"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."
-André Gide

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Work vs. Play

They say a better a bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work but what about three bad days of fishing. Are three bad days of fishing better than three good days at work?

I recently returned home from a three day trip to the one of my favorite places to fish on the Texas Coast, the Lower Laguna Madre. This place isn’t unique in terms of its composition in relation to other places in along our coastline here in Texas. The crystalline waters of the Lower Laguna consists of mainly shallow grass flats with potholes scattered randomly throughout the flats with a few relatively deep channels and flats bordering them. There is an abundance of mangroves coating a substantial portion of the shorelines in the area as well as generous amounts of oyster patches disperse amongst the shallows.

Although there are certainly other places along the coast that produce these types of structure, what sets this place apart is it possess the only fishable population of snook in the US outside the state of Florida. The willingness of this species to attack lures, more specifically topwaters, with a tenacious voracity, their drag screaming power, and acrobatic ability makes them a well sought after commodity throughout the geographic regions where they’re found.

The trip was a rough one in terms of catching due to the amount of work that two friends and I had exert for the small amount of fish we were able to catch. The first two days we paddled approximately 24 miles for only four keeper redfish and a few other undersized redfish and speckled trout. The wind the first day was stronger than we anticipated making it the toughest of day of the trip even though it wasn’t the longest in terms of water covered.

The first two days we concentrated on an area near the pass knowing the effects of the red tide had made its way into the nearby flats. We saw an enormous quantity of dead fish floating with a majority of them being mullet, hardheads, and other baitfish. Over the entire trip we saw only a handful of dead game fish including one snook, two trout, and several flounder including a doormat that’s pictured below. Unanimously we agreed that the effects of the red tide must have played a role in the abysmal fishing because the conditions otherwise were superb.

Though we missed numerous opportunities and saw a fair amount of inactive fish the first two days we decided we needed a change in scenery because the opportunities didn’t justify our efforts. The third day we move to an area considerably further from the pass in hopes that the distance would dilute the effects of the red tide. Right away we noticed that there was more baitfish activity than we had the seen the entire two days previous. We finish the last day with more fish landed than the previous two days combined even though we only covered roughly five miles and ended the day short.

Although each successive day of fishing improved ever so slightly over the previous day, overall the fishing was marginal at best. My knowledge of red tides is very faint so I guess I need to do some reading and enlighten myself on the topic. If my pleasure was based on the quantity or quality of fish caught, or if it was easy I think fishing would have lost its luster a long time ago. Despite the fishing I had a great time as always doing what I love to do while hanging out with good people.

Are three bad days of fishing better than three good days at work? On the drive toward our destination my trip counterpart, John, stated that being on the water alone was enough to bring him fulfillment and catching only added to the experience. I couldn't agree more. In my humble opinion any day outdoors or doing what you love is better than being tied up and busy doing things you aren’t passionate about.

This is my first post on my new blog, which will be dedicated to everything fishing related. Any questions or comments are appreciated. Until next time…