The above images are from, in order from top to bottom: 1. http://maggiesaustin.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/port-aransas-beach.jpg; 2. http://gunghocharters.com/services; 3. http://forums.marlinmag.com/photos/showphoto.php/photo/8234.
The last photo from the Marlin Mag.com really shows what I've done for fun fishing a lot of my life. An easy chair, some kind of shade from a tent or umbrella or hatchback door lifted up, a fishing rod holder and a trusty rod and a fishing buddy makes for a fun time. A bad day fishing beats a good day at work 100% of the time, friends.
Ever since our spring break trip amidst somewhat overcast days and cold waves a few weeks ago, I've been wanting to take a quick trip down there and set up an overnight fishing camp for a night or two somewhere way down the beach. Billy Ray is game and indeed, has done quite a bit of beach fishing with his friend Dan, who as it happens actually HAS a BEACH VEHICLES already and is wanting to go fishing.
A good 4wd with big tires and automatic transmission makes for not getting stuck, or more importantly, being able to get unstuck, when running through the deep sand of the less trekked and unplowed parts of Texas beaches. I'm up for fishing either Mustang Island or even going out to PINS and heading south from there. I've always had good luck at Fish Pass, and got famously stuck there in the middle of the night way back in 1981 with a good friend Mog. It turned out to be a great adventure.
We ended up stuck right next to the pass, which cuts from Gulf to bay. Right as we resigned ourselves that we were stuck until way the next day, I grabbed my rod and headed over to the pass. It was high tide moving in and it was moving strong. There were thousands of mullet or croaker being chased by a huge school of Specks, and the fishing was fast and furious for about an hour. Then nothing. It was fun.
So there's good fishing to be had all up and down Mustang Island and on into the Padre Island National Seashore (PINS). The more remote areas stand a better chance of finding bigger or more unique fish, or so my experiences AND THOSE OF LUCKY OTHERS have taught me. The Kings of the Gulf of Mexico
So I figured Billy Ray had been reading my mind when this weekend he suggested we take a beach fishing trip to Port A. I'd been thinking about it fairly non-stop since getting back a couple of weeks ago. It's been awhile since I've set up fishing camp on the beach, and I'm ready to do it.
There's several tricks that make setting up a fishing camp at the beach a lot more enjoyable. A nice small grill makes for some hot food and metal pot of hot coffee going. A fire not only provides light at night and heat if needed but keeps irksome dune critters like rattlesnakes on their side of the night and away from your camp.
Look at the ground and see where the recent high tide marks are and park above that spot. Don't leave your vehicle near the water unattended or go to sleep unless you move it towards the dunes and higher ground. I've seen more than one car left parked too close to the water, swamped by an incoming tide, the sand collapsing underneath the car cratering it into the beach. People get carried away swimming and walking at the beach and leave their cars for hours and come back to find their car full of sand and water and hopelessly mired in the tidal sand.
I like some form of pistol with the first two or three shots being snakeshot and then some regular self-defense bullets. Carried legally, of course. Any number of pistols fit the bill, but my Glock .45 is a great gun for this. One never knows who one might meet in the wilds of a beach in Texas. I've met some really cool folks, some really out there but harmless characters, and some truly noxious and toxic individuals I'm lucky I didn't get robbed or killed by. There are some truly bizarre folks at the beach, just like in regular society. The difference is that at the beach you're sort of a more captive audience if some freakshow happens along your way.
I've come across vagabond folks over the years who were beach and dune camping with the snakes and sometimes gators (don't forget that gators often inhabit the marshy wetlands between beach and bay all up and down the Texas coast, with some places like Matagorda being especially thick with both big rattlers and gators. A lot of these folks were down on their luck but decent folks. Some were just plain scary, and I've moved spots more than once in my life at the beach because of weird neighbors.
So like a boy scout, it pays to be prepared.
All that aside, I love being on a moonlight Texas beach, a big fire going and providing lots of lighting, with three or four rods in large rodholders with lines way out far from the beach. Checking rods and baits every so often and responding to bites. Beer. Music. Food. A nice large tent or even several vehicles to sleep in. When it gets extra windy or cold or rainy it sure is nice to be able to sleep in the back of that SUV or across that truck seat.
Now all I have to do is convince Mrs. El Fisho that she needs to come hold up in a condo on the beach whilst I roam with my friends, because will want to come, as will El Fisho Jr, but she'll want to stay in the A.C.