Vernal Fishing

Vernal Fishing

“See the coast clear’d, and then we will depart.”

The Mayor of London in Shakespeare’s Henry 6th, Part 1 (I.iii.84)

Vernal Fishing

One of my usual comments is, “The expression, ‘It seemed like a good idea at the time,’ is not a valid excuse.” It being springtime in South Texas, and me not having been to the coast to fish in a few months, last trip thwarted by a hurricane, seemed like the most correct action.

And, you know, Mercury in Retrograde

Portable Mercury Retrograde

Portable Mercury Retrograde


Fishing was the best option. Jacked around with times and days, and final settled on one date, then had to adjust it by 24 hours for potential weather. Turns out I was almost delayed again, as we had a fair amount of chop on the bay. Water was churned-up, thin, feathery cirrus clouds overhead, closer to the islands, there was some calm water, and the way the hurricane rearranged the coastline? Pretty amazing.
Mathis, TX

Mathis, TX


Flying solo, not always my style, and flying solo on this last trip, I had set aside the drive-time to re-listen to Shakespeare’s Henry 6, parts 1-3. Only made it through the second play as traffic was light, and going to the coast was almost magical. I had an image of dawn breaking, from Mathis, Texas, posted on one of my feeds. The image itself, snapped from a phone at 70 miles an hour? Yes, just doesn’t do justice. It was cold, or cold-ish, still. The highway traffic was light until I hit the small towns, took a shortcut that actually worked, and I had to slow down for the morning school buses.

Pulled out a pair of wind pants, and put them on, hopped aboard, and we set off for the islands. As noted, wind and waves beat me up pretty badly, that first fifteen minutes, but after that? Cool. Calm. Or calmer, and I was able to shuck the pants for shorts.

With no luck in the first area, after a period of time, we were about to make a move, when, as I reeled in the last line, just moving the bait, stirred a reaction. It was — for the technically interested — shrimp under a rattling cork. Little rat red took that bait and took off like it mattered. I could tell he was small, but what he lacked in size, he made up for in attitude.
Boat Selfie
Unhooked him, baited another cork and gave it toss, same area. Only fish for the day, all undersized Redfish, all from that spot. In a few months, many of those fish, the ones I tossed back? Good eating. For now? Free the fighter.

Vernal Fishing

The coast isn’t cleared yet. There are mounds of trash and debris along the highways, especially one with a wide median, currently piled high with hurricane detritus. As I passed one place I’ve stayed before, I realized the — it was a series of efficiency cabins — there were one or two empty slabs — cabin blown away — and just about every unit was in the process of getting a new roof.

Over most of Rockport, the was a consistent theme, construction, repair, and now, mostly roofers. Tourists all gone, and only saw one other fishing boat, out cruising the bays.

For me, first time on the water since the hurricane. Not the first time down there, but the devastation is clear.

I tend to joke about hurricanes and how they come along to periodically rearrange the coastline. As of now? The old topographic maps for the inside portion of the barrier islands? All that’s changed. The 0ld navigation charts don’t work anymore.

Bars and oyster reefs are no longer where they used to be, and what was silted channels is now deep-cut holes.

Everything changes.

Had my wee little heart set on more fish, more catching, but it was just an excellent day on the water, and interesting, looking backwards, to see how much the hurricane altered the navigation.

“My neighbor recorded 188 MPH winds,” my fishing buddy said, “officially, it was 145, but yeah, 188.” The vegetation has been cleared, and the channels are in new places. One old rookery is gone, the one that’s on Devil’s Island, but I’m sure a new one will appear. Nature tends to fill a vacuum with something.

The curse of Mercury in Retrograde, why I went fishing in the first place? It finally struck, I was early arriving, long on the water, no big fish, grocery-store brand (generic) sunscreen that worked really well, and?

My last boat camera disappeared. I got back to shore with it, but someplace between here and there, it fell out, got misplaced, or otherwise disappeared.

Not expensive, and technology that is more than a decade old, at least, plus, that was the last of the “boat cameras” that I had, not getting much traffic, as the ubiquitous phone camera has supplanted my old school tech.

Boat cameras gave rise to the website, Bexar County Line — with my definition of a boat camera as an inexpensive digital image device that I would take fishing. Inexpensive was the main ingredient, as a cheap one I would have on hand whereas an expensive one would get left behind. Anymore, with digital phones, the point is moot. My doorbell has WiFi and can take a better picture: the march of progress.

So the last of the boat cameras, or fishing cameras is now lost. Since Mercury is in a retrograde pattern, that would suggest that the camera will turn up, some time in the future, and I do suspect it’s in the girlfriend’s car — someplace. I’m not digging around under seats to locate it.

Portable Mercury Retrograde

Fishing, when Mercury is Retrograde? Always a good idea. Excellent use of time and energies. Losing an old, out-of-date camera? Sure, seems like a good swap to me.

Vernal Fishing

The fishing was excellent. The catching, what fish were there? Quite spirited but a little under-sized. Worth the trip? Totally.

Rat Red

Rat Red


Small fish are better than no fish, and happiness?

In the cold dark, I was wondering, wandering on my way down, if that Shakespeare quote was an early of appearance of waiting for the coast to be clear?

  • Aperture: ƒ/3.2
  • Camera: COOLPIX S3100
  • Focal length: 4.6mm
  • ISO: 400
  • Shutter speed: 1/13s

About the author: Born and raised in East Texas, Kramer Wetzel, settled in a South Austin trailer park before trailer parks were cool. He now lives in San Antonio, Texas.

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