The remoteness of the Middle Laguna Madre in South Texas is part of its appeal. Far away from the crowded bumper-boat-bays to the north, fishing Laguna Madre has for years been the place to escape it all. But as with most things, the best places are often the most difficult to reach and this place is no exception.
The alarm clock sounded early, waking our house in Port Aransas at 4am where we “quickly” geared up, filled suburbans and headed south with our flotilla in tow. After a much needed stop at Stripes for tacos and coffee, we arrived at bird island state park, the furthest boat ramp south (and one that runs out of parking spots quickly for those that hit snooze). The boat ride in the morning, full of spotlights, caffeine and testosterone, will wake you up pretty quick if you’ve been on the fence until now. You really have to know what you’re doing, have the right gear, and experience boating in the dark. Not something for the novice, and still dangerous for the seasoned. But after 30-45 minutes of banter, our Shallow Sport eased off plane, came to a halt, and then went silent as we reached our first spot.
Hunters, called fishermen if wielding a rod, slid out of the boat on a mission. Some are on a topwater mission, some are on a tout mission, but once the sun gets up enough, we’ll all be on a fly mission.
For me, this moment is the cake. Wading into a sunrise, seeing the birds begin to take flight, the ripple of bait and feeding fish, and that orange ball rising from the horizon; so brief it can be missed. And so i pause, soak it in, and then chunk a big ole plug into the drink and walk that puppy back. Twitch Twitch Twitch, my topwater is causing havoc on the serenity of the moment, and it’s apparent that the trout think so as well. Within a moment, the surface erupts as a spotted predator quickly realizes it has become prey. And this is the icing.
Our group fans out, each taking glance at the other, competition unspoken, we make a good dent in our first wade; all proud of the assault we’re making, and all proud of the memories we’re making. We’ll eat well tonight.
As the sun’s angle improves, we move to a new spot, and exit the boat with our 8 weights. Mullet scatter as we move, as does the occasional red, but the wind is churning the top of the water enough that we’re all having a hard time seeing them before we spook them. So we load up and move again. And again. And yet again. We all switch back and forth, but in the end, the fish are hitting the lures hard, and we’re just not gaming them with the flies.
That night, our fish freshly cooked, the beer icy cold, and the bs overflowing, we recalled our early trips together when we had nothing more than a desire, but that what’s got us here. Lessons learned, egos bruised, day’s exhausted. But each trip a memory, and lesson learned, and tactic refined. Still, this trip was one for the books. Cheers!