Sunday, August 9, 2009

More about Matagorda and The Brothers

Seems like my post last week about the area of Matagorda, both the town and the island, and how wild it still is down there.

The Houston Chronicle ran a nice article about Matagorda as well.

It's been a few years since I've been there, and apparently there's some new places to stay and some new places to eat. Good for Matagorda. I'll have to take the family and stay a weekend down at Karankawa Village and tell you how it goes.

I have two friends, brothers in facts, who used to have a place down in Matagorda, on that stretch of highway between the town and the island, right at the mouth of the Mighty Colorado. There's some good fishing in that part of the river at the right times, and I've seen some fabulous fishing out in back of those houses on occasions.

So these two brothers, we'll call them Chester and Fester, they're both professionals with their own separate practices and staffs, althought they share office space in a building their family has owned for years.

Chester comes off as the more sensible, more restrained and in control personality, although some say that Chester is actually wilder than his brother Fester, who is considered by all to be a wildman. Both of them are highly educated, and both of them are professionally competent at what they do, with legions of loyal repeat clientele. By saying they are both wildmen to some extent, I don't mean to imply they are heathens or bad folks.

Indeed, I always found them highly amusing and entertaining. I was never done wrong by them either personally or professionally, but they were both kind of like the wild guys in high school or in a college fraternity that never really settle down. Multiple marriages. Highly financially successful. Absolutely engaging to talk to on a personal basis.

For example, about ten years ago a friend of mine who was a property owner and lawyer informed me of his families property, which was located not to far out of Houston. It had been in the family for over a hundred years, and during that time had served as a family cattle ranch as well as a large sandpit operation. My friend's grandfather had trucked in florida bass way back in the sixties to stock the five large ponds that dotted the acreage.

My friends father and grandfather had carefully designed the lakes from sandpits of various depths that they had around the property. Each pond, ranging from about 2 acres to about 15 acres, was extremely varied in design and appearance. Clearly, his forefathers took great care in designing some varied lakes. One was large enough and clear of above water obstructions to water ski in and it was about 70 feet deep.

But our favorite lake was a three acre deal we called "The Jungle Lake", because it was shallow and full of standing timber both in the water and surrounding the lake. There was all types of highly interesting bass habitat in that lake for worming and plugging, not to mention fly fishing.

Like a lot of lakes in east Texas, there was a significant alligator population around the jungle lake on my friend's property. In fact, my friend told me to carry a pistol with me at all times due to the large number of snakes and gators around the shoreline. The lake hadn't been fished much at all in the last 10 years, and it was quite overgrown.

So one day I took Fester and his teenaged kids out to these lakes to do some fishing. His kids were nice kids, and since we had five large lakes all positioned next to one another, the kids headed off for a lake away from the old folks (Fester and I) while he and I concentrated on worm fishing the jungle lake.

Although there were several small boats and canoes that my friend owned that were ready for our use next to these lakes, for whatever hair brained reason, Fester decided to go wade fishing in the jungle lake. At it's shallowest, the jungle lake was about neck deep for Fester. So here you have this middle aged dude, wading around all kinds of snakey looking limbs and trees and weeds and basically a semi-swamp looking area, doing his fishing.

I told the fool that there were gators in the lake and that I had seen several that were large enough to do some serious eating on a grown human. That didn't bother him one bit, as he waded into the murky green water of the jungle lake.

Soon enough, about a hundred feet away, a gator did surface. I started laughing, and he wanted to know what was so funny. I pointed at the gator, quite visible from his position, and moved pretty darn fast getting out of that lake. That's about the closest to walking on water I've seen anyone do. It was almost like one of those cartoon characters from the sixties were the character is in a scared hurry and his legs are moving faster than his body.

Both brothers have settled down somewhat, as they are now well into their late fifties, but suffice it to say that alcohol has fueled many an adventure AND misadventure with these guys.

I know that in the recent past, Fester was at a gathering of old high school friends and their wives and he suddenly pulled out a pair of shears and clipped the necktie of a friend off, right below the knot, leaving a fashionable cravat in it's place. His only explanation was that the rather loud tie was distracting him from his favorite beverage.

In addition to having a house in Matagorda, they had one for years on the lower Guadalupe. Well, they were successful. In any event, one year there was a warm spell during winter on the coast and apparently specks were running in the bay. Fester came to my office in a tizzy, telling me I needed to come with him to Matagorda the following day and go fishing with him for these speckled trout.

At the same time, in walked Chester, who was planning a Guadalupe trout fly fishing trip the next day. Chester told me I needed to go with him and not Fester. Fester, of course, counter argued the point and finally, as a tie breaker, Chester asked me if Fester had ever told me about the time Fester had shot a hole in his boat with a .357 while out on the water. In. The. Gulf. Of. Mexico. Not in the bay or river, no but out in the ocean.

Seems it was a pretty smooth day on the gulf, and Fester and a few drunk friends decided to take his 20' boat out past the troughs in the Matagorda Island surf looking for kings and schools of trout. As they were fishing, a large snake crawled out from the back well where the fuel tanks were, sort of under the motor well.

In any event, you've got some drunk guys on a small boat with a big snake. As I heard the story that day from Chester, it was a water moccasin, but no matter. A big poisonous snake in a small boat. Fester carried pistols with him pretty much everywhere he went. In his car. At his office and home. And of course, in his boat. A nice nickel plated Smith and Wesson .357 magnum. For pirates, I suppose.

Before any of his friends coulds stop him, Fester dispatched that snake to the great beyond. Of course, in doing so, with only three shots, he placed several large holes in the bottom of his boat. Which was, as I mentioned, maybe about a half a mile offshore.

Water began pouring into the boat, rather quickly I understand, and one of the fisherman there had the sense to immediately crank the engine and head full speed to the beach, where they managed to beach the boat and make a safe exit from that situation. The boat was a goner though.

You'd be surprised, they said, just how big a hole that a 158 grain jacketed hollow point .357 makes in an upscale, thick hulled fiberglass boat. What was really surprising, Fester said, was just how fast a big boat like that with lots of deck space could fill up with water from three bullet holes.

The boat shooting incident and the alligator wading incident pretty much made it a no brainer that I would go rainbow trout fishing on the Guadalupe with Chester and forgo what could only prove to be Fester's next misadventure.


  1. I loved this post, You can really paint a nice picture with words. I don't know if I blame him for shooting the snake, But 3 shots? Guess he was a bit drunk.....

  2. His brother Chester explained that Fester was drunk, he wasn't a very good shot to begin with, and the snake was moving around pretty good.

    I'll always have that vision of Fester wading in water right up to his neck in that jungle farm pond. It was springtime, and thus time for snakes and gators to be out. I did have my pistol handy in case I needed to scare off that gator, but it was so funny watching him tread water/run like a madman that I couldn't stop laughing for quite a while.

    Thanks for the compliment TGR. Thanks for stopping by as well.