It seems as if this parenting thing has not only taken time away from my writing, but to be honest it has taken a little desire away as well. Not that I enjoy the writing and photography any less, it just seems that when everyone else is in bed and the house is quiet I would rather sleep than blog. However, my most recent adventure was so epic that I had to blow the dust of the keyboard and be sure to get this chronicled for everyone to enjoy. So here it goes. . .
Last weekend I was fortunate enough to be invited on another trip to the Laguna Madre. Now normally my yak would be mother-shipped to the cabin (an hour long boat ride) and the fishing would commence from there. On this particular weekend things were a little out of the ordinary. I was informed that there would be plenty of room at the cabin for me to sleep, but no room on the boat for me and my kayak. Although this sounds like an impossible problem to overcome there was ONE solution.
You see, the cabin is an hour long boat ride from Bird Island Basin, but only a 5 mile paddle from Yarborough Pass. For those of you that don’t know anything about Yarborough Pass let me give you a little history lesson.
“Yarborough Pass was dredged in 1941 at a spot then known as Murdock’s Landing. It was named for W.O. Yarborough, a former member of the Texas Game, Fish, and Oyster Commission in recognition of his work.
Millions of fish had died in the Laguna in the summer of 1938 and it was believed that the Laguna’s high salinity was the culprit. Therefore a pass was proposed to allow the less salty Gulf waters to dilute those of the Laguna.
The issue was contentious, but many people advocated the dredging because they wanted to see fishing restored to the Laguna, Baffin Bay, Corpus Christi Bay, and other waters in the area, which they saw as being effected. Burton Dunn, who had inherited the Dunn Ranch from his father, Patrick Dunn, allowed the Game, Fish, and Oyster Commission (forerunner of Texas Parks and Wildlife) to dredge the channel, even though he stood a chance of not being compensated in any way and the channel would make operations on his ranch costlier and more difficult.
The pass was dredged, but unfortunately over the next several years sand filled it up again and again forcing the Pass to be dredged again and again. Eventually the State gave up on dredging the Pass and let nature reclaim it. By 1950 the pass had filled and the beach was once again unbroken.”
Source: The Handbook of Texas Online
So the trip consisted of a 15 mile drive down the beach at the Padre Island National Seashore, a 75 yard “get down and get on it” through the soft sand at the entrance of the pass, a mile drive down, what used to be, a caliche rock road that is now filled with more than a few thigh deep potholes and then a five mile paddle with a loaded down kayak. Some might shy away from this daunting task, but I just needed one more adventure on my list of “What the H#!! Was I Thinking?”
Not wanting me to be the only person digging my truck out of the sand miles away from civilization and cell phone service, my buddy Joey convinced (conned) another guy to use my extra kayak and take the trip with me. Hunter and I met for the first time Friday morning when he showed up at my house to embark on the journey to Yarborough Pass. We loaded a few things up in the truck and hit 59 South bound for Corpus Christi, Texas.
To be honest the trip to the pass was relatively uneventful. The beach was in good shape, the sand was fairly packed, and the entrance to Yarborough was a breeze when you hit it at 30 mph in 4 Hi. The massive potholes were even manageable if you took your time and picked out the high spots. But then came the tough part. After unloading the kayaks and getting things set to go we were greeted with 2 things that made the paddle a “less than pleasurable” experience. The East wind from the night before had the water levels extremely low and the 20 mph sustained SE wind was going to be right in our face for most of the trip. Needless to say it took us a little longer than originally expected to the get to the cabin, but we did make it. Hunter also managed to land his first ever kayak fish on the paddle in. After dinner and a few cold adult beverages, I turned it in to get some rest for a full day of fishing.
The next day’s weather ended up being similar to the day before. Overcast with more seemingly endless brutal wind. I realized early on that my best technique was going to be drifting the shallow grass flats while standing up and looking for reds. I started out on a relatively large flat that I am nicknaming the “Shiner Flats”. It only seems fitting since I paddled right by the city limit sign on my way in. And as luck would have it, this is where I stayed most of the day. I would paddle to the channel, throw out my drift sock and begin searching for fish. The water was extremely clear, but the overcast skies and chop on the water made sight casting extremely challenging. There were fish all over, but more often than not I would be right on top of them before I even realized they were there. Nonetheless I still managed a few solid redfish and when things started to slow down I made my way back in for a late lunch.
That evening everyone took to the boats for some speckled trout action. My group drifted an area where the fishing had been good in previous days and that afternoon was no different. We fished for the next few hours chasing schools and catching multiple trout in the 16″ – 22″ range. No real monsters, but sometimes you just need a little bend in your rod. We boxed a few and left them biting just before dark so we could make it back to camp in time for a pork chop dinner.
On the last morning most everyone went out for a quick trip and I elected to hang back with a cup of coffee and my camera. I did end up seeing a few tailing reds on the shoreline outside of the cabin, but with crystal clear water and a relatively subdued wind they were difficult to sneak up on. I made a few casts before retiring back to the front porch to enjoy the rest of my coffee and a beautiful sunrise in God’s country.
Rather than paddle back in, Joey was kind enough to load the kayaks up on his boat and cart us back to Yarborough so that we could get things strapped in and get back home at a decent hour. On the drive back to the park I managed a quick pic of a coyote working his way through the dunes after indulging in a morning meal provided by a mullet that had washed ashore. Hunter and I made a quick stop at Whataburger to eat some lunch, wash our hands and admire the collection of South Texas Snow and then we were on our way back to Houston.
All in all we had a great trip, not that I would expect any less. There was enough good food, tall tales and tight lines to hold me over until next time that is for sure. Below is a photo of the weekends bounty. Before anyone starts counting fish this is nowhere near the entire group, but most definitely my favorite subpopulation. Everyone in this picture is a graduate of the finest university in all the land. . .WHOOP!