Saturday, November 28, 2009


As I posted here RIP ROLLOVER PASS ON BOLIVER ISLAND, the GLO is determined, with the assistance or approval of the Corps of Engineers, to fill in Rollover pass in the near future. As I have made clear, this is one of my favorite fishing spots and I'm strongly opposed to the closure of Rollover. It's not just a case of nostalgia for the fun times I've had there fishing and camping, it's a case of nature and erosion/accretion that occurs naturally along the lifetime of a beach and how man can never be master of nature.

And apparently, a bunch of beaurocrats think they can control beach erosion.

So here's the website for the Gilchrist Community Association, pegged at the link for Rollover news.

Other than being a dandy place to live and to visit, as far as a tourist attraction, Rollover is about all Gilchrist has as an attraction, and although the GLO has promised to build a new pier, that's not going to replace the ecology that the pass created in East Galveston Bay some 54 years ago.

A new pier, even if it went out very far, is not going to replace the migrations of fish that occurred through Rollover.

The new pier is not going to replace the great surge of saline ocean water and the species from plankton to shark and all in between that use Rollover Pass as a toll road from bay to ocean.

Rollover was one government alteration of nature that actually worked. Yes, it deposits silt and sand into the intercoastal, but this is going to be true of any pass or land cut from gulf to bay near the Intercoastal.

The thing we always like about Rollover was the fact you could pull your vehicle up to the concrete retaining wall and have a "tailgate" fishing camp set up right at the water's edge where you were fishing. Having a few trucks and perhaps a tent or pop-up trailer gave us a place to sleep and ready access to cooking and other supplies. We didn't have to haul a bunch of gear down a jetty or pier, which in itself limits what you can take with you.

We'd have a BBQ going and grilling all sorts of food during the day, from sausages to fresh caught fish. We usually had a pot of coffee on the grill as well. The smells of the cooking food plus the smells of the ocean breeze and the bay all mixed together in a jambalaya that I can literally smell and feel as I sit here writing this.

Here's the post from the Handbook of Texas about Rollover, with the link to the page following the post:

"ROLLOVER PASS. Rollover Pass, also known as Rollover Fish Pass, is a strait 200 feet wide, five feet deep, and more than 1,600 feet long across Bolivar Peninsula; it links Rollover Bay and East Bay with the Gulf of Mexico in extreme southeastern Galveston County (at 29°00' N, 94°30' W). The pass was opened in 1955 by the Texas Game and Fish Commission to perpetuate state fish and wildlife resources and improve local fishing conditions; it introduces sufficient quantities of seawater into East Bay to increase bay water salinity, promote growth of submerged vegetation, and help marine fish to and from spawning and feeding areas in the bay. The pass is named for the practice of ship captains from the days of Spanish rule through prohibition, who, to avoid the Galveston customs station, rolled barrels of import or export merchandise over that part of the peninsula."

Of course, we know the Karankawa tribe ranged this area and their first known contact with Spaniards in the early 1500's was the beginning of the end. 300 years later, they would be exterminated, and although we know a little bit about them and their culture and lifestyle, there is much we don't know.

During this time, certain pirates and freebooters and smugglers worked that part of the Texas coast with certain impunity. Much treasure is rumored to be hidden up and down the coast of Texas, from pirates and from shipwrecked ships bearing valuable cargo.

So the Gilchrist area not only shares in this rich history but in the vibes of the past that inhabit the area as much if not more than the physical structures around them. The history and the influence of the indian culture on Boliver is strong, in history if not in spirit.

Although I know a little about Texas History, I don't know when the various tribes that combined to form the Karankawa tribe initially came to what is now know as the Texas Upper Coast. I'd be interested if anyone out there does know.

But what I do know is that I'm gonna write some letters to my representatives in an attempt to do something about the closure of Rollover. It may well indeed be too late, but nothing ventured is nothing gained.

1 comment:

  1. I wish you luck in your attempt to keep the pass open. Sounds like a really nice place, I have never been there. Good luck!