enough people were catching fish, the captain would have us reel our lines in and he would take us to another spot.  It took a while, but I finally caught one.  Clark felt pretty certain that people all over Texas heard me yell "I got one!"  Okay, so I was a little excited to catch a fish in the bay even though by the size of it, it looked like I could have caught it from a decorative fish pond, it was still a thrill!  I had to ask what kind it was and was told it was whiting.  

We had beautiful weather and the wind was blowing just enough.  But after a while, when no one was catching much, he took us out and around and into the Gulf just a tad.  The seagulls were following so close behind and all around us.  I tried to get some pictures, but before I could snap the one really close he would veer off  around the boat and the next one wouldn't have caught up yet.  I was proud of Clark though, he didn't scream like a girl like he did at the zoo when the grackle dive-bombed him!

As we got further out, the waves got quite a bit bigger than before.  This picture doesn't do it justice.  We were really rockin' and rollin' which I thought was pretty cool!  We saw dolphins quite a few times on the way out to the Gulf.  That was a real treat for me.  We would see them in groups but they weren't real close to our boat like I was hoping.  Anyway,  we got out into the Gulf just a little ways but no one was catching anything so the captain came out and told us we were going to move again. 

Our new location was at the end of a jetty.  You can see people out on the rocks fishing.  They were all the way up and down the jetty.  We certainly had good fishing there.

The captain said we were going to be fishing for sheepshead so don't use the squid, just the shrimp.  He also said that they hit fast and light.  Boy was he right. I think we spent more time feeding the little buggers than catching them. Poor Clark, he couldn't even drop his own line in because he was so busy keeping Jamie, Carol, and me baited up.  

Jamie caught hers first and boy was she excited!  It was her first catch of the day.  This type of fish had to be at least 15 inches long to keep and hers was a keeper. We believe it was the biggest one of the day at least compared to those we could see.  The first mate came to take these off, he said they can stick you very easily.  In fact, he was wearing gloves. People were pulling them in left and right, just not us people.  

Carol caught the next one but it was so big it was bending her pole and she wasn't strong enough to pull it in.  She was hollering for help, but right before Clark got over there it broke her line.  No one else had a broken line the whole day.  We told her we think she must have had a shark on her line or a marlin so she just couldn't pull it in. She was still grousing about losing that fish the next day.  

Not long after that craziness I caught one.  I didn't want to lose it so I handed the pole to Clark to reel in.  It wasn't big enough to keep though.  It still counted as a catch!  

  By this time those waves that I thought were so fun, rockin' and rollin' had my stomach flippin' and floppin'.  I didn't know it at the time but Clark was feeling the same way.  I told him he needed to take a turn at fishing without me for awhile since he had been so busy keeping us all baited up. No, he would say I needed to enjoy it more when really all we both wanted to do was sit down and concentrate on keeping our lunch down!

When the fishing was all over, we saw this big oil tanker.  It was huge!  The cool thing about it was the dolphins out in front of it!  Up and out of the water they would come, over and over again!  It really did look like they were leading the way!  Of course, I tried to take a picture but could not get one when they were out of the air.

Speaking of the air, the gulls were back and they were closer than ever.  We soon discovered what they wanted.  The bait!  Clark tossed a few pieces in the air and they would catch them.

He then got brave (or stupid) and held a piece in his hand.  Sure enough, he had them eating right from his hand.  He said they were very gentle.  He was expecting it to be rougher but it wasn't.  

You can take the fish you catch with you.  The first mate will clean it for you and you can either take it home or to one of the restaurants in town who will cook it for you (for like ten bucks!)  We gave my little bitty whiting and Jamie's big sheepshead to the man next to us.  When we were all done, we met some friends who had also been on the fishing boat at Pirates Cove and had a Coke and visited with them  about the day while they ate.  They wanted to eat seafood but we wanted to eat at a Mexican restaurant,Julia's, in Los Fresnos.  Pirates Cove was entertaining.  This woman came down from right above Clark's head.

Ok, so she wasn't real, and she didn't actually move,
it was still entertaining!

 It had a lot of the touristy stuff so we took a few of those obligatory photos.

We had a great time and made a lot of memories.  Clark really felt like he got a heck of a deal.  I had wanted to also go out on the dolphin watch boat.  He said since we saw dolphins that counted so he won't need to spend the money on the that.  Furthermore, since we actually went out into the Gulf and we both got "sea sick", that counted as a cruise so he is off the hook for that too!  Gotta love him!