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Tuesday, November 20, 2007
By SightCast @ 2:52 AM :: 2199 Views
  The annual PACK flounder trip scheduled many months ago occurred without a hitch ---  except we almost lost Barry’s car buried to the frame on a narrow remote beach with a rising tide, the trip leader lost his billfold, the guys weren’t run over by flounder, and , uh, …. oh yeah, the next day’s Houston Chronicle contained an article suggesting we PREPARE for flounder season, which is unseasonably late this year!
  PACK members Ron Romeis and Ken Jennings met other fellow members in Sea Wolf Park at sunrise, and promptly waded in at the pocket on the Houston Ship Channel side of the park.  The water was perfect – clear, medium green, and the sunrise was astounding. No rods bending, Ron abandoned his usual hot spot by the rocks near the big bush in the park in order to meet me in my boat to ferry those interested out to the green bush, and then the flats at the point of Pelican Island and the intercoastal a few miles down from the park. The boat was a little taxed as we motored past the sunken cement ship with me, Lisa Bell, Ron, Ken, Ronnie Miranda and buddy Frank, and kayak racer Linn Solomon aboard. We pulled up to the lightly attended “green bush” to see Barry Sandler fishing near his 4X4 4Runner that he’d driven down the beach. He opted to stay there and we chose to move further down to the intercoastal flats, where my friend Dennis Balko had been dropped off to get a jump on the morning.  Fellow member and 30 year flounder addict and guru, Travis Hicks, was working the slow bite with us. Joining us in their kayaks were Ben Hernandez, David Martisek, and Illya Wynne-Davis and his girlfriend Hiroko were in a tandem.  

   This fall’s flounder run had been slow and uncharacteristically late arriving and sporadic, with a warm water temperature and a shortage of cold fronts cycling thru thus far. The “bite”, if you could call it that, was extremely light and tentative yielding over the span of a long, beautiful day fishing only a pair of good sized flounder for me and also Travis, one for Dennis, and one for Frank – his first ever!

   The slow fishing was punctuated by Barry’s 4Runner sinking to the frame on a narrow beach with the tide about to come back in. It was a very short soft patch of light sand covering squishy black gumbo (hard to even walk on it!) that got him as he 4 wheeled out to fish with us at the point.   It looked like that beautiful car was going to be claimed by Davey Jones’ Locker as everyone feverishly pitched in to try to save the car. NO SUCCESS – NOT EVEN CLOSE!  Barry was fortunate to locate Ben’s Wrecker Service whose beach machine type wrecker made it all the way out to that remote stretch of beach, and eventually worked the vehicle out of that gumbo before the tide came in. REEEELLY EXPENSIVE, BUT REEEELLY WORTH IT! With Ben H totally covered in mud and the rest of us pretty yucky, we got back in the water to clean off and fish. We utilized the boat as a mother duck or lounge from which food; refreshment and camaraderie were dispensed to the group as they got tired, hungry or needed a break.

   Dennis took his annual photo of the troop by the boat. Then I ferried the guys back to Sea Wolf Park, disappointed I had not turned them on to the possible thrills of the flounder run.

   A minute or two after the guys exited the boat at the park, Dennis, who had stayed back to fish the point till I got back to pick him up, called my cell to tell me “our buddy” was back! The previous day, a Common Loon in first winter plumage adopted us out at the point, first swimming up to flounder expert, Jack Parkinson, who tossed the bird a shad from his bait bag. We had spent a couple hours feeding the Minnesota state bird shad from our hand, as he/she pecked at our wade belts, rod tips, etc. He was back, and Lisa, Dennis and I took a lot of pictures of our migrant guest, while wondering where his mate was (they pair for life), could he fly, and was he injured? 

   We went back to the Texas City Dike boat ramp tired. It was a pretty day - at least there weren’t a lot of fish to clean?!?

   Well, a fishing trip is many things, as was demonstrated by the day. The good news is some young flounder aficionados learned the spots and the drill. So when it does crank up this November, or any November the rest of their lives, they can share my disease – the fall flounder run! I’ll be out there a lot the coming weeks, anyone’s welcome and re-do’s are not out of the question.

Please Click Here to see photos from the trip.

Dick McGonigle